GHD Unplugged review UK
£299

GHD Unplugged review: Are the GHD cordless straighteners worth their £299 price tag?

2nd January 2024 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber
Verdict

We usually go through four distinct stages every time GHD launches a new product. The first is excitement and an overwhelming desire to buy it.

The second, which usually comes after seeing the price, is: “Woah, that’s expensive. How can it be worth that much?”

We then spend a number of weeks going back and forth before buying it (stage three), and then absolutely fall in love with it as the fourth and final stage.

We had exactly this reaction with the GHD Unplugged, including the fourth stage of falling in love with it.

Having spent the last week exclusively using the GHD cordless straighteners every day, we can barely fault them. They are incredibly well suited to our short-to-mid-length, fine hair and they really do live up to other GHD stylers across the range in terms of performance, shine and finish.

We love being able to keep them on us at all times, in case we get caught out in the rain or when we want to switch up our look from day to night. In fact, they’ve become a staple in our bag alongside our phone, purse, keys, and hair brush.

The freedom their cordless nature gives when curling hair is fantastic, and is very welcomed for someone who typically struggles to do anything even slightly adventurous with our locks because we get all tangled up.

There is, of course, a catch and that’s the price. I’d say £189 for the Platinum Plus is already a little excessive so paying £299 for straighteners feels obscene. Especially when they fall slightly short of the advanced technology seen on GHD’s flagship device.

Their small and compact size and narrow plates will also unlikely suit people with the thickest or longest of hair. For them, the GHD Unplugged may just be enough to smooth frizz and tame the hair around their face, which makes the £299 price tag even more obscene.

All that said, however, even if you own GHD straighteners – or any of the other best hair straighteners for that matter –  there is enough about the Unplugged for it to complement and extend your collection, rather than replace any stylers.

They shouldn’t feel like an unnecessary purchase, they may just feel like an extravagant one.

Pros
  • Compact yet powerful
  • Easy to use
  • Stylish
  • Universal USB-C charger
Cons
  • Expensive
  • May not suit thick or long hair
Where to Buy
GHD £299
Prices are accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

In our GHD Unplugged review, we put the cordless GHD straighteners to the test before pitting them against the Dyson Corrale 


Not one to be undone by Dyson and its Corrale straighteners, GHD recently launched its first GHD cordless straighteners.

We’ve spent the past months putting them through their paces for this GHD Unplugged review.

Scroll down to read more about the wireless styler’s standout features and how it compares to the standard GHD straighteners – namely the GHD Platinum Plus.

We’ve also got a table that shows how its features, performance and battery life compare to other cordless rivals to see if the GHD Unplugged really is worth the £300 price tag.

Or if you want to jump straight to the individual sections, click the relevant links in the box to the left.

 

Buy from GHD

GHD cordless straighteners review

Which GHD straightener is best for my hair typemamabella | mamabella

Click the image above to make the file larger

The GHD cordless straighteners have been on sale in the US and Australia for a little while – and sell for $299 and AU$475 respectively – but they officially went on sale in the UK on 12 July for £299. You can buy them in either black or white and both come with a protective case.

For a limited time, you can also buy the GHD Unplugged in a pink peach version that’s been released to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For every sale of the Unplugged, GHD is donating £10 to Breast Cancer Now (or €10 to the Irish Cancer Society) to help fund research.

The styler itself is also embossed with the phrase “Take Control Now”, designed to remind people to check their breasts regularly. We have a video that explains how to check your breasts on our Breast Cancer Awareness Month page.

The hair brand claims that the GHD cordless straighteners are “portable and powerful” and the Unplugged is listed as the only cordless product on the market with the guaranteed performance of a regular-sized GHD.

Buy from GHD

GHD Unplugged review: Features

The fact the GHD cordless straighteners have been designed to match the performance of its wired siblings means the Unplugged has the same 185°C temperature seen across the rest of the GHD range.

