Ceramic Ceramic coils in dryers heat up faster and stay hot longer than metal ones do, so they’re good for anyone looking to speed up drying time. And curling irons and flat irons coated in ceramic are gentler on hair than irons made of metal―which means they’re good for people with delicate or damaged hair.
Tourmaline Some dryers come with coils covered in this semiprecious gem. In theory, a tourmaline-coated coil emits a negative ionic charge, which helps break water molecules on the hair shaft into smaller particles. Since smaller water particles evaporate faster, a tourmaline dryer could reduce drying time.
It depends on how often you use your styling tools and how irked you get when they burn out. “The main difference between professional tools and mass-market ones is that professional versions are meant to be used all day, multiple times per day, so their motors are made for longevity,” says Stacey DeFelice, a public-relations representative for the Conair brand of tools. Matt Swinney, co-owner of the Evolution Experience Salon, in Minneapolis, points out that while professional tools are more expensive than those you find in the drugstore, they’re also made of sturdier materials and usually come with a warranty. If they break, you can send them back to be repaired or replaced. Even if your $15 curling iron or blow-dryer comes with a warranty, you’re probably better off buying a new one than having it repaired. You might well end up laying out just as much money―if not more, over the years―for repairs.
Bottom Line The results you get from professional and drugstore styling appliances are similar. If you want your tools to last for years, it’s worth investing in pro models. But if you don’t care how long these tools last (or if you use them infrequently), cheaper models will do just as well.