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I have thick but naturally straight hair that is shoulder length and have used numerous pairs of ceramic hair straighteners over the years to maintain a sleek and straight hairstyle. I have found that ceramic hair straighteners usually fall into the category of “You get what you pay for”, with cheaply-priced appliances often not being efficient enough to cope with my thick hair.
It was several years ago that I started to hear great things about a range of ceramic hair straighteners called GHD, which I believe stands for “Good Hair Day.” Initially put off by the over £100 price tag, I eventually succumbed about three years ago and decided to purchase myself a pair of hair straighteners from the range, namely the “GHD 4.0 (or IV) Model” which are thin plate straighteners.
I paid around £110 for my pair of GHD straighteners at the time, and I purchased them from a hairdressing salon near to where I live. The reason for doing this was simple; I wanted to ensure that the purchase I was making was 100% genuine, as I had heard there were lots of fakes circulating the internet.
Reassured by the hologram logo on the inside of the straighteners’ ‘arm’, I was satisfied that I was getting the genuine item and parted with my cash. I have to admit that although expensive, these particular straighteners have been worth every penny over the past three or so years that I have owned them.
Firstly, I love the fact that they are so quick to use, as they heat up in less than a minute. When the straighteners are first switched on, there is an audible ‘beep’ noise to indicate they are on and are heating up. There is also a little red light indicator on the inside of the arm which flashes as the GHDs are heating. The correct ‘ready to use’ temperature is indicated by a second beeping noise that sounds audibly, a helpful little device that is extremely useful when compared to other hair straighteners that had no such indicator and instead have required a little ‘guess work’ on my part. This often resulted in me using straighteners that were not quite hot enough and so didn’t work particularly effectively until I was about half-way through the process of straightening my hair meaning some sections had to be redone- a bit annoying really! The GHD straighteners in comparison, heat up extremely quickly which is a godsend if I am in a rush.
They are quick to use too, probably because the plates get so hot. This intense heat is what really seems to ‘cut’ through my long thick hair and instantly make it flatter, straighter and quite sleek-looking. This intense heat is also what has caused me many an injury over the time I have owned my GHDs as I have suffered from a few little burns from accidentally touching the ceramic plates, but more often than not it is the top of my poor ears that seems to get caught in the jaw-like plates when I am straightening the hair at that area. Caution is definitely needed when using the GHDs as they are so hot, and will burn your skin if they are allowed to come into contact with it. Similarly, the plates take quite a long time to cool down completely, so I always ensure that the straighteners are left on a heat-proof surface for a while after they have been used to allow them to cool completely before they are stored away.
I have always had a bit of a phobia when it comes to forgetting to unplug the straighteners from the socket. This probably stems from an ex-colleague of mine who unfortunately forgot to unplug her hair straighteners one morning, and left them lying on her bed (still switched on..!!) as she left the house for work. She received an irate phone call at work from her husband, who had returned home that afternoon to a bedroom full of smoke. Miraculously, no major damage occurred, except to her quilt which was somewhat written-off. Anyway, I digress….
The GHD straighteners have their own built-in safety feature by way of a sort of ‘sleep timer’ which kicks in after the straighteners have been plugged in for a certain amount of time. I believe this is a period of 60 minutes, but I cannot be certain as the straighteners are never used for that long in my house as they work so quickly! I believe however, that the straighteners switch themselves off after this time, so added peace of mind can be sought in this feature…. for myself at least.
With a generous 2.8m cord length, I have never experienced any difficulty in finding the cord an inadequate length to stretch from the plug socket. This is not something that can be said of other sets of hair straighteners that I own, as they all require the use of an extension cable to allow them to stretch to my mirror.
Whilst I am on the subject of the cord, it is worth noting that the GHD straighteners have a ‘Swivel Cord’ function, which basically means that the base of the straighteners - that is, the section that ‘holds’ the cord in place - is able to rotate completely, which gives complete freedom for the straighteners to be turned and moved around to wherever you wish. This makes the GHDs feel as though they are much less cumbersome and fiddly to use than other models that I have used, as they have complete control over their own movement without me having to physically move the cable or flex by myself. I find that this little addition in their design actually helps to cut down on the amount of time it takes to straighten my hair too, as there just seems to be less ‘messing about’ and more actual ‘straightening’.
When using the GHDs, I find it is best to work with smaller sections of hair rather than thicker sections, as an uneven result can be achieved if too much hair is grasped by the GHDs probably because the metal plates become full of hair and can’t work properly. The need to use smaller sections is not a particularly negative point as I touched on earlier, the plates are so very hot that they literally take seconds to straighten a smaller section of hair. I find too that by working around my hair in small sections rather than larger ones, the end result is much more effective and my hair is left completely straight. There are usually one or two small sections that need another going over, but this is probably down to the thickness and length of my own hair, and users with thinner hair might not find this is an issue.
When I compare this end result to other brands of straightener that I have used in the past, I can really see the difference that the GHDs make. I used to have to go over each section a good couple of times before I could achieve the near poker-straight result that I wanted, whereas the GHDs can easily achieve this look in one go.
The repeated use of hair straighteners on my hair has not caused any huge amount of damage, but I am told by my hairdresser and colourist that this is more down to my hair being extremely good and healthy of its own accord, rather than being down to the straighteners. The girls were actually quite shocked when I told them how often - and how regularly - I use my straighteners on my hair as there is very little in the way of heat damage. It is fair to say that I do take care of my hair as best that I can, but I do think that good genes play their part in my healthy tresses to a degree! That said, I would highly recommend using a hair protection product alongside the GHDs, such as a spray or serum specifically designed for heat protection, as I believe that over-using the straighteners, or indeed, ‘under-protecting’ your hair can result in it becoming extremely frizzy and highly damaged.
It should be noted too that the GHDs can be used to achieve curls in long hair, but using them in this way requires plenty of practice. I prefer my hair straight so have not experimented with using the straighteners to curl myself, but I have had it done professionally in a local salon for a family wedding and I thought the end result was very good. I believe that there are several online tutorials showing how this look can be achieved if it is of interest.
I am absolutely delighted with the results achieved from my GHDs and believe that they are worth every penny of their higher-than-average price tag. They have been used regularly for over three years and are showing absolutely no signs of wear and tear. When the time comes and I do need to replace my current straighteners, I will have no hesitation in selecting which brand to make my purchase from.
I would highly recommend buying the GHD straigteners from a reputable source such as hair salons or directly from the company's website. I have known two people who have ordered GHDs from sites such as ebay and on both occasions they turned out to be horrible fakes, so I can't stress enough how much caution should be exercised when making your purchase.
You can buy the straighteners directly from GHD at www.ghdhair.com for £99 with free postage and packaging. (Info as @ March 2012).