If you’re sick of juggling various different hair tools, then this hairdryer-straightener-hybrid will have serious appeal. It will take time to get to grips with, but practice makes for perfectly sleek hair.
Negates the need for two tools
Leaves hair smooth and shiny
Possible to wave hair as well as straighten
High price tag
Needs to be used on slightly dry hair
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If 13-year-old me had read this ghd Duet Style review, her mind would be blown.
My coarse, curly hair was a constant source of annoyance for me throughout my childhood, especially given I spent a lot of my childhood with a jaw-skimming bob and full fringe (I’m still not sure why my parents thought this was a good idea).
Warranty: 2 years
I still remember the thrill of the first time my godmother straightened my hair (it took hours) and over the last 18 years I've owned countless pairs of straighteners, from ones that barely worked to ones so hot they singed my hair. At 31, I’ve just about cracked it (bi-annual keratin treatments are a game-changer) but I’m still on the lookout for anything that’ll save me precious smoothing time and minimise damage.
We first tested the ghd Duet Styler when it launched in early 2023, and updated this review in October 2023 to answer more of the questions that you have been asking. We still stand by our original review – it is a great tool for anyone with naturally unruly hair who straightens their hair after every wash and is keen to minimise styling time and damage.
Enter the ghd Duet Style. The lovechild of your best hairdryer and best straightener, the aim of this 2-in-1 hot air styler is to dry and straighten hair all at once. And – wait for it – the biggest claim is that this styler causes no damage at all compared to letting hair dry naturally. For straightener addicts like me who try and hide their split ends like a shameful secret, this is pretty exciting. So, what’s the catch? I put it to the test to see if I could find one.
Our Beauty Editor’s GHD Duet Style review
ghd Duet Style first impressions and technology
I’ll address the elephant in the room first: the ghd Duet Styler is not a small tool. Let's just say that it makes the L’Oreal Steampod look streamlined. I think, unfairly, I was expecting it to look more like a straightener than a hairdryer, but when you consider the fact it’s a hybrid of both, then it is probably a similar size (albeit a different shape) to my ghd Helios hair dryer.
As I’ve alluded to, the ghd Duet Style looks, at first glance, like a big straightener – but it’s much more than that. The magic starts with the swivel cord, where a filter draws air into the styler to fuel the drying process. That air is then propelled up the handle of the styler to the plates. There, instead of a typical double-plate design, there are four narrow plates (two on each side) with air vents between them where the heated air is blown onto the hair. There are also four narrow rows of vents on the outer edges of the Duet, which are designed to efficiently dry your roots.
The air in the styler reaches temperatures of 150°C, while the plates, which smooth hair at the same time as the airflow dries it, heat to 120°C. There’s a second setting option too: the shine shot. When hair is fully dry, you can press the button on the side and wait four seconds for the motor to stop and the plates to heat to 185°C – which is the optimum temperature used across all the best ghd straighteners. You can use the shine shot between washes to smooth too, just like you would your normal flat iron.
How well does the GHD Duet Style perform?
Turning on the ghd Duet Style is a bit of a surprise. It makes a noise not unlike a tiny rocket about to launch as the motor kicks in, and there was a split-second where I did worry it would combust. It takes seconds to heat and, just like the ghd Platinum+, emits a chime to let you know it’s ready.
The instructions say you can use the Duet on towel-dried hair, as long as you’ve soaked out the excess moisture. I did this, but my thick hair holds onto water like a dog with a bone, so if your hair is dense like mine, you’d want to air or rough-dry with a hairdryer first. On the sections I styled straight after towel-drying, it took six very, very slow passes through the hair until it felt fully dry. On the sections I had rough-dried first, it took two to three passes. I expected my damp hair to hiss and fizz on contact with the tool, but am pleased to report there was nothing of the sort.
As the styler is wider than average (even more so than the ghd Max hair straightener) it did take a little while to get the knack of using it. I struggled with the back of my hair and found that I missed a few rogue sections. If you have a lot of hair, you need to work methodically with the help of a sectioning clip to ensure you’ve caught every single strand.
