The words hair straightener alone are enough to bring back flashbacks of fried, damaged hair, snagged stands, and burned ears. While not all straighteners are created equal, technology has come a long way in the past few years. Today there’s a whole new crop of flat irons that straighten hair without the damage and drama. In fact, they often go above and beyond, and can curl, smooth frizz, and even condition your hair. There’s an option for everyone, from the tightest of curls to fine, straight hair.

Picking a curling iron can be slightly more complex than choosing a hair straightener. “Depending on the curl or wave you’re working with, you’ll need a different iron for each,” says celebrity hairstylist Paul Labrecque. “Barrel size and the iron’s shape are important to curl style, and the curling iron must have a thermostat control.” Whether you’re creating beachy waves, an unbraided look, or a marcel curl for your upcoming Halloween costume, here are the best curling irons to buy right now, according to hair stylists.

By Gina Cluth

By Gina CluthClutch Versatile Hair Spray ($32) – While I am not big on tons of styling when it’s hot and humid, I am big on hair products that make it easy to keep my hairdo from becoming a hair don’t. Clutch Versatile Hair Spray is pretty terrific. You can use it on wet or dry hair, and you can vary the amount of hold from flexible to hard. The big plus for dog days is this hairspray actually removes dirt and sweat from hair, which improves the health of your strands and also cuts down on congested skin at your hairline. The featured ingredient is biotin, a combination of vitamins B6/B5/B12, along with collagen. This treats hair making it more elastic and healthy. Collagen: Main component of the Biogen ™ complex. Repairs damaged cuticle layers improving suppleness and shine. Wheat Protein: Repairs the cortex improving overall strength and preventing future damage. Replenishes lost protein caused from abusing our hair daily. Peptides: Repairs weak strands and creates a barrier to prevent damage caused by excessive use of heat, brush/comb friction and environmental stresses. Clutch Versatile Hairspray leaves my hair shiny and full. It has a fine spray that is buildable for hold that truly lasts all day. Plus a percentage of every product sold goes towards cancer research. I think it’s the perfect hairspray for hot, humid days.

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Photo: Getty Images/ m-imagephotography

I know what you’re probably thinking: Coating your hair with oil sounds like the exact opposite of what should happen to strands. After all, isn’t the whole purpose of dry shampoo (and, really, shampoo) to keep oil and grease as far away from your scalp as possible? But there are benefits to slicking your strands with things like argan oil and coconut oil. And one more good-for-you oil worth adding to the list? Almond oil for hair, which is jam-packed with good stuff, including omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, vitamin E, and magnesium, that will help strengthen and nourish your strands.

We often talk about how fantastic these elements are from nutrition standpoint (in my experience, almonds are most RD’s favorite “healthy snack” recommendation), but the combination is also really, really great for your hair. It will leave strands smooth, shiny, and healthy looking—especially if you’re dealing with dryness at the ends of hair, which happens to be a common problem amongst women with coily and curly textures (#itme).

Though almond oil may not be as well-known as some of the other plant- and nut-based oils that are likely already sitting in your beauty cabinet, when it comes to haircare it’s actually superior to them in many ways. “Using almond oil nourishes and strengthens your hair, and is optimal for damaged hair,” says Carolyn Aronson, CEO and founder of It’s a 10 Haircare. “Argan oil does hydrate and soften your hair as it’s rich in nutrients.” However, according to Cliff Heiser, a manager at Petal Fresh SuperFoods, this is because almond oil is higher in monosaturated fats (it’s made up of 70 percent of them, while coconut oil and argan oil have only six and 45 percent respectively), which helps it penetrate the hair shaft more easily. Because of its ability to sink in, almond oil is great to use on the ends of your hair, especially strands that have become particularly porous from sun damage and heat styling (and which have endured the most).

“Almond oil prevents hair from absorbing too much water,” says Heiser, adding that the fact that this is a good thing may be counterintuitive. “However, when hair absorbs too much water too quickly, it makes cuticle scales stand up. This leaves hair more porous and ultimately susceptible dehydration and breakage. Healthy hair has a lower porosity and is somewhat hydrophobic to balances the amount of water that hair absorbs.” So basically, almond oil for hair yields healthy hair, which will thus show itself in shine and smoothness.

