Must-Have Styling Tools

No matter if it's a basic, get-out-the-door style or an adventurous, over-the-top 'do, the hairstyling tools you choose can make all the difference in the final look. The right blow dryer, curling iron, and hairbrush make up the foundation of must-have tools for hair styling, but with dozens of models and brands available in stores, how do you know which brush or blow dryer is right for your hair? Here’s a breakdown of what you need to have a great hair day.


The blow dryer matters

If there is one styling tool to invest money in, the blow dryer is it. Look for high wattage dryers because they’ll speed up your drying time, which decreases the amount of time your hair is exposed to high temperatures. You can’t go wrong with a ceramic, tourmaline or ionic dryer. Ceramic and tourmaline dryers offer more control over heat, while ionic dryers can diffuse negative ions for a softer and smoother finish.

woman with straight hair
Achieving straight, smooth hair like this is possible, but for a lot of people, you're going to need the right tools to pull it off.  
Pink CHI flat iron
A flat iron with ceramic plates, like this one from CHI, distributes heat evenly for more stable and predictable styling results.

Pick the right flat iron

There are three factors to consider when choosing a flat iron: plate size, plate material, and temperature regulation. Smaller plates are great for shorter hair or hair with less density, and can also be used to create waves or curls. Larger plates shorten styling time for thicker and longer hair. Pick a flat iron made with ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium plates because they create even and stable heat. Finally, opt for an iron with a temperature regulation feature, it will help prevent damage from overheating fine or chemically treated hair. While any heat control is helpful, a digital temperature control is most accurate.


Curl it right

The variety of sizes, shapes and even colors of curling irons available is enough to make your head spin. The key to choosing the right curling iron is in knowing what style you want to create. For big, soft beachy waves, a larger barrel (1.25 to 2 inches) will create the look you want. If you want tighter curls, or have short hair, a 1-inch barrel is the right size for you. Like with flat irons, buy a curling iron with a digital temperature controller and heat range that goes up to 425 or 450 degrees.


The best brush for the job

While one blow dryer is all you need, when it comes to hairbrushes, you may want two or three different types:


  • Vent brushes build volume and texture
  • Flat paddle brushes are designed to create movement without increasing volume
  • Round brushes excel at smoothing and creating curl, while adding volume
  • Cushion brushes make hair smooth and sleek, look for one made of boar bristles for the most control


Whether you want to change your style or just get more control of your hair, the right tools can have big results. Talk tools with your stylist to learn which is best for the looks you want to create.

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