No matter what you call it—a comeback, re-launch, resurrection—Ellen Lange, the woman who created one of the first at-home peels in the late '90s, is bringing back her disruptive Ellen Lange Retexturizing Peel Kit. And after a few tweaks with the bells and whistles of the at-home bundle, it's so much more than its predecessor.
If you're not familiar with Lange, or her revolutionary at-home treatment, which was once a QVC hit and Sephora bestseller, here's a quick backstory: In 1996, Lange, an aesthetician with a mission to give women (and men) glow-y skin via a spa-like experience in the comfort of their own homes, created a three-step peel system, containing multiple exfoliants—glycolic acid, enzymes, and lactic acid—to remove skin's surface cells, retexturize and brighten skin, and help produce that coveted just-left-the-spa glow. And after major success (the Retexturizing Peel Kit made an appearance in the Allure September 2004 issue as a power peel) and a slew of offers from big-name beauty giants, a health scare caused Lange to step away from her business. Today, she's healed and ready to start anew.
"My peel is unique," Lange tells Allure. "I was the first to do the cup and a brush at home, getting those professional tools into people’s hands. People have tried packaging similar things, but there’s nothing that creates that immediate effect."
The kit itself contains three products, which are to be used in succession: the Peel Prep Scrub, an enzyme-spiked exfoliant made with papaya fruit extract and jojoba beads; the Peel Accelerator Pads, which are soaked with five percent glycolic acid, witch hazel, and caffeine; and the Glycolic Peel Solution, which contains 10 percent glycolic acid and lactic acid.
The newly re-launched Ellen Lange Retexturizing Peel Kit has a few minor changes that Lange says only long-time fans will notice. Jojoba beads, which are both exfoliating and moisturizing, replace controversial and now largely banned microbeads in the enzyme scrub, there's now an easy-access pump on the Glycolic Peel Solution bottle, and the entire system comes in a top-open box to make it easier to store the products in between treatments.
"The scrub is the same. The pads are the same. The peel is the same," says Lange. "One of our hashtags is #peelcult because it's got this cult following." (And she's not kidding—one peep at the review section on her website, ellenlange.com will make you into a believer.)
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Lange, who "decided to start small again" is set on selling her kit—which includes eight full peel treatments, 60 glycolic peel pads, a small cup to dispense the foaming Glycolic Peel Solution, and a fan brush to apply it with—directly to consumers through her website for $85. And after a soft launch of the site, only taking pre-orders, the Ellen Lange Retexturizing Peel is already selling out, with promises of re-stock early in the new year. "What kept me going was hearing from people and their true responses and feedback," she says. "So I got the courage to go at it again. It’s hard to do it again. It’s one thing if you’re very naïve and another to really know the business and have to go back and do it again—but I'm very excited."
Now watch how to DIY your own face scrub at home:
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10 best flat irons of 2021, according to celebrity hairstylists
Ceramic vs. tourmaline vs. titanium flat irons
The three most common flat iron plates are ceramic, tourmaline and titanium. Each one will straighten hair, but different attributes make each more beneficial for certain hair textures, ranging from fine wavy hair to kinky coils.
Ceramic flat irons
Bertin said that ceramic irons are the most affordable option out of the three types of hair straighteners. They don't get as hot as titanium and tourmaline, which can be a good thing, depending on your hair’s health and texture.
- Hairstylist Courtney Foster and Bertin agreed that ceramic flat irons heat up "fairly quickly," provide even heat distribution, glide through the hair smoothly and leave behind a glossy sheen.
- They also agreed that those with thick, coarse hair should pass on ceramic flat irons.
- After the ceramic-coated plates wear down or chip away, "the not-so-safe-metal" — usually aluminum — is exposed, which "can really wreck your hair."
- Ceramic flat irons are ideal for those with dry, damaged or fine hair, said Bertin.
Tourmaline flat irons
According to the pros, tourmaline plates contain silicate and straighten the hair with less heat.
- Tourmaline hair straighteners smooth the hair cuticle and add moisture-locking ions to the hair. "These ions help balance out dry and damaged hair, leaving the hair silkier with no frizz or flyaways," Foster said.
- Because the flat iron plates are coated with tourmaline, Bertin advised that you keep an eye out for wear and chipping to avoid potential heat damage.
- Bertin added that you need fewer passes to get your desired effect because the heat distribution of tourmaline is the best of the three.
Titanium flat irons
Titanium is a strong, durable metal best suited for professional salon use, said Bertin.
- Titanium flat iron plates heat up the quickest, he said.
- Foster, founder of Courtney Foster Beauty, added that a titanium iron also heats evenly, which allows for fewer passes over the hair and gives "much better results than the ceramic iron."
