GHD has been at the forefront of hairstyling innovation since it was founded in 2001, all the way from the original ceramic-plated hair straighteners to the smart GHD Platinium+ stylers, which is able to predict your hair’s needs and respond to your hair and the way that you style.
Up until recently though, the British brand didn't have a cordless option to rival the likes of BaByliss, Revamp, Cloud Nine, and, of course, the Dyson Corrale. That has all changed with the introduction of the GHD Unplugged, which, as the name suggests, can be used completely cordlessly.
GHD Unplugged is the brand's first-ever cordless styler. It's light, portable and powerful, allowing you to top-up your style on the go, without compromising on performance.
Despite being compact and lightweight, the GHD Unplugged are still a premium product – they heat up in just 45 seconds and provide up to 20 minutes of continuous styling.
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Despite being the smallest and most compact styler GHD has released in recent years, it is also the most expensive, so we've been reviewing them for a few weeks to see whether you should spend your hard-earned money on these compact, cordless stylers, or whether your money is better spent on the 5-star awarded GHD Platinium+ styler, read on to find out…
GHD Unplugged hair straightener review: Design
GHD Unplugged are the most compact hair straighteners we've ever seen – even more so than the images suggest. They measure 22cm long and weigh just 300g. That's almost half the size and weight of the Dyson Corrale, which weigh 563g.
Any doubts that the Unplugged would be fiddly and difficult to use were quickly dispelled when I got my hands on them – they feel completely natural and comfortable to hold. This is because the handle section of the GHD Unplugged, where the battery is housed, is actually a similar size to regular GHD stylers – with the styling plates much narrower and shorter. It also means they feel nicely balanced, as the main bulk of the weight sits in the handle.
In the box you get:
- GHD Unplugged Hair Straightener
- USB-C charging cable
- UK plug
- Heat resistant travel pouch
The plates themselves are narrow at 2cm wide, and this means they sit between the 1.27cm wide plates seen on the GHD Mini and the 2.5cm plates on the Platinum+.
I have been reviewing the black model, which has an identical, smooth, premium finish as seen on GHD's larger stylers. It also has similar chrome details on the hinge.
GHD also sell the Unplugged in matt white, and we could see the brand offering limited edition colourways in the future.
The power switch is located on the top of the styler and is surrounded by an LED which glows a soft white when the styler is in use. Below the power switch is a battery level indicator strip – a thin row of white LEDs which give you a visual indication of how much battery is remaining. Each bar of light represents around 20% of the charge.
And at the hinge end of the straighteners is the USB-C charging point. It's discrete and out of the way, allowing you to comfortably use the straighteners while charging.
I love the fact that the Unplugged stylers are charged using USB-C as it means it's one less charger to take with you when travelling. I'm now at a point where one charger can power my phone, laptop, camera and hair straighteners – that makes packing light very easy.
GHD includes a USB-C-to-USB-C cable in the box and a wall plug, which, in my case, featured a UK 3-pin connection.
In the box also get a heat resistant travel case. This luxury zipped pouch allows you to finish styling your hair then instantly throw pack it in a suitcase or bag without worrying about burning anything.
If there's one aspect I'd like to see changed about the design is the hinge. I've grown used to the smooth wishbone design found on the GHD Platinium+, which doesn't grab and pull stray hairs. It's a shame to see a more traditional hinge design on the Unplugged.
GHD Unplugged hair straightener review: Features and Technology
As compact and cordless is the name of the game here you shouldn't expect as many advanced features or technology as you would get with GHD's larger stylers.
The main feature is the hybrid co-lithium battery technology, which provides the GHD Unplugged with a 20-minute run-time. We'll get on to how useful that is in the next section, but that fact that these are the first and only cordless GHD straighteners is something to be applauded.
The cordless straighteners make use of GHD's high-gloss plates, which feature a fine ceramic coating for smooth, snag-free styling. These really are the best in the business and I'm glad to see them return here.
The styling plates feature GHD's dual-zone technology, which means the bespoke ceramic heaters can guarantee a consistent optimum styling temperature of 185ºC, which GHD claim is the perfect balance between styling performance and healthy-looking results.
It's worth noting that this is not the most advanced GHD system out there – that accolade goes to the ultra-zone sensor technology found in the Platinium+.
The plates will automatically switch off after 3 minutes of inactivity to preserve battery life.
It's also worth noting that GHD Unplugged are approved for safe travelling in cabin and hold luggage, so you can take your style anywhere in the world.
GHD Unplugged hair straightener review: Performance
I have very long, thick hair and used the GHD Unplugged to create a range of styles, from smooth, straight hair to beachy waves. I used it in place of my regular hair straighteners in the morning, as well as topping up my style after work before going out – almost like a hairbrush. I even took it on a road trip, where space was at a premium. So these stylers have been thoroughly tested.
I find 185ºC is the perfect temperature for styling, as it's hot enough to style without damaging my hair and making it look dry. Despite the small plates, I didn't find myself needing to go over sections twice.
I found that the GHD Unplugged is ideal for topping up my hairstyle throughout the day – the battery last long enough and the fact that they're so compact makes them the perfect travel companion.
The small plates actually work in the device's favour here, as it adds a little precision to your styling.
They also only take 45 seconds to heat up, which is a little slower than the GHD Platinium+, but still very respectable.
Having said that, I don't feel like these could replace my corded stylers for everyday use. As I previously mentioned, I have thick hair that reaches the small of my back, so a battery life of 20 minutes simply isn't long enough to cover my entire hair, especially as you need to straighten in quite small sections due to the small styling plates. I feel like if you have shorter, thinner hair then these could be the ultimate styling tool both at home and when travelling, but if you have hair like mine then they should be looked at as more of a tool as part of a wider styling arsenal rather than a do-all device.
GHD Unplugged hair straightener review: Verdict
Whether the GHD Unplugged is right for you depends on a few variables; your hair type, hair length, lifestyle, and how you plan to use them, so I can't really recommend them outright like I can with the unquestionably brilliant GHD Platinium+ stylers.
The GHD Unplugged are excellent cordless straighteners for styling while on the move. They bring the style, power and practicality we've come to expect from GHD, and packed it into a more petite body. Yes, they're expensive and we'd appreciate longer battery life, but if you're a frequent traveller or always styling on-the-go, then these are the straighteners for you.
Of course, the GHD Unplugged are pretty expensive, so you really need to question whether you need the added flexibility that going cordless creates. If you do most of your styling at home, then we'd recommend reading our best hair straighteners guide and buying one of GHD's corded yet still excellent hair straighteners, but if you do find yourself in need of a compact hair styling tool on the go, then the GHD Unplugged can't be beaten.