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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Ellie Davis

Best cheap hair straighteners, tried and tested for quality on a budget

No hair tools arsenal is complete without a set of straighteners.

Typically the first gadget to follow the humble hair dryer in our collection, it is one that will be a stalwart for years to come. Many of us will have owned the same straightening irons since our teenage years, but when the hard-working heroes eventually pack in, we can be reluctant to fork out three figures for a new one.

Hair straighteners are on hand to smooth out frizz and flyaways, giving us poker-straight locks in minutes. You can also use this particular tool for curling too as the twofer design can create bouncy blow-outs or those fresh-from-the-beach waves depending on how you adjust the wrap and angle.

But they don’t come cheap – or so we thought. While you will struggle to find the likes of GHD, Cloud Nine and some of the leaders in the space at a reduction low enough not to make a dent in your bank account, the purse-friendly products are surprisingly feature-packed for their modest price tags.

You only need to look to Revlon, BaByliss and Remington who have made cost-effective beauty tools their bread and butter. But what do they sacrifice? And are they still as effective? We consulted hairstylist Louise Bailey at Beauty Club London, a salon in the heart of Oxford Circus, to find out.

What features are essential for heated hair tools?

Bailey says, “It is good to have hair tools with heat control on them as highly processed hair will need less heat than virgin hair”.

For those with fine or damaged hair, you will want to style at lower temperatures to prevent thermal stress on your precious strands – this is around the 120-150°C mark. Those with medium or wavy hair will want this slightly elevated at 150-180°C and for coarse, thick locks, you’ll find the most efficient straightening occurs at 180-200°C.

Is it important to spend a lot on your tools?

According to the hairstylist, this is not a prerequisite. “It's not important”, she says. “You just need to find the one with the features you need for your hair type and the looks you want to achieve from the styler”.

What do budget models sacrifice?

While you can find premium hair straighteners at lower price points, these models will forgo some of the more advanced elements. For instance, the Dyson Corrale is cordless and styles at a lower temperature. GHD is constantly innovating and you’ll find models like the DuetStyle that dry and style at the same time as well as the likes of dual-zone technology to automatically regulate the temperature of the plates to avoid damage.

Cheap hair straighteners are typically no-frills, often without smart technology or variable heat controls.

How to protect your hair when styling?

“Use heat protector spray,” says Bailey. She also advises to “Keep the styler moving over the hair, don't hold it in one spot for ages as this can burn the hair and always use the right temperature for your hair type”.

Shop the best cheap straighteners below

Revamp Progloss Wide Ultra X Shine Ceramic Hair Straightener

Revamp is the name to know for high-powered tools without a high price point to match. With the Progloss Wide Ultra X Shine Ceramic Hair Straightener, you get a lot for the modest out-lay.

The plates are designed in a floating manner to prevent snagging, while they are wide and long to suit all hair types – even long, thick and curly. The ceramic additions are coated in what the brand refers to as Progloss super smooth oils to enhance shine.

The heat settings can be adjusted with the temperature ranging from 80ºC to 235ºC but there is also advanced intelligent heat control that regulates the levels to minimise the chance of thermal damage. To ease the styling process, there’s a 3m swivel cable, a temperature lock and a silicone heat-resistant mat to prevent burn marks on your beloved carpet.

Buy now £59.99, Sephora

Remington Shine Therapy S8500 Hair Straightener

Shine is the name of the game with this straightener from Remington. The brand has infused its ceramic plates with Moroccan argan oil to infuse the individual strands with gloss-giving moisture to smooth out flyaways and leave a mirror finish in its wake.

The heated tool is complete with adjustable temperature control that ranges from 150 - 230°C, which means you can adapt the levels depending on your hair type in order to reduce damage. For a speedy style, it heats up in just 15 seconds and has a turbo boost function to leave curls poker straight in short order. Auto switch-off after an hour gives peace of mind.

Buy now, Amazon

Bellissima Italia Creativity Infrared Hair Straightener

Bellissima by name, bellissima by nature, these styling tools will leave bad hair days a thing of the past.

The ceramic plates incorporate keratin technology that protects, while you are creating straight, sleek styles or bouncy curls. There is also infrared technology incorporated for a gentler heating process from the inside-out so you don’t strip the strands of moisture as you pass it through your locks. Active plate technology means it adapts to your hair type and 11 temperature settings put the control in your hands.