- Bertin added that even if you have hair with minimal damage from heat or chemical processing, titanium flat irons can mess up your hair.
Best flat irons of 2021
Once you’ve determined which flat iron works best for your hair’s natural texture and fullness, where should you start looking? We consulted experts and found 11 celebrity hairstylist-approved flat irons in various price points.
1. CHI Original 1-inch Ceramic Iron
Foster's favorite ceramic iron is the 1-inch version from CHI, which she called "a nice introductory iron that is priced reasonably and provides a nice finish to the hair." The flat iron uses negative ions to add moisture and shine to your strands. It takes 30 seconds for the hair straightener to reach a pre-set temperature of 392 degrees Fahrenheit. The ergonomic design helps make it easier to curl, wave and straighten your hair. The CHI ceramic flat iron boasts a 4.5-star average rating from more than 5,900 reviews on Amazon, where it is currently marked down nearly 70 percent off.
2. BaByliss PRO Mini Nano Titanium Ionic Flat Iron
"The BaByliss almost needs no explanation, as it's compact, thin and perfect for all those trouble spots where your normal flat iron can't reach, like your temples, part or neckline," said celebrity hairstylist Kristen Shaw. At just under $30, you get a powerful 6-inch-long flat iron with .5-inch-wide plates that heat up to 430 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the hair straightener into your weekend bag or purse for quick touch-ups on the go. The Mini Nano flat iron earned a 4.4-star average rating from nearly 4,700 reviews on Amazon.
3. Revlon Salon Straight Copper Smooth
Caile Noble, the hairstylist to Julia Roberts, Cindy Crawford and Kirsten Dunst, called the Revlon Salon Straight Copper Smooth his "one-stop and favorite flat iron" for all hair types. The adjustable heat ranges from 180 to 455 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows you to tailor the temperature to your hair texture. (Remember: The coarser your hair, the higher the temperature you can get away with using.) "The added attachment works wonders on thicker hair to give added control and better results while styling," he said. "And the copper plates evenly distribute heat, resulting in less damage and added frizz control. Who doesn't want that?" If you prefer larger flat iron plates, then go for the XL version that is 1.5 inches wide or the 2-inch option. It boasts a 4.5-star average rating from nearly 1,600 reviews on Amazon.
4. T3 Lucea Straightening and Styling Iron
Kiki Heitkotter, hairstylist to Busy Phillips, Michelle Williams, Reese Witherspoon and Lili Reinhart, "loves" using this "versatile" hair straightener on clients. The flat iron has nine heat settings, "making it very easy to customize the amount of heat for your specific hair type [and] causing less damage, which is a huge bonus for our hair," she said. Heitkotter also likes the flexible plates, which "allow the flat iron to grip the hair with even tension." The T3 Lucea is the No. 1 bestseller in its class on Sephora and it received a 4.8-star average from 75 reviews on the site.
5. ghd Classic Original IV Hair Straightener
Shaw, who works with Chloe Sevigny and Emma Watson, keeps this ceramic flat iron on rotation. "It's one of my favorites due to its semi-rounded edges, which increase the preservation of your hair's integrity and strength, so you don't accidentally repeat creases with frequent styling, which ultimately breaks your hair," she said. The flat iron heats up in 30 seconds to one temperature setting — 365 degrees Fahrenheit— and shuts down after 30 minutes of non-use. This ghd hair straightener boasts a 4.5-star average rating from nearly 1,600 reviews on Amazon.
6. Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener
Foster's favorite tourmaline iron is the Dyson Corrale hair straightener. "The quality and price tag makes this flat iron like the Rolls Royce of hair tools," she said. Shaw, who helps Hillary Swank, Jodie Comer and Shailene Woodley primp for the red carpet, also keeps this hair straightener in her pro kit. The cordless flat iron "will straighten your hair at the fastest speed without burning it and leaves your strands shiny," she said. It offers 30 minutes of cord-free use, three pre-set heat seeings — 330, 365 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit — and automatically shuts off after 30 minutes.
7. L'Oréal Steampod
Bertin, who works with Letitia Wright, Katy Perry and Cara Delevingne, is also a fan of the L'Oreal Steampod. The ceramic flat iron uses steam — rather than dry heat like other hair straighteners — to achieve sleek strands. "This infusion of moisture (water) conditions the hair while straightening and allows for a longer-lasting style that will stay frizz-free," he said.
8. Cloud Nine Original Flat Iron
Bertin "loves" the Cloud Nine flat iron, which is available in four sizes — Micro, Touch, Original and Wide. It also has seven temperature settings, ranging from 212 to 392 degrees Fahrenheit,which he noted is “really helpful to pinpoint all hair types." The ceramic plates are infused with minerals, "so you get a gorgeous, snag-free glide," Bertin added. If you're unsure of which size hair straightener is best for you, then follow Bertin's tip: "Smaller plates are better for short hair, whereas larger plates are better for longer hair. The plate size won't affect the finished product, but it will affect the speed at which you get there."
