If your bathroom cabinet “graveyard” is like ours, there are at least a couple of hot tools in there collecting some major dust bunnies. The last thing you need is another pricey addition that’s too fussy to warrant pulling it out for that promised perfect hair day.When investing in expensive hot tools, experts say you should stay away from buys that only produce one specific style. “The keyword is duality—you’ll get the most use out of tools that give you the most styling options,” advises New York City stylist and salon owner Mark Garrison.And if not knowing how to work a tool is keeping you from using it, Garrison suggests using a smartphone to film your stylist showing a demo for easy reference. For DIY research, the manufacturer’s website will likely have a how-to video, or you can browse YouTube for tutorials on that specific tool, adds Garrison.We think the top three picks below are among the best launches of the year. They merge the latest technology with comfortable ease and space-saving savvy. Whether you like to curl or go straight, these buys are destined to become well-worn favorites.
Paul Mitchell Neuro Cell Hot Roller System, $180Granted, nearly 200 beans is a lot to drop on a hot roller system, but this device truly takes it to the next level. First, choose your temperature setting according to hair type; fine hair will set lower, while coarse strands hit higher so that you don’t unnecessarily expose hair to extra heat. Then click a roller into the pod for heat-up in eight seconds. Roll a section of hair, set into place with a clip (included), and a microchip embedded in the roller will continue to warm up so that you don’t singe your fingers trying to place a piping hot roller. A color-change indicator lets you know once locks have cooled down to set and it’s time to remove the rollers. Best of all, the set takes up minimal space on your counter and packs easily into your bag—a real blessing for anyone who has ever attempted either with traditional rollers.Harry Josh Pro Tools Dryer 2000, $300Prestige-priced hair dryers have overtaken the market in recent years, and this mini mint version by celebrity stylist Harry Josh is no exception; it clocks in at $300 (though it’s currently on sale here). Known as the master behind Gisele’s iconic waves, Josh managed to develop a motor that propels air 80 miles per hour with 70 percent less energy than competitors, making it “green” in more ways than one. In spite of the incredible power that dries hair in half the time as usual, the motor runs surprisingly quietly. An ionic button nixes frizz for a sleeker style, though fine hair types who seek more fullness can turn it off for a fuller blowout. This dryer is one of the most compact on the market and easily doubles as a travel-size that’s nearly weightless to boot. Goodbye to arm fatigue—and sayonara to our savings, too.
FHI Heat Global Professional Volumizing Iron, $100If you’re in the market for a solid flat iron that will last years, FHI Heat makes one of the most reliable models. With a new auto dual voltage feature, this iron transitions to international destinations without fear of electrical blowout. The beveled plate and iron design is ideal for both straightening and creating curls with the flip of a wrist, and won’t leave indentations in waves. Triple layers of ceramic with tourmaline provide even heat distribution to style strands quickly, and far-infrared heat combines with negative ions to reduce frizz and prevent static. With each pass through hair, the heat recovery of the plate is nearly instant, which means you won’t have to repeat sections. The sleek design and easy-grip surface make it feel like an extension of our hand—and for some hot tool lovers, that’s not an exaggeration. The bottom line: This investment will pay off with consistently good hair days in the long run.