March 14, 2019 at 08:58AM by CWC
As of late, I’ve been taken by all things infrared. When I’m in need of a super drenched sweat session, I hit up an infrared sauna—either by visiting a booth with my beau or even cuddling into an infrared wrap at home. Heck, I even wear Tom Brady’s infrared pajamas to boost my body’s recovery overnight. But I never realized that infrared technology can also be applied to your hair.
When a set of By Gina infrared hair styling tools—including a blowdryer, straightener, and curling wand—came across my desk, you can bet that I was intrigued. Sure, the technology works amazingly on your body—but I wasn’t sure how it would do the same for your hair.
“Infrared is a light wavelength that penetrates deeper into the hair shaft, heating the hair evenly and safely from the inside out,” explains Gina Rivera, hairstylist and founder of Phenix Salon Suites and By Gina products. “It’s designed to steam the hair instead of applying a direct heat.” This is helpful because hot tools are notoriously harsh on the outer layer of hair, lifting up the cuticle, which dries out strands, and can leave hair looking damaged. Once that happens, it’s harder to maintain your given style because water from the air in the form of humidity will enter the hair shaft and puff it up, making it look frizzy.
“It’s designed to steam the hair instead of applying a direct heat.” —Gina Rivera
Kerry E. Yates, trichologist and founder of Colour Collective agrees with infrared’s benefits for your hair. “Infrared helps to dry the hair from the inside out,” she tells me. “This allows you to use less heat, and by minimizing the exposure to heat, you alleviate styling stress on the cuticle. Hair’s overall appearance is improved, and it looks shinier.” And so, to give the infrared hair tech a whirl, I decided to actually blow dry and style my hair for a week—to see for myself just how well it works.
Here’s how the infrared hair tools stood up
The blowdryer: When I picked up the infrared blowdryer, I was skeptical it’d do anything differently than any other that I’ve used in my life. But this one heats up quick, and it cut my drying time significantly. While I usually skip the blowdryer all together because of the time suck, when I flipped the switch on this one, I was surprised that my hair was dry in jiff. And while time in my pocket is certainly a perk, so too, was the fact that this tool didn’t leave a halo of broken, frizzy pieces.
The hair straightener: FWIW: My hair is pretty straight to begin with, so I don’t need a ton of help in this department. As soon as I switched it to “on,” the temperature monitor rose from 0 to 450 degrees in the blink of an eye. As the infrared heat glided over my strands, they became immediately pin-straight. Like, no frizz or bends at all. I also didn’t have to hold the straightener on my hair as I slid it down, like with other straighteners I’ve used before.
The curling iron: Like the straightener, the curling iron heats up in a flash—and my hair was styled more quickly than any other time in my life. I was actually really impressed by how quickly I could curl my strands, and by how long they lasted throughout the day. Typically, my stubbornly straight hair can only hold a curl for a couple of hours. With infrared, the bends in my strands lasted all day (which is miraculous, IMO).
The verdict: Since you can see the infrared in these tools—they aren’t coated—you’re getting the direct waves, which results in that impressive efficiency in terms of heat styling. Also, “hair gets a fresh start as the technology removes product residue in the hair by steaming it off,” so they say. I have no way of actually knowing this—all I can tell ya is that my infrared-styled hair was on point. It didn’t feel dry and damaged like it typically does when I actually style it, it looked shinier, healthier, and—best of all—the infrared tools saved me time in my morning routine. Infrared, you win my heart again.