I have owned two versions of this flat iron now, both the purple tourmaline version with a digital display and the soy version with a manual dial and power switch.
First of all, let me state that normally, I can't dry heat style my hair AT ALL. Not even blow drying... sure, there's cool shot, but that takes so long to do it's really not even worth it to me, so I normally allow my hair to air dry. It's baby fine, coarse, high porosity, 3B curly, and prone to dryness and breakage. I always wanted to flat iron my hair, but greatly feared the damage all the extra dry heat styling would do.
So when I first came across this flat iron, of course, my interest was peaked because instead of trying to style my hair dry with heat, it proposed it could be done with my hair damp using LESS heat and without robbing it of the moisture it actually needs to be healthy.
Ever since I picked it up, it's been the ONLY style of flat iron I will use since. It takes a lot less time than what I've seen traditional flat ironing take, and it always leaves my hair actually healthier than it was before I flat ironed it. It leaves behind the perfect amount of moisture, and has not once damaged my hair (the proof is in the fact I can get a hair cut every four months and only have to lose a half inch off it).
It does take a bit of a learning curve to learn to use. At first, the sizzling scared the crap out of me... I soon learned that this was actually a good guide to when I needed to move on to the next section, because once the sizzling became minimal it means that section is dry enough to move on. It's also important to note it is far better for your hair and quicker if you just straighten it in one pass, though you can do a second pass with it dry just to get flatter results. Even without the second pass though, the results are pretty impressive, and I've only done the second pass when I wanted to get bone straight, mirror like quality. Working around your scalp takes some talent, as it does have poor insulation which if not done just right results in you accidentally burning your scalp. The best thing to do is start several inches away from your scalp (somewhere around 3 inches, my guess) and make absolutely sure you point the vents away from your head. The heat and steam from it being nearby will mostly dry the hair around your scalp, and even though you will notice it's slightly damper than the rest of your hair for a couple of minutes afterwards, this doesn't seem to present an issue to how straight it gets and quickly goes away. It is also important to note that the best results can be achieved from damp, NOT wet hair, so towel dry your hair well before using this flat iron on it. Also note... just like with a regular flat iron... the best temperature to flatten your hair with will be greatly dependent on your hair type. The best thing to do is start out with a low setting (half way to maximum temperature at the MAX for damp hair) and then work your way up or down from there depending on your needs (down if it seems to be drying or damaging your hair too much, up if it doesn't seem to be straightening it well enough).
I know silicone products are highly popular as protectants, but I seriously would not recommend them for anyone with coarse/dry/damaged/treated hair as anything but a weather proofing additive to a primary oil based protectant, mainly because while silicone does protect, it does not nourish and even dries your hair out a little, while oil based products protect, nourish, AND condition without depleting any moisture at all but locking it in instead. Right now I use African Pride Olive Miracle leave in conditioner followed by African Pride Olive Miracle hair oil and add a few drops of silicone based serum to that if I want to make it more weather/humidity proof. I have also used oil moisturizers and hair dressings as my protectants with great success.
Now, for a run down of the differences between the two different versions of this flat iron:
- The soy/manual version is WAY more conditioning, and you get smoother results with it, but those with baby fine/oily hair may find it leaves their hair feeling "greasy"
- The soy/manual version is less likely to snag hair
- The soy/manual version is a lot slicker than the tourmaline/digital version so it glides down the hair shaft faster and easier... some people may prefer this, others may not, it's really just personal taste
- The tourmaline/digital version is easier for novices to use thanks to an easy to understand display and clearly divided wet and dry temperature ranges
- The tourmaline/digital version doesn't close and shut as smoothly as the soy/manual version does, tending to wobble a little, and feels "cheaper" in construction
- I have noticed I have to be more careful with manipulating the placement of the soy/manual version to prevent getting burned by it... it seems to be the difference in designs that causes this
- The soy/manual version will stay at the same setting every time you use it, but can be prone to changing settings in the middle of styling if you don't watch the placement of your hands since the dial is ever so slightly accessible on the sides even with the iron closed shut... the tourmaline/digital version naturally isn't prone to this issue, but forgets its previous setting every time it's shut off so you have to reset it to your favorite setting every time you use it, unless you prefer the default best
- Both versions may burn your hands if you place them too close to the plates due to lack of insulation
- The tourmaline/digital version is a bit more prone to leaving indents in your hair than the soy/manual version is due to design differences, so one must learn to avoid pressing down too hard with it