Hair Styling Tools: The Ultimate Guide

Hair Styling Tools: The Ultimate Guide

Hair styling can feel like a bit of a daunting task, from investing in the right pieces of kit to knowing which brushes do what. We’re making it easy by breaking down all of the different types of hair styling tools in our ultimate guide. From straighteners to teasing brushes, we have you covered.

The Electric Stylers

From curlers to straighteners, there are now so many options for getting that perfect salon hairstyle at home. Here is what they can all be used for and what to look out for when choosing the right one for you.

Curling Tongs

For long-lasting, flawless curls, a curling wand is the key. With a heated element inside the barrel, you twist your hair around it section by section to set the curl with heat.

New versions have ceramic plated exteriors to help protect your hair and infuse it with shine and you can also find things like heat-proof tips for easier handling.

What to look out for:

  • Barrel size. The larger the barrel, the looser the curls. The smaller the barrel, the tighter the curls. A 3/4 inch barrel is the standard size for most curly looks. A tapered wand that is smaller at one end than the other gives a very natural shape curl.
  • Clamp or no clamp. This is all about how you prefer to use your tong. A clamp helps to hold the hair against the barrel, for better control, but no clamp can be easier to wrap the hair around.
  • Temperatures. Higher heat is needed for coarser hair, whilst finer hair needs less. Look for adjustable temperature options for the most flexibility.


Whether you want to smooth kinks, add in wave and texture or even curl your hair, straighteners can do it all.

Straighteners have moved on a lot since the noughties craze for poker straight locks, with much more sophisticated temperature controls, more options and more technology to help heat evenly and protect hair.

What to look out for:

  • Different Coatings. Ceramic plates help distribute heat more evenly and can hold heat well, making it better for the hair. Tourmaline is another option that can help to smooth the hair as you straighten and both of these work well on fine hair. For coarser hair, Titanium can be the best choice as it can heat up faster.
  • Iron Size. Narrower irons can help you get right up to the roots of the hair, perfect for shorter hair. Very wide irons can work better for thick or long hair, covering more surface area.

Hair Dryers

Hair dryers are an everyday essential for many women and the right one can cut down your styling routine no end.

There are lots of different options around, making it hard to know which one is right for you.

What to look out for: 

  • Different Wattages. The wattage impacts the temperature of your dryer. Fine hair doesn’t need as much heat, making around 1200 watts ideal. For normal or coarser hair, a wattage of 1400 is best.
  • Nozzles and Diffusers. A nozzle is always useful for directing hair flow, especially useful for smoothing hair or adding volume. A diffuser is essential for curly hair, drying hair without separating curls.
  • Cool shot. Heat helps dry your hair and style your hair, but cold air helps set your style. If you tend to do curly blow drys, then this is an essential for setting the shape in your hair.

The Hair Brushes

It might seem simple, but your hairbrush can have a huge effect on how your finished look works. Just like your makeup brushes, the brush you choose depends on what style and finish you’re going for; they all do very different things.

Paddle Brush

A paddle brush is amazing for everyday styling, with its broad flat shape helping to detangle. Plastic brushes are great for this, whilst the natural bristle brushes are also great for straightening and smoothing the hair.

Vented Round Brush

The metal core of these brushes make them ideal for using with a hair dryer for adding volume, soft curl and speeding up drying time. A vented round brush will also work wonders for smoothing and styling fringes.

Just be sure to look for ceramic coated metal to protect your hair and only use them when your hair is around 80% dry to prevent your hair from getting frazzled.

Barrel Brush

A barrel brush is ideal for adding volume and texture to hair. You can use them in the same way to the vented round brush, but it won’t hold heat in the same way, making it slower to add  curl but better for the hair.

Those with natural bristles are best for fine hair as they can tangle a little too much in coarser locks.

Teasing Brush

These small brushes pack a styling punch. They often have a pointed end that can be used for precise parting and sectioning the hair.

With small, tightly packed bristles, it is perfect for adding volume by back-brushing, as well as smoothing the hair after styling. This makes a teasing brush an essential for up-dos.

Detangling Brush

More a pre-styling essential than a styling essential, detangling brushes tend to have broad set, synthetic bristles that also help stimulate the scalp. These are best used on wet hair before you start styling or drying.

Looking for hair styling inspiration? Head over to the Lookfantastic YouTube Channel and discover our step-by-step tutorials for you to try.



Make Up Specialist

Major fan of scented candles, Make Up brushes and Highlighter. I’m always on the hunt for those Holy Grail products and my dressing table is covered in more beauty products than I like to admit. As an adopted Northerner originally from Brighton, I spend most my days wondering what all this rain is about. My hair isn’t grateful for the move. Currently loving: NIOD Photography Fluid