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Monday, February 22, 2010

To CHI or Not To CHI?

I consider myself a frugal fashionista. While I've been known to pony up a little more cash for a pair of nice jeans, high quality shoes, or the best in cosmetics, when it comes down to it, I'm a bargain basement kind of gal. I won't tell you some of the places I buy my clothes, for two reasons: 1) you wouldn't believe me by the way I dress, and; 2) I don't want you to bogart my suppliers. Seriously...I spend very little on clothing, but my closet is packed.

Anyway, it's all about making choices. I spend more on cosmetics with better ingredients, and justify the value for my dollar when my skin stays clear. However, when it comes to hair tools, I'm a cheapo. I've never spent more than $15 bucks on a curling iron or flat iron, but I'm starting to wonder if it's time for an upgrade. My Conair ceramic flat iron I got from Target is starting to lose it's ability to heat up, and let's be real...it never worked that well anyway.

For the same reason that I can't bring myself to buy a weather center, I am hesitant to acquire a professional flat iron. I've lamented to my roommate, Amy, many times that I would love to have a CHI. But spending $150 on a metal and plastic hair contraption seems to wane in importance, considering the number of starving children in the world today.

Before I absentmindedly plop down my debit card, I'd like your honest opinion. If you are a professional flat iron user, please give me the 4-1-1 on your investment.

I'd like to know:
--Which brand/model flat iron do you use?
--How long have you owned it?
--Have you experienced any manufacturing issues with the product?
--Did you previously own a cheapo flat iron?
--If so, can you tell the difference? How?
--What kind of temperature range should I seek on a professional flat iron?
--What's the difference between a $150 CHI and a $75 CHI?
--Are there brands that make a professional flat iron better than CHI?
--Would you recommend I upgrade?

Queen MAB Consumer Reports appreciates your feedback!


Blogger groovinkc said...

I'm in the same boat. However, from my research you get what you pay for when it comes to flat irons. I'd actually go one step further and get a GHD. They are little bit more but far superior. They last for years. However, I still can't get over the starving children thing...

7:59 PM

Anonymous Lindsay Skaff said...

I'm not a professional, but I am a CHI owner. I love my CHI. Like you, I was very skeptical about spending such a ridiculous sum on a flat iron but then I realized that in the 6 months prior to purchasing my CHI, I had spent approximately $200 on cheap-o flat irons. I have had my CHI for 2 years now (our anniversary together was last month) and it works as well today as the day I bought it. The plates heat up evenly, to approximately 400 degrees, and always do a fantastic job of straightening out my hair, no matter how much of a hot mess it is. My problem with the cheap-o flat irons is that they never seemed to heat evenly, get hot enough or stay hot for long enough. My hair is not difficult to work with but I had to go over each section 4 or 5 times with the cheap-o irons. With my CHI, it is rare that I go over any section of hair more than once. I would definitely recommend a CHI if you are looking to upgrade. :) Happy shopping!

8:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've owned a CHI for 6 years and it is wonderful. I have crazy frizzy thick hair and it is the only thing that will tame my hair. they sell them at ulta and this store often sends out $20 off coupons or you can buy on ebay which is where i purchased mine

8:05 PM

Anonymous Melissa =) said...

Girl, I had a CHI and it treated me well for 4 years. I now own a GHD and, while costing a pretty penny, I have been completely satisfied with it and think it was totally worth the money =). I have to agree with Casey - you definitely get what you pay for.

8:11 PM

Blogger emmysue said...

--Which brand/model flat iron do you use? CHI - don't know the model, but it's red leopard (it was a gift)
--How long have you owned it? since June '08. I one before that, but it was stolen from my work gym
--Have you experienced any manufacturing issues with the product? Nope
--Did you previously own a cheapo flat iron? Yes
--If so, can you tell the difference? How? Absolutely. The cheapos don't get hot enough, and don't produce that same sleek look that the expensive ones do.
--What kind of temperature range should I seek on a professional flat iron? No clue. I'd say my only beef with my CHI is there's only one setting (on or off).
--What's the difference between a $150 CHI and a $75 CHI? No help here either.
--Are there brands that make a professional flat iron better than CHI? dunno
--Would you recommend I upgrade? Honestly, yes. I think I'm like you as far as the spending money on certain things, and I recommend it. I also highly recommend getting a heat case, so you can put it up after you use it and not have to wait for it to cool down.

I think you have think hair like me. We have to be careful not to fry our hair. Keep the CHI moving, and don't do the same section 2x in a row. :)

1:26 AM

Blogger Sarah Holton said...

I have the Ultra Chi - red 1-inch model (retail is like $150, I used an Ulta coupon and got it for $115). It was purchased 14 months ago. I have had ZERO problems with it and will buy a new one immediately if/when my current Chi dies. I am so in love with it that I would also consider buying the Chi hairdryer. My friend swears by hers. I owned two cheapo irons previously: one totally crappy and one moderately priced, better-than-cheapo-but-nowhere-near-as-good-as-the-Chi. Ditto on what Emily said about telling the difference. Other irons burned and crisped my hair. I see the biggest difference on the ends of my hair and overall smoothness. I use the Chi silk infusion product and it helps my brittle hair be smoother. I actually love that the Chi only has one hot option - on - because I don't have to fiddle with figuring out what works or doesn't work. Either I like it or I don't, and it's just plain hot. I have heard from many people that there is no other brand to match the Chi. I haven't tried other expensive ones, but I have tried cheap and middle of the road - again, nothing comes close to Chi quality for me. I have very different hair from you, but I've taken a poll of my officemates of various hair persuasions; we can't agree on cheaper v. more expensive versions, but we all agree there is only one choice - CHI CHI CHI!

1:44 PM

Blogger Amy Helms said...

can we get a two for one deal? because mine is on it's last leg too! we are about to be one household full of frizzy headed people :(

10:32 PM

Blogger Amanda Vilendrer said...

Considering my hair is pretty stick straight, I'll be the one disenter and say that my conair flat iron works just fine for my hair. Does it get as hot and make my hair as smooth as a CHI? Nope, but my hair doesn't warrant that much smoothing.

Would La Mer face cream do wonders for my skin? Probably, but I'm fine with my store-bought Aveeno, for the same reason I'm ok with my cheapo flat iron. I'm just playing devil's advocate here.

9:19 AM


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