What would a world without ghd straighteners be like? You could bank on a few more bad hair days at the very least. Since 2001 this cult brand has led the way in creating cutting-edge smoothing and styling devices for every hair type and look.
Two decades on from the launch of the Original Styler, ghd offers a varied collection of the best straighteners you can find anywhere - and we've tested them all. This brand has won hundreds of awards, created the flat iron of choice for top stylists globally, and most importantly, is still the go-to brand for home straightening. For celebrity stylist Adam Reed (opens in new tab), a ghd straightener is an essential part of his toolkit. "I’ve had a ghd styler in my kit bag forever," he tells us. "I remember the first time I used one and being blown away by what it could do. I still get the 'OMG effect' every time I use it to create something new."
If you are planning to invest in new hair straighteners, you've probably wondered if ghd has a model that's right for you - and the good news is, the answer's almost certainly yes. This brand has brought out a variety of upgrades and hair type specific iterations of their classic flat iron, as well as some of the best hair dryers and best hair straightener brush options on the market. From wide plates for curly hairstyles to mini versions for short hairstyles and cordless models for on the go, we've tried and tested every single ghd straightener and these are our honest thoughts.
How we tested the best ghd straighteners
When you’re considering paying hundreds for a hair tool, it needs to check all the boxes, so we analyzed everything from size and weight to ease and speed of styling, while also considering cost. Hair type also plays a role, as the best ghd straighteners for curly, thick, or long hair will not be the same as for fine hair or travel. We've taken every one of these factors into account to create this guide so that you can make the best choice (and investment) possible.
The best ghd straighteners, ranked by our beauty team(opens in new tab)
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Firstly, how pretty is that pastel blue? It's part of the ghd i-D collection and will be around for a limited time through spring and summer 2022. Cute color aside, ghd's most premium straightener option is often pitted against the almighty Dyson Corrale, so if you're weighing up Dyson Corrale vs GHD Platinum+, it's worth taking a few factors into consideration.
The Platinum+ features predictive heat technology, which intelligently adapts to the thickness and density of the hair—meaning more control, less damage, and fewer split ends. When testing, we loved the speedy heat-up time, which took just 15 seconds and the wishbone hinge made styling feel easier than with older models - no clamping or awkward angles to contend with. Thanks to the smooth plates, we achieved sleek and waved results in record time, which meant less time exposed to damaging heat. Do bear in mind that less damage doesn’t equate to a free pass with heat styling, especially if your hair is brittle or color-treated. There is no such thing as a damage-proof hair straightener.
This model is favored by stylists, thanks to its reliable results. "ghd platinum is a one-stroke wonder! It gives the best results and incredible shine in just one stroke," Reed tells us. "The thing I love most about ghd platinum is that it has made things so easy. The wishbone hinge takes all the effort out of styling as it keeps the hair perfectly in place and the finish ghd platinum gives is spot on for today – beautifully smooth while retaining volume and movement. No matter whether a client has super thick hair or incredibly fine hair, I know that by using platinum+ I will get a consistent result and a beautifully smooth finish across every hair type.”
It’s also worth noting that Platinum+ comes with a three-year warranty in case your model misbehaves (all other ghd hair straighteners hold a two-year warranty). Wondering if you really need to go for the top brass in the ghd cannon? ghd Platinum+ vs ghd Gold is a common quandary. Both are great stylers for regular users, but if you’re concerned about the drying effects of heat-styling on delicate or damaged hair, we recommend the Platinum+ between the two.
Read our full ghd Platinum+ hair straightener review
2. ghd Original IV
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
"The ghd styler is the original and the best. In fact, it’s fair to say it’s genius," says Adam Reed - and we have to agree with this high praise. Can you believe that it was 21 years ago when the ghd Original Styler landed on our shelves? A total game-changer, the hot tool quickly became world-famous and now, two million are sold every year across the globe. While it remains a best-seller, the team at ghd has decided to give the original styler an upgrade, using the latest technological advancements.
On testing, we found there was something pleasingly familiar about this, while also offering a sense of 'newness' with its souped-up features (plus a limited edition powder pink casing). The difference is that the plates now boast a gloss coating, and we did notice even sleeker, smoother results. The ceramic heat technology is as effective as it ever was, but now ensures there’s no extreme heat, using the optimum styling temperature of 185°C. Design-wise, it retains its classic sleek look with slim plates, which made curling, waving, and straightening our strands super easy.
