And we got three testers to take it for a spin. 

By Erika Stalder
Sep 15, 2020 @ 12:39 pm
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Be honest: when firing up your flat iron, how far do you crank up the temperature? 400 degrees? As high as the thing will go to kick out the fastest results?

If you just quietly muttered "yes," to yourself, you’re not alone.

A T3 survey of nearly 5,000 flat iron users found 90% think a high temperature setting will yield optimum results.

So if most of us are hitting scorched earth with our flat irons (something that not only accelerates hair damage, but also causes waves to fall out more quickly), how exactly are we supposed to find our sweet spot when it comes to the temperature of our hot tools?

Turns out, factoring hair length, whether it's been color or chemically treated (think: dye or keratin treatments), and hair texture all play a big part.

To this end, T3 has created Lucea ID, a flat iron that offers an alternative to manual temperature settings by prompting the user to input hair length (short, medium, or long), color treatment (on or off), and texture (fine, medium, and coarse).

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To shop: $235; sephora.com

Diagnosing texture is something that brand ambassador and celebrity stylist Laura Polko says is key.

“People get texture and density confused frequently. Density is the amount of hair per square inch, while texture is the thickness of the hair strand and the most important factor in determining heat needs,” she says. “People tend to have a misconception that curly or wavy hair has to be thick in texture and straight hair has to be fine. In reality, everyone has different hair densities regardless of if hair is curly, straight or wavy.”

The brand also includes a diagnostic video via a QR code to assist users in determining the right texture setting.

After initial inputs are made, the tool remembers your choices and automatically heats to your customized setting on subsequent uses. The iron is also equipped with preset mode for second-day styling, which decreases your custom temperature by a level or two and taps negative ions to boost your style without overexposing your hair to heat.

Like other T3 styling tools, the device is equipped with a chip that maintains even heat dispersion across the ceramic plates and steady temperature throughout a styling session, since temperature drops over the span of a styling session is something that’s long plagued the category.

In short, there’s a lot of technology squeezed inside a sleek white and rose gold encased wand that satisfyingly illuminates like a lightsaber when you turn it on. But sweet tech aside, how does the thing really work for those with different curl patterns, and is it really worth the hefty $235 price tag?

We gave the iron to three women across the hair texture spectrum to find out.

After a week of testing, they each gave us their honest feedback.

Aida Ahmed: Social Media Marketing Manager, based in New York City

Before

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“I know my hair specifically falls into the medium/coarse category, so it was easy to decide which setting to use. But I also would like some transparency on the actual temperature assigned to each setting, because as a natural curly-haired girl who doesn’t apply a ton of heat on a regular basis, it’s good to limit high-temperatures. That said, I think the digital screen is amazing and should be incorporated into all beauty tools. It makes the straightener more sleek and easier to use because I didn’t feel like I could accidentally change a setting while styling."

After

"I was pleasantly surprised that the plates were much wider and longer than most flat irons, so my hair never fell out of the plate like it normally does. Most irons also require a tight grip and continuous twists to achieve good curls, but this one definitely provided the same level of curls with less work. No other flat iron I’ve used has that level of hold. And once I realized that it doesn’t have to be held tightly, it became easy to use. I imagine over time it will make straightening my hair easier and less of a strain on my arms.”

VIDEO: 10 Heat Protectants That Keep Styling Tools from Frying Your Hair

Mazz Hanna: Founder of Mazz Hanna Skincare, based in Los Angeles

Before

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“This is definitely the most high tech flatiron I have ever used. I love that it has special settings to make sure that I don’t further damage my hair beyond chemical processing, and that it’s easy to save my hair type settings or hit the reset button and start over. But it would be nice to know the temperature of the plates and it would be great if it heated up quicker — this one takes a minute or two, rather than seconds." 

After

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"Overall, it made my hair much more smooth and silky than other flat irons I’ve used, even tools that cost several hundred dollars. It both straightens more effectively and evenly, and waves better — probably due to the rounded design of the iron, rather than being completely flat on top. I also noticed that my hair looks better on day two compared to other flatirons I have used. After using it for a week, the performance is something I can’t live without.”

Diane Kwan: Event Producer, based in Brooklyn, New York

Before

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“This flat iron is easy to use once you get the hang of it, but the settings and power buttons are not very intuitive — after nearly a week of use, I’m still randomly pushing buttons. I did learn something in navigating the settings, though: I thought I had fine hair, but when a styling session set to the fine hair setting left lackluster results, I switched to medium texture input and was able to get waves with better hold." 

After

"I primarily used this to create punky, v-shaped waves, and though it takes a little more time to achieve the style than with my cheapo iron — which always I fire up to the highest setting — and didn’t provide as much definition, my hair doesn’t feel like it's frying, which is nice."