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9 best hair straightener brushes for sleek locks

Tame your mane with these trusty hair styling gadgets

Chloë James
Wednesday 10 February 2021 13:06
<p>These real gems are capable of salon-worthy results</p>

These real gems are capable of salon-worthy results

Heat styling is a tricky path to navigate. On the one hand, nothing is as satisfying as unplugging your hairdryer and straighteners after successfully taming a head full of frizz. But on the other, there’s the guilt of subjecting your hair to high temperatures and the nagging worry that you’ve just birthed a new bout of split ends.

Yet somehow, we continue to sleep on the fact that there’s a gentler, more convenient alternative to our beloved hair straighteners. Hair straightening brushes aren’t always the most reliable of devices, with some promising the world only to deliver what is essentially a slightly warmer comb through your hair.

Read more: Best root touch-ups to see you through to your next hair appointment

But the real gems are capable of salon-worthy results. Dispersing heat easier and quicker than other tools, they combine all the sleekness of freshly flat-ironed hair with the volume of a professional blow-dry.

We know this doesn’t come easily, especially for those with thicker or curlier hair, and so we put a selection of affordable and luxury brushes to the test to find those up to the task.

Over several weeks, we tried each on a variety of hair types to find the tools powerful enough to keep hair straight all day long. We wanted something easy to use, that would expose hair to heat for as little time as possible. The sleeker and healthier looking the results, the better.

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BaByliss air style

Ionic technology is the hottest thing in hair right now. A miracle cure for frizzy hair, it works by producing negatively charged ions to break down positively charged water molecules and seal hair cuticles. As a result, devices that utilise it like this styler are capable of simultaneously drying and styling hair. While this is a multi-purpose device, straightening is where it shines.

Of the four detachable nozzles, there are two options for a straight finish – one a 50mm volumising thermal brush, another a smooth blow-dry paddle brush. While the former gives you more of a voluminous, salon-esque look, the second is ideal for smoothing out stubborn hair. Both successfully tamed our tester’s stubborn waves, but we especially loved the volumising head; the bristles are gentle on hair and left it straight, sleek and shiny without looking flat.

The results lasted much longer than any other device, especially when set with the cool shot setting. Eliminating blow-drying from our routine was a real timesaver and it’s surprisingly affordable considering its versatility. Most impressively, there was no learning curve to perfect the technique – it’s self-explanatory and we got to grips with it the second we got started.

Revlon 2 In 1 paddle dryer

Paddle brushes are a must-have for thick or coarse hair, making this device perfect for locks that otherwise take time to style. Doubling up as a dryer and styler, it’s super easy to use — just brush slowly down through towel-dried hair, lifting up at the roots for added volume. A lot of tools that promise to combine these two steps are often lacklustre in the drying department, but this made quick work of our hair thanks to the double whammy of a 1000W motor and ionic technology. This gave a super smooth finish, even taming our tester’s awkward halo frizz. While it did leave our hair straight for the most part, it did develop a few kinks throughout the day.

ghd glide hot brush

This brush caused quite the frenzy when it was released, selling out in its first week. It’s easy to see why – few styling tools are this straightforward. It lives up to its name, gliding seamlessly through waves and curls to smooth them out to a straight finish. This is made as painless as possible with a mixture of high density short and longer bristles, which lend the brush more flexibility and also allow for large sections of hair to be styled at once.

It feels hotter in hand than other brushes we tried, reaching a maximum of 185C. However, it does all it can to minimise heat damage, maintaining a constant temperature throughout. While the tool uses ceramic technology, it also utilises negatively charged ions to neutralise frizz as you brush. Of all the devices we tried, this styled a whole head of hair quickest. Our hair wasn’t as poker straight as it would be with straighteners, but it was close enough and only the front sections of our hair started to wave slightly towards the end of the day. Just make sure you only use it on dry hair, as this doesn’t double up as a hair dryer.