GHD has explained on countless occasions that it deliberately doesn’t offer a range of heat settings because it feels 185°C is the “optimum” temperature for styling your hair. At this temperature, there is enough heat to affect the hair bonds and manipulate their shape while creating a minimal amount of damage to these bonds.

As Tim Bond, GHD’s Chief Technology Officer himself explained: “Using heat appliances above the 185°C glass transition phase creates vertical cracks along the cuticle, causing the cuticle to lift and resulting in tangles and splits. All GHD tools maintain a continuous heat of 185°C which is the optimum and healthiest temperature to style in just one stroke, without compromising the health of your hair.

“Styling below 185°C will often take many passes of the tool to achieve a good result, which is more drying to the hair and causes further split ends.”

GHD cordless straighteners size and designmamabella

the GHD Unplugged has the same dual-zone technology seen on the GHD Gold and GHD Mini/Max stylers. This technology uses two heat sensors fitted into the plates on the Unplugged to control and maintain this optimum 185°C heat from root to tip for “smoother, sleeker and healthier looking hair

Elsewhere the GHD Unplugged has the same dual-zone technology seen on the GHD Gold and GHD Mini/Max stylers. This technology uses two heat sensors fitted into the plates on the Unplugged to control and maintain this optimum 185°C heat from root to tip for “smoother, sleeker and healthier looking hair.” It’s not quite as advanced as the Ultra-Zone technology seen on the Platinum Plus, though.

Another similarity is that the GHD Unplugged comes with an automatic shut-off feature as seen on the wired models but there are a couple of differences. This automatic shut-off kicks in after three minutes, rather than the standard 30 minutes. A feature, we’d expect, has been introduced to preserve the battery life.

It also takes 45 seconds to heat up, compared to 30 seconds on the wired GHD stylers.

Other features include:

  • High-gloss fine ceramic plates, which GHD claims create “snag-free styling and sleek results with 65% more shine.”
  • Smart battery level indicator that shows you how much battery is remaining. Each light is said to represent around 20% of the charge
  • USB-C charger – this means it can be charged via any USB-C cable you have lying around the house but the GHD cordless straighteners do come with their own charging cable and plug. What’s more, it means that your GHD charger will also charge any of your USB-C devices, which may save you having to pack multiple chargers on holiday!
  • Flight-friendly battery – this refers to the fact that you can pack the GHD Unplugged in your hand luggage because it adheres to the UK Civil Aviation rules

GHD Unplugged review: Design

GHD Unplugged chargermamabella | mamabella

The USB-C charging port is found at the end of the GHD cordless straighteners meaning you can use it while charging or wire-free

The GHD Unplugged looks small in the photos but they’re even more compact and diddy in real life. Surprisingly so. The plates are narrow – almost on par with those seen on the GHD Mini but definitely thinner than those seen on the Platinum Plus.

Unlike previous GHD straighteners which are rectangular in shape, with a single width from end-to-end, the GHD Unplugged is thinner on one end (the plate end) and wider on the other, where you hold the straighteners. This width fits comfortably in our palm and allowed us to maintain a decent grip throughout.

The power button is on the top side of the GHD cordless straighteners and is noticeably larger and more oval in shape than the buttons on wired GHDs. It has the same light halo around it, so you can see at a glance whether it’s turned on or not, and the button is sunken slightly into the body which prevents it from being knocked during use.

Below this button is the smart battery level indicator strip. This gives you a visual indication of how much battery is remaining and GHD claims that each light is said to represent around 20% of the charge. Scroll down to our battery life section to read more about this.

And finally, at the end of the straighteners is the USB-C charging point. By being positioned where you’d expect the regular cable to be means you can use the straighteners wirelessly or while charging without the cable getting too much in the way.

We thought this compact size would make it difficult or a tad fiddly to use but GHD appears to have found a perfect balance between making the cordless straighteners big enough to use but small enough to pack in your handbag or similar.

