Friday, April 22, 2016

Hair Trials: Sedu Revolution

Welp.  Here I go again - round two in my search of a suitable replacement for my current battle-weary flat iron.  So let's get right into it, shall we?  Based on the majority of positive reviews it garnered on the hair product website Folica, I decided to roll the dice on a sleek beauty with ceramic plates: the Sedu Revolution.

Hailing from the Revolution line of styling tools from hair/beauty brand Sedu, this flat iron is a certified looker.  Its beauty lies in its simplicity.  Housed in a charcoal gray, soft-grip skin, it is equipped with a heat-resistant, swivel cord and boasts ceramic plates infused with tourmaline, a black gemstone that reports to tame static and frizz.  This particular version comes in two different sizes: 1" and 1.5".  I chose the latter.

The broad, jet-black plates are super smooth, which make for an easy glide across the hair.

And although the plates do float, they do not exactly line up flush when pressed flatly together.  This may be because the "floating" plates tilt from side to side like a see-saw instead of depressing straight up and down like most irons.

It has a temperature dial that ranges from 140 degrees to 450; however, the numbers aren't precisely aligned with the divots on the dial, so one must approximate their desired temp.  Situated next to the dial is the on/off button, which blinks red when the iron is first turned on then steadies when ready to use.  And it has a 60 minute auto shut-off mode.  A feature that's handy for those who need it, a potential pain in the butt for those that take longer than 60 minutes to do their hair. 

OK, so what's the verdict, you ask?  Well, it does straighten.  Hmm... maybe I shouldn't say "straighten".  Perhaps "flatten" is the better term since I felt like it made my hair flatter than I wanted and didn't leave it with any real bounce or body.  My hair was just kinda "blah".  Also, it didn't impart the kind of shine my HAI iron does.  I used it with both the CHI Iron Guard as well as my Paul Mitchell serum, but failed to get the desired results with either.

You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm crazy.  Am I asking too much from an iron?  Am I being way too picky?  Am I cuckoo/delusional for thinking my HAI is so great or is my HAI flat iron some type of styling anomaly?  I don't think so.  I really don't.

Now, I know that styling products can affect styling results, but I'm resolute in finding the right iron that'll work well with the products I already own instead of having to invest in a whole new lineup in order to accommodate a new iron.  And so I'll keep looking.  *sigh*  I have another one that I wanna try out, but I have to admit that, at this point, I'm a little discouraged.  But I'm gonna give it a go... and will be back with a full report when testing is completed.  Fingers (and toes) crossed!

Sedu Revolution Professional Styling Iron is available at Folica(.)com and retails for $130 (both the 1" and 1.5").    

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hair Trials: The BaBylissPRO Nano

And so it begins...

When we last spoke, I told you guys that I was on the hunt for a new flat iron.  After weeks and weeks of the ends of my hair feeling kinda crunchy and not being able to remedy the situation via a variety of products, I took one last shot at a resolution.  My beloved HAI flat iron that I've had for years was technically still functioning; however, the blue ceramic on the plates is starting to fade and, in fact, has totally worn away on the beveled edges, leaving the metal plate underneath completely exposed.  I took a guess that this may have been the culprit... and got confirmation soon after when I bought a brand new iron.  It's the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium and I gave it a full fortnight to show me what it's got...

Well known in professional circles for its diverse array of hair styling tools, BaBylissPRO offers several different iterations of its popular Nano Titanium flat iron, including this BOGO (buy one, get one free) combo I picked up at my local Bed Bath & Beyond store.

Cased in a sleek, but angular, heat-resistant black in lieu of the brand-associated cornflower blue, these two Nanos are virtually the same except for their size: one is slightly longer than the other.

Both are equipped with swivel cords to grant more freedom and mobility during use.

Both boast pure, 1.25" titanium-plated plates, which are touted to be more durable (overall) and less prone to product build up than their ceramic counterparts.  Working in cahoots with ionic technology and a ceramic heater, the mirror-like plates help create frizz-free styles while maintaining consistent, even heat throughout. 

And both have an ON/OFF button as well as heat gauges that allow you to dial the iron from the lowest degree of 300 all the way up to 450.

So while the two Nano flat irons in my pack were pretty evenly matched point for point, here's where they differed.  Although both seemed to be fitted with floating plates - which are plates that can move and contract in order to accommodate whatever chunk or slice of hair you want to put in between them, ensuring constant contact for optimal straightening/styling - I was able to squeeze the smaller one flush (albeit with a bit more effort than I'm used to)...

...but could not get the plates on the larger one to close tight to save my life!  Perhaps it was just my model, but the plates on this barely moved at all.   Even with me employing a Kung Fu grip on this - squeezing it with all my might - it would NOT budge!  Needless to say, my hair slipped right through when I tried to use it, making any type of straightening or styling impossible.  So, with the inherent virtue of the BOGO now gone, I flatly moved forward to style my hair with the smaller one.

The iron heated up to 340 degrees (my preferred setting) fairly quickly even though I had to basically guess its readiness since there is no indicator (at least none that I could tell) to inform you of this.  My first go 'round, I used it with my CHI Iron Guard and it came out OK, but not as glossy as I'm used to.  Styling was a tad cumbersome as my hair did not glide through the plates as smoothly as I had hoped and left creases along the way.  The second session was a little better; I used my Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum and the iron seemed to appreciate it more.  I got a little more shine than before, but it seemed to peter out after a day or so and downgrade to a normal sheen.

I know that a lot of people absolutely LOVE this iron.  From the professional to the layperson, I've heard nothing but good things about it and do think it's a good iron.  I really do... but it's just not the perfect fit for me and what I want.  I have noticed that most use the iron on its higher settings and maybe that would have made a difference... but I'm not willing to risk that.  I've been rolling with 340 since the dawn of time with no problems and I don't feel like I should have to go higher just to get the results I desire.  I will also concede that perhaps I had a one-off... or one-offs.  Perhaps the "unbundled" Nanos normally come with plates that close flush with barely any effort at all.  But I must also say that I may be biased.  Now that I've tried a metal iron again, I really think I'm partial to ceramic.  There's just something about it and the way it makes my hair feel.  

So there you have it.  Although the flat iron didn't quite work out for me, good did come of it.  My ends looked healthier and smoother after using the Nano, which proved that, alas, it is time to replace my beloved HAI.  If I could, I would just buy another one and call it a day, but they discontinued my blue-plated model (of course!) and the "updated" version has been getting lukewarm reviews thus far.

And so it continues... my search for a new flat iron.  I picked up another iron and will be reviewing it soon.  Hopefully, this one will be THE one.  *sigh*  We shall see.  We shall definitely see...

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium 1.25" Straightening Iron is available at various retail outlets, including Bed Bath & Beyond, and retails for $139.99.