Consumer Reports’ ShopSmart: Top-Rated Blow Dryers, Straightening Irons and Mascara

ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, put dozens of blow dryers, straightening irons and mascaras to the test, revealing that you don’t have to spend a lot to get the top-rated products.

So which ones blew the testers away? Details are below and in the January 2009 issue of ShopSmart, on newsstands today, November 18.

ShopSmart Tests Reveal Beauty Staple Standouts


—January Issue Features Ratings for Blow Dryers, Straightening Irons and Mascara—


YONKERS, NY – If you’re looking for a good blow dryer, hair straightener or mascara, you don’t need to spend a lot of money – that’s according to the latest lab tests results of these products by ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports.


“You can pay anywhere from $20 to $200 for a blow dryer or a straightening iron, but it doesn’t really matter what you spend. ShopSmart found standouts at both price points that will give you plenty of great hair days,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief, ShopSmart. “The same goes for mascaras, so before you reach for that department-store brand, check out our smart picks.”


Blow Dryers



Winner: CHI Pro Dryer GF 1505, $80.19

ShopSmart tested 10 models of blow dryers on swatches of human hair in an environment chamber (to keep temperature and humidity steady).  Additionally, a panel of 10 staffers used the dryers at home. Despite big differences in price and wattage (ranging from 1,300 to 1,875), drying time did not vary much. But once noise and other features were factored in, ShopSmart found three standouts. ShopSmart’s smart splurges include the CHI Pro Dryer GF 1505, $135 and Bespoke Labs T3 Featherweight 83808-se, $200. The bargain buy, Revlon’s Ionic Ceramic Pro Stylist RV484, $20, had one bonus pricey dryers lacked, separate heat and speed settings so you can control temperature and airflow. It, along with the CHI, comes a diffuser and concentrator.

Straightening Irons



Winner: Infiniti Nano Silver by Conair SS9, $100

Nine straightening irons were tested in a humidity chamber and nine staffers tried them at home. Results of in-house tests and user feedback revealed that these products claims of ionic, tourmaline and nano silver technology did not make a difference in straightening performance. ShopSmart’s choice for smart splurge, the Infiniti Nano Silver by Conair SS9, $100, had all three features, but the bargain buy, Revlon Perfect Heat Ceramic RVST2001C, $30, had none. Paying a higher price also did not guarantee a better straightener and neither did the brand names. Conair was the maker of the top and bottom rated models while the CHI Ceramic GF-1001, $130  was the second-most-expensive straightener tested but did not rate anywhere near the top.




Winner: Lancome Definicils $24.00

Thirty-four women tested 16 lengthening and/or thickening formulas of mascara. While the top-rated wand was the more expensive Lancôme Definicils, $24another very good choice was the affordable Max Factor Lash Perfection Volume Couture, $7. Another surprise was how beauty magazine staple Maybelline Great Lash Washable mascara fared in the tests. While it rated very good overall, several panelists said it was nothing special and some complained about clumps.


The full reports on blow dryers, straightening irons and mascaras are featured in the January 2009 issue of ShopSmart magazine.


About ShopSmart magazine:

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. Subscriptions are now available at



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