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For my 18th Birthday, I was fortunate enough to receive these as a present from my grandparents. I had previously tried the older make of ghds at a friend's house and was really impressed with them so after dropping some cheeky hints about the one I wanted, when I actually got thesefor my birthday, I was over the moon.
Before I proceed to describe the product, let me just give you a short introduction to my hair type so you can see the effect the straightners have on someone of my hair type. My hair is strange in that it hasn't been the same throughout my life: as a child it was very curly, but, as I grew older, it became pretty straight with only a slight curl at the ends. Now, it is somewhere in between and usually ends up wavy when I let it dry naturally. It is, however, still quite thick despite me introducing layers to try and reduce this. In terms of shampoo classifications, my hair would be considered 'normal' and I wash it every alternate day to prevent it getting too greasy.
Back to the product and the technical sounding, MK4 used is to describe the lates model of ghd straightners as there have been other versions before it. However, even within the mk4 range, there are variations both in size and colour. There are 3 main sizes:
- The ghd IV mini styler: This is suitable for people with short hair or fine hair. Although straightners are usually associated with being a female product, a growing number of the male population are starting to use them and this would be the styler for them as it would be ideal for dealing with their short hair. The narrow plates also means this styler is better for tighter curls as, despite being called a straightner, the ghd styler can also be used to produce curls, waves and flicks (See below for my opinion on these features). This mini styler currently retails for £106.99 from the official ghd website (www.ghdhair.com) though this deal also includes a purple carry bag for the styler and four beauty products.
-The ghd IV salon styler: This styler is suitable for people with thicker, longer hair and particularly for Afro-Caribbean hair. This is because, out of the three sizes, this has the widest plates. However, due to these wide plates, curling your hair is not as easy and it is only suitable for large, loose curls rather that smallm tight ones. This styler is slightly more expensive than the mini styler and is available from the main website for £116.49 with a free carry bag and four beauty products included.
- The ghd IV styler: This is the product I have and the width of the plates is in between those of the mini styler and the salon styler. Though my hair is quite thick, it is only shoulder length and I therefore thought this would be the most suitable. Also I liked the fact that the plates weren't too thick and would therefore be suitable for producing nice curls. These currently retail for £116.49 (same as the salon styler) on the website with a free carry bag and 4 beauty products also included.
As I mentioned before, as well as the variation in the range in terms of sizes, there is also variation in the colour of the styler. For example, a pink version of the styler I purchased is also available for those girly girls and, although this is more expensive at £135 for the gift set from the official website, this includes a £10 donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. In this giftset, the four beauty products are not included, but there is a hairbrush and 2 sectioning clips given instead.
More on my styler..
-The packaging: As I mentioned above, I received the normal ghd IV styler and I got it in black instead of the pink described above. It arrived in a rectangular, black box that had another carboard sleeve around it. On both the sleeve and the box, there is a triangular shaped black and gold design and the ghd logo written in orange. There is also the following statement: 'The ghd IV styler is all you'll ever need to create perfect curls, movement, volume and straight, thanks to its advanced technology and smart features'. There is also a seal on the box and some writing saying that if the seal is broken or the hologram is missing, you can contact someone on the number stated. This hologram referred to is on the cable and there is a fifteen digit number underneath it which can be entered onto the official webiste to verify the authenticity of your product if you have bought it from a salon or from a website such as www.ebay.co.uk.
Once you open the box, there is section for the styler and attached cable, a section for the safety instructions and manufacturer's guarantee and a section for the CD. The safety instruction booklet appears to be, at first glance, quite comprehensive, but, upon close study, you will find that it is actually just a small amount of information being repeated in several European languages.
- The features: There are several features that distinguish this styler from both its predecessors and other similar products currently on the market. These include:
* Universal voltage= This means that wherever you go in the world, the styler will be able to adjust to use the voltage available. This is ideal if you are a straightening addict and like taking your straightner with you on holidays. Please note that even though the styler can use the voltage available, the plug will not necessarily fit into international sockets and a travel adapter will be needed. I naively did not realise this and I only realised this while getting ready for a cousin's wedding in Canada. With my vanity not letting me attend the wedding with my messy, wavy hair, this prompted a panicked trip to a local mall where I was lucky enough to find such an adaptor.
* Sleep mode= This is a feature which really appealed to me as, in the past, there were countless times when I left the house only to panic a few hours later about whether I had left my straightners on. I remember one particular time when I came back actually praying the house was still standing as I was convinced I had left them on (fortunately I hadn't)!! This function helps prevent such worries as if the styler has not been used for 30 minutes, the heater switches off by itself. However, it continues to emit a warning bleep every 20 seconds and the LED light flashes amber to alert you, when you get home, to the fact that the straightner is still connected to the power supply.
* Shiver mode= This protects the styler from damage by refusing to switch on when the room or storage temperature is below eight degrees celsius. Instead, a warbling sound is heard when you attempt to switch it on to alert you to the low temperature and, to rectify the situation, you can then move to a warmer room. The reason why low temperatures would damage the styler would be that condensation builds up on the plates at low temperatures and switching the appliance on while it is coated in condensation would cause damage to the styler.
* The variety of styles= As well as being a straightner, this product can theoretically be used to curl your hair and create waves and flicks. In reality, however, I have found curling my hair very difficult with this styler. I find it to be very tempermental and though I repeat the same action, one strand of hair will form a perfect curl whereas another will remain flat as a pancake. I usually therefore give up halfway through as some of my hair is nice and curly whereas some I just can't seem to curl. Fortunately, due to the natural wavy nature of my hair, I prefer to straighten it rather than curl it when giong out so this hasn't affected me much. However, other people hoping to easily curl their hair using this styler might be disappointed as it is not as easy as it looks. Alternatively, it could be that I am doing something wrong, but as I manage to get perfect curls on some strands of hair, I don't think this is the case. I have not really tried the flicks, but I imagine they would be easy to do as it just involves holding the straightner at a slight angle on the ends of your hair.
* An instructional DVD= This DVD shows a woman with long blonde hair explaining how to straighten and curl your hair using the styler. This would be useful to people new to straightning and I still found myself watching it despite having straightened my hair before. One thing to note is that the woman sprays each strand of hair with a few squirts of hair protection spray before styling each strand. While this may be an ideal scenario for someone who can afford huge quantities of the spray, I find that dividing my hair into three sections, squirting some spray on them and then combing it through is a more cost effective way to protect your hair against heat damage as you don't use as much spray while still offering it some protection.
Other features include the unique digital technology and advanced ceramic technology which ensure the optimum performance of the styler while limiting the damage caused to your hair by using an appliance involving high temperatures.
-My opinon: I think this is one of the best styler on the market for straightening your hair. With a fast heat up time of approximately 30s, I am left with poker straight hair each time I use it, though the rounded barrel means I can curl the ends of my hair if I want a more natural look. Even after a night's sleep, my hair is still straight the next day, but not as poker straight as it was previously with random kinks appearing. However, I still thinks this looks nice, so don't mind too much. As with all straightners, too much use will damage your hair and I think a heat protection spray is essential. Therefore, I limit myself to only using my straightners when I'm going out at night or for a special event rather than using them everyday, though this can be done if desired.
Overall, I think this styler is a brilliant straightner and I would recommend it to people who want to have smooth, silky straight hair. As a curling appliance, I haven't managed to get the hang of it yet, but the curls I have produced have been nice so if you manage to learn how to do it, this would be great as a curler too. Summary: Thoroughly recommended if you want smooth and silky straight hair