But the attention to detail really does pay off. My hair came out of the styler super smooth and super straight. I’d say it took a similar amount of time to style my hair with the Duet Style compared to my usual hairdryer and straighteners tag team, but there is something very satisfying about knowing you’ve completely finished one section before moving on to the next. I didn’t need to use the shine shot, and my hair stayed shiny and frizz-free until my next shampoo.
What’s not so good about the GHD Duet Style?
On paper, my ghd Duet Style review was a success, but there was a moment post-styling where I looked at my rod-straight hair and wondered if ghd is 10 years too late with this innovation. Even straight-hair coveters like me have graduated to the idea of a soft wave instead of poker straight hair. ghd doesn’t mention waving or curling hair with this product, but I thought I’d give it a go. Using the shine shot, I was able to add a subtle wave to my hair, which made my finished style feel softer and more modern. The plates are wide, so this wouldn’t be possible on short hairstyles, just shoulder-length to long hairstyles and it takes a bit of practice to get the technique right (even if you already know how to curl hair with a straightener)
I’ve already touched on a few of the ghd Duet’s Achilles heels, but whether they’re deal-breakers will ultimately depend on your hair type. I think anyone would agree that the styler is noisy to begin with (it does quieten as you use it) and it’s not that easy to do the back of your hair. If your hair is thick like mine, trying to capture every single strand within the plates, as opposed to directing a wider jet of airflow at your hair with a traditional hairdryer, makes for a painstaking process. If your hair is fine and normally dries quite quickly, then this wouldn’t be an issue.
ghd Duet Style review: My verdict
If you have what I would call easy hair (can get caught in the rain without fear of frizz and leave the house without heat styling) then the ghd Duet Style isn’t going to set your heart on fire. But, if like me, you blow dry and straighten your hair every single time you wash it, then it's really worth it.
The time it takes is equivalent to using a separate hairdryer and straighteners, but having one tool instead of two is easier for storage and travel. For me though, the biggest pro is the lack of damage. It feels like a big claim from ghd to say that this causes absolutely no damage (they have verified this on consumer testing of 142 women) but I’m inclined to believe it considerably reduces damage at the very least.
Instead of exposing my hair to the high heat of a hairdryer, followed by a straightener temperature of 185°C, the max it got to was 150°C (without the shine shot). My hair felt soft, healthy, and not-at-all frazzled after use.
If you’re serious about straightening and smoothing, but also serious about the health of your hair, I’d say the ghd Duet Style is worth the investment.
Does the GHD Duet really not damage hair?
According to ghd, in a consumer testing panel of 142 women, there was no thermal hair damage detected after 100 cycles of 4 passes of the tool in wet-to-style mode compared to naturally dried hair. These are impressive stats, but the cynic in me still doesn’t quite believe that any tool powered by heat won’t damage the hair at least a little bit. Instead of saying it doesn’t cause any damage at all, I would lean towards saying that the ghd Duet Styler results in reduced damage compared to using a separate hairdryer and straightener. Keep in mind too that even air drying your hair, which is widely considered to be the kindest option, can still cause some damage. This is because our strands are weaker when they’re wet and are therefore more prone to snagging and snapping caused by things like brushing, combing and friction on your pillow.
Can you use the ghd Duet Styler on dry hair?
Although its biggest USP is that it can take hair from wet to dry, the ghd Duet Styler can still be used on dry hair to refresh your style in between washes. As you don’t need to dry your hair, there’s no need to use the dryer setting and you can just proceed straight to the shine shot. This heats the plates to 185°C (ghd’s optimal styling temperature across all of their straighteners) and allows you to straighten and smooth hair just as you would with a normal straightener. The only thing to keep in mind is that because the tool is quite big, it’s not necessarily the best thing for day two or three touch-ups – especially if the area you’re trying to tackle is right at the top by the roots or those annoying little baby hairs that have a tendency to fluff and frizz. If those are bugbears of yours, then a narrow pair of regular straighteners might still be the best tool for the job.
You can also use woman&home's latest ghd discount codes to make an even better saving on your purchase.
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Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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