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My last hair straighteners were 'reasonable' but it didn't take long before they starting showing signs of wear. I don't see the point in paying a fortune for these, especially if it's mostly for a brand name, but I do like having something I think is a good investment, that's good quality and will be reliable. I've had these BaByliss ones for a little while and so far I've been really pleased with them.
There are so many hair straighteners to choose from and consumer reviews, like on here, tend to help inform my decisions when it comes to electrical products. I was looking for something that would be reliable, effective and good quality, without spending a fortune. BaByliss are very popular in the hair care electrical market and I've had other products of theirs in the past so I trusted these to be at least reasonable.
The Pro 230 Elegance Straighteners have a lot to offer, but I'll start with their good looks first. These come boxed along with a heat mat and what seems to be a silky case to keep them in (which could easily double up as an evening bag). You also get some sectioning clips (though I can't say I've ever used these) and an instruction guide (never used that either!). The straighteners themselves are 'blueberry' in colour, which is a deep yet shiny, metallic colour that looks very stylish without being tacky or looking cheap. There are a few more buttons than my last one had (which equalled zero) but they don't get in the way and they're not taxing to use.
As for features, these heat up to 230°C in 15 seconds, after which temperature is maintained. It sounds very hot, which it is, so you do need to be careful, but most straighteners seem to reach ridiculously high temps too. The plates are made of nano titanium ceramic, which aids their ability to 'glide' through your hair, plus they're a tad longer than other similar straighteners to allow you to straighten more hair in one go. These also have an 'ionic system', which seems a bit fluffy to me but apparently a 'stream of balancing ions' is released to 'enhance hair condition and eliminate frizz'. The power comes in dual voltage (110 & 240v) so you can use them wherever (ie home or abroad).
I think that these definitely score highly in terms of appearances; they're modern, quite thin and have a unique glossy colour finish. Their sleekness also makes them a bit easier to use and they fit more comfortably in your hand. The length of the plates makes them suitable for longer hair and I'd say short hair too, as I've chopped a lot of my hair off since buying these and still find them easy to use. Obviously it's harder straightening your hair when it's above shoulder length, but that's probably the case regardless of what you use. I believe their claim of the plates being 25% longer is with reference to earlier models of the Elegance straighteners, which makes these the newest model out at the moment (as of December 2011).
These seem to be designed for efficiency and speed, with the higher temperature being reached in only seconds. You can adjust these settings, however, very easily with a button on the side, where you can select one of three temperatures (180/200/230°C). I like that you can vary this according to what you want, especially if you're concerned about damaging your hair and want a lower heat. Having said that, these do seem to nourish my hair, even just ever so slightly. Perhaps it's the ion system!
How well do they work? I find these are very easy to use. Just plug them in, press what counts as the on button so you can see a little red light, and make sure your heat setting is where you want it. Give it a few seconds and you can start straightening. The cord isn't majorly long, which I guess is a bit safer, but it's adequate for moving around a room slightly so you can see your mirror, for example. These do seem to 'glide' through my hair fairly well, and the two plates close down smoothly to flatten my hair with ease. When finished, just unplug at the wall and rest on the heat mat for safety. You do need to be careful because the plates, obviously, do get very hot, but the plastic of the straighteners themselves is fine to hold whilst straightening your hair (I say this because I've owned a pair before that seemed to get far too hot on the handles!).
The result is hair that's got some added shine, that you can style as you wish and that seems, overall, a bit healthier. You can get 'poker' straight results from these too, and it doesn't take too long. The speed at which you can get results is partly thanks to technology and partly thanks to the overall design and reliability, so if you want something quick yet effective to use then these are recommended.
I would definitely give these a thumbs up over many other straighteners out there when considering how much I paid for them. I've not owned GHDs, though I have used them, so all I can really say is that they seem to deliver equal results in my opinion, just without the 'GHD' name tag.
RRP £80, but selling on Amazon for £26.49
Overall...Fantastic hair straighteners that are highly recommended. [Also reviewed by me, Cazkins, on DooYoo]