Glamoriser smooth & straight brush

Used just like any hairbrush, this straightens dry hair as it goes. We liked how it had a range of temperature settings (160C, 180C and 210C) so you can adjust it depending on the thickness of your hair (generally speaking, the finer or thinner it is, the less heat you need). As it’s shaped like a paddle brush, you can tackle large sections of hair at a time without any need to repeatedly go over strands to straighten them out. Each of the bristles is also infused with black diamond oil to help combat fly-aways. In total, it took less than ten minutes to make our bed head Zoom-worthy. While it wasn’t totally frizz-free, for the most part, the outcome was straight and glossy and took us from nine to five without reverting back to its usual mess.

Revamp progloss multiform hot styling brush

The perfect blend of ceramic and ionic technology, this brush has a unique design with fixed ceramic bristles and heated curved sides. These let you twist the device as you style, allowing you to create waves or curls if you wanted but also helping you give hair more body when straightening. We were concerned this would lead to a painful brushing experience, but it worked through dry hair without a single snag. Admittedly we did burn ourselves a couple of times, but we put this down to our own inexperience more than anything. After three styling sessions, we’d nailed the technique. While it automatically sets to the temperature of 185C (which we found more than enough for long-lasting sleekness), there’s also an option to let you set it at anything between 160C and 210C. Hair looked shiny and healthy, resisting frizz and waves for hours on end.

The Tech Bar Dafni allure heated hair straightening brush

Proof that size is no estimate of power, this lightweight brush sorts out tangled, messy hair in a matter of minutes. Each of its multi-length bristles is coated in ceramic to give hair a glossy finish. It didn’t catch on our hair once and was capable of smoothing large sections of hair at a time. The real selling point is its portability — fully-charged it can provide up to 30 minutes of cordless styling. While it didn’t provide dead straight results on thick or naturally wavy hair, it’s great at neutralising any persistent frizz and perfect for re-smoothing already straight-ish locks.

Dyson airwrap smooth + control styler

The brand already had us wrapped around its finger the moment it released the Dyson supersonic hair dryer but practically chained us down for life when it invented the airwrap. The ultimate versatile dryer-styler hybrid, each device comes with detachable heads to achieve every and any look under the sun. Three of these are capable of straightening — the firm smoothing brush, the soft smoothing brush and round volumising brush — but our favourite was the first. Comparable to a paddle brush, the bristles sit on a movable plate to adapt to the thickness and pattern of your hair. Run through towel-dried hair, it did a stellar job of straightening out any kinks and minimising frizz without blasting our hair with heat. There’s an option to dial up the temperature, a cool shot button and three levels of power, which is especially handy if you’re in a rush to finish damp hair. It’s pricey but worth the investment if you style hair on a daily basis — hair was straight, but still had plenty of bounce and only needed a quick refresh the next day.

Blowbrusher hair straightener brush

More like a comb than a brush, this works on both damp and dry hair. We definitely preferred the results on the latter — worked through small sections at a time, the outcome was more polished. In fact, we were shocked by just how straight the effects were; it looked like we’d just painstakingly worked our way through our locks with actual hair straighteners. However, it’s difficult to give hair much lift at the root due to the shape of the comb. For those avoiding extreme heat, the brush also has a wider range of temperatures available than others on this list, with options from 130C to 210C.

ikoo e-styler hair straightening brush

There’s more to this brush than its adorable exterior (although that’s definitely a plus). With the option of five different heat settings between 150C and 210C, you can detangle and straighten your tresses in a few quick strokes. The 37 individual bristles ensure that the job’s done quickly, while also minimising painful tugs in any knotted areas. By the end of it, our tester’s long hair was (almost) entirely straight. It's tough to angle the brush correctly at the root, so those with wavy or curly textures may find it doesn’t straighten the full length of your strands. However, the areas that we could tackle looked satin smooth.

The verdict: Hair straightening brushes

The BaByliss air style delivers results far beyond those you’d expect from its relatively modest price tag, making it our top choice for straightening. For a quick and easy remedy to messy hair, we also recommend the ghd glide, as well as loving the bouncy finish of the Dyson airwrap.

For more hairstyling heroes read our guide to the best hair rollers for every style, from bouncy waves to tight curls

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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