 


GHD Unplugged review: Performance 

GHD Cordless straighteners plates widthmamabella | mamabella

GHD makes bold claims about the Unplugged being the “only cordless product on the market with the guaranteed performance of a regular-sized GHD” and this set our expectations high

GHD makes bold claims about the Unplugged being the “only cordless product on the market with the guaranteed performance of a regular-sized GHD” and this set our expectations high.

As you can read in our Platinum Plus review, we’ve big fans of the corded GHD stylers. This extends to the GHD Rise as well as the GHD Helios. The brand consistently designs and sells the best hair stylers around – in our opinion – and we were concerned the GHD Unplugged would be a chink in its armour. We can confirm it is not, far from it.

For the past week, we ditched all our other stylers and used the GHD cordless straighteners exclusively to finish our styles. This included swapping it for the Platinum Plus styler when straightening and smoothing our hair, using the GHD Unplugged to create curls when we’d usually use the Foxy Locks tongs, and creating waves and flicks in place of the GHD Rise.

The GHD Unplugged stepped up and smashed it out of the park for each test. We have short-to-mid-length hair and we were concerned that the plates would be a little narrow but it never became an issue. In fact, for us, these plates were perfectly sized for every hair style we were trying to achieve.

It can take a bit of getting used to the fact there isn’t a cable to contend with, having used wired hair stylers since the dawn of time, but as soon as you’re used to it it’s very hard to go back. This cordless nature particularly came into its own when curling and waving our hair because it gives us a level of freedom we’re not used to.

Buy now from GHD

GHD cordless straighteners review: Battery life

A single charge of the GHD Unplugged’s Lithium-ion battery – a battery which GHD describes as using “hybrid co-lithium technology” – lasts around 20 minutes. The longest battery life we got from it was 22 minutes. When we first read this, we thought that was a really short amount of time but that’s because we overestimated how long it took to style our hair.

In reality, a single charge was enough for four days’ use, when used once in the morning. This use included one morning when we spent the time pinning our hair up and individually curling small sections of hair all over our head.

Even the three-minute automatic shut-off time, which we thought would be too short and not give us enough time to get ready – such as applying makeup or getting dressed – at the same time as styling our hair was more than long enough. There’s also a welcomed level of security this provides should you leave it turned on when placed in your bag, for example.

What did surprise us, however, was how much we noticed the extra 15-second difference in heat-up time. The GHD Unplugged takes 45 seconds to reach its optimum temperature while the rest of the range takes 30 seconds. This is, of course, far from hardship but just an observation.

Another minor complaint is that the GHD Unplugged takes two hours to be fully charged after use and this feels a disproportionate amount of time compared to how much run time you get. GHD claims these run and charging times have been “optimised to deliver consistent powerful performance whilst being portable in size.”

We also dislike the fact you can’t use these straighteners while they’re plugged in. This makes sense, from a safety point of view, but it’s a pain when you realise that you don’t have enough charge to complete your look and have to wait, or revert to your plugged in GHDs when you’re at home.

By comparison, the Dyson Corrale promises a battery life of 30 minutes, which actually extended to 40 minutes in our Dyson Corrale review.

FURTHER READING: Best cordless straightener: Discover wireless styling with our best cordless hair straightener list


GHD Unplugged vs Dyson Corrale

So there are many, many cordless straighteners on the market. In fact, there is an increasing number of them from the likes of BaByliss, Cloud Nine, and more. Even designer brands like Balmain are getting in on the act. (You can read more about this in our best cordless straighteners guide) but as soon as GHD announced Unplugged, searches for how it compares to the Dyson Corrale topped the lot. Mainly because the price of the GHD cordless straighteners put them definitely in Dyson territory.

Below we’ve listed the side-by-side specs in GHD Unplugged vs Dyson Corrale comparison.