This was the most simple and straightforward styler we tested, and it would be almost impossible to go wrong with this hot tool. It does take a little longer to cover the entire head when compared to the Max or Platinum+ models, but the slimmer handle allowed us to get right into the hairline when styling. The new version also features single-zone technology so that the heat is evenly distributed across both ceramic plates to help effortlessly style your hair. "ghd original is the perfect tool for those starting out on their ghd journey and wanting to create beautiful simple styles with shine and smoothness," Igor Rago, ghd Italy's art director explains.
See our full ghd Original IV hair straightener review
3. ghd Unplugged
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
ghd Unplugged joins the latest wave of cordless stylers to land on the market, including the Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener and Babyliss 9000 Cordless Hair Straightener and brings plenty of useful features to the party. At first, we thought it had a somewhat chunky appearance, but actually, this styler is extremely lightweight for a cordless option. Weighing in at 35% less than the Platinum+, and measuring just under nine inches across, it felt compact and easy to maneuver on testing. It also features the usual ghd specs, such as dual-zone heaters and ceramic plates, as well as the smooth styling experience we’d expect from ghd.
Now, about that battery life. We got 20 minutes from a full charge - which takes about two hours. If you have fine hair like us, that will be plenty. But if you have thick or curly hair, you could probably only use this as a top-up tool instead of your main styler. With that said, they do make charging easy thanks to a USB port, which we easily plugged into our laptop and could charge in the car too, to give it a boost. Overall, this is a great pick for travel and touch-ups.
ghd Unplugged is naturally a favorite with professional stylists, thanks to how easy it makes styling on the go. “ghd Unplugged offers a new level of flexibility and creativity for styling " says Manuele Mameli (opens in new tab), hair stylist to mega-influencer Chiara Ferragni. "Our working days are always so busy, but now I can style Chiara’s hair on the go, no matter where we are, and with guaranteed ghd performance. Whether it’s styling touch-ups at a photoshoot or a quick style transformation in the back of a taxi during long days at fashion week, Unplugged is my sleek-styling essential.”(opens in new tab)
4. ghd Gold
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
This is the third color option in ghd i-D collection, and definitely our favorite of the lot in its on-trend powdery lilac finish. As well as looking gorgeous, the Gold is a great pick for anyone who likes to experiment with their hair. Curved in design and with a rounded barrel, we found we could create curls and waves at a quicker rate than any other pair of ghd straighteners. Top tip? Leave the ends of your hair free to create undone beach hair waves. If you'd rather go smooth and sleek, the floating mechanism on the plates moves easily down the hair shaft without snags.
Heat-wise, these straighteners felt fast to warm up, probably around 25 seconds, and are pleasingly lightweight and easy to maneuver. You can expect an even temperature without hot spots due to the highly intelligent heat sensors in each plate. This allowed us to enjoy highly controlled styling without the need for repeat passing through the hair - a big tick. If you’re after styling versatility with a nod to heat protection, the ghd Gold should suit your needs. “We’re treating the hair very carefully, as you would a beautiful and delicate fabric. The ghd Gold styler glides through the hair, delivering a constant safer-for-hair heat of 185 degrees to ensure hair is perfectly styled but is not damaged," Reed explains.
There’s no ionic technology to keep static at bay, so they may not suit those with very frizzy hair but we still achieved a smooth, sheeny look. And if you are determined to perfect how to curl hair with straighteners, this is the gold standard option.(opens in new tab)
5. ghd Max
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If you have thick hair, curly hair, or a natural hairstyle that you’d like to smooth out every now and then, the ghd Max is undoubtedly one of the best straighteners for curly hair on the market. With broad plates that are double the width of other ghd models (two inches vs. the usual one), we were able to hold and smooth larger sections of hair in one go, which significantly cut down on styling time.
These generous proportions also allowed our tester's thick hair to be styled at a consistent 185ºC, which will be a godsend for anyone who worries about having to make repeated passes and frazzling individual sections. This sets it apart from other brands’ irons designed for thick hair, many of which rely on higher heat that can cause damage over time.
The downside of larger plates is that we found they do take slightly longer to heat up than other ghd stylers, but the time you’ll save during styling thanks to its XL design will more than make up for it. It’s also worth noting that we found it harder to create waves and curls with this tool due to the plate size but if your main hair straightener uses are to smooth and straighten, this is the one for you.
See our full ghd Max hair straightener review(opens in new tab)
6. ghd Mini
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Our first impression on testing this was, how very cute! With a plate width of just half an inch, this pocket rocket allows for precision styling that’s ideal for both a bangs hairstyle and a pixie haircut. The ghd Mini also offers the same styling power as other ghd models, including the Gold and Platinum+.
