You girls know how big of a fan I am of the smooth sleek hair look and my favorite styling tools from ghd are on sale for Black Friday! They are offering a discount up to 30% off sitewide now through 12/1 and will have special daily deals throughout the week. I really love their Platinum+ 1 Inch Styler and was recently sent the Max Styler to try. Both are great high quality heat styling tools I think are essential in my hair styling routine.
I have naturally frizzy thick strands of hair which is hard to tame and the added Florida humidity makes it challenging for my hair to look smooth. I’m all for getting extra help with heat tools and some smoothing/styling products. The ghd flat irons have been game changers.
The ghd Max Styler is their wide plate flat iron. The plates are 2 inches wide designed for those with longer or thicker hair for easier styling. The Max Styler has a pre-set temperature of 365 degrees for safer heat styling, dual-zone heat sensors to ensure temperature remains consistent from the roots all the way to the tip, 30 second heat up time, smooth gloss coated plates that glide along hair, rounded edges and an automatic sleep/off mode.
The Max Styler is also versatile for any type of hair styling. You can use it for a smooth sleek look. Since the edges are rounded and smooth you can also curl the ends or curl the hair in loose waves.
Overall love and highly recommend. Since the Max Styler has wider plates it makes the process of straightening my hair a lot faster. The Max Styler is 25% off for Black Friday and Platinum+ 1 inch styler is 25% off.
You can shop the sale now until 12/1.
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Many thanks to ghd for partnering to sponsor this post.
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is in full swing right now and one of my favorite hair styling tools is part of the sale for their Beauty Exclusives! I was recently able to test out the ghd Platinum+ 1” Styler and it’s my new holy grail styling tool for getting a smooth sleek look. It’s a versatile tool that you can also use to curl your hair. Available in Black and White on sale for $187 (33% off, normally $279).
I’m excited to share a closer look demo of how to use ghd Platinum+ Styler. After having tested so many brands of heat tools over the years I can say this one is my favorite for straightening!
The ghd Platinum+ Styler is a 1-inch flat iron set at one temperature of 365 degrees fahrenheit. I’ve always used tools with multiple heat settings but learned that ghd has scientifically proven this is the optimum temperature for long lasting style that will also keep hair healthy with the least amount of damage. It will keep your color protected and hair healthy too. The temperature is at the right temperature for effective styling so you can style your hair sections in a single pass.
ghd calls this tool their “ultimate smart styler” because it has “ultra-zone technology.” Sensors are active across both plates and they monitor the heat 250x per second to ensure the temperature remains consistent depending on your hair thickness and the speed at which you use the styler.
I love that it heats up quickly (in 20 seconds), has an automatic shut off mode after 30 minutes and has a wishbone hinge which makes it easy to hold and use. The plates are gloss coated so they glide along the hair easily – no tugging or snagging.
Look 1: Sleek and Smooth
For a smooth, sleek and shiny hair look I first spritz on a heat protectant on dry hair. I tried the ghd Bodyguard Heat Protect Spray ($25) and really like it! It dispenses an ultra-fine mist and coats the hair evenly with a few spritzes. I like that it’s light enough in finish that it doesn’t weight the hair down at all.
Spritz and comb through, then straighten hair in small sections. Below is a look at the finished result! Most people think I have naturally smooth shiny hair but it’s not the case at all. I have thick unruly frizz prone hair. It takes a lot of work and product to keep it looking smooth. This straightener makes styling my hair so much easier.
Look 2: Curls
You can also use the ghd Platinum+ Styler to curl the hair. I usually wear my hair straight whether it’s air dried, blow dried or straightened. I had quite a few mishaps with curling irons in the past which usually resulted me burning my forehead and fingers (even with gloves). A few tools I’ve tried have been so hot they fried my hair off. The ghd Platinum+ Styler has been perfect for someone like me. It has a rounded edge around the plates and they act like a buffer so there’s no contact with skin (no forehead burns, yay!). I can also hold the outside tip without getting burned. The hinge is easy enough to clamp and close around the hair that you don’t need to hold the end but sometimes it’s nice to – especially if you want to do a back and forth for an almost crimped-like beach wave.
