Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's Hot: Colorful Flat Straightening Irons

Styling Irons

Why You Should *Never*
Buy One From a Mall Kiosk

FHI Heat™'s new Go™styling irons (details follow, included in a list of more noteworthy and trustworthy products) were the inspiration for today's look at colorful flat or straightening irons, available in a wide range of price points.

In researching this story, we did discover some interesting tidbits, the most formidable is in regards why you should NOT buy a styling product from the hard-sell flat iron sellers at mall kiosks throughout the country (or at least in southern California).

The aggressive salespeople always " just want to show you something" as they beckon you over to their kiosk, and that is to run their impressive iron over your hair, to show that you can straighten as well as curl, without burning the hair. They will then make lot of claims that their irons are completely ceramic and completely healthy. There will be a non-stop monologue during the demonstration.

You may wonder why all the sales people have accents and also seem associated with other kiosk sellers of "Dead Sea" salts, lotions, nail buffers and microwavable "all natural" heating pads, pillows, etc. An article in the Jewish Journal notes that many of the well-trained salespeople are newly arrived from Israel and recruited for the super hard-sell.

While the iron, often the Corioliss (or Cortex) performs well in demonstrations, there are literally hundreds of complaints on the web including the following, which will hopefully deter you from buying from a mall kiosk:

1. Mall kiosk flat irons are often sold through the wily persuasiveness of the salespeople, and the impressive demonstration on your hair -- but you should be aware that they may use the Corioliss Flat Iron on your hair for demonstrations and sell you the HerStyler. They may tell you that the box has a different name, but it is the same company. Whether it is or not (we cannot attest to either), is beside the point.

2. Unquestionably, the problem with even the authentic Corioliss is that it apparently does not hold up to normal at-home usage -- bear in mind that the online posted complaints we're noting here were in the dozens and dozens. Repeated complaints are that the cord is flimsy and will often break, as early as within three months (see image above of pink Cortex cord).

3. The ceramic plates (kiosk sellers will tell you Chi is only partial and theirs is fully ceramic and may even have items to demonstrate) crack and break.

4. Returns at the kiosks are pretty near impossible. There are reports of the salesperson not being at the kiosk upon attempted return, of being told to return when the "owner" or "manager" are available (and they seemingly never are). The receipt will not ensure you consumer protection. If you ask for a company phone number, you will be given the runaround or the number will be wrong.

5. You could try what one buyer did and ask for a return policy signed and in writing, indicating that if you are unsatisfied, you can get a full refund (this isn't likely, they're more likely to tell you it's fine, etc. etc, just to get you to buy; there's also the possibility that whether they really are or not, the person at the kiosk may tell you that salesperson no longer works there and wasn't authorized to do that). Expect that they will tell you "exchange only," and may even go so far as to say that you have to ship the iron to the manufacturer (incurring postal costs yourself) to get another, even if there are many at the kiosk.

6. If you have to have a Corioliss or Cortex iron, remember this: the mall kiosk seller, no matter how much they tell you that they're giving you a big discount off the $199 retail price ("i will give it to you today for only $129, or $100 or $89"), will ALWAYS charge more than an online retailer (and we're talking about including shipping and handling from an internet seller).

7. Despite repeated claims that their (mall kiosk) styling tool is completely healthy for your hair, many who purchased from them found they dry the hair.

(BeansTalk tip: use a good moisturizing conditioner -- if you are concerned about the extra moisturizers making hair greasy at the roots/scalp, use the condition only from the neck down, or if your hair is short, only on the ends. Also use a "heat protector product; we use Chi, but there are many others available.)

8. The bottom line: if you buy a Corioliss Flat Iron from a mall kiosk, you may not even get the same iron they used on you for their demonstration, you'll pay more for the same item than you would online, there's a gigantic chance you can't return it, and, if the kiosk sellers agree to exchange it, it could be a time suck. You're also likely to get a seller who will say whatever they have to, to get you to pull out your card or coin for the item.

All that said, you might consider the flat irons we've suggested here (see below). Again, we were inspired by our friend Carolyn, who reps FHI and sent us their release: