Think a hefty price tag and adspeak terms like "ionic" and "tourmaline" make for better beauty tools? Think again. ShopSmart, a sister magazine of Consumer Reports, reveals in its January issue that pricier doesn't always mean better. In the article, ShopSmart puts blow dryers, straightening irons, and mascaras in head-to-head combat to find the best "smart splurges" and the budget buys that beat out the big guns.
In the super-scientific blow dryer battle, it was revealed that higher wattage doesn't equal faster drying time, and that higher price doesn't equal better features. The bargain buy, Revlon's Ionic Ceramic Pro Stylist ($20), had more useful features than the top-scoring splurge, Bespoke Labs' Featherweight Dryer ($200).
Think the CHI iron took top honors in the straightening iron category? Nope. The iconic ionic straightener ($130) was among the nine irons tested, but it didn't crack the top spot. That honor went again to Revlon, whose Perfect Heat Ceramic straightener ($25) didn't boast ionic, tourmaline, or nano silver technology, proving that technobabble is just that.
And as far as mascaras went, while a department store brand, Lancome Definicils ($24) did rank high among testers, a drugstore formula, Max Factor Lash Perfection Volume Couture ($8) did just as well in the lengthening and thickening contest. And, surprise, surprise, pink-and-green staple Maybelline Great Lash ($4.48) got a "very good" overall ranking, but brought on complaints of clumps with some testers.
Get the full results of ShopSmart's beauty battles in the January 09 issue—it hits newsstands today.