To curl I section and clip hair up to curl in layers and sections. I hold the tool upside down and loop sections around the iron away from the face. Once looped just clamp and slowly drag the tool through the hair to the ends. An angled hold and faster speed will give me looser more natural looking curls.
Curls last all day with this tool, even in this Florida humidity although they do relax slightly as time goes on (which I actually like for a more lived-in look).
I really love the ghd Platinum+ Styler! I plan on taking it with me on every trip from now on. You can find it on sale at Nordstrom for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale now through July 31st. Available in both black and white for $187. I highly recommend checking it out!
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Many thanks to ghd and Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post. As always all opinions are my own.
Many of you have asked how I maintain my hair for that smooth and healthy shine so today I’m sharing some thoughts on hair oils and dryers I’ve put to the test. I’m always trying new things in hair care as I have thick and unruly hair that requires heat styling and product to smooth out the frizz. Over the years I have tried dozens of creams, sprays and oils over the years and my favorite items are the multi-tasking ones. In my experience creams are best for adding a bit more texture and shine, sprays are great to evenly disperse product through the hair and comb through, oils are a good in-between kind of option. Finding the right hair dryer can be tricky and take time. It took me a long time before I was willing to spend over $100 on one but doing so was life changing and worth every single penny. Even though a high price tag can be off putting, I would say don’t let the price tag scare you. There are a number of hair dryers that do make it possible to get a perfect salon quality blowout at home. Today I’ve teamed up with Sephora to share thoughts on three new-to-me hair oils and how they compare to some others I’ve tried. I was also able to put two hair dryers to the test and have a pros and cons list on each.
Up first is a look at some of the oils. Smell is extremely important to me as I have a sensitive nose and usually prefer something that isn’t too strong so it won’t interfere with my perfume of the day. In terms of texture I like oils that have more of a lightweight finish so it won’t weigh down my hair as the day progresses. Moroccanoil Treatment has been a long-time staple because it’s versatile and works every time without fail to help detangle and tame flyaways. I love the argan oil scent and it’s one that I can use without having to worry about it weighing my hair down. Thoughts comparing six different oils below.
Notes on each from left to right. Each brand describes the oils as multi-tasking oils and suitable for all hair types. I do find most of these versatile. Thoughts on each one below:
Ouai Hair Oil ($23 for 1.7 oz) is a lightweight oil designed to control frizz, nourish hair and protect hair from color fading. It is indeed a luxurious rich oil but comes with a floral scent that I’m not a huge fan of. It’s not a deal breaker for me but if it had a different scent I would reach for it more frequently. The best part of the oil is the packaging. It comes in a pretty package and the pump is well designed to dispense just the right amount of product.
Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil ($38 for 3.4 oz) is described as a fast-absorbing oil and is designed for coarse hair. You can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see what my hair looks like with one drop. It’s described as a nourishing oil and for my hair it did add a nice healthy shine. It has that signature fresh scent all living proof hair products have but is light and doesn’t overwhelm you. Texture was easy to work through the hair – Living Proof has something they call OFPMA technology incorporated into this to block frizz and lower surface tension to help formula spread evenly. It does exactly what it claims without making the hair feel heavy. I did need to add one more pump after drying on the ends to help seal and smooth split ends.
Moroccanoil Treatment ($34 for 1.7 oz) is a classic I would say everyone should try, if you have thicker, dry or coarse hair. The only downside is that these do not come with a pump which would make application easier. After using this pre-heat treatment the hair is easier to manage as it acts as a detangler and hair is soft and shiny. It does work to strengthen the hair as well.
Moroccanoil Treatment Light ($34 for 1.7 oz) is similar to the regular one, if you have fine hair or oily hair, this will probably be the better option for you. For my thick hair this works just as well but has a noticeably lighter texture and finish. When I use this hair is light and fluffy but frizz-free. Both the oils cut down drying time with a dryer.
Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Scent and Shine Coconut Oil ($26 for 1.7 oz) is a strongly scented oil that smells of sweet coconut and vanilla. I am normally not a fan of sweet scents for the hair but if you look at the reviews on Sephora there are a lot of other women who love it. This one has a thinner texture and absorbs quickly into the hair. For those with curly hair it’s supposed to maintain your curls but since I style my hair straight I can’t report on that aspect. As a finishing product it makes the hair ends look super healthy. If you like vanilla scents I think you will love this. For me it’s too strong to wear throughout the hair but I can apply it on the ends as a finishing product.
