A hair straightener that promises to give you super sleek locks, but without all the damage? Tell me more!
Regular readers will know that I have long, fine hair that's naturally very frizzy and dry. I've had a pair of GHDs for well over a decade and haven't really tried many other hair straighteners, except for a pair from Babyliss which weren't terrible, but they just didn't give me the sleek results that my GHDs did, so these were quickly passed onto my younger sister. And whilst I love my GHDs, there is a price to pay for how they're able to transform my frizzball into something more poker straight - and that's with a lot of damage to my already fragile, frazzled hair. Heat protector products and intensive hair masks definitely help, but if you're clamping the irons onto your hair on a regular basis, there's only so much abuse it's willing to take before you're left with a multitude of split ends and hair that doesn't seem to want to grow anymore.
When I first heard about the L'Oreal Steampod last year, it went straight onto my wishlist, but the price did put me off buying it as I couldn't justify spending so much when my GHDs were still working perfectly. Luckily the stars aligned and L'Oreal got in touch with me to ask if I'd like to review it, so I've finally been able to test it out!
What is it and what does it claim to do?
L'Oreal's Steampod is an electric hair straightener that works a bit like your household iron. Attached to the straighteners is a mini tank (the 'pod') that you fill up with water and this produces steam through the ceramic anodized plates. The idea behind it is that the steam pressure allows the hair to retain most its natural moisture levels, thus minimizing heat damage. L'Oreal claim that this method allows you to straighten your hair 50% faster with the Steampod and makes your hair 50% smoother vs regular straighteners, and when used in conjunction with L'Oreal's Steampod hair styling products such as their Serum as these are keratin-infused.
Side note: Steampod 2.0 usually comes in a plain white design, however, L'Oreal launched this new Limited Edition tropical print to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Brazil. I think it's pretty!
Other than the 'pod' tank, the other major difference that I noticed was that there's an inbuilt comb running along one of the ceramic plates which allows it to gently grip and brush the hair whilst your straightening. I feel that this also reduces the time that you need to spend doing your hair because it makes everything glide through so much quicker.
How do I use it?
Before using, L'Oreal recommends that your hair is dry - this is NOT to be used on wet hair, so you'll need to blow-dry first or allow it to air dry naturally. They also promote the Steampod as a 'system' to be used with their Steampod hair styling products as these are enriched with keratin and work with the steam to make your hair salon straight and shiny. To be honest, I'd say you can use whichever hair products you usually do, as I tried out a couple of different hair serums from various brands wth the Steampod, and they pretty much delivered the same results for me.
Fill up the 'pod' tank with water and place it on a flat surface. The pod has rubberised non-slip feet to ensure it doesn't spill or move. Once you've done that, simply plug the socket into the mains, and switch it on. The on/off controls are located inside the straighteners at the bottom which I thought was a little unusual as most are situated on the side.
Above the on/off button are the heat controls where you can set it from 140-210C. It heats up very quickly, so the next step is to simply align the straighteners with the section of hair that you want to do first (there are arrows pointing down so you know which way it needs to go) and away you go. The steam comes out in short bursts, very much like how a household iron works and it makes the same sound.
Before using L'Oreal Steampod - how my hair dries naturally after washing it - no products used
After using the L'Oreal Steampod in conjunction with L'Oreal Steampod Serum* (£15, available separately)
Results & my overall thoughts?
As you can see, the L'Oreal Steampod has done an excellent job of straightening my hair and it felt so soft afterwards thanks to the steam, plus it looked much shinier. Usually, my hair feels noticeably drier after I've used my GHDs, so the Steampod definitely wins a point in that area. I used the lowest heat setting because my hair is fine (140C), and I was still left with a little frizz, but nothing that some extra serum couldn't get rid of. Overall, I feel that my GHDs give me straighter hair with almost no frizz, however I tested out the Steampod for just over a month and my hair is definitely a lot less damaged and a lot less dry now.
With this in mind, whilst the GHDs win with better results, are cheaper and are more travel-friendly, I'd still recommend the L'Oreal Steampod to those who have more fragile, fine, dry or already damaged hair, and want to straighten it on a regular basis without all the damage. I'll be using the Steampod more often than my GHDs now, and keeping the latter for things like special occasions etc. It would be great to see L'Oreal come out with a more portable version somehow!
L'Oreal Steampod 2.0 Brazil Fantasy Limited Edition* retails for £185. Available from various stockists including lookfantastic.com
Would you buy the L'Oreal Steampod?