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5 New Tools That Make Styling Your Hair So Much Easier

When car salespeople talk about high-powered motors or smart sensor technology, you do your due diligence to make sure they’re not just blowing smoke. And the same should apply when you’re shopping for expensive hot tools. The only problem? There’s a helluva lot of innovation to sift through. Ceramic plates! Self-twirling barrels!Intelligent heat control! How could you possibly choose?

To help, we tried this year’s latest blow dryers, curling irons, and flatirons — all claiming to be the next Big Thing of hair gadgets. These are the five high-tech hair tools that passed our rigorous road test.

Special features: The ceramic plates are infused with Keratin and almond oil to tame frizz with less work, while the heat sensor strips measure moisture levels in the hair and adjust the temperature accordingly to reduce damage. Bonus points: Its swivel cord looks almost exactly like an old-school telephone’s for tangle- (and fuss-) free storage.

Results: Not only did the tool heat up in seconds, the conditioning oils actually did make the iron glide with zero drag — which, for our tester with frizzy waves, shaved a full 5 minutes off her morning routine. Much to our surprise, the heat-adjusting technology really did work: The temp changed multiple times depending on the section of hair being straightened (the iron heats up to 450 degrees, but it never exceeded 350 for us). “I have to say, my hair has never felt this soft,” our tester said, though she did note that the oil plates left behind a faint waxy smell.

Remington SmartPro Ceramic Straightener, $42.99, available at Ulta Beauty in September.

Special features: This isn’t your average curling barrel; the length of it is coated with a woven silk fabric that acts as a built-in heat protectant to reduce damage. But here’s what makes it even cooler: At the tip of the iron, you’ll find silicone bristles that stay cool to the touch and lock your hair in place, so you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers when you wrap it around the barrel.

Results: Even the biggest hair-styling novices noted how easy it was to use this tool. One staffer with pin-straight hair said that the silicone grip tip even reduced the kinks she typically gets from other curling irons, and the fact that it didn’t heat up with the rest of the barrel made it easier to control. Getting beachy waves sans effort was so easy. “I just wish I had it in middle school — I could’ve avoided many mortifying photos,” she said.

InStyler Cerasilk Woven Ceramic Curling Iron, $95, available at InStyler.

Special features: Boasting 1,800 watts and frizz-busting ionic technology, it’s easy to understand why this dryer promises a faster blow-dry — only now it comes in a sleek, travel-friendly design.

Results: Don’t be fooled by the small packaging — this blow dryer delivers big time. For one tester with fine wavy hair, her drying time was cut by 3 minutes (which can “feel like a lifetime when you’re already late for work,” she said). Plus, during the trial period, she claimed she “never once had to follow up with a flat iron to add smoothness or shine.”

Bio Ionic Power Diva Pro Style Blow Dryer, $150, available at Sephora.

Special features: The iron looks like an ’80s crimper, but the shape of the two tourmaline ceramic plates creates loose, pretty waves.

Results: For people who don’t feel comfortable yielding a curling iron, this one is for you. The resulting look is somewhere between beach waves and loose crimps, which took only seconds to create per section. When our tester with fine, straight hair was low on time, she noted that the tool added instant texture that looked “messy and undone” with just one clamp.

Bed Head by TiGi Waveaholic, $34.99, available on Bed Head Styling.

Special features: This ionic blow dryer is built with a Korean brushless motor that’s guaranteed to last for up to 10,000 hours (!) of use — or 10 times longer than what you’d get from a conventional dryer. It also makes half the noise.

Results: It might look heavy-duty, but our tester with 4C coarse curls promises this tool weighs practically nothing and is just as quiet as it promises on the packaging. Even better? It didn’t disrupt her natural texture. “The nifty concentrator definitely helped, as it was slim enough to target my roots as I stretched my hair out,” she said. Her favorite feature: the cool-shot setting, “which is ideal for minimizing direct heat on my natural hair.”

Amika Immortal Power-Life Dryer, $300, available at Love Amika.

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