Verb Ghost Oil ($14 for 2 oz or $18 for this duo set) is one I bought a few weeks ago because I was researching hair products online and this looked really interesting to me. It’s a clear restorative oil with a moringa oil blend which is great for dry or damaged hair. It smells amazing – it’s hard to describe but I would describe it as fresh and lightweight. It is one of the best lightweight oils I’ve tried that really almost disappears into the hair as it absorbs quickly and blends nicely into the strands. It does what it claims: removes frizz, smooths hair and adds shine.
Next are three dryers from T3, ghd and Drybar. When it comes to dryers aside from overall performance I’m also concerned about noise level and weight. Since I have thick hair I sometimes dry my hair in sections or layers from the bottom to the top which takes extra time. Finding a dryer that isn’t too heavy is important so it doesn’t weigh down my arm. The noise level is something I take for granted until I use one in a hotel on a trip and realize how loud the motors are.
T3 PROi Professional Hair Dryer ($350) is the most expensive hair dryer I own and I’ve had for over a year now. It was in my top 2 dryers for giving my hair a salon quality blow out. It has a Tourmaline and Ceramic electric ionizer designed to emit negative ions and infrared heat to help seal ends and eliminate frizz. There are two nozzles with a wide and narrow tip that allow you to concentrate air in different ways. It truly does work to give you an amazingly smooth blowout. There are three heat setting options, a cool shot button and two speed settings which is great for those who want more control. The aesthetics and design are amazing. This is the prettiest dryer I own. I’ve tried a number of other T3 dryers and found them just ok but the PROi works a lot better than the rest. Even though it’s on the large side it isn’t too heavy. The noise level is low which makes it pleasant to use.
Two downsides include the size and dry time. This is a full size dryer which means it will take up a lot of counter or drawer space. It also means it’s not travel-friendly. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but as someone who prefers tools that are more compact this is larger than I would like. Still it performs well and I’ve found space to store it. The other downside is dry time but I will say there is a trick to using this one. Most of the complaints I’ve seen online is that for the price this should cut down dry time but many have reported it does not. It has a powerful motor which does emit a lot of concentrated air but if you blow dry your hair from the time it is completely wet it will take extra time. The trick to cutting down dry time is to make sure your hair is towel dried and to rough the hair first. This may seem like an extra step but it will only take a few minutes and getting it roughly dried to about 80% as they recommend makes a huge difference for the remainder of the drying process. After rough drying divide the hair into sections and dry them with either of the nozzles. I’ve used this a number of ways and will say that I usually don’t mind how long it takes to dry my hair as long as the results are good. This one gives smooth frizz-free full looking hair every time.
ghd Air Professional Performance Hair Dryer ($199) is new to me and quite impressive. It’s smaller and more lightweight than the T3 but is the motor has a smoother quieter sound and yet emits a stronger feeling air stream by comparison. This one truly cuts hair drying time up to 2x faster like it claims. It has ionic technology to keep hair free from frizz and give a smooth finish. There are two heat settings plus a cool option, a cool shot button and two speed settings. The nozzle tips are skinnier which help force air into a more concentrated flow. Dry time is at most 10 minutes but I was able to cut it to down to 7 minutes from towel dried to completely dry. I can’t think of any cons with this one although the nozzles can be a bit hard to remove. Once they are on they are locked in pretty tight – but the upside is that they don’t move around easily if you run your hair through a stiffer brush.
Drybar Baby Buttercup Blow Dryer ($135) is one of the cutest hair tools I’ve seen. My husband actually bought me the full size Buttercup Dryer quite a few years ago and I liked it a lot but it took forever to get my hair dry with it. I’ve mentioned that long dry time isn’t a deal breaker but sometimes having something that gets the job done 2-3 minutes faster makes a huge difference. I was eager to see how the Baby Buttercup compared and think it’s better than the full size. It does have a louder motor compared to the T3 PROi or ghd air professional but it’s not too loud that it bothers me. Since this one is smaller and more compact they’ve combined the heat and speed settings into the same button. It’s a powerful one even though it’s small and dry time is pretty quick with this. I love that it folds into a compact size and comes with it’s own drawstring bag that says “I’m Full of Hot Air” which is perfect for travel. Performance-wise it’s a lot better than the T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer which I bought a couple years ago but I know a lot of others really like that one. The Drybar Baby Buttercup has better drying power, cuts the drying time, doesn’t dry out the hair and gives a nice smooth blowout. The only downside is since it’s small the options for heat and speed are limited but that’s expected with the compact design. It gets the job done and is one I’ll be taking with me on my trip this upcoming week.
