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From pin-straight, flat-ironed locks to beach waves or voluminous curls, there's the perfect hair tool for every style. Finding out what styles you love to wear the most will influence the hair tools you buy, whether that's a curling iron, blow dryer, flat iron, and beyond.
Not sure where to begin? We have some tips: When looking for new styling tools, you'll want to choose ones made with quality materials. That way, they'll last—and so will the health of your hair. Additionally, you want to choose products that are a fit for your hair type, so they will work as well as possible for you. Bonus: Look for tools that have more than a single function, so that you get the most for your money.
Best Flat Iron: Revlon Salon Straight Copper Smooth 1" Flat Iron
Having a sleek styling tool to flatten hair can take your look to an all new level. This professional copper and ceramic flat iron from Revlon is the perfect straightening tool, to smooth out strands or help straighten naturally curly hair.
When it comes to choosing a flat iron, you want to make sure you pick one that has a heat setting that's high enough for any type of hair. The copper ceramic technology allows hair to be straightened without breaking while leaving behind a luminous shine. The heat setting goes up to 455 degrees, enabling even the most stubborn of curls to become pin straight. It heats up in ten seconds and remembers the temperature setting you use the most, to automatically give you what you're looking for as soon as you hit the power button.
Best Blow Dryer: Harry Josh Pro Tools Ultra Light Pro Dryer
A lightweight hairdryer that significantly reduces drying time? Yes, please. When it comes to drying and styling your hair, it's always a great feeling when you can get it done promptly, allowing you a few extra minutes in the morning to hit the snooze button, and significantly reducing the time you spend with heat directly applied to hair. This blowdryer weighs less than a pound and is quiet so you don't have to worry about making a ton of noise if you're up early in the morning. Perfectly compact, it's a great travel addition to any upcoming trip you might be going on.
Best Curling Wand: Conair Infiniti PRO Curling Wand
Trygstad considers this budget-friendly tourmaline wand the easiest tool for creating at-home beach waves. It allows you to wrap your hair for a perfect curl or wave without the clamp of a traditional curling iron. If you prefer to do the wrapping yourself, its smooth texture allows you to easily wrap strands of hair for the perfectly finished style. Plus, its tourmaline ceramic technology allows the hair to be styled without being damaged, ensuring that the integrity of the hair stays intact.
Anytime you're using hot tools, you always want to make sure that you protect your hair by using a leave-in thermal protecting styler, allowing you to freely curl with heat without worrying about the damaging effects heat can have. For best results, apply your heat protectant product, blow dry hair, and then section hair to curl in loose or tight waves depending on the style you're looking to achieve. Be sure to brush through the curls after you're done for a smooth, natural finish.
Best Curling Iron: Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro Dual Voltage
This patented rotating curling iron is the perfect solution to anyone wanting gorgeous beach waves with a little assistance. “I love that this product rotates on its own,” says Trygstad. “Plus, it has both a left and right setting which makes it easier to use and switch between sides.”
Section the hair and place it in the clamp, press the rotating button, and watch while the curling iron practically does all the work for you. The customized clamp ensures there are no kinks in the hair, and the ergonomic handle makes it easy to use. Left the house without turning it on? Its safety feature allows the iron to automatically shut off within 30 minutes of no use. Whew.
Best for Curly Hair: Hot Tools 1106 3/8-inch Gold Curling Iron
Have really curly hair? This tiny curling iron from Hot Tools allows easy maintenance for even the tightest curls. Sometimes all you need to do is just wrap curls around the iron to help keep them bouncy and fresh, and this tiny tool gives you everything you need to do just that. Wash your hair and allow it to air dry after putting in whichever product you choose to keep curls intact. After hair is dry, section your hair and wrap curls around the iron in whichever direction works best for your hair type and desired style.
Best Diffuser: DevaCurl DevaFuser
If you have curls, then you know a diffuser is the key to keeping them in check during a blow dry session. This unique, hand-shaped attachment from DevaCurl is a fan-favorite, providing 360-degree airflow to surround curls and cut down on drying time while its ceramic inner core fights frizz and enhances shine. The result? Bouncy, voluminous waves and coils. Not only does this diffuser lend a helping hand to all curl types (see what we did there?), but it also fits most commercial hair dryers.
To use, first. hold it near the scalp to dry the roots. Next, cradle the ends of curls in the DevaFuser and push. it toward the scalp to scrunch, and then hold. Repeat this same motion until all of your curls are dry.
Best Hot Air Brush: amika Blowout Babe Interchangeable Thermal Brush
This thermal interchangeable brush allows you to blow dry and style your hair simultaneously without having to use more than one product at once. Can you say genius? With three different interchangeable brush heads, you can choose which one works best for your hair type and length. You've got some serious time to kill in the morning now, so go ahead and enjoy your coffee a little longer before heading out the door to work.
Best Straightening Brush: Drybar The Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush
Ideal for anyone who’s ever in a rush, this straightening brush from Drybar is an absolute must-have. A flat iron and paddle brush in one, this nifty tool creates shiny, silky straight hair in one swift movement. We love that it uses ionic technology to help seal the cuticle and keep frizz at bay while its digital temperature control function allows for custom styling on all hair types—from straight to tightly coiled—thus, reducing the risk of heat damage. Plus, it features an automatic shut-off after 60 minutes, so you’ll never have to stress after rushing out the door in a hurry.
Best Round Brush: ghd Ceramic Vented Radial Brush
This blow-drying brush is great for longer hair, allowing for a smoother finish and faster drying time. Since it has a ceramic barrel, it retains heat allowing hair to dry in double the time it would if just using a regular round brush. Section your hair and work the brush through each part, going over the hair with the brush and blowdryer until it's smooth and styled the way you want it to be. If you want to create a more wavy look, dry your hair, wrap sections of hair around the brush, blast it with heat for 30 seconds, then with cool air for another 30 seconds before unwrapping it for a sophisticated wavy look.
