GHD Duet Style review

 GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home.
GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home.

GHD Duet Style: two-minute review

The GHD Duet Style promises to be a game-changer, because it can dry and style at the hair at the same time. In theory, it could make for worthy, somewhat more affordable alternative to the Dyson Airstrait (which launched after the Duet), but on test it falls a little short in places.

Throughout my trial, I tested the Duet Style on a range of hair states: soaking wet; damp, towel-dried hair; and second-day hair. Compared to my regular hairdryer, which takes my hair from wet to dry in around four minutes, the Duet Style took an almost painful 15 minutes – the slowest hair dryer I've ever used. (In comparison, in our Dyson Airstrait review, we found this drier-straightener was a genuine time-saver.)

The issue with the Duet Style is that because you have to section your hair and dry each section individually. Even then, it takes multiple passes over each strand to truly dry it effectively. If it takes this long on my long, thin hair, I dread to think how long it would take on thick or coily hair. It's not going to be troubling our best hair dryer guide any time soon.

Using the Duet Style on damp hair took an average of nine minutes, while using it bring life back to my second-day hair took less than two. The latter has quickly become my favorite way to use the Duet Style. The hot air reaches 300F / 150C, while the plates heat up to 360F / 180C. Like all GHD stylers, there's only one temperature setting.

Once your hair's dry, pressing the Shine Shot button turns off the hot airflow and turns on the plates. After 20 seconds, you can then run the Duet Style over your hair like you would with standard straighteners to knock out any remaining frizz and add a dose of shine.

The styles created with the Duet Style last noticeably longer than they ever have when I've blowdried my hair in the past. I have naturally curly hair, and typically a hint of humidity sends it into a frizzy frenzy, but the Duet Style improved this. The only downside is that you have to sacrifice the volume, body and bounce you only really get from a traditional blow dry.

GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home
GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home

I'm also not a huge fan of the Duet Style's size and weight. It measures 16.7 x 12.8in / 42.4 cm x 32.5cm (H x W) and weighs 1.5lb / 675g. This makes the styler cumbersome to maneuver around your head and near-impossible to create flicks or curls, like GHD promises, significantly reducing the Duet Style's versatility.

This extra weight also means you have to hold the end of the tool for stability and to stop your arm from aching, but