Santa Cruz
(831) 459-8450
(831) 479-1026


Style Me Beautiful

Dear Audrey, How do I know which styling tools are right for my hair?

Are you using your daughter’s hair dryer or curling iron? Is your daughter using your flat iron?  Does it make a difference—well maybe.  Styling tools, like curling irons, blow dryers, or flat irons, all have different features and there is a large difference in price depending on where you do your shopping. The price on a curling iron can range from $10-$200, so it is only natural to wonder what the differences are. Here's a basic break-down of what features you might be paying for.

Curling Irons

The most inexpensive curling irons are the plain metal irons. They are hearty (you can drop them and they probably won't break), and they are cheap. Most hairdressers don’t recommend these, because, they don’t heat evenly, and they’re more likely to burn your hair. If you do use one of these irons think about investing in a good heat protection product—your hair will thank you!

Ceramic irons are more expensive than metal irons. They heat more evenly and are gentler on the hair. They help circulate the natural oils in your hair, so the end result tends to give hair more shine and less frizz. Depending on the quality of the ceramic, the prices will vary on these irons. Ceramic irons are more delicate than plain metal irons. If you drop one of these, are you likely to get a hairline fracture or chip in it. However, they have a long life if they are not damaged.

Titanium irons are the most expensive irons. They use higher quality ceramics and are titanium coated. This gives you all the benefits of the ceramic irons without the chipping and cracking. They are easy to clean if you use a lot of product while styling.

When buying a curling iron, you should pick a rod size that is about one size smaller than the curl you actually want. Varying heat control is a great option on a curling iron because it allows you to use less heat when you can (like when you are restyling after a long day). People with really fine hair can dial it down for less damage. People with really coarse hair can adjust for more heat. 350 degrees is about ideal for most people. Teflon coated irons are also available but beware that the coating wears off exposing the metal underneath.  An auto shut off is also a nice feature to have. Specialty curling irons like bubble and triangle wands are available for creating large bouncy curls, spiral curls, or crimpy looking waves. These are nice to have if you want to spend the money.

Flat Irons

Like curling irons, you have metal and ceramic options, as well as varying heat. The same principles apply for flat irons. With flat irons, you can also get floating plates which cushions the hair while styling. This protects the hair shaft and keeps the hair more elastic.

Size is another option to shop for when buying a flat iron. This is more of a personal preference. Bigger irons are heavier and harder to get close to the scalp. Our most popular size is 1" iron which is considered standard and is meant for medium-length hair but the wider the plate, the more strands can fit in a single press. 2-inch plates are good for long hair, narrower than that for short or very fine hair.

Because of the intense heat of these tools, I recommend purchasing a model with an n auto-off feature, a great thing to have if you leave the house for hours after styling your hair.

Hair Dryers

The better your hair dryer, the better your hair. Professional dryers leave hair healthier, which means more shine, easier styling and a lot less time spent blow-drying.

The biggest difference in hair dryers is the motor type. There are AC motors and DC motors (this does not mean that it plugs into the wall or takes batteries). AC motors are more light-weight and more durable. There is less air coming out when using this dryer, which makes it gentler to the hair. A DC motor is more powerful and less durable – more power means it is more likely to "burn-out". It is also a louder motor.

Another option is, again, ceramic. Ceramic dryers are more light-weight, and create a dryer air flow. This tends to give hair less frizz. These dryers are available with an AC or DC motor as well. You will also find varying heat options. Like the irons, less heat when possible is always a good option. The Cool Shot option on a dryer is there to cool your style down when you are done. This sets the style and seals the cuticle for a smoother feel.

Ionic dryers are also available. These dryers create negative ions that neutralize hair's positive charge and make it smooth. With regular use, ionic dryers can actually make your hair healthier and less frizzy. You'll feel the silkiness and see the shine. They seal in moisture, help reduce static and work best for delivering super straight, sleek looks.

These are just a few options that will affect the prices of styling tools. It is kind of like buying a car – there's a model out there that fits your needs and budget, you just need to know what you are looking for. The initial purchase of a tool may seem like a big expense, but it is meant to last for a long time, and should support the investment you've been making on your style by not damaging it. So, consider carefully. As always, we're happy to help you find something just right for you. Just ask us.

Happy Styling!


Have a beauty related question? We'd love to hear it, and so would our readers. Email your questions to

We’d love to help.

If you don't have a stylist or esthetician you work with, give us a call and we'll set up an appointment to help you with your skin-care or hair-care products. We have several make-up artists that are happy to help you find new colors and techniques that make you feel beautiful. Letting us know when you are coming in will ensure we can give you all our attention. This is a free service, and there is no obligation to buy our products.


Disclaimer: This newsletter is a compilation of many voices and is not necessarily a single person. We have done our best to represent the subject matter as thoroughly as possible, but we make no guarantees. Please use this newsletter as only one of several sources, as it contains both facts and opinions.