I once went for a haircut and the stylist asked if she could have a go at curling my long hair. I told her I’d tried several times in the past, and that my hair neither curls well nor can it hold a curl beyond a couple of hours. She assured me she was a pro and could handle it, so I went along with it. Forty-five minutes, only half my hair volume and nearly all of her stock of patience into the attempt, she conceded that she should have taken my word for it! [She did end up completing the job, so kudos to her 🙂 ]
The point of the story: my hair is very straight naturally, although it tends to get a little wavy when in dire need of moisture. I like my straight hair, but every now and then would like to style it, so I do own a cheap hair straightener that I have tried to use to curl my hair. It’s kind of a loop of causality — I have stubborn hair, so I feel bad investing in a good quality iron which may or may not work, but then I have stubborn hair which would probably respond better to a good quality iron…
So, imagine my excitement when about a month ago, I was asked by ISA Professional — a company that makes salon-quality hair straightening products that include flat irons, hair straighteners and hair straightening brushes — whether I would like to try out their titanium mirror hair straightener! Of course, I did a little bit of research first and found out that titanium straighteners heat up and transfer heat to hair the quickest, are good for thick hair, and are the most durable for heavy use. I agreed to try it out and received the product within a couple of days. I will be using it for as many looks as I can come up with in this new series I call Curled Piece 😀
First, some basics: The item arrives in a nice white gift box, and includes a hair straightener and a heat-resistant glove. The straightener, with a sleek-looking red and black metallic-finish, has extra-long (4.5-inch) plates that allow you to go over wider sections of hair, thereby cutting down on the time it takes to style your hair. The plates are an inch wide, which allows the straightener to get very close to the roots.
What I like best about this is that it allows the temperature to be adjusted within a range of 265-450F (129-232°C), which is great for me specifically because I have thick but fine hair, but also generally desirable because a lot of hair stylists/professionals say that it is not necessary to use a temperature higher than 380F or so for normal healthy hair. Even for thick/coarse hair, they recommend you stay within 400F, and not put unnecessary stress on your strands. A good way to figure out the optimal temperature for hair is by starting at the lowest setting possible, and gradually increasing the temperature until you can straighten/curl at one or two passes per section. There is a small LCD screen that displays the temperature of the straightener, and it takes only about 30 seconds to heat up when you first plug it in. Another cool feature is that the power and temperature adjustment buttons are all on the side of the body, which means you’re less likely to press a button as you work. Finally, this comes with a 360° swivel-cord, preventing the cord from getting tangled up as you work through your tresses, 1-hour auto shut-off, a 2-year warranty and free shipping to anywhere in the world. If you want to check out the product on their website, click here.
Enough of the basic information, now for some pictures:
[Yes, I need a trim, gotcha!]
The picture on the left is obviously my hair as it is & the one on the right is my attempt at loose curls. My entire head of hair, sectioned into 6, took about an hour to curl, but this is not something I’m used to doing and also I have thick hair as I mentioned, so I won’t comment on styling time using this straightener yet. Also, remember that it took almost as much time for the stylist from the beginning of this post to do it too; granted I have lost a bit of hair since then. As I get more practice working through the different types of curls in this blog-series, I’ll be able to say more about that.
I used very little product in my hair — just some heat protectant before, and a bit of oil and some hair spray afterwards. In the future I think I’ll skip the hairspray as well and see how it goes. I curled small sections of hair at a time, going over each strand once at a temperature of 300F. I think I’ll have to try a higher temperature if I want tighter curls, but that’s for another day. The curls held up pretty well for several hours, after which I just had to wash my hair. The only beef I have with this whole process is that it left my strands a little frizzy after curling. Now, as I said, I’m not very experienced with styling hair, so it is possible that I need to learn more about heat-styling and products that go with it, or about temperature settings and timing, but for now, I’m not thrilled about that one aspect. Here are a couple more shots; the frizz shows up more clearly in the picture on the right:
All things considered, I’m glad I got to try this. I hope to get a little more practice and try out different techniques before I can draw any conclusions about the product. One thing is for sure, it is highly effective, even for stubborn curl-resistant hair! I only used a temperature of 300F because I’m a complete wimp when it comes to hair, but this is already pretty impressive to me. I have in the past tried to get this very look, and just as I would start to work on the second half of my hair, the first would begin to fall flat, no matter how much hairspray I used! As for the frizz, I have read that titanium plates generally tend to smooth hair, so I’m going to hold off judgement until I have learnt a bit more technique and used it a couple more times.
Please bear with me as this series will probably be slow going because 1) I’m learning as I do this, 2) things have really picked up with my dissertation and I’ve been super busy, and, 3) I have to coordinate with the resident photographer, Mr ACD, for these posts. If you have ideas for looks to try, I’m happy to hear; I love learning new hairstyles! Also, tell me your thoughts regarding hair straighteners, straight hair & curls in the comments 😀
[Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for sharing posts about it on social media]