The Heat Is On. ghd Max vs Cloud Nine Wide Iron

BY GEORGIA ROSE AND SOPHIE CHUNG

On the market for a new hair straightener? It’s likely two of the industry’s best will be battling it out in your cart.

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15 MAR - 2021

We put ghd and Cloud Nine to the test so you can go from root to tip with confidence.

Choosing a hair straightener isn't simple at the best of times, but as we see better technology advancements, brands are releasing updated versions - and fast. It’s undeniable that both ghd and Cloud Nine are big names in the world of hairstyling, offering a range of highly-coveted stylers.

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Cloud Nine on the right, ghd on the left.

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Bailey's Hair - Cloud Nine on the left, ghd on the right.

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Weapons of Choice

ghd Max Wide Plate Styler, NZD $360: As the latest edition to the ghd family, we thought it was the perfect time to put this baby to the test. The Max Wide Plate Styler features 70% larger plates than the original, harnessing two new generation heat sensors for consistent heat distribution at the optimum temperature of 185°C. The Max is engineered to maintain health tension and efficient heat transfer for a long-lasting finish. ghd Max is best used on thick hair.

Cloud Nine The Wide Iron, NZD $373: All the personality of the original styler with a wider plate, with Cloud 9’s Kinder Styling Technology for healthier, stronger hair. The Wide Iron features variable temperature control with a heat setting ranging from 100 - 200°C. The brand's ceramic plates are infused with healing mineral Sericite to seal the hair and lock in moisture, whilst floating plates cushion the impact minimising drag and friction on the hair. The Wide Iron is meant for thick and long hair.

For the hair protectant, we used LUST Thermal Protection, $35. It’s a gorgeous smelling, cruelty-free brand with high quality yet affordable products.

Sophie

At the time of testing, my hair was a bob. I’m not the best target market for these tools as I don’t have long hair but let me tell you, my hair is thick. I could sew up sock holes with a strand of my hair. I did it as a kid - only children get up to some weird shit when they’re bored.

In a nutshell, the ghd side was visibly shinier while the cloud nine was straighter and had a more matte look. Personally, I preferred the ghd as my hair is so dry and I have always coveted the glossy look. However, it’s important to note that ghds are set at an even temperature of 185°C and the cloud nine was set at 175°C for the test, in between 150°C and 200°C on the tool.

I then straightened Bailey’s hair with both tools since her hair is long enough to touch toilet water while using the loo. I want to chop 6 inches off of it so badly and turn it into a blunt cut with a tucked curl at the bottom. Anyway, I increased the Cloud Nine’s temperature to 200°C for the comparison.

As you can see in the photo, the discrepancy between both tools are minimal at first glance. When you take another look, it’s evident that there are some comparisons to make between the left and right halves.

The left side of her hair was straightened with the Cloud Nine at 200°C. It’s kink-free and dead straight. There’s no room for imperfection. On the right side, Bailey’s hair looks super shiny, reflective, glossy and rich in colour. It doesn’t have that dead-straight quality and there are more flyaways.

I straightened Bailey’s hair because she’s one of those people who doesn’t section their hair properly and just wings it. Ergonomically, I found Cloud Nine to feel a bit lighter on my hands and wrists even though it weighs 0.52kg and the ghd Max weighs 0.46kg.

The tool is very flat with a curve at the edges, whereas ghd tools are curved all round. I have small hands so I think it was easier for me to press down on the Cloud Nine. I also found that the Cloud Nine glides through very smoothly without pulling and there are minimal flyaways.

I definitely think you should use a brush or comb with the straighteners as the wide plates make the tools significantly hotter than regular plates. After straightening, the hair is scorching hot so don’t use your fingers to comb through the hair afterwards.

"The discrepancy between both tools are minimal at first glance."

Georgia

I spent many mornings during highschool in front of the mirror desperately trying to straighten my hair before the bus arrived. If you’ve seen Caroline Dauer’s Instagram reel - you’ll get the picture.

I have a thick wavy mop that sits just below shoulder height, perfect for a wide iron straightener. It’s so thick that half the time, I can’t be bothered sectioning it all off to straighten (again reference Caroline’s reel). Because of that, I have been relying on the genius invention of the ghd hot brush - naturally, I have a little bias towards ghd.

After sectioning said mop in half, we were ready to go. On the right, ghd and the left, Cloud Nine. Using the ghd Max first, I was convinced the cloud nine wouldn't be able to beat it. The straightening was way quicker than my ghd gold. The only downside, however, was that I couldn't regulate the heat. I burnt my finger (rookie move) as my hair was so hot afterwards.

On to the left, Cloud Nine. We set the Cloud Nine at 175°C to semi-match the ghd. Straightening my hair was about the same, quick and smooth. I did find the Cloud Nine to be lighter but, it was more the results that differed. To the naked eye, or if you were just passing me in the street, you’d have no idea that each side was straightened by different brands.

The Results - For my hair Cloud Nine was the obvious winner, which was a shock to me. The hair was visibility straighter on my C9 side, and flyaways were at a minimum. I found that over the course of the day, my Cloud 9 hair lasted longer with no hair spray, whereas the ghd hair started to show slight kinks due to my naturally wavy hair. I will definitely be adding the Cloud Nine wide iron to my hair tools.

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Georgia's Hair. Cloud Nine on the left, ghd on the right.

Final Verdict

Ultimately, ghd vs Cloud 9 isn’t really your choice - it’s your hair’s. As seen with our trials, we both came out with a different winning straightener based on what worked best personally.

If you want dead straight hair and the ability to change the temperature, then Cloud Nine will be your tool of choice. It does mattify the hair colour though and can look a bit dull. If you’ve got super thick and curly hair, you might need 185°C+ temperatures to straighten out the frizz. But if you have dry hair, going with a ghd will give it that extra boost of shine and colour that the Cloud Nine can’t provide and you would have to use some hairspray to stick the flyaways down. Conversely, you could use a hair oil after using the Cloud Nine to amplify shine but I’m not sure if there’s a post-styling product to bring the colour out.

If it’s about bang for your buck, both brands run some pretty sweet Gift with Purchase or discount deals now and then. If you don’t know what your preference would be, maybe their deals could make the choice for you.

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