InStyler is a hair tool that has been doing the rounds on blogs and YouTube for quite some time now. It kind of combines the Babyliss Big Hair with both a curling wand and a hair straightener to offer one tool that can deliver everything from Kate Middleton-esque curls to a super sleek "blowout" effect. The brand launched in Ireland earlier this year and we were sent a couple of 32mm InStylers* to check out. Given that we have very different hair types, we thought we'd team up for this one to give you a fuller picture on whether the InStyler is worth the €120 spend. Grab a cuppa because this is the very definition of an in-depth review!
I am absolutely rubbish at anything hair related - I can't even use a curling wand! So, despite feeling very daunted initially, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the InStylerwas to use. Of course, I didn't watch the enclosed DVD like a smart person would but, in essence, you plug it in, turn it on and go to town.
All you really need to remember for both 'Kate' curls and for a sleek, straight finish is to keep the rotating, heated barrel under your hair which basically polishes the strands, eliminating frizz. The other side of the tool is made up of four rows of bristles which comb through and smooth the hair.
For a straighter look, lift the section of hair you want, place it over the barrel at the root, close the Instyler and gently run it down the length of your hair. Hey presto, salon smooth and super quick. For curls, it's all in the wrist. Start the same way, hair over the barrel, close it and, while pulling it down the hair and away from your head, turn the tool in your hand, wrapping the hair around it once. When you've reached the bottom of the hair, you'll be left with lovely, loose curls like in my picture above. There are tonnes of other styles you can achieve using the InStyler so check out their YouTube here.
Hair Type: Straight
Hair Texture: Soft
Hair Thickness: Medium
I have rather a lot of hair but, the style in the shot above took just 10 minutes to achieve. That's a huge plus for me because I really dislike faffing around with my hair. I use the InStyler most mornings before work, just to smooth everything out and find that it gives second (and sometimes third!) day hair a new lease of life.
Speaking of second day hair, any style I do with the InStyler holds ten times better on dirtier hair, given that my hair is naturally straight and soft. The style above was done immediately after washing and drying my hair and, while a healthy dose of Oribe and Elnett gave it body and hold, it did fall throughout the day.
For someone who gave zero craps about her hair, I suddenly find myself very attached to the InStyler. It negates the need to be able to blowdry your hair using a barrel brush which, obviously, I can't do, and it also pretty much means that you don't need either a straightener or a curling wand as (if you bother to watch the demo vids) there are a million-and-one ways you can use it. Taking all that into account, I think €120 is good value for such a multi-purpose hot tool and I would be suggesting you all add it to your Christmas list - you won't be disappointed as far as my experiences are concerned!
Hair Type: Wavy
Hair Texture: Coarse/Frizzy
Hair Thickness: Very Thick
I was really excited about the opportunity to try this out. As a person with very thick, coarse hair, hot tools are very important to me and the GHD in particular changed my life back in first year of secondary school. I am used to putting quite a bit of time and effort into making my hair presentable as it's very thick - there's just no other way around it.
Considering the effort I do make, I still found it pretty hard to get to grips with the InStyler and found it near-useless for smoothing out frizzy hair as a kind of straightener. For that to work on my hair type, I think that the barrel would have to be ceramic and the heat would have to be a couple of hundred degrees higher. The InStyler did smoothe out my hair with considerable effort, but the style didn't last more than a couple of hours and then I was left with another frizzy mess.
After seeing the success (and gorgeous look) that Sinéad achieved with her InStyler, I was inspired to give it another go, and now I feel like I've finally cracked it. What works for me is to blow-dry my hair as smooth as possible first, with the help of a good product like Sebastian Potion 9 or Kérastase Ciment Thermique. I let my hair cool down for as long as possible (or even leave it overnight), then get to grips with the InStyler to create a wavy, voluminous look. I use the same technique as Sinéad, sectioning the hair and taking a piece at a time, always with the hair over the barrel, twisting the tool as much as possible in order to achieve volume and bounce. It was quite time-consuming for me at first, but now I've whittled it down to around the same amount of time (or less) that it would take me to use a curler. Since getting the hand of this tool, I honestly haven't touched my curler.
I have really come to love the look I can achieve with the InStyler - it's the closest thing to the elusive 'curly blow-dry' that I can achieve at home. I have to use the right products (blow-dry cream, hairsprays) in order for the style to hold and not frizz up later but it is totally worth the effort. I also really like the fact that this tool doesn't seem to damage or stress out my hair as much as, say, the GHD, as it doesn't heat up to the same temperature. It's a really welcome addition to my hair routine and I really do recommend it. However, it is expensive at €120, and if you have the same hair type as I do, I'd only consider buying it if I already had a good straightener as that is what you really need to totally get rid of frizz - I wouldn't rely on this for that purpose.