Life is all about tough choices — but fortunately some are slightly easier to make than others. Sure, you could spend $400 (plus tax) on a buzzed-about hair dryer that blows without blades and looks like it’s deserving of its own little display at MoMA. Or, you could get one super-bargain of a pro-quality dryer, and a flatiron, and a waver, plus a curling wand, two brushes, 10 blow-out clips, and 230 little pins and ribbons, all for a total of $153.62. This leaves you, of course, with $246.38 to spend on things like the perfect pair of fall boots, a whole bunch of lip glosses, and even Gigi Hadid’s Paris Fashion Week pants — with change to spare. Ahead, 9 hair tools that work just as well as their pricier counterparts, but ring up at under $25 a pop.
Revlon Laser Brilliance Infared Heat Hair Dryer
Like any $150+ big-gun hair dryer you might consider, this one checks off the following must-haves that top every hair pro’s list: it’s light; it’s quiet; it harnesses ionic technology that dries hair in record-setting time. What doesn’t it have? Sticker shock that comes with most professional tools. Well, actually, paying $16.10 for a top-quality hair dryer is pretty shocking — but obviously in the best way possible.
Remington Pearl Pro Ceramic 1-Inch Flat Iron
In a speedy 30 seconds from plugging it in, this ceramic flat iron is at the ready to smooth frizz, tamp down flyaways, and turns frizzy hair pin-straight. Or, if you’ve watched any of the 479,000 flatiron curling videos currently on YouTube (not kidding), with a few skillful twirls it’ll create the perfect faux blow-out.
BlueTop Hair Waver
I don’t have much patience for gimmicks — and at first glance this waving iron looks like a gimmick to beat all gimmicks, with its three irons soldered together into one massive pink tool. Turns out, though, the trio works together seamlessly to create perfect waves in (let’s do the math) a third of the time it would take with a single-barrel iron.
Sephora Collection Hold It Together Blow Dry Clips
You know that motley assortment of bobby pins, random barrettes, plus that one giant banana clip, that make for a sad sight after you’ve perfectly sectioned off your hair for a DIY blow-out? Put them back in the drawer and instead reach for these little pink clips, which hold hair securely in place while you dry. They grasp tight to even the thickest hair without leaving behind evidence that they were ever there (aka, those annoying crimps that stay there all day).
Use it wet, use it dry, this little plastic brush does exactly as it promises, teasing out tangles, and making every subsequent step of your hair routine that much easier.
Remington Ceramic Pearl Professional Curling Wand
Start mid-strand and twirl your strands around this tapered take on the classic curling iron. You’ll create far more believable curls than you ever could with a standard cylindrical tool.
Sonia Kashuk Hair Brush
The first time I used the legendary $205 paddle brush known as Mason Pearson, I thought, yep, that’s a pretty great brush. But then so is this one, and I’m happy to pocket the $189 difference.
Mokale Natural Boar Bristle Round Comb Hair Brush
Perhaps the perfect blow-out brush, Mokale’s under-$10 boar-bristle brush grips hair taut — but not too taut — smooths cuticles and leaves hair super-shiny and bouncy, which is the whole point of a blow-out, after all.
Conair 230 Styling Essentials Kit
If you can't create an easy ponytail, elaborate updo, or headful of braids on the fly with the 230 pieces in this compact kit, we have nothing more to recommend.
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