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GHD Straightener Review

Updated on March 1, 2016
The latest GHD Eclipse Straightener
The latest GHD Eclipse Straightener

GHD hair straighteners are considered to be the best hair straighteners in the industry. If you ask anyone to name a quality high-end straightener, it's the name on the tip of their tongue and usually the most prominently displayed straightener on shelves in store.

GHD itself is a powerful influence in the hair and beauty industry and has a strong marketing presence. The company is well known to the point that when a straightener is used to curl hair, the results are often called GHD curls, regardless of whether a GHD hair straightener was even used to create the curls.

Should you buy a GHD hair straightener?

If you're considering buying a GHD hair straightener, you might not be receiving the value for money that is on offer with many of the other high-end hair straighteners. There's no argument that a GHD straightener is a quality product, vastly superior to the entry level straighteners produced by Remington and other appliance companies, but it's not the best straightener on the market by far.

Before you decide to buy a GHD straightener, it's important to explore your options in a little more depth because it is certainly not a small investment. Not only do you have GHD products to select from, but a range of other top straightener brands like T3, Sedu, Silver Bullet, Bio Ionic, CHI, Cloud Nine, and Babyliss.

GHD straighteners come in many colors. This is one of the reasons they're so popular.
GHD straighteners come in many colors. This is one of the reasons they're so popular.

The good and the bad

GHD hair straighteners have a number of positive attributes that can contribute to a person's decision to buy them:

  • Dependable straightener
  • Reaches a high heat
  • Numerous color choices
  • Many models to choose from
  • Unlikely to malfunction

There are also negatives to owning and using a GHD straightener however, and these negative attributes can often outweigh the benefits of owning the flashy well known device:

  • Heat is not adjustable
  • Plain ceramic plates
  • Damages fine or weak hair
  • Can't be used to set a keratin treatment

Whilst a GHD straightener is known to be a phenomenal straightener, this is largely a result of marketing gimmicks and the fact that most users have graduated from an inferior entry-level brand.

When you're comparing a GHD to a department store brand, it can be easy to fall into the belief that GHD hair straighteners are the top hair straightener available because there's such a steep jump in quality between a no-name brand and a GHD. Customers who buy a GHD to replace their old $20 Remington straightener are delighted with the results and amazed at how much better the GHD straightener is, but there is still better to be had in the world of straighteners.

Hair straightening temperature

Hair type
Fine / damaged
160°C (320°F)
190°C (374°F)
210°C (410°F)
The Bio Ionic One Pass Straightener
The Bio Ionic One Pass Straightener | Source

No temperature control

One of the most limiting features of the GHD hair straighteners is the lack of temperature control. Even the cheapest brands usually have a mechanism to control the temperature these days, yet GHD has resisted such an improvement for years.

The biggest issue surrounding this lack of temperature control is that not all hair should be straightened at the maximum temperature. In fact, the maximum temperature is usually far too high for the majority of hair types. If you have hair that is anything less than coarse and thick, you shouldn't be using a temperature in excess of about 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit), and even that is often excessive. Above 210 degrees, hair doesn't straighten any more effectively, it merely sustains heat damage.

This lack of heat control also means a GHD straightener can't be used to set a keratin treatment if you want to apply one at home. This isn't overly important to most people, but given that a keratin treatment greatly repairs hair and can be used to straighten hair semi-permanently without the damage of relaxers, it's nice to have the option to be able to use one without having to go out and buy a new hair straightener because you can't set a GHD to the right temperature.

Finally, GHD claims their straighteners are able to sense and adapt to the right temperature for the hair type it is being used on, but this feature doesn't work in practice. It's a lofty claim too, considering that they expect you to believe an appliance is able to sense how thick and coarse your hair is as it moves through the plates. The GHD straightener has no built in capability that would allow it to analyze the hair. This is a process that requires a skilled hairdresser's eye to estimate, and can only be completely verified by analyzing the hair shaft's size under microscopy. The simple result is that fine or medium hair can be burnt by the uncontrollable heat of a GHD straightener.

The T3 Single Pass Straightener
The T3 Single Pass Straightener | Source

Lack of innovation

The other problem with GHD straighteners is that they don't make use of any of the improvements available to the standard ceramic plate. Ceramic plates that contain tourmaline lead to hair that is smoother, straighter, and significantly less frizzy than hair that has been straightened by a basic ceramic plated straightener. This is because tourmaline is ionic and the ions produced flatten out frizz and seal the hair cuticle for a better finish.

When you can get a superior straightener that smooths your hair, relieves more frizz, offers you the ability to control the temperature to suit your individual hair, and may even cost less, why would you want to buy a GHD?

GHD alternatives

A GHD straightener is a dependable device and it will usually straighten hair more effectively than the cheap devices in the under $100 range. It can't really compare to the likes of T3 and Bio Ionic though, which develop the world's best cutting edge straighteners, using the latest technology. Even most of the other high-end straighteners like Sedu and Silver Bullet will give you better styling with less risk of damage to your hair due to innovations which go beyond the plain ceramic plated GHD.

The bottom line is, if you want to be able to choose from many different colors and styles when you buy a straightener, and you only want a step up from department store products, a GHD straightener may suit you just fine. If you're after a superior product however, save your money and buy one of the T3 Single Pass or Bio Ionic One Pass straighteners. They're greatly superior tools, yet they won't even cost you as much as the hyped up GHD straightener.


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