You know that fresh out of the salon feeling? There’s nothing quite like leaving your strands in the trusted hands of a professional.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t make it to the salon or the blow dry bar as often as we’d like. But with the right tools, you can learn how to style your own hair like a pro.
Read on for our list of essential styling tools that will keep your hair looking healthy between appointments.
Table of Contents
High Quality Brush
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If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about brushing your hair. But your brushing technique can mean the difference between healthy, shiny hair and messy, damaged hair. Brushing too often (more than twice a day) or brushing too vigorously can cause hair loss and damage. But it’s not just about how you brush — it’s also about using the right tools for the job.
Generally, you shouldn’t use the same kinds of styling tools for wet and dry hair. A wide-toothed comb or a Wet Brush are great for brushing through wet hair, which is more prone to breakage. An added bonus of the Wet Brush is that it can also be used on dry hair. But if you struggle with tangles, a paddle brush might be just what you need. This kind of brush helps prevent frizz, and is best suited for naturally straight or thick hair. The Aveda Wood Paddle Brush is a favorite among stylists and consumers alike.
If you’re concerned about heat damage from blow drying, add a thermal brush to your styling routine. This type of brush conducts heat, which helps shorten drying time. But it can also help you create the perfect beachy wave.
For an option that’s gentle yet effective, choose a boar bristle brush. This type of brush enhances shine by working natural oils through the hair. It can even help distribute dry shampoo. The boar bristle brush is a great standby, and works for all hair types, from pin straight to coily. There are even vegan versions available.
A Solid Blow Dryer
Hair dryers have become a sort of luxury item. The priciest models can set you back hundreds of dollars, so it’s good to do some research before making a splurge. Whether you’re up for the investment or just looking for an affordable standby, here’s how to choose the best dryer for your hair.
Once you’ve chosen a budget, one of the biggest things to look out for is drying time. A quick-drying blow dryer does more than just save you time. It also reduces the amount of time your hair is exposed to heat, which helps prevent damage to your hair. How can you tell if a dryer is truly quick-drying? It’s all about the wattage. Aim for at least 1500 watts, but ideally between 1800 and 2000. This is especially important if you have thick hair that takes forever to dry.
The ideal material of your hair dryer depends on the texture and thickness of your hair. As a general rule, ionic or tourmaline dryers work well for frizzy hair, and ceramic or porcelain dryers are most suitable for fine or dry hair. But depending on what kind of style you’re going for, there is more to the picture. If you’re looking to create more volume, use a non-ionic dryer. But if you want to create more shine, ionic is the way to go. Luckily, there are many blow dryers that let you toggle between ionic and non-ionic settings.
Hot Air Brush
Picture this: you’ve just left the salon, your hair is shiny and perfectly styled, and you feel like you could take on the world. We all know the feeling. What if you could recreate that feeling at home, with just a little extra time? Well, you can, with the hot air brush.
Part blow dryer and part round brush, this styling tool gives you an instant blowout – no hairstyling chops required. The only drawback? It can take a while to get through your entire head of hair. But the investment is well worth it, because this brush styles, volumizes, and dries your hair all in one.
For the best and quickest drying experience: part wet hair into sections, secure with hair clips, and then dry thinner sections of hair at a time. This brush gets quite hot, so always prep hair with a heat protectant spray before use.
The curling wand is one of the most ubiquitous styling tools. But just like with blow dryers, the amount of different options on the market can be overwhelming. So if you’re looking to replace your basic curling iron with an upgraded version, read on.
There are three factors to consider when choosing a curling wand: hair length, hair texture, and desired curl size. These will determine which material and size of curling wand is best for you. As a rule of thumb, ceramic works best for thin hair and titanium works best for thicker hair. Is your hair extra thick and frizzy? You may want to try a tourmaline curling wand. This material works by emitting negative ions, which help keep hair smooth and shiny.
Next, choose the right barrel size. This depends on more than just your ideal curl, but also your hair length and texture. A 1-inch barrel will suit most hair types, whereas a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch barrel is best for short and thin hair. A larger barrel size works well for curling long hair, but it can also be used to add loose waves to short hair.
For the ultimate mermaid mane, skip the basic wand and try a waver instead. This easy-to-use tool helps create effortless beach waves, and works well for all hair types.
If you have curly hair, you already know that a diffuser is a must-have to help manage frizz and maintain volume. A diffuser works by cupping and holding the hair in one place, so that it dries more evenly. But if you think diffusers are just for curls, think again. They can be great styling tools for wavy, natural, fine, and even straight hair. Here’s a guide for using a diffuser on a variety of different hair textures.
One of the key factors to keep in mind when choosing a diffuser is that it fits onto your dryer. But there’s more: the longer your hair, the deeper diffuser bowl you will need to hold your hair. If your hair is also thick, look for a diffuser with more openings in the bowl. This creates more airflow and helps hair dry faster.
For a standalone diffuser, one of our top recommendations is the DevaFuser from the curl experts at DevaCurl. The unique claw-shaped design envelops curls with 360-degree airflow and gets to the roots much faster than traditional diffusers. For an all-in-one product, check out this dryer, concentrator, and diffuser set by celebrity stylist and Booksy Ambassador Kim Kimble.
When it comes to the plating on flat irons, the rules are very similar as for curling wands. In general, ceramic works well for fine hair and titanium can help tame thick or textured hair. Ceramic flat irons are also a good choice for natural hair, to help protect elasticity and curl pattern. For home use, professional stylists often recommend ceramic simply because it’s safer and less likely to damage hair.
Depending on the type, these styling tools can also be used to curl hair. If your flat iron has a rounded or beveled edge, you can use it to create loose waves without the need for a curling wand.
Remember, just because your flat iron can heat up to 450 degrees, it doesn’t mean it should. For most people, a range between 325 and 375 degrees will do the job. As with any heat tool, it’s important to prep your hair to avoid damage. Be sure to use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and add a leave-in conditioner or mask if your hair is on the drier side.
Not sure which styling tools are best for your hair? Sometimes it’s best to talk it over with an expert. Find and book the best local stylists, right here on Booksy.