Philips SenseIQ Hair Dryer and Straightener Prestige review: Do these heat styling tools promote great hair health?
Take the heat
Given a choice, there's not much I'd like to reminiscence about with regard to Singapore's circuit-breaker period. Though I suppose if there's something that warrants a mention, it'd be my hair. Or, to be more specific, the state of my locks: a healthy, glistening waterfall free of frizz, dryness, and tangles. For the first time in my life, I was waking up with Pantene-worthy locks; a blessed time spent executing slow-mo boomerangs made up entirely of exaggerated hair-flips. Short of an actual, real-life miracle, it's safe to say that the enhanced quality of my tresses was attributed to one thing: zero heat-styling.
To be fair, it's hardly surprising that my hair would thrive when it's not being seared by hot metal plates on the daily. And yet, I deemed it a necessary evil in the pursuit of a full, bouncy 'do; yet another of step in my routine that feeds the long-existing "beauty is pain" adage. Then Philips came around with a solution of sorts: heat styling tools that adapt to your hair's type and temperature, producing a personalised performance to protect your mane.
Available in hair dryer and straightener variations, Philip's latest innovations are equipped with SenseIQ technology. Activated through infrared sensors, it monitors and adjusts its settings automatically so as to provide users with a heat-styling session best suited to their current hair type. In short: tools that allow you to bid adieu to burnt, crisp strands or a pouf of heat-damaged frizz. A tempting thought, indeed. But does it measure up?
I tried my hand at the Philips Prestige Straightener first. It had a decent amount of heft to it, but was easy-to-maneuver thanks to its flexible wire cord. I didn't feel like it was arms day after curling my hair for an hour or so, too, so l'd count that as another plus. Its three styling modes (Normal, Gentle, and Fast) as well as fourteen temperature settings might prove overwhelming for heat-styling newbies, but it's nothing a quick skim through their manual can't fix. Seeing how I'm the owner of fine, colour-bleached hair, I opted for Gentle mode.
The display toggled to a balmy 170 degrees after I set it upon my tresses. A quick twist produced a beautiful, cascading wave that was warm to touch, with its cool tip ensuring I didn't get scorched fingers in the process. My only gripe: the low, discernable hum it gave off. Not only did it remind me of houseflies buzzing precariously close to my visage, it also proved distracting especially when I was curling strands by my ears. I'm told that this is actually a part of its Ion function to ensure additional shine and reduce overall frizzing — a small price to pay, I suppose, for a healthy head of hair.
The Philips Prestige Dryer, on the other hand, posed no such problems. Sleek, fast, and compact enough to stow into my hand luggage, it dried and volumised my soaking wet mane in a matter of minutes. I liked how it came with three inbuilt drying programs to suit your hair needs: Fast, Gentle, and Dry — the latter of which is designed for everyday use. Dry proved to be a favourite of mind, a less intense blast of warm air that left me with soft, tousled locks.
Don't get me wrong — ultimately, you're still applying heat to your hair, so damage is expected — but this Philips duo certainly does help prevent further destruction in the long-run. I observed less tangles after swapping out my products for the SenseIQ offerings, as well as a reduced amount of frizz even on intolerably hot days. In the meantime, I'll be awaiting the day Philips manages to one-up themselves and launch no-heat styling tools that produce the same results. Fingers crossed.