Blow out how-to before and after with the Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil and ghd Air Professional Performance Dryer. Total time from towel-dried hair to a completely smooth blowout was around 8 minutes. For oils I usually apply 1 to 2 pumps from ends and work my way up. Note there are a number of ways to blow dry your hair. I often use clips to divide and section my hair but sometimes parting it without clips works too.
Wet hair and work oil from ends all the way throughout hair
Rough dry everything from the ends
Move the dryer to the roots and rough dry some more for a more textured layered look
Run a brush and dry in sections, I use a vent brush as most round brushes cause my hair to become static or frizzy
Use the cool shot to blow through everything to set
Finished blow out look, ends still need a bit of product to smooth but I wanted to show you how my hair looks right after drying with the blow dryer with a little bit of brushing
In terms of the three dryers I featured it’s hard to pick a favorite as they each have their own benefits. The T3 PROi performs well and gives amazing results but dry time can be longer than what you may want. The ghd Air Professional is one of the most powerful yet compact dryers I’ve tried and truly cuts down dry time while giving smooth looking hair. The Drybar Baby Buttercup is great for those who don’t need a lot of options for heat/speed and want something compact or travel a lot. If I could only have 1, I would say the ghd is what I’d gravitate towards for dry time although I really like the larger size of the T3 nozzles.
For oils I think finding the right one depends on your hair density, hair length and whether or not you color your hair. My personal favorites are still the Moroccanoil regular and light, but I’ve been really impressed with the ones from Living Proof and Verb.
I hope you found this review helpful! For haircare junkies there’s nothing quite that feeling of finding a great new styling tool. Having great looking hair can do wonders in confidence boosting and there are lots of products that can help. My hair when air dried is a disaster and most people think I have naturally good hair – it’s not the case. With the help of product and good heat styling tools my hair looks smooth and shiny. There are tons of options to choose from at Sephora and for the holiday there are lots of great value sets which will allow you to test things out at a more affordable price. If you have a favorite hair oil or dryer let me know in the comments. To this day I’m still trying to find the perfect brush for blow drying. If you have a favorite please let me know in the comments 🙂
This post was sponsored by Sephora. As always all opinions my own.
I picked up the T3 Compact Styling Set ($150, limited-edition set) from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It’s a two-piece value set that comes with the Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer (retails separately for $150) and SinglePass Compact Flat Iron (retails separately for $79). I’ve had the compact dryer on my wishlist for a while and the sale helped me pull the trigger. Both are very compact and perfect for travel or if you have limited space in your bathroom. I’ve been testing both for a few days and have comparisons to other styling hair tools that I currently own.
The T3 Featherweight Compact Dryer is really well designed. It comes in a simple sleek black design with a removable nozzle. I like that it’s lightweight but still has a lot of power. The noise level is minimal, it’s designed with a quiet motor which you can still hear but it’s not as loud as others that I’ve tried. The handle absorbs vibration from the motor which is nice so it’s not bothersome if you have to dry your hair for an extended amount of time. It comes with 2 speeds and 2 heat settings along with a cool shot option. I have thick hair that gets frizzy without any hair treatment (product or styling tool) so it takes a long time for me to dry my hair. Dry time with this one was fairly quick – about 15 to 20 minutes when dried in sections.
I photographed the dryer in my hands so you could get a sense of the size. It’s small and compact but not too small. I like that it has a folding option which makes it nice for travel or storage. (On the nails is Chanel Le Vernis in Chataigne, new for fall.)
