Deep Reviews: We Tried All the Best Hair Straighteners—Our Editors Rate These 5


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Like many beauty tools, hair straighteners can be a big investment in your hair routine. Much like a hair dryer, a good pair of hair straighteners can become a staple device that you reach for every day to create smooth and sleek styles. And with some models coming in at over £200, it's important to research the best hair straighteners to see if they're suitable for your hair type, your hair's needs and your budget. That's where our editors come in. Having tested several hair straighteners, we put the best ones through their paces to bring you the hair straighteners that are truly deserving of your hard-earned money. Scroll ahead to read our honest reviews of hair straighteners from Dyson to GHD and see our before-and-after images. 

The Best Hair Straighteners

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1. GHD Max Hair Straightener

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I was so excited to get my hands on the GHD Max hair straightener as I have very thick, medium-length hair that can take forever to style. Although I love my original GHDs, I just don't have the time to be spending half an hour on my hair in the morning. This is where the GHD Max model comes in—according to reviews, the 70% wider plates (compared to the original straightener) mean that you can straighten larger sections of hair at one time, and the straightener also has two new-generation heat sensors which help with consistent heat distribution to get a really smooth finish. It's safe to say that I couldn't wait to give them a go.

Like most GHD hair tools, the straightener features one heat setting of 185°C and takes around 30 seconds to heat up. It took me a little while to get used to the larger plate size, but they are very lightweight, and once I got the hang of it, the straightener was super quick and easy to use. In fact, it helped cut my styling time in half, and I had smooth, sleek, shiny hair in just under 15 minutes! I couldn't believe the results, and I don't think I'll be going back to my normal GHDs anytime soon. The only downside of the larger plates is that they can make it a little more difficult to get up into the roots, and they also aren't the best for curling your hair. However, if you have thick or long hair that you want to straighten quickly and easily, then I couldn't recommend the GHD Max enough.

Pros: Wide plates are ideal for straightening thick or long hair, lightweight, optimum temperature of 185°C, quick to heat up and style. 

Cons: Not easy to curl with, tricky to reach the roots.

Rating: 9/10

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2. Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener

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My hair is long and quite thick and coarse in areas. It also has a natural wave and is prone to flyaways, so when I want a super-sleek look I need to call upon hair straighteners for a smooth result. That being said, my hair is usually very quick to straighten. The Dyson Corrale is among the most expensive hair straighteners on the market, but it does boast many great features. The first is that it's cordless. This wouldn't have been a deal-breaker for me before, but now I’ve experienced the freedom of not being tethered to a plug socket, I’m converted! The only downside is that a full charge (of 70 minutes) will give you 30 minutes of styling time. If you have straight, fine or short hair, this is unlikely to be an issue. But if your hair is thicker or curly in texture, you could be caught out if you need more time. It took me around 10 to 15 minutes to style my hair, and the style held up well throughout the day. Another nice addition is that there's an aeroplane feature that allows you to securely "lock" your straighteners to transport them safely in your case or hand luggage—a bonus if you travel. 

The Corrale has three heat settings (heating to 165, 185 or 210ºC) so you can tailor it to your hair texture, and the temperature is regulated 100 times per second for accuracy. Another plus? It's speedy. It took just 25 seconds to heat to 210ºC, so there's little waiting around here. It only has three buttons (the power button and the two temperature-control buttons), so it's very intuitive and easy to use. The plates are perhaps the most innovative feature, however—they're flexible, cushioning and moulding to your hair as you run it through. Dyson says that there is still enough tension to straighten (or even curl) the hair, but the result is less heat damage compared to other straighteners that clamp and drag. 

I love that this straightener has a curved edge, which allows you to use it to curl or wave your hair too. The plates aren’t the largest I’ve seen, so if you have a lot of hair, you might want to try the GHD Max Styler (reviewed above). And because of the cordless design, this straightener is heavier than most, which might make it harder to hold for some. I should also mention yet another neat feature though, which is that the device will turn off automatically after 10 minutes of inactivity, meaning you can relax if you realise you've forgotten to switch it off after leaving the house.

Pros: Cordless, easy to use, premium design, cushioned plate technology that is better for hair, lock feature for travelling, fast to heat up, can be used to curl the hair, switch off after 10 minutes of inactivity for peace of mind. 

Cons: Expensive, limited cordless styling time, some hair textures may need longer to straighten hair, heavier than most hair straighteners. 

Rating: 8/10

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3. GHD Duet Style Hot Air Styler

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My real hair has suffered a significant amount of heat damage over the years, so to steer clear of further damage, I’ve been opting for this wig to switch up my look when I get tired of having my hair back in a bun. I'd describe the texture of the hair as being straight for the most part, with the slightest wave and fine hair strands. Hair straightening for me usually takes a long time—especially on a hair-wash day—as I like to be very detailed about it starting from the blow-drying stage so that I can achieve that salon-like finish.

The GHD Duet is a 2-in-1 hair styler that combines the capabilities of a blow-dryer and a straightener in one sleek device for effortless styling. The design is simple in the sense that it only has an on-and-off switch and a "shine-shot" button, which is a feature designed to enhance shine whilst styling. In this mode, the Duet is transformed into a GHD styler at 185°C with no air, which should be used on dry hair only, to give a sleek finish. It features advanced floating plates enhanced with "infinity sensors", which respond to your hair's requirements. Finished with an ultra-gloss coating, these plates deliver consistently smooth and frizz-free results. With advanced ceramic heating technology, the straightener provides consistent heat distribution for silky styling, utlising 45% less energy than other straighteners whilst guarding against heat damage, according to the brand. 

