No hair straightener? No ways! What did we do before the great hair-tech revolution began, asks Nicole Newman

I’ve been blessed with a full head of hair, or so my mum used to tell me. If in this instance the word ‘full’ is a euphemism for thick, unruly, frizzy and curly hair (think Hermione Granger in the first Harry Potter movie as opposed to loosely tousled Jessica Chastain waves) then, yes, I would have to agree.


Nicole circa 1994

Due to its voluminous appearance, the only way I could keep it flatter for school was by wearing it in a bun (or an overtly bushy, slightly scary pony), and on weekends I relied on my iron and ironing board to keep the ends in place. When I think back to those days, I am horrified at the damage it caused my ends, but I didn’t care, I wanted more easy-to-manage hair and the end justified the means.

Who could forget those vintage domes women sat under pre-hair dryer days, some even invested in them for home use (I remember finding my mum’s old one once upon a time). But where did they find the time and patience for it? In this fast- paced world of ours, time is a very precious commodity.

Thanks to the advancement of technology, these and other hair problems are a thing of the past. Just think of the revolution that GHD’s inaugural at iron ushered in with its sleek design encasing the bronze plates? Many women’s prayers for more manageable, tamed locks lay inside its beautiful packaging until the next wash, when the straightening process would begin all over again.

Since the first GHD at iron was launched in 2001, the hair tools market has expanded, with GHD having sold over 20 million stylers. And as the hair-tech industry continues to evolve, so does the at iron – becoming more advanced and effective. Aesthetically, it’s looking sleeker, accessory-like, and you can tuck it in your bag for on-the-go hair fixes. If you don’t believe me, check out GHD’s Azores collection; the latest limited edition comes with three hair straighteners in shimmering shades of pearl, jade and marine, and while it transforms your hair, it catches your eye. And technology also means that the products are gentler to the hair as many straighteners come with adjustable temperature buttons. Cloud Nine gives you complete control over the heat, and the Corioliss Curling Iron is programmed to distribute heat more evenly, giving you bouncing beach waves in seconds.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that we do away with
our natural hair or beauty, on the contrary, the beauty of technology and these hair tools is that they enable us to enhance what we have and to be a little playful (or even experimental!) Technology, I believe, is here to help if we want it to.

There are days I set my curls free, and to keep the look more controlled and manageable I turn to one of the many tools at our disposal. It really is down to choice, and having the choice is cause enough to celebrate and experiment. When it comes to beauty, for some reason, we all want what we don’t have. And while you will rarely see me sporting my curls, when I do it’s because I choose to.



GHD Gold Classic, R2 299 Kérastase Discipline Oléo-Curl, R400 Cloud Nine Curling Wand, R2 199 Olaplex No. 3 Bond Perfector, R409 Kevin Murphy Re.Store, R495 Davines Hair Building Pak, R405

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of ELLE Magazine South Africa.