Flat Irons First Impressions & Comparison: GHD Classic 1" Styler vs. CHI G2 1"

When I was a little girl, I was blessed with stick-straight, shiny, thick hair. Then puberty happened, and my hormones decided this was too good to be true. As a teenager, my hair thinned out considerably and turned into a not-curly, but also not-straight, wavy mess. I was left with no choice but to blow dry my hair daily after washing it, and if I truly wanted to achieve a slick style, a flat iron was a must. After graduating from college, I purchased my first CHI with one of my first paychecks, and that little baby lasted me a whopping 8 1/2 years until the power switch broke two weeks ago. I was sad, but having very much gotten my money's worth, knew it was time.

Since I've been out of the flat iron market for a while, I started doing research on Ulta.com and decided to try two of the most popular irons: the GHD Classic 1" Styler and the CHI G2 Ceramic & Titanium 1". I steered away from brands like Babyliss, because I read that they were really meant for those with unruly, thick and coarse curly hair, and I didn't want to fry my lovely locks.

A few days ago I gleefully picked up my ULTA package from the mail and decided to put the irons to test head-to-head and share my comparison with you! Let's start with some basic details:

  • Both of these flat irons are pricey. The GHD sells for $185 at ULTA and the CHI G2 retails for $159.95, although it's currently on sale for $129.95. In my sleuthing, I've discovered that GHD irons don't ever go on sale, but you can use your 20% off ULTA coupons, so that can even out the price a bit. 
  • Both flat irons come with a 2-year basic warranty (although my best friend once tried to cash in on her CHI warranty and was given a helluva time, so no guarantees on their helpfulness).
  • The GHD has ceramic plates, whereas the CHI has combination ceramic and titanium plates (I honestly can't tell you if that makes a difference).
  • The GHD automatically heats to approximately 350-365 degrees, whereas the G2 has custom settings for different hair types and can heat anywhere from 350 degrees to 425 degrees for super coarse hair.
  • The GHD boasts a "sleep mode" that automatically shuts off the iron after 30 minutes, in case you forget to switch it off yourself. The CHI comes with a "free" heat mat to protect your surfaces when you've finished styling your hair or if you need to place it down for a moment.
  • Both claim to heat up "within seconds" and have an "extra long" cord (which can be a dream or a nightmare depending on your situation).
  • Both come in fancy packaging to make you feel better about spending a small fortune on a hair straightener. :)
Now let's talk performance:

I started with the GHD on the left side of my head. As soon as I plugged it in and switched it on, it beeped at me and a little sensor turned red. Within 10 seconds, it beeped again and the light started to blink. I got confused for a minute - did it really heat up THAT fast? I hovered my hand over the straightener, and sure enough it felt hot, so I proceeded to run it through my hair. 

The straightener did the job it was intended to do and infused my hair with the silky smoothness that I've come to expect from flat irons. It did snag on my hair a few times, despite me having thoroughly brushed it before starting, but it wasn't anything too bothersome. One thing that I didn't like was that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the iron to "stand up" on its side when I needed to rest it on the counter. It just kept flopping over, and since the heat radiates out of the sides, I didn't love that. All in all, my hair was straight in just a few minutes and I proceeded to unplug the GHD and plug in the CHI.

From a looks standpoint, the two irons are almost identical, with the exception being the exterior material. The GHD most closely resembles my old CHI with a matte black finish, whereas the G2 now uses a shiny, somewhat sparkly black material. I personally prefer the matte black because it looks sleeker and more elegant, but at the end of the day, this doesn't matter significantly.

Immediately, I liked the idea that with the CHI I could choose my own heat seating. Since I have finer hair, I like the concept of using a lower heat and hopefully saving my strands from undue damage. I used the buttons to select a heat of 370 degrees, based on the recommendation in the instruction manual, and got going.

Like the GHD, the CHI straightened my hair quickly, but didn't actually snag me at all, which I liked. It also balanced, unlike the GHD, when I placed it down on the counter. I even thought that the CHI did a better job of straightening my hair quickly, but after sitting down to write this blog post I realized it was probably because the CHI was operating at a higher heat than the GHD (which maxes out at 365).

Once I finished, I stared at myself in the mirror. The two sides of my head looked identical. Equally as soft and smooth. Equally as shiny and silky. And it took me almost the identical amount of time to do each side. 

The verdict?

At the end of the day, I've decided to keep the CHI and return the GHD, if only because it was a little bit less expensive and has a few small features that make me prefer it slightly. But honestly, if you took the brand names off and asked me to review these again, I'd be hard pressed to find a true difference from a results standpoint. I think the true test will come in time when we see if this CHI can last me the same 8 years I got out of my old one.

Do you use a CHI, GHD or other flat iron that you love? Let me know in the comments below!


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