GHD Unplugged Dyson Corrale
Price £299 £399
Battery life 20 minutes 30 minutes
Charging time 2 hours 1 hour 10 minutes
Shut-off time 3 minutes 5 minutes
Charger USB-C
Dyson’s bespoke magnetic charger

From our experience using both cordless straighteners, there is a clear winner – the GHD Unplugged.

As you can read in our Dyson Corrale review, the £400 cordless straighteners are heavy, industrial-looking, awkward to use when curling your hair and they’re expensive. However, if you can look past all that, they do wonders to your hair. They have been designed to cause minimal damage and even after a couple of days’ use, the condition of our hair was noticeably better.

By comparison, the GHD cordless straighteners are elegant, compact, powerful, and style our hair with ease. They also added a level of shine that we hadn’t seen since our Corrale tests all for £100 cheaper.

Another small feature in the GHD Unplugged’s favour is the fact you can use a standard USB-C charger, as opposed to having to use Dyson’s bespoke magnetic charger. The Dyson cable and charger is also super heavy, and you have to remove the battery if you want to pack it in your hand luggage. All points that show the Dyson isn’t made for travelling in the same way the Unplugged was.

Not a cordless straightener rival, but since we wrote this GHD Unplugged review, it’s no longer the newest GHD styler on the block – that title now goes to the GHD Duet Style.

The Duet Style is a 2-in-1 styler that can either dry and style wet hair straight out of the shower or be used like regular GHD straighteners on dry hair. It contains what GHD calls Air-fusion technology that consists of a “unique internal aerodynamic system” to direct the airflow across each strand of hair. Low-temperature plates straighten the hair as it dries.

Once the hair is dry, you can switch to Shine Shot mode. In this mode, the temperature of the floating styling heat up to 185°C and the airflow is switched off. You can read what we think of GHD’s wet-to-dry styler in our GHD Duet Style review.

FURTHER READING: Dyson Corrale review: Are Dyson’s new straighteners really worth £400?


GHD cordless straighteners review: Are they worth it?

For us, we usually go through four distinct stages every time GHD launches a new product.

How to use GHD cordless straighteners unpluggedmamabella

The GHD Unplugged is a highly versatile styler for straight, curled and wavy styles (as pictured) – it’s just a shame about the price

The first is excitement and an overwhelming desire to buy it. The second, which usually comes after seeing the price, is: “Woah, that’s expensive. How can it be worth that much?” We then spend a number of weeks going back and forth before buying it (stage three), and then absolutely fall in love with it as the fourth and final stage.

We had exactly this reaction with the GHD Unplugged, including the fourth stage of falling in love with it.

Having spent the last week exclusively using the GHD cordless straighteners every day, we can barely fault them. They are incredibly well suited to our short-to-mid-length, fine hair and they really do live up to other GHD stylers across the range in terms of performance, shine and finish.

We love being able to keep them on us at all times, in case we get caught out in the rain or when we want to switch up our look from day to night. In fact, they’ve become a staple in our bag alongside our phone, purse, keys, and hair brush.

The freedom their cordless nature gives when curling hair is fantastic, and is very welcomed for someone who typically struggles to do anything even slightly adventurous with our locks because we get all tangled up.

There is, of course, a catch and that’s the price. I’d say £189 for the Platinum Plus is already a little excessive so paying £299 for straighteners feels obscene. Especially when they fall slightly short of the advanced technology seen on GHD’s flagship device.

Their small and compact size and narrow plates will also unlikely suit people with the thickest or longest of hair. For them, the GHD Unplugged may just be enough to smooth frizz and tame the hair around their face, which makes the £299 price tag even more obscene.

However, having not tested them on this hair type we can’t confirm this.

In summary, even if you own GHD straighteners – or any of the other best hair straighteners for that matter –  there is enough about the Unplugged for it to complement and extend your collection, rather than replace any stylers. They shouldn’t feel like an unnecessary purchase, they may just feel like an extravagant one.

 


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