As a first-time user of this tool, it didn't take long to get the hang of how it operates. It took me about 30 minutes to style my hair from damp to bone-dry and straight, which is very impressive—normally, it takes me well over an hour to blow-dry and straighten my hair. The style lasted half a day for me, but it's worth noting that I didn’t use any products besides a heat-protectant spray. A big pro is that it cuts my styling time in half. Although the tool gets pretty hot, I do like that the temperature is kept at an optimal 185°C to prevent heat damage. A con is that it's quite a heavy and bulky tool. As the head of the tool is quite big, it was hard to properly catch the hair on the top of my head too—I would need to go in again with slimmer straighteners to touch up the look. However, this is a very versatile and easy styler to use for when you want to achieve a sleek look in a hurry. 

Pros: Dries and straightens at the same, floating plates that adjust to your hair, fast at drying and styling, one optimum temperature setting. 

Cons: Style doesn't last as long as with other hair straighteners without styling/finishing products, only one temperature setting, heavy, hard to reach the roots. 

Rating: 7.5/10

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4. BaByliss Super Styler

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I’ve been straightening my fairly thick, wavy hair almost daily since I was a teenager, so I know a thing or two about straighteners. Back in Year 9, it was all about GHDs. But to be fair, it was for good reason—there just weren’t any other straighteners that matched their performance. Thankfully, the market has now caught up, and in my opinion, BaByliss is now one of the best hot-tool brands out there. Its cordless waving wand is my personal favourite for achieving beachy waves, but I’d never tried BaByliss straighteners until I tested the Super Styler.

This straightener has something called a Micro Heating Matrix, which is supposed to support long-lasting smoothness even when you straighten at a lower temperature (it has five settings up to 200°C). A choice of temperature is great for someone like me who already uses a lot of heat on their hair, and I find I can use the tool effectively on the middle setting, whereas with other straighteners I’ve used in the past, I needed the hottest setting for any real straightening to occur. The plates are ceramic-coated and floating—which means they flex slightly to move with your hair; again, for reduced damage—and I also like that the edges are slightly curved, meaning I can clamp the hair seamlessly right at the root. The tool has several other features I look for in a good straightener: auto shut-off, a 3m-long swivel cord and an LED indicator so you don’t forget that they’re on. I also really appreciate that it comes with a heat-protective mat and silicone cover that you can pop on if you need to quickly pack the straightener away.

I made sure to only rough-dry my hair (which is why it looks like that in my "before" pic) before testing the straightener, and it made light work of smoothing down my frizzy, unruly strands, straightening out any kinks with just a couple of passes. It left my hair super sleek and almost slippery-smooth with hardly any effort. It took around 10 minutes to straighten my hair post-wash and about half the time for touch-ups over the following days. With just a little hair oil, my hair stayed sleek and smooth all day long.

All in all, I’m giving the BaByliss Super Styler an 8 out of 10. It loses a couple of points for the price (at over £100, it may not be affordable for many), but I will say that I think it’s a sensible spend for a very good hair straightener, especially since it comes with a five-year guarantee.

Pros: Five temperature settings, ceramic flexing plates that are better for hair health, curved edges mean it can be used for curling hair, works effectively at lower temperatures, auto-shutoff, five-year guarantee.

Cons: Curly or thicker hair textures might need larger plates to straighten their hair.

Rating: 8/10

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5. L'Oréal Professionnel Steampod 4.0

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This year I've been focusing on my hair health, as after years of bleaching and heat styling, it is feeling (and looking) very dry and brittle. Although I'd love to say that I've been avoiding heat altogether, I have still been styling my hair from time to time, but I've been on the market for more hair-friendly tools to use. A friend recommended the L'Oréal Steampod 4.0 straightener, as this clever tool is meant to be a lot gentler on the hair thanks to the steam technology. According to the brand's website, the combination of steam and heat is kinder to hair and helps keep the style intact for longer.

My first piece of advice when purchasing this straightener would be to take some time to read the instructions, as it isn't like your standard hair straightener. I decided to just give it a go straight away and was a bit confused by all of the attachments such as the water tank and the comb, but after doing some research, I quickly figured out what everything was for. I tested the tool on hair-wash day so my roots and ends were looking a little worse for wear, but this was nothing that a bit of dry shampoo and the Steampod 4.0 couldn't fix. After figuring out how to use it properly, I chose one of the three heat settings and was immediately impressed by how the plates glided through the hair. The removable comb helped to optimise the steam and left my ends looking so sleek.

Although the sound the tool makes reminded me a bit of an iron, my hair felt super soft after using it and held its style all day long. I was so intrigued by the other attachments that came in the box, so I watched a couple of TikTok videos and learnt that the straightener is also great for creating bouncy waves, so I'll definitely be trying that next. 

Pros: Steam technology is healthier on hair, built-in comb attachment helps style hair. 

Cons: Takes a while to get used to at first, tank needs to be refilled. 

Rating: 8/10

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Next Up: Deep Reviews: We Tried All the Best Hairdryers—Only 8 Made the Cut

Eleanor Vousden
Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor for Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.

Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards for her work on Powder and also contributed to the title winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards.

Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.

When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner and her miniature dachshund.