9. Kristin Ess 3-in-1 Flat Iron
"This flat iron has beveled edges, making it user-friendly and less likely to get bends and creases in the hair," said Heitkotter. With 1.25-inch titanium plates and four pre-set temperatures that heat up to 440 degrees, you can "glide (the flat iron) smoothly through your hair, giving you a shiny end result." There's also a 9-foot-long swivel cord and automatic shutoff after 30 minutes of non-use. This 3-in-1 Kristin Ess flat iron is a top three bestseller on Target.
10. Bellami Triple Shine Original Flatiron
Ruslan Nureev, who works with Jessica Alba, Karlie Kloss, Bella Hadid and Jasmine Tookes, is "obsessed" with the Bellami Triple Shine flatiron. The hair straightener, which is available in three sizes — .5-, 1- and 1.5-inches — heats up to 430 degrees in 60 seconds. It also has graphene, black diamond and ceramic plates, which "makes the hair very shiny in one pass," he said.
Do flat irons damage hair?
Foster said that flat irons do not damage hair. However, improper use, like utilizing a temperature too high for your hair type, can "run the risk of damage." Bertin agreed, adding that heat damage is "irreparable and has to be grown out." That means it's safest to start with a lower temperature and increase if necessary. He said the cuticle, or outer layer of a hair strand, can "very easily" become damaged by heat over 356 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius, "if care isn't taken to do quick passes on a low or medium temperature with a flat iron." Damaging that cuticle layer will make your hair more porous, which means it will struggle to hold on to moisture, explained Bertin. When heat is applied to hair, he noted, its moisture content begins evaporating, which causes dryness and breakage.
Although hair straighteners are safe to use, hairstylists we consulted advised against using flat irons — or any hot tool, for that matter — every day. “Even with the best heat protectants in the game, heat, whether that is from a flat iron or a hair dryer, is not something you should be exposing your hair to every day,” added Bertin. He said those with afro-textured hair should consider flat ironing their hair at most once a week because "our hair is naturally more fragile and dry, so flat ironing any more than that is a huge no-no." Depending on the health and dryness of straighter hair types, you can get away with flat ironing more often, but Bertin advised against everyday use if you want healthy hair.
Catch up on the latest from NBC News Shopping guides and recommendations and download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
Nicole Saunders is a former associate commerce editor for Select on NBC News, covering wellness and lifestyle.
Hair tools for every guy and gal’s crowning glory
We’ve all had those bad hair days where the essential hair tools weren’t there to save that fabulous updo or tame wispy, flyaway hair just before a big meeting or once-a-year dinner dance. You know, those days when no matter what you do, your hair simply won’t go the way you planned. There’s nothing more maddening or frustrating, we know! After all, hair is a girl’s (and let’s face it, a guy’s) crowning glory. To keep your hair in tip-top, healthy condition, and to get it to do as it’s told, requires an arsenal of hair tools. It’s time to get your weapons at the ready! And you’ll find all the hair tools you need at Sephora.
Those must-have hair ties
Where would we be without the humble hair tie to save the day? From simply being able to sweep up your hair in a messy bun tied with a hair tie as you take the kids to school or run the hoover around the house, to having a few hair ties be understated tools for creating that perfect updo for a night on the town, a pile of hair ties always saves the day. Have your hair ties at the ready!
Protection for the hair with a range of hair turbans and accessories
There are times you need to protect your hair, be it from the glare of the sun, the chemicals in the pool, or even from your own bath towel! We’ve got a hair towel designed to treat your hair with kid gloves, as well as hair caps and hair turbans in various styles and colours that hide your crowning glory, yet bring out your divine diva beauty.
When your hair brush becomes your go-to hair styling tool
We’ve got a host of hair brushes that treat your hair right. They won’t create split ends, rip your hair at the roots or end up at the centre of a tangled mess. (Any girl with long hair knows a detangling brush is an absolute must!) Styling brushes specially designed to let your hair dryer breeze through and lock in those curls are ingenious. And they come in paddle and round forms so you can create the perfect bangs for your buck or straighten out the frizz that makes you frizzled.
Hair tools that have reinvented the hairdryer
Who wants heat-damaged hair? The revolutionary hairdryer from Dyson focusses the airflow so you can style one section of your hair without disturbing adjacent sections you’ve already styled (how annoying did that use to be!), and does so without overheating your hair.
Shop online now at Sephora for hair tools that keep your crowning glory looking and feeling beautiful and just as you’d styled it, throughout the day – or night.
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