I now own three hair dryers with this purchase: T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Dryer, Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer and a mini from Original & Mineral. The best ones I’ve owned were from Solano, in particular the Supersolano which is hands down well worth the price – it makes the hair ultra sleek and shiny and doesn’t overheat the hair. I went through two and after my second one died (after about 6 years) I decided to try new things. I wish I hadn’t because they are just so good.
Onto the ones I own. I’ve had the Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer for quite some time and really like it. It dries the hair nicely, it’s large but not heavy, noise level isn’t too loud and it comes in a fun bright yellow color. Since it’s a larger dryer there is more room for options. It has three temperature settings, two speeds and self-lock cool shot so you don’t have to hold it down with your thumb.
I bought the Original & Mineral one that came in a Net-A-Porter set which is super cute and compact. It has a lot of power for something that tiny, but unfortunately the design is very simplistic and the handle doesn’t absorb any vibrations so you can feel it in your hand. It does a good job at drying the hair quickly though which is nice.
The T3 Compact Dryer has less power compared to the Drybar, but more power than the O&M. I’ve brought the Drybar one with me on trips although it does take up a lot of space. The T3 is much more travel-friendly. It’s also dual voltage 125V/250V for worldwide use while the Drybar option is 100V/120V and requires a step-down converter + adapter.
Close ups of the options:
The T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron is basically a free add-on with the Nordstrom Anniversary Set. I purchased the SinglePass Straightening Iron (full size) a number of years ago and hated it. It left my hair frizzy and made it look fried. Based on the number of rave reviews on the compact version, I decided to give it a try since the set came at a really good price. The SinglePass Compact Flat Iron performs much better than the Full Size (maybe I had a dud), but I would say for me it doesn’t really live up to the name “single pass.” It takes at least two passes per section for my super thick hair but it does leave the hair shiny, sleek and smooth. I could probably section off smaller amounts of hair but it would take 3 times longer to straighten everything. The iron is really well designed and comes with a cap which I wish all flat irons came with.
Comparisons to two other flat irons I own. GHD Bird of Paradise is a full-size flat iron that measures 26.5 cm long with plates that are 2.4 cm x 9 cm. I’ve had this since December of last year and really like it although out of all the flat irons I’ve owned, the HAI Ceramic Convertible Iron is hands down the best one I’ve tried (mine died after I dropped it on a hard surface, but it lasted 4 years before it stopped working).
The CHI Smart Titanium Ceramic Travel Iron is fairly new to me. I received this one at a QVC event a few weeks ago and really like it. I can’t find the temperature listing anywhere but I was told it heats up to 390 degrees. This one measures 22 cm long with plates that are 2 cm x 7.5 cm. For my hair it does a better job at straightening with a single stroke but it is very small so it takes longer to straighten my hair.
The T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron by comparison heats up to 410 degrees. It’s similar in size to the CHI. The T3 Compact Iron is 22 cm long with plates that are 2 cm wide x 7.8 cm long.
I’m overall really pleased with the set. I had the Compact Dryer on my wishlist and the Flat Iron with this set was an added bonus. I really like the Dryer – it performs well, it’s compact and well designed. It will be my travel dryer for all my upcoming trips.
For the flat iron I have mixed feelings. With any travel sized flat iron I think it should be expected that it won’t work the same as a full sized flat iron for my super thick hair. The T3 SinglePass Compact Flat Iron works well but it takes more time for me to straighten my hair compared to ones from GHD and HAI. Out of the two travel flat irons I featured, I have a slight preference for the CHI, although the two are very close in performance. The T3 has a more visually pleasing design and the cap is an added bonus for me (even though many brands have an extra storage or carrying case for travel).
That being said I have close friends who are die-hard loyal fans of T3 and swear by the line. Since I don’t need two travel flat irons, I will probably be regifting this one to a friend.
The T3 Compact Styling Set retails for $150 and is currently a Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive (it’s a $229 value). In case you miss out on the sale this month, you can purchase the Featherweight Compact Dryer and SinglePass Compact Flat Iron individually. I give the compact dryer a huge thumbs up and the compact flat iron a semi-thumbs up mainly because I am super picky about flat irons in general, but it’s great for the size and travel purposes.
Did you check out the T3 Styling Set from the sale? Do you have any T3 favorites? If not what are your favorite styling tools?
The CHI flat iron was gifted as a press sample. All other items purchased by me.