Due to its size, we found it did feel a little fragile in the hand, although we never experienced any issues while using it and the two-year warranty set our mind at ease. It has simple controls, sticking with ghd's signature temperature of 365ºF/185ºC which takes away any guesswork, and the floating plates gave us a smooth, snag-free straightening experience.
If you find that your short hair sticks out at weird angles when using conventional straighteners, or that larger tools leave a dent in the top of your hair, then you’ll likely fall in love with the Mini. Styling every section did take a little longer on testing, but the seamless results made that worth it in the end.
Your GHD straightener FAQs answered
Do ghd straighteners turn off automatically?
It’s that agonizing question we all ask ourselves after leaving the house in a hurry: “did I forget to turn my hair straighteners off?” You rack your brain back to that very moment you put them down but cannot remember if you turned them off or not. Do not fret. All ghd hair straighteners are programmed to switch themselves off automatically after 30-minutes. Phew!
How hot do ghds get?
All ghd tools reach an optimum heat of 185°C/365°F. This temperature has been specially chosen because, according to the brand, it’s scientifically proven to produce long-lasting straight hair with minimal damage to individual strands. Their research found that anything above this optimum temperature can cause structural damage to your hair.
How long do ghds last?
Most ghd straighteners come with a warranty of two or three years for peace of mind but many users claim that their styler has lasted upwards of five years. The trick is to take good care of the styler, cleaning them after use (once cooled) and storing them in a heat-resistant bag.
If your hair straighteners are not maintaining an even heat, or it’s taking longer to style your hair - it could be that they're past their best. Some experts recommend replacing them after four years.
How to heat protect hair when using ghds
“One of the best hair care tips, which is very often ignored, is using a heat-protective spray on your hair before using any heated tools," says Charlotte Mensah (opens in new tab), ghd global ambassador, and hairstylist. "If you do, you’ll love how your hair looks even after the styling wears off! Follow this commandment, and your hair will really thank you for it.”
Here are the key ingredients to look out for when it comes to heat protection for hair:
- Humectants: Humectants act as water magnets that help hair draw in and retain more moisture. Glycerin, panthenol, and propylene are all types of humectants that can often be found in heat protectant sprays to deliver hydrated, healthy hair results.
- Amino Acids: Amino Acids work as strengthening and conditioning agents. In the world of haircare, their main function is to supply nourishing antioxidants to repair surface damage. For example, Keratin is a structural protein that helps strengthen strands to restore and repair heat and color damage.
- Natural Oils: Natural oils seal and protect your hair cuticle, all while locking in moisture. They work especially well for thick, curly, or natural hair, as these types can take on a heavier product without getting weighed down. If we’re calling out superhero ingredients, coconut oil repairs split ends and shields your hair against the effects of heat-styling tools. Not to mention, a little goes a long way.
Best ghd hair care products to use with straighteners
- ghd Bodyguard Heat Protect Spray at Amazon for $21.79 (opens in new tab)
- ghd Bodyguard Heat Protect Spray at Amazon for £17.89 (opens in new tab)
ghd Dramatic Endings Smooth and Finish Serum | RRP: $25/£18.95
The last step of your hair straightening routine should always be a smoothing serum to add gloss and shine, as well as taming pesky flyaways for a polished final effect (and particularly useful if you're hoping to disguise the appearance of split ends (opens in new tab)).
- ghd Dramatic Endings Smooth and Finish Serum at Amazon for $20.90 (opens in new tab)
- ghd Dramatic Endings Smooth and Finish Serum for £17.99 (opens in new tab)
ghd Pick Me Up Root Lift Spray | RRP: $25 /£18.95
For a bouncy blow dry (opens in new tab), a decent root lift spray can really help create texture and volume. Simply spritz at the roots evenly over the scalp to boost fine and limp hair. As an added bonus, this nifty spray also contains the ghd Heat Protection System to protect your hair while using straighteners.
- ghd Pick Me Up Root Lift Spray for at Amazon for $23.17 (opens in new tab)
- ghd Pick Me Up Root Lift Spray at Amazon for £18.95 (opens in new tab)
- ghd Body Goals Total Volume Foam at Amazon for $22 (opens in new tab)
- ghd Body Goals Total Volume Foam at Amazon for £18 (opens in new tab)
- ghd Travel Bodyguard Heat Protection Spray at ghd for $15 (opens in new tab)
- ghd Travel Bodyguard Heat Protection Spray at ghd for £12.50 (opens in new tab)