Empowering Your Best Self


6 Must-Have Hair Tools

Peggy Abraham Avatar Image Peggy Abraham
6 Must-Have Hair Tools Hero Image

The effortless-looking tresses you see in magazines and on Instagram influencers come with a lot of prep work—but the good news is that with a little practice and the right tools, you can get the same looks. Dean “the Hollywood Hair Guy” Banowetz has worked on such popular shows as American Idol, World of Dance and Shark Tank—all gigs where hosts and contestants have to look glamorous and well-coiffed, while under the pressure of performing. He helps us navigate the tools of the trade with recommendations from Chi, BaByliss and Dyson brands.


You’re Only as Good as Your Tools

InStyler: The InStyler is a rotating iron that allows you to both straighten and curl the hair. The rotation of the barrel helps to polish hair by laying down the cuticle, giving it more shine. The three heat settings make it work well for thin or thick hair.

Curling Iron: Curling irons have clamps to hold the hair against the iron. This creates tension so you can rotate the iron, release the clamp and then repeat. Banowetz warns that curling irons can leave ridge marks if you don’t clamp the hair just-so.

Curling Wand: Curling wands can give you a more natural curl than an iron. They don’t have clamps, so you literally wrap the hair around the wand, away from your face and hold. For a more edgy look, when you get to the bottom of the strand remove the wand, leaving the ends straight. Wear a glove to prevent any burns.

Flat Iron: Look for one with ceramic coating to help hair move freely over the heated plates. “I would also make sure the plates are cushioned, so when you squeeze the flat iron, there is a bit of give, and the hair is not completely crushed,” says Banowetz. “It’s like a shock absorber for your hair.”

Hair Dryer: Banowetz likes to first set the dryer on high and blow all around the hair. When it feels 70% dry, he sections the hair, starting at the nape and working his way to the sides and top. Another tip is to always set each curl or wave with the “cool shot” button, usually located on the handle of the dryer.

Quality brushes and combs: Hair can easily snag and break if your tools aren’t in good shape. These should be cleaned regularly, and don’t forget to check them out for cracks, which could tug on your hair or split the ends.


An Ounce of Prevention

When using any tool that requires heat, it’s important to protect your hair. Lightly mist a thermal spray (such Aquage, Biolage and Kenra) on individual sections of the hair before applying heat. Use quality clips, like those from Olivia Garden, to keep hair out of the way as you work.

Wishing you hip, happy hairstyles for the holidays!