5 Beauty Innovations
— Kate Sandoval
What it is: A mini flatiron—the plates are less than 2 1/2 inches long and 1/2-inch wide.
How it works: Just like any other flatiron, except that it heats up to 430 degrees in three seconds flat.
Why I loved it: It was especially easy to wield this superlight wand; on particularly harried mornings, I could quickly straighten the layers around my face and then put the rest of my hair in a ponytail. And it fits into a desk drawer or purse, so I'm always prepared for a frizz emergency.
Insider tip: Hold the iron at the base, with your fingers on the comfort grips. And use a comb (instead of your hand) to detangle and section your hair. Because the iron is so small, your fingers can get very close to the hot plates.
How it works: The ceramic rod heats up to 430 degrees; the "straightening combs" on each side of the rod detangle.
Why I loved it: You can lay the comb directly on your roots (a normal flatiron has a protective rim around the hot plates prohibiting that).
Insider tip: Point the comb tines down if you want to smooth the hair, up if you want more lift (be sure to hold the ends of your hair taut as you move the tool through).
How it works: Rather than twist the barrel from your ends up, as you would a curling iron, clamp it at the top of a 2-inch section of hair (flat plate on top), then drag it down to the ends. The barrel rotates, which smooths and straightens. Pause for a few seconds when you reach the ends if you want to curl them.
Why I loved it: Instead of straightening my hair with a flatiron and then plugging in the curling iron to curl the ends, I accomplished both with one tool, in one pass. And because of the rounded barrel, my roots didn't get flattened as they would with a typical flatiron.
Insider tip: For waves, wrap a section of hair around the barrel, then clamp down and hold for five seconds. Open the clamp to release the hair (don't pull it through).
How it works: The concentrated nozzle directs the air down, which smooths hair as you dry it; a 1 1/2-inch round brush (shown) gives volume and curled ends; a 1-inch brush creates slightly tighter curls.
Why I loved it: Despite years of trying to give myself a professional-looking blow-out, I've never been able to get the hang of juggling a dryer in one hand and a round brush in the other. Having one hand free to section and hold my hair against the brush is a huge help.
Insider tip: Use the nozzle to get your hair mostly dry, and then switch to one of the brushes to style.
Available at drugstores
Just a suggestion: Don't use a flatiron more than two or three times a week and try to keep it on the low setting, says Paradi Mirmirani, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. Just because some of these tools can heat up to 430 degrees doesn't mean you should use them at their hottest every morning.
DevaFuser; $35; DevaChanSalon.com