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When my wonderful Remington power ceramics began to die on me, I decided to invest in some hair straighteners that would straighten or curl my hair, as I'd been pleased with the results when my hairdresser curled my hair with straighteners for my wedding day. I have naturally curly hair and spend the vast majority of my life trying to straighten it, but the curls created with straighteners are far more pretty and feminine than my naturally wild Vileda super mop look, and the hairdresser made the style look so easy to recreate.
Since I am pretty loyal to Remington, I decided to opt for the same brand again. I'd heard really good things about these straighteners and thought it made far more sense to spend £40 on these instead of stupid amounts on GHD's. To be honest, I've never really understood why people are so willing to part with so much money for a product when you can get pretty much the same thing for half the cost. A lot of people think GHD's work far better than any other brand, but I've never been that amazed by them when I've tried them out in the past.
WHAT DO YOU GET?
I bought these straighteners from Argos for £39.99 and they came in a suede black storage box, which is far more practical than your bog standard cardboard affair and looks much nicer. Inside the box is a 'curl secrets' dvd which shows salon professionals using the product to get different effects. The dvd teaches you step-by-step methods to achieve curls, straight hair and flicks and proves that the product is very versatile in terms of the different looks it can create. You also get a heat resistant pouch for your straighteners, so they can be transported soon after use without fear of melting anything close to them.
The straighteners themselves are very stylish and have far more features than my old ones, which had an on/off slide switch and took approximately a minute to heat up to one temperature. The S1041 model has an on/off button and a choice of temperatures ranging from 130°c to 200°c. Given that they have a digital screen, you are able to see exactly how hot they are at any given time. A flashing light indicator tells you that the straighteners are still heating up and the light becomes solid when they have reached the desired temperature. The straighteners take very little time to heat up (less than a minute) and have a safety shut off valve after an hour without use if, like me, you have a tendency to forget you've left them on. The straighteners have Teflon coated plates to reduce frizz and a lock on their base to close the plates together when you want to store them away in the box or pouch.
SO FAR, SO GOOD - BUT DO THEY WORK?
In order for hair straighteners to work well for me, the plates need to clamp together very firmly. Obviously, this is pretty much a given for most straighteners but, as I have very fine hair, if the plates do not firmly grip and control small amounts of hair, then the process becomes very long winded and the overall effect not that impressive. The power ceramics worked well because the plates were very smooth. They clamped firmly together with no gaps, giving you ultimate control whether your hair was fine or thick and therein lies the first problem with the S1041 model.
To look at these straighteners, you would think that they had the exact same qualities of their Remington predecessors, but the plates are not as flat due to their rounded edges. Without the rounded edges, these straighteners would not be able to create curled or flicked out styles, but they are only able to do this at the expense of the straightening and smoothing ability in my humble opinion. The rounded edges also minimise the clamping and controlling ability of these straighteners, because they are unable to grip the hair as well as the previous model. I can't see this being a very obvious problem for those with thicker hair, but it is very apparent for those with fine hair.
I always, always use a protein protective spray before subjecting my hair to the brutal temperatures of hairdryers and straighteners. I'm not a hundred per cent sure it does a great deal of good, but it seemed to make my hair shiny when I used the power ceramics in the past. However, a lot of the shine could have been down to the straighteners themselves. I have to say that I'm not overly impressed with the straightening ability of this product. The curved edges are not only a problem for me in terms of gripping my hair, but I've found that my hair often gets caught in the edges as I'm straightening it and causes it to snag or split. Not only does this occasionally hurt, but the Teflon plates seem to do very little to prevent frizz and I'm often left with a fluffy effect at the ends of my hair, rather than the smooth and sleek locks I'm after. Styling my hair with my power ceramics always felt very easy and smooth as I pulled them through my hair, but these don't seem to smooth through my locks anywhere near as easily. I regularly find myself attacking the frizz with serum and it never looks as neat as my hair did after straightening it with my old Remingtons, so I'm very tempted to get a replacement set of power ceramics for straightening purposes. It's all very well having fancy digital displays and temperature settings but all I'm really after is a product which is going to give me the end results that I'm after and which is quick and easy to use. Unfortunately, hair clips are not supplied with this product either so, for me, this falls down in terms of straightening.
CURLING AND FLICKING
The supplied dvd is very helpful in terms of teaching you how to curl and flick your hair and I have to say that the tips from the professionals are easy to follow and relatively easy to recreate yourself. However, there is one small snag in terms of curling or flicking your own hair and it's simply that it is far, far easier to style someone else's hair than your own. Although curls are fairly easy to create, it's quite difficult to follow the technique yourself (when you're looking in a mirror and seeing everything the opposite way around!) and curl your hair without burning your hands, your ear or some other fundamental body part! In order to curl your hair you need to place a small piece of hair between the plates, clamp it down and then wind the straighteners around the hair as you pull downwards on the roots and slowly twist the straighteners through to the ends. Theoretically, you should be left with a corkscrew curl effect, but I've often found that that I've ended up with blisters on my fingers from trying to locate the outside of the straighteners rather than the hot plates, whilst looking in the mirror! Once you've burned yourself a few times, the curls don't seem to be quite as pretty as you first thought and I've regularly given up if I don't have plenty of time to spare (i.e. a few hours!) and plenty of plasters and bandages (just kidding). Also, unlike straightening where you can employ various contortionist movements and cleverly placed mirrors to straighten the back of your hair, it is virtually impossible to curl the back of your hair without assistance - at least for me anyway! If anyone has any helpful tips on this, they would be gratefully received!! In terms of flicking the hair, I found this pretty easy to do with these straighteners. You may need styling spray to hold your hair in place afterwards, but flicking hair in or out is quick and easy to achieve and I should imagine this is the case with most hair types.
The Remington S1041 looks great, has some great features and is very stylishly presented. The dvd is very helpful in terms of creating fresh styles and this is a versatile product, provided you have the right hair type. But - and it's a big but - if you market a hair straightener on the basis that it is also able to curl your hair then, first and foremost, it needs to be a good straightener, as this is most likely the main reason why you are parting with your pennies. For me, this isn't a good straightener. The curling effects should be an added bonus rather than the be all and end all and I will probably find myself forking out extra for my old friendly, cheaper straighteners to achieve the sleek locks of yesteryear! I have read several reviews by people with thick hair who rave about this product, so perhaps having a specific hair type makes all the difference. However, if this is not stated on the packaging, then the unassuming consumer will be none the wiser until it is too late! Fancy pants products are all well and good but, personally, I was more than happy with my basic, switch on and off power ceramics. They straightened my hair beautifully which, at the end of the day, is what you want hair straighteners to do. Since it seems I need separate products to do different things anyway, I would have been better off buying some cheap curling tongs as well as the same straighteners again than attempting the quick fix option with this product.
Incredibly well written and detailed review, well worthy of an E. A little tip for SJ Parker curls - all you need are set a £3.99 tongs, about 3 hours spare time and a friend with a lot of patience and upper arm strength. I only managed to get all 3 on one occasion but my hair looked fab...................until it rained!
LIZKEMPO 08.02.2007 19:47
given up on trying to straighten my hair these days lizzieX
Sweary 08.02.2007 10:40
Great stuff, well thouht out, in depth, have an e! Cheers Sweary.