Best Paddle Brush: Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush
Paddle brushes not only work wonders on detangling the hair, but they also help to smooth out the hair while blow-drying to create sleek, straight styles. This lightweight brush from Aveda is super gentle, featuring extended bristles which, as Trygstad points out, are extra helpful for hair that’s prone to tangles. “This is an essential brush in my kit,” he says. “It works beautifully to detangle and can handle a lot of hair at once.”
Plus, we love that it’s sustainably designed with a wood handle rather than plastic and has a built-in ventilation and drainage system to prevent nasty buildup.
Best Wide-Tooth Comb: Vernon François Wide-Tooth Comb
Does your hair turn into a tangled mess every time you wash it? Wide-tooth combs are great for detangling the hair without damaging it, especially when you have curls. This sleek option from Vernon François is ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip so you can have full control while combing out even the toughest of knots. It can be used on both wet and dry hair, and is suitable for all types, regardless of texture, length, density, and strand width. “This comb is great for use in the shower—I love it for combing through masks or conditioners,” says Trygstad. “It’s also great to use before showering to loosen tangles in longer hair.”
Best Edge Brush: The Doux Babygirl Edge Brush
When you’re looking to slick and smooth out your edges, this nifty edge brush from The Doux is a solid option. It features a double-sided head that can be used for combing and brushing while its extra-long precision tip allows better control when parting, swirling, and detailing your edges. Plus, both the base and bristles are super durable, preventing the brush from bending or breaking while styling. “This is great for smoothing the baby hairs around the hairline,” says Trygstad. “I also love this style of brush for detailing a ponytail. Plus, it’s great for coaxing brows into place.”
Best Clips: Harry Josh Pro Tools Makeup & Wave Setting Clips
Need to pin your hair back while applying makeup but don't want to crease or kink your perfect blowout? Use these clips to pin hair back while finishing getting ready while keeping your hairstyle perfectly intact. “The larger size of these clips is awesome,” says Trygstad. “They don’t leave a bend or impression in the hair because of their larger size, plus the size allows them to hold more hair. These are fantastic for setting a curtain bang in place during a blow dry.”
Best Hair Towel: Aquis Rapid Dry Lisse Hair Turban
Don't have a lot of time in the morning to style your hair? Cut drying time even more by using this towel turban made from absorbent woven fibers to get the moisture out of hair without any breakage. Get out of the shower, squeeze excess water out of hair, and wrap up in turban while getting ready before blowdrying.
Best Silk Turban: Grace Eleyae Silk Twist Turban
If you’ve ever suffered from bedhead, you know that sleep can sometimes wreak havoc on the hair. That’s why many of us turn to sleeping on silk pillowcases or wrapping our hair in silk turbans and bonnets to protect our styles while we catch up on our beauty sleep. This double-lined silk turban from Grace Eleyae works hard to prevent frizz and breakage from friction, lock in moisture, and distribute your hair’s natural oils while its twist front helps keep it in place all night long.
Meet the Expert
Hair stylist and co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon in NYC, Ryan Trygstad has become one of the country’s most sought after precision stylists. A former assistant to the legendary Sally Hershberger, he’s best known for his mastery of hair cutting and his ability to translate trends and harness texture to create customized looks. He’s become a favorite amongst celebs such as Laura Dern, Emma Roberts, and Kelly Ripa and his editorial work can be seen in a number of famed fashion publications.
What to Look For in Styling Tools
Not only will choosing a product made with high-quality materials make it more likely to last for years in your hair arsenal, it may help keep your hair more intact. For example, take flat irons. Stylist Gina Rivera, founder of Phenix Salon Suites, notes that "choosing a quality option can make all the difference, ensuring that you don’t need to make multiple passes over the hair and further increase the likelihood of damage."
Some items have a single purpose—and that's ok—but when buying more expensive tools, choose ones that can do more. Think curling irons with multiple sized wands, so that you only need one base, or a styling iron that can straighten, curl, or wave.
A Match For Your Hair Type
There's no disappointment quite like spending time using a hair tool just to discover the results on your hair are nothing like the images you've seen. It's worth spending time getting to know your hair's type and texture, especially if you have curly hair. This will make it so that you can exactly the results you anticipate when buying new items, because you know they're designed for you.
Choosing styling tools that have various settings will help you get the look you want. And knowing what settings are right for your hair is vital, too. Celebrity hairstylist and the creator and CEO of The Beachwaver Co. Sarah Potempa says, "it's important to be educated on the right heat setting for your hair. For example, if you have thick hair, you'll want to use a higher heat setting than someone with thin or fine hair. Adjusting the heat setting to your hair type will ensure that your curls hold!"
Is titanium or ceramic better for hair?
Both titanium and ceramic are good choices for hair tools, and both have pros and cons. Celeb stylist Kim Kimble says, "if you want to switch between wearing your hair straight and curly, look for a flat iron with high-quality ceramic plates...but if your hair is kinkier or harder to straighten, titanium plates work really well.”
What type of flat iron is best for damaged hair?
While the safest bet for damaged hair is to reduce heat styling as much as possible, we know that sometimes, it's going to happen regardless. Alex Brown, a Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist, recommends this iron because "the plates contain nano ionic micronized water molecules that penetrate the hair, adding moisture while also smoothing."
What hair tools do I need?
The above picks are our choices for the basics, that we think people with all different types of hair will benefit from owning. If you're unsure where to start, try getting the right brush or comb for your hair type, along with a turban that will minimize dry time—that's an excellent place to start, and later you can pop back in to look at heating tools.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough hair styling tools from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.