If we did a survey of 100 people we’re guessing that a huge percentage wouldn’t know the difference between ceramic and iconic technology, both of which are key features of quality styling tools these days.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Back in the day before Sephora became the new corner shop, finding the best hair tools usually meant choosing from a selection of five or six, and usually deciding by price and/or cuteness (rose-gold any one?). But flash-forward to 2020 and hair tools have come a long way, with most of us feeling like we need an engineering degree to navigate the new realm of high-end, high-tech hair dryers and stylers.
Which is why we’re here to help make it feel less like rocket science by filling you in as well as answering a few other big questions along the way including the big one - how to pick the right styling tool for your hair.
Ceramic is basically a clay composite material. In the case of a ceramic hairdryer, clay is used in the body of the dryer, the heating element, or as a coating on internal parts. It creates a far infrared heat that penetrates the hair shaft, preserving hair's natural moisture and luster.
The benefit of ceramic is also that it heats up quickly and evenly leading to less damaging hot spots; the kind that frazzle and destroy your hair. It is of particular benefit for those with fine, fragile hair and/or bleached vulnerable hair. If that sounds like you then always use a hairdryer with ceramic technology, it’s a simple as that.
So a quick round-up, the benefits of a ceramic styler are:
Best for: Those who have fine and/or dry.
Drawbacks: Not as good as controlling frizz as ionic dryers.
Ionic technology produces millions of negatively charged ions that break down the positively charged ions present in water preventing them from soaking into your hair shaft and causing frizz. If you have an ionic hairdryer then you will actually be able to dry your hair faster (yes really!) and at a lower temperature. This has huge benefits for anyone with curly hair as the definition of curly hair is preserved.
The word tourmaline is often used hand in hand with ionic. Think of tourmaline dryers as ionics to the max; their insides are either made of, or are coated with, this semi-precious mineral, which throws even more negative ions into the air—but can raise a dryer's price accordingly. Still worth the price if your hair's frizzy or thick and/or difficult to dry.
The benefits of ionic dryers are:
Best for: Curly, thick or frizzy-haired girls whose hair is difficult to dry.
As mentioned above, your hair type will best determine which kind of dryer you go for, with thicker, frizzier tresses being better managed by iconic dryers. However, if you have fine or thin hair, being careful not to over-dry your hair, robbing it of texture and volume, you’ll want to go for a ceramic dryer.
It’s also worth thinking about how you want to style your hair when it comes to picking your dryer. For instance, if you’re looking for a silky smooth finish, then a dryer like the VS Sassoon Digital Sensor Dryer would be a good pick – it comes with High Ionic Technology which actively eliminates static and tames frizz. When we talk about getting salon results – this dryer will absolutely deliver.
The 5Q Brilliance High Performance Dryer is another pick. It’s been designed with a premium EC digital motor and Ionic Conditioning System which delivers 50% more frizz-controlling active ions to eliminate static and dramatically up your shine. It also comes with Ceramic Technology so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
The Frizz Defense AC Salon Dryer also deserves a big nod. This dryer is super great value, combining Super Frizz Technology that releases up to 60% more frizz-controlling ions, and with its powerful AC motor, it dries hair up to 50% faster, and it also has Ceramic Technology - a great option if you’re looking to tame frizz, add shine and want all the attachments for a perfectly smooth blow-dry at home.
Just like with our skin, the harsh weather during winter takes its toll on our hair; think brittle fly-aways, dry scalps and a serious lack of moisture. But to avoid dull-looking locks, having an ionic or ceramic hair dryer in your arsenal can help breathe a little life into your hair this winter.
Despite most of us thinking that heat is the most obvious culprit when it comes to damage, this isn’t actually so, with research proving that blow-drying your hair is better than leaving it to dry naturally. Why? So it all comes down to the fact that when water is applied to hair, this causes the hair cuticles to swell up, and in turn weaken the follicles and cause damage.
To avoid this, once you’ve towel-dried your hair and combed it through, dry your hair till it feels warm. For the best results, we love using our Frizz Defense AC Salon Dryer on a low heat and speed setting. Made with Super Frizz Defense Technology, it eliminates static, for ultimate frizz-free smoothness & shine.
If you’re looking to see the results of ionic and ceramic technology in real life (or at least on your feed) then look no further than Alexa Chung. She takes the haircut of the moment, ‘The Shag’ and adds her own sparkle, obviously styling here using a hairdryer with both ceramic technology to protect her fine hair and ionic technology to add that perfect glossy finish. Alexa as usual we are in awe.
