I know two things in this life: The grass is always greener, and the feeling of silky hair is incredible. I like my natural 3b curls, but I also want it all—going briefly straight is a pleasure trip in the life I don’t lead, full of side parts, hair blowing in the wind, and easy mornings. I love it, but I don’t love paying for blowouts. Enter Amika’s Polished Perfection Straightening Brush, a game changer in the world of hot tools.
Hot brushes and combs have a long history but one I don’t have much experience with. Growing up, if I wanted to go straight, I reached for first a wet-to-dry straightening iron (I cringed writing that, TBT the smell of burning hair), then a CHI iron. My mom tried to blow-dry my hair once; it took two hours, and we got through it, but our relationship suffered.
And then there was the long stint of blow-dryers and straightening product cocktails, and the products that I hoarded because maybe this was the one that would unlock glossy, smooth strands—if I used the perfect amount and in conjunction with three others. Add in that I used to straighten my hair maybe once every two months, because ish did not look good, and my bathroom is full of products making only one kind of promise (smooth!), and mostly failing.
And then I found the Amika Straightening Brush. Full disclosure, I didn’t know what to expect. Sephora reviewers love it, and it was sold out on Amika’s website, which is the best way to sell me on anything. But I trust nothing easily (see the tale above) and have heard horror stories about the damage and pain hot brushes can wreak. So I tried a single, cautious curl—and my life changed.
The once-curl fell away from the brush totally straight in a single go, and baby, I kept going. Twenty minutes and three generous pumps of hair oil later, and my curls were straight. It felt like I was sitting on top of the “grass is always greener” fence.
The Amika brush uses ceramic bristles to get in your curls’ nitty-gritty and smoothes them out in record time. Where you usually have to pull a brush through your curls and follow with a flatiron for that truly smooth finish, it does the two in one.
Here are my third-day curls starting out:
Doin’ the dirty, as they say, almost always in reference to straightening your hair:
Here it is 10 minutes in:
Shout-out to sectioning: Clipping each section up while it cools down helps your hair set.
Fifteen minutes in (I was a lion in a past life):
And 20 minutes in, preshine treatments and hair oil for the untampered results.
A little poufy, but Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil tamps it down into honest-to-God blowout waves. And I prefer my hair to still have some volume anyway—not look stick-straight. Like a straightener, the brush features a digital LED temperature display. I stayed around 370 degrees, mostly because I was scared of what too much hot brushing could do. But after talking to hairstylist Chad Wood, he says it’s likely nothing to worry about.
Typical flatirons work by heating your hair up to a malleable place, then using the plates to temporarily reset your hair cuticle straight. That force, Wood says, is what causes breakage, not heat (learning this changed me). Absent that, he says straightening brushes are potentially the better option. As much as any hot tool can be—I liberally, liberally, doused myself in Living Proof’s heat protectant. Spray as much as you think you need, then double that. Go forth. Enjoy the wind in your hair and the fact that it didn’t take an hour.
Amika Polished Perfection Straightening Brush, $120, sephora.com
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