So how can you use almond oil?
You’ll likely find almond oil as an ingredient in various haircare products that are already on your shelf—like the It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask ($32), which is great for deep conditioning. Or you can pick up a bottle of the pure oil, which can be used on its own in a variety of different ways:

1. As a pre-treatment: Apply almond oil to your hair a few hours before you wash it, and let it sit on your scalp. “The idea of a pre-treatment is to prevent dehydration from cleansing,” says Heiser. “The result is softer, better lubricated and more flexible hair.” These pre-treatments are great if you have trouble forming waves, curls, or coils, or if you have light, straight hair that is prone to flyaways. “You might also try an almond pre-treatment if you find that deep conditioners do not leave your hair as moisturized or flexible as you desire,” says Heiser.

2. Before you shampoo: Massage your scalp with a few drops of the straight stuff (a little bit goes a long way), let it sit for a few minutes, then wash your hair as usual. “It will add silkiness and shine to your hair while nourishing your scalp,” says Aronson.

3. As a little extra oomph with your conditioner: A few drops of almond oil in your regular conditioner or deep conditioning treatments can go a long way.

While these types of oil treatments aren’t meant to be done every day, there are certainly benefits to doing them every once in a while. “There is always a time and place where oil products can be great for your hair,” says Gina Rivera, Founder and President of Phenix Salon Suites. “When your hair is feeling dry and needing extra moisture, doing an oil treatment can be extremely helpful, because it can add shine, help tame frizzy split ends, and can make the hair appear more youthful.”

So in addition to grabbing a handful of almonds the next time you’re hungry, stock up on some almond oil to swipe through your strands the next time they’re hungry for a little extra nourishment.

Here’s why more and more women all over the world are adding argan oil to their routines. Plus, the next-generation scalp serums worth investing in no matter what type of hair concern you’re dealing with (and especially if you want to start washing your hair less).


JULY 9, 2019

Photography by: VID Studio

Yet another decision you’ll have to make as your big day approaches is what you plan to do with your hair. Whether you’re particular about how your locks look, or prefer a more natural approach, experts agree that your wedding hairstyle is not a decision you should leave up to the very end. Especially if you plan on coloring, cutting, or altering your hair in any way, it’s best to give yourself some extra time in case you change your mind. To help ensure your wedding hairstyle is truly everything you’ve dreamed of and more, we asked top stylist to share their best-kept secrets for getting the best ‘do for the day you say “I do.”

Start focusing on hair health, stat.
It’s important that your hair is in the best, healthiest condition it can be on your wedding day. To ensure this, Gina Rivera, hairstylist and founder of Phenix Salon Suites, recommends developing a good hair regimen that you can adopt as soon as you start planning your wedding. “The last thing you want on your big day is frizzy, damaged, and unruly hair,” she says. The pro suggests using a hair mask at least once a week all the way until your big day.

Schedule your hair trial several months before your big day.
Wish so much on your to-do list, the last thing you want is to is wait until the last minute to decide on your hairstyle. Instead, you want to give yourself time to feel confident in your selection or, perhaps, to consider other options. Upon meeting with your stylist, have a discussion about your current hairstyle, your ideas for your wedding day, and how to achieve these in the coming months. “If you dream of long, flowing locks, you may need extensions to get that look and you can experiment with clip-ins for a temporary look and you can also add tape-in or sewn-in for the months leading up to the wedding and beyond,” says Kacey Welch, master colorist out of the Roil Salon in Beverly Hills and creator of Kacey Welch Method.

Don’t go too drastic with cut and color too close to the wedding.
The months leading up to your wedding is not the time to try out a new hairstyle unless you’re 100 percent sure you’ll love it enough to have it for your big day. If you’re looking for a change, Welch suggests consulting with your stylist about his or her recommendation for a natural change you can make subtly over the course of your engagement. “If you long to have bleach blonde locks, or stark black hair, or even add some blue, but that’s not a color you’ve tried before, don’t rush into it for your wedding day,” she says. “Being natural will leave you with the memories and photos that you can cherish for years.”

