This story originally appeared on RealSimple.com by Hana Hong.
Confession time: I’m not the biggest fan of hot tools. I’m the type of gal that air-dries her hair to avoid the icky feeling of heat against my scalp. In addition to feeling not so hot (or, rather, too hot), curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers are infamous for stripping hair of its natural oils. As someone who dedicates 10 minutes every morning to a hydrating hair-care routine of leave-in conditioners, hair oils, and hair masks, hot tools come across as counterintuitive.
That mentality has always made me wonder why cold hairstyling tools aren’t a thing. Sure, I know my blow dryer has a cool setting, but does that really do anything other than feel refreshing and dry your hair? That’s why I was hyped to hear about Babyliss’ first cryotherapy brush (Buy It, $190, ulta.com), the brand’s coolest launch yet (literally) that uses freezing cold temperatures to style and treat your strands.
BaByliss Pro is a branch under the Conair umbrella — and the brand has deemed cryotherapy the next big thing in hair tools. I know what you’re thinking — isn’t cryotherapy a medical thing? It’s true — doctors use it to treat many skin conditions (including warts and skin tags) and even some cancers. You probably don’t associate the treatment, which involves the use of extreme cold to freeze and remove abnormal tissue, with hair care. (Related: Does Cryotherapy for Sore Muscle Relief Really Work?)
But here’s why it works: While heat opens up the hair cuticle and causes it to swell, the cold flattens and seals the cuticle. By doing so, it helps to improve shine, reduce frizz, and even extinguish static electricity — in other words, it’s a quick fix for all the common hair problems come winter. (The medical-turned-cosmetic aspect is not incredibly surprising considering the evolution of Botox, a cosmetic treatment which was originally only used to treat eye muscle disorders.)
The tool itself is super simple. Two parallel ceramic plates with both a positive and negative charge transfer heat away through the bottom while creating cold temperatures on the top. The center portion of the brush has a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) that’s able to reach zero degrees celsius. This arctic cold temperature travels across 90 metal bristles to draw moisture from the air back into the shaft — often the type that’s sucked from your strands when using hot tools.
I have rather thin, super straight hair and treat the electric brush as I would any ordinary hairbrush — the only difference being that I try to use smaller sections and repeat each pass a couple of times to reap all the cooling benefits. You should notice an immediate difference, but I noticed my hair became even shinier and smoother after a couple of weeks of repeated use. I even recommended it to a skeptical friend with curly hair, and she came back surprisingly impressed with how much frizz it killed. (Related: The Best Products for All Types of Frizzy Hair)
One of the best parts about this tool is that it can be used on wet, dry, or even dirty hair, which allows for easy styling whenever, wherever. On wet hair, it will smooth and align hair shafts to prevent damage that comes with heat styling. On dry hair, it will have a smoothing effect to boost manageability and shine. Personally, my favorite application is when your hair is feeling a tad greasy (quarantine hair is real, guys). Brushing the cold bristles through my roots makes them look cleaner and more volumized, letting me forego the dry shampoo — and all the buildup it brings.
One thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t a straightener, so it won’t completely replace your styling tools if you’re looking for a perfectly done head of hair. Think of it more like a finishing tool to complement your current hair-care routine and eliminate the problems that come with it.
Bottom line: Cryotherapy is the real deal. This brush is the first of its kind in the realm of hairstyling, but we predict the cold technology will heat up the world of hair care soon. If you want to get a head (hair?) start and try the brush for yourself, you can nab one on Ulta for $190. Trust us — you won’t believe your hair when you do.