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If there’s one piece of hair advice I just can’t get behind, it’s to stop heat styling. I know, I know: heat styling is damaging for your hair. But my hair is cut in a short bob, and it’s naturally wavy and frizzy—so I could let my hair air-dry into a giant puffy triangle, but it looks so much better either dead straight or curly!
But despite all the blow-drying, straightening and curling that I put it through, my hair is in exceptionally good shape—and that’s because I use awesome tools and products to keep it that way. Here are my 5 heat styling essentials; consider this everything you need for amazing hair.
1. Redken Smooth Lock Heat Glide Protective Smoother ($20.50, drugstore.com)
My hair is thick, coarse and wavy, and for years I needed five separate products to smooth, shine and tame it after washing. Not anymore: Smooth Lock is officially all I use. It’s nothing short of a godsend; I run a single pump through my hair while it’s still wet, then blowdry for amazingly smooth, shiny, frizz-free hair that’s totally protected from the rigors of heat styling. No matter the shampoo and conditioner I use, Smooth Lock leaves my hair feeling like I’ve had a professional blow-out every time. It’s amazing, and you need to try it.
2. Ultra CHI Red Pro Dryer ($89.95, ulta.com)
Prior to getting this blowdryer a few years ago, I had a tiny, $20 travel dryer that I used after every shampoo because I thought that all hairdryers were the same. How wrong I was. This CHI dryer is everything I never knew I wanted in a hair dryer: light but powerful, amazingly quiet and powerful, with two settings (high and low, which is all you need). It now takes me five minutes to dry my hair, and it looks awesome once I do.
3. Ultra CHI 1″ Straightening Iron ($89.98, ulta.com)
I freely admit that one of the things that I love the best about this straightener is that it comes in so many gorgeous colors and patterns—because why shouldn’t functional tools also look really pretty? But in addition to looking great, this straightener is BRILLIANT; far, far better than anything else I’ve ever used. It makes short work of even my most stubborn waves, curls and cowlicks, leaving me with perfectly smooth hair. At first I wasn’t sure about it having only a single heat setting, but now I appreciate it—I tend to overestimate how hot I need my tools to be, and CHI takes the guesswork out of it. I’m going to Paris in October, and this is the only styling tool I’m taking with me; THAT’S how good it is.
4. Hot Tools 1″ Gold Curling Iron ($39.99, ulta.com)
Whether I want retro-inspired ringlets or casual, beachy waves, this is the curler that I reach for. It’s easy to use and heats up evenly up and down the barrel—no cold parts on the tip—and the resulting curls last FOREVER. Simple, elegant, gets the job done. What more could I possibly ask for?
5. Kerastase Laque Noire Hairspray ($37, kerastase-usa.com)
Honestly, I think that one of the things that contributes to my hair’s overall good health and lack of damage is that I don’t use heat on it every day. I wash and blowdry my hair twice a week, straightening or curling it as I go. And one of the reasons my straight hair and curls last for multiple days (though New York’s often confusing weather) is because of this, my new favorite hairspray. Laque Noire is lightweight, non-crunchy and gives insane hold—all without any product buildup, which means I can skip washing and re-styling. If you’re looking for the best hairspray in the world, this is definitely it.
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