ghd original IV hair straightener review: we test the classic styler

w&h beauty editor's ghd original IV hair straightener review - is the iconic styler still the best?

a womans hand holding the ghd original IV hair straightener against a pink backdrop
(Image credit: ghd)
Woman & Home Verdict

A great all-rounder that works well on fine-to-medium hair. Its streamlined design can create endless hair looks - from mermaid waves to poker straight styles. If you’re after a simple, user-friendly straightener, this could be the tool for you.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great all-rounder

  • +

    Creates different hair styles

  • +

    User-friendly

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Slim plates may not suit very thick hair

  • -

    Bulky compared to other ghd stylers

Specifications

Weight: 0.5kg

Cord length: 2.7m

Warranty: 2 years

RRP: $169/£119

The ghd original IV hair straightener has truly stood the test of time. Launching back in 2001, the sleek hot tool completely revolutionized the way we styled our hair with its high-tech design and cutting-edge technology.

I received my first ghd original IV hair straightener as a birthday gift back in my teens (circa 2009) and will never forget my excitement when opening that matte black box. Finally, my own pair of ghds. It felt like a big moment and I was totally blown away by the results. Sleek, smooth strands that remained poker straight throughout the entire school day. 

That same pair stayed with me throughout university and remain one of the best hair straighteners (and most reliable) that I’ve owned. After the expected wear and tear from years of use, I eventually invested in another pair of the stylers (and have since added to my toolkit with various different models of the best ghd straighteners). But there is something about the original that keeps me coming back for more - here, I'll break down everything you need to know. 

ghd original IV hair straightener review

ghd original IV hair straightener design

the ghd original IV hair straightener that I tested

My trusty ghd original IV hair straightener

(Image credit: Emma Stoddart)

The ghd original IV hair straightener is a simple, straightforward, no-nonsense hair tool. At the time of its launch, it was by far the sleekest styler around with its streamlined design featuring slim ceramic plates that weigh next to nothing. A total mane-changer - up until ghds first styler, most tools were heavy with a bulky design that often led to arm ache.  

While it’s not as light as the ghd Platinum+ hair straightener (which weighs a mere 0.4kg), the ghd original is still lighter than most thanks to the aluminum plates and can easily be maneuvered to style an entire head of hair. The 2.7m swivel cord also helps here - I find that it’s great for smoothing those hard-to-reach sections at the back. 

It also has floating plates (which essentially means that the plates are flexible and can adjust to grip onto the hair) that are slim in size, so work best when styling small-to-medium sections of hair. If you have thick, coarse hair or a long hairstyle this may be a downside as it will take longer to style than, say, one of the best straighteners for curly hair that feature wide plates. 

Plate size asides, the design is seriously robust and sturdy and as I and many others can attest - the ghd original IV hair straightener will last for years.

How well does the ghd original perform?

Like all ghd hot tools (including the brand’s best hair straightener brush), the original styler maintains a continuous heat of 185 degrees. This, according to ghd, is the optimum and healthiest temperature to style strands in a single stroke - without causing too much damage. You simply flick the switch to ‘on’ and the plates heat up in 30 seconds. A beeping sound will indicate when the straighteners are ready to use. 

After years of styling my hair with the ghd original, I can confirm that it does style small sections of hair in a single pass. However, my hair is fine and it may take a couple of passes to style thick or coarse hair types. As for results, they’re second to none. The slim design featuring curved edges allows you to switch up your style and create endless hair looks - including bouncy curly hairstyles, beachy wavy hairstyles, plus, of course, pin straight styles.  

While some straighteners, like those with wide plates, are limited to straight styles - the ghd original is not. It manages to smooth strands and tame flyaways for a super sleek finish without tugging or pulling. This is thanks to the ceramic coated plates that seamlessly glide through hair. 

What's not good about the ghd original IV hair straightener?

ghd original IV hair straightener

(Image credit: ghd)

Ghd continually updates its hair repertoire, launching more and more savvy tools that boast increasingly advanced technology. It's because of this that the ghd original now feels a little bit behind in terms of tech. When debating newer models, like the ghd Platinum+ vs ghd Gold, it's worth noting that the original is bulkier and wasn't created with the same sleek design or high-tech features. 

However, the brand has launched a new and improved ghd original styler. The updated styler now features the same tech found in its sister tools - including a single power button for ease, gloss-coated plates for even more glide, and single-zone technology that ensures the optimum temperature is maintained during styling. 

As for appearances, the newer model still has the same classic black design with gold plates - it just looks more contemporary with smoother edges and the updated logo. In terms of performance, both tools deliver a variety of looks but the new tool feels smoother when gliding through hair. I found that my original ghd began to stick to strands and tug more as the years went by. With that being said, the hair pros do recommend replacing your hair tools every two to three years (not seven, like me). 

ghd original IV hair straightener review: w&h verdict

Still available to buy at retailers including Amazon, the ghd original IV hair straightener is a brilliant all-rounder that delivers a variety of hair looks quickly and effortlessly. While it’s not as high-tech as the latest ghd tools or the famous Dyson Corrale hair straightener, it’s still one of the best, most trusted hair stylers around. 

With fine hair that’s medium in length, I find that the ghd original IV hair straightener is perfect for both curling and straightening my locks. The slim design and thin plates catch just enough hair to make styling a breeze. If, however, you have thick, coarse or curly tresses—the ghd max hair straightener may be a better option with its XXL-sized plates that capture large sections of hair to speed up styling.

Overall, if your hair is fine or short and you’re not fussed about all the added frills, the ghd original is a great pick with its sturdy, robust design that gets the job done - and does it well. If you’re after an ultra-modern design that has all the latest features, including gloss coated plates, consider the new and improved original styler instead. 


Emma Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and self-confessed skincare aficionado with over five years’ industry experience. Emma has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles including Net-A-Porter, Stylist and Grazia. Her experience spans online and print as well as producing editorial shoots with some of the industry’s biggest artists, including Val Garland. Asides from working with them behind the scenes, she’s also had the chance to interview the likes of Patrick Ta, Pat McGrath, and Sam McKnight for all their insider tips and tricks.