Buy now £60.00, Argos

Revlon RVST2211P Smoothstay Hair Straightener

Determined not to be overdone in the ceramic coating game, Revlon has given its exterior thrice the power with coconut oil that reduces static and frizz as it straightens your strands. The silky finish that remains is so soft, that you’ll have to try hard to resist running your fingers through your hair all day long.

The plates are rounded for versatility, whether you’re straightening or curling, and there is heat-sensing technology so you don’t stress out the strands with too much heat. This is doubled down on too by having 10 temperature settings up to 235°C.

Buy now £25.00, Argos

Undone by George Northwood Straighten or Wave It Flat Iron

George Northwood is a renowned hair stylist known and loved by his clientele of celebrities and beauty editors for his signature tousled look. To create undone perfection, he has channelled his expertise into a collection of at-home products and tools that include this flat iron. The adaptable design means you can use it as easily to create straight looks as you can for wavy, just adapt your glide in a zig-zag movement to achieve the latter.

It comes complete with a 360-degree swivel cord for ease of movement and universal voltage so you can stash it in your hand luggage for jet-setting adventures.

Buy now £55.00, Boots

BaByliss Titanium Pearlescent Hair Straightener

The endless five-star reviews for this straightening iron speak for themselves. The lightweight design makes for a seamless styling process. As you place each section of hair within the titanium-ceramic plates, you are treated to smooth, shiny results that are made possible by the inclusion of Advanced Ceramics heating that maintains the temperature for consistent use. The tool heats up quickly in just 30 seconds, has six temperature settings and switches itself off after 72 minutes.

Buy now £25.00, Argos

Remington Pro-Ceramic Extra Wide Hair Straightener S5525

The extra wide plates of this straightener from Remington mean that smooth and silky strands are effortless to create, even when you have thick and coarse locks. In fact, this heated tool was designed specifically for these hair types in mind, allowing you to tame your mane in record timing – something that comes welcomed to those who like to maximise sleep and minimise get-ready time in the morning.

The ceramic plates are fitted with the brand’s more advanced coating that is said to promote smoother styles with an increase of 75 per cent. The straightener is fitted with an LCD screen too which displays the temperature to give you ultimate control over its adjustment. The heat levels range from 150°C and 230°C, and get there in just 15 seconds of powering up.

Buy now £46.50, Argos

BaByliss Straight and Curl Brilliance Rose-Gold Hair Straightener

The exterior of these straightening irons from BaByliss is fitted with a curved stainless steel housing that leads to easy curly styles - just pay very close attention to your finger placement. The hair tool brand beloved by professional stylists the world over has thought of everything to ensure the styling process is seamless from start to finish.

From the five different temperature settings, longer plates and smoothing frizz control, your finished look will be as sleek as you’d imagined. There’s also a 3-metre cable with a swivel design, quick heat up (only 15 seconds) and auto shut off.

Buy now £75.00, Amazon

Revamp ST-1600-GB Progloss Steamcare Hair Straightener

Using the power of steam to tame your mane, these straighteners with ionic conditioning and ceramic-argan oil plates will leave your hair advert-grade glossy and smooth. Three steam settings help lock in moisture and with a top heat of 230 degrees, your style should be able to last as long as you do (British weather permitting, of course).

Good hair days are closer than you think at Boots. It’s currently got this beauty essential for half off - was: £119.99, now: £49.99.

Buy now £49.99, Boots

MiroPure Hair Straightening Brush 2 in 1 Ionic Hair Straightener Brush

For just £30, you can bag yourself an affordable, effective hair straightening brush. This MircoPure product will treat your hair to a silky smooth makeover by sealing the hair cuticles and reducing split ends. To avoid that horrid rush of panic that comes with accidentally leaving the hair straighteners on when you’ve left the house, the brush will automatically turn off after 60 minutes if not used.

Its small stature makes it perfect for travelling. Pop it in your suitcase and combat humidity-induced fuzz using the 360° swivel power cord for lustrous, frizz-free locks in minutes. If you have five minutes spare before heading out for dinner, treat your scalp to the brush’s massaging effect that stimulates the hair follicles and feels fantastic.

Buy now £30.57, Amazon

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