Here are our tips on how to get this look:
1. Section hair into 3 and blow dry using a round brush for a volume dry.
2. To add more movement you can add some texture by styling hair with a tool like the Straight & Curl Brilliance.
Top Tip: If you want a video tutorial on how to achieve this look then check out our post, Easy Ways to Dry & Style Short Hair to Perfection.
Image source: PR Photos
So we’ve talked about ceramic and ionic technology in hair dryers – but what about in straighteners? Are the benefits the same? Well in a word, yes. A ceramic straightener will give you a constant even heat so no damaging hot spots making it a pick for those with fine hair. The Digital Sensor Straightener also comes with sol-gel technology that delivers 15x more ceramic than your average ceramic tool for the ultimate in heat control and durability.
Best suited too: Thin, fine-textured hair.
Choose: If you want a styler that offers even-distribution of heat, meaning there’s less potential for heat damage. This straightener also features a smart heat protect sensor mode that monitors and adjusts the plates temperature according to the characteristics (moisture) of your hair to protect against excessive heat, for optimal styling results and protected hair fibre.
An ionic hair straightener again delivers the same advantages as an ionic dryer, releasing active ions that surround your hair to give a shine boost with every pass, eliminating static and taming the dreaded frizz. A lot of good straighteners are designed with both technologies and come highly recommended. Our fave pic is the Frizz Defense Salon Straightener with Super Frizz Technology that releases up to 60% more frizz-controlling ions, for flawless straight-in-one-pass results with perfect shine.
Best suited too: Medium-thick, frizzy textured hair
Choose: If frizz is your main hair concern. Ionic hair straighteners make hair shiner and control static better than other flat iron options.
Image source: @haileybeiber
And don’t forget stylers - many contain ionic and ceramic technology too. Take VS Sassoon’s Digital Sensor Rotating Hot Air Brush – it’s ideal for drying, styling, adding volume and shine, all thanks to its ionic technology. Yes, it’s a mighty handy tool to have in your beauty belt!
We’re guessing Hailey Bieber is a fan! What we heart most about Hailey’s pony here (along with her on-trend pastel pink dress which is to die for) is that it has benefited from some series ionic tech here – no doubt about it!
Here are our tips on how to recreate this look;
Step 1. Blow dry using a dryer with ionic.
Step 2. Brush into a smooth ponytail and secure.
Step 3. Dress with a ribbon and smooth any frizzies down with a styling brush.
Image source: @sophiet
Another fine example! GOT’s Sophie Turner proves she is Queen of the North and Joe Jonas’ heart with this style that has been created with a ceramic curler and then brushed out.
We suggest using the VS Sassoon 25mm Ceramic Curler with yes, you’ve guessed it ceramic technology if you too want this look! It’s perfect for Sophie’s sleek look here. To achieve this sophisticated look:
Step 1. Section hair into 3 sections. Then divide into smaller sections
Step 2. Place the curler into the hair around 2-3cm down from the roots and wrap your hair around the barrel. Hold for around 10 seconds then release.
Step 3. Curl the remainder of the hair and then once cool soften with your fingers.
If you’re looking for some more curl inspiration, check out our tutorial with the beautiful Nikki Phillips, which showcases how to get 3 completely different curl looks using our Curl Secret Optimum. Taking the guesswork out of curling your hair, our ceramic styler uses intuitive curl control for creating 3 different curl types. Check out the full tutorial with Nikki here:
We touched earlier on how ceramic is good for maintaining natural curls and ionic is good for shine so we thought we would illustrate this point with a little help from our girl crush Amy Adams. Naturally curly-haired Amy is often spotted on and off the red carpet with her curls au natural.
But equally Amy is known to go for a sleeker look during Awards Season. Looking at this hairstyle, you can tell Amy likely used rollers with ionic conditioning technology like the VS Sassoon Ultimate Salon Curlers. Here are our steps on hoe to recreate this style:
Step 1. Blow dry hair until dry.
Step 2. Working from the front to the back take a section of hair around the width of your roller. Place the roller into your hair and roll towards the head then clip.
Step 3. Roll all the hair and once cool, remove the rollers then soften with your fingers.
Image source: PR Photos
For a complete video tutorial on how to use heated rollers, watch below.
So again, a quick round-up, you’ll want to choose a ceramic styler if:
But, an ionic styler may be for you if you want to achieve:
So there you have it – all the low down on the tech talk - so next time you find yourself about to purchase a hair styling tool you can walk tall with confidence knowing you are picking the right tool for you and your hair of course!
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Once you’ve found the tool that you’re keen on you can see your nearest stockist here.
Love Your Style, the VS Sassoon Team x