Consider how your hairstyle will go with your wedding dress.
If you wear your hair up or down on a regular basis, you might consider a similar look for your wedding hairstyle—but the biggest factor to consider should be your wedding dress, according to Temur Hamilton, lead stylist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon. “If you’re wearing a traditional wedding dress with fullness in the skirt, your hair should be at least half up without too much volume in order to complement the style,” he says. “If your dress is more modern and less full, it’s nice to have the hair down in a wavy and romantic style.”

Don’t try to do something complicated on your own.
Wedding DIYs are a great idea, but not when it comes to your hair. “Go ahead and do your own masks at home, but leave the complicated stuff like extensions and coloring to professionals,” says Welch. “When you try to do it yourself things can definitely go wrong, and you don’t need more stress during this time.” If you’re budget conscious, she suggests talking to your stylist about your concerns, as he or she may be able to cut some corners to settle on a reasonable price that works for you both.

Keep the season in mind.
If you are getting married during an outdoor ceremony in the summer, Hamilton suggests considering a style that keeps the hair away from your face and off of your neck. “If you’re getting married in the winter and know that you can get away with your hair being down from the ceremony to the reception, by all means go for it,” he says. You’ll also want to switch up your hair products for the season as wall, since you may need more frizz-taming products in the humid summer months and a nourishing leave-in conditioner in the harsh, dry winter.


Contributing Writer

When it comes to curling irons, most of us reach for a hot tool with a one or two-inch barrel (aka, the rod). However, these aren’t the only curling iron sizes available and they might not even be the best size for the hairstyle you are trying to achieve. “The size of a curling barrel will vary [depending on] the overall curl style,” notes Gina Rivera, founder, president and hair expert at Phenix Salon Suites.

The general rule is: “The larger the barrel, the more wave you create, the smaller the barrel, the tighter the curl,” she adds. “If you would like to loosen up your curl to have a defined wave, then I would suggest using a larger barrel, like 2 inches,” she notes, adding that it creates a beach wave effect. “If you want to maintain the curls you have [or add more defined curls], use a 1 to 1.5-inch barrel.”

The looser the curl, the more space you want between spirals and the tighter the curl, the less space you want between each twist around the curling iron. However, curl size isn’t the only thing that determines the best-sized curling iron for your hair — it also depends on your hair type, as well.

Thin/Fine Hair: Thin or fine hair “has a tendency to lose curls quite quickly,” explains Rivera. This isn’t caused by the texture of the hair, but instead by the shape of the strand. “Straight hair will be more cylindrical in shape whereas curly hair will appear more elliptical and flat,” she remarks. Simply put: Strands that are more flat hold a curl better, which explains why those with thin or fine hair typically have straighter, or less-defined curls and waves. She suggests using a 1-inch or smaller curling wand to “initially create tight curls that will naturally fall to a beautiful wave.” Another hot tip? “If you want your curls to stay all day, then you must try tools with infrared technology,” suggests Rivera. “The infrared technology allows you to use less heat to form a particular style. [It] works from the inside out, therefore you are able to quickly reform the hydrogen bonds [in the hair] which helps define the style while limiting the overall high heat exposure.”

Curler By Gina

Jessie Quinn | The Sunday Riley
July 26, 2019

By Gina’s tools use infrared technology to steam the hair rather than applying direct heat. According to Gina herself, “this method will serve to retain all of the hair’s natural moisture. The extra hydration also contributes to creating styles that will last longer, as well as have an improved appearance. The hair will be softer, smoother, shinier and, most importantly, very healthy. With infrared technology, the hair is basically being conditioned as it’s styled.”


Gina quoted in, Phenix Salon Suites mentioned and Excel Styler featured in Yes, There Really is a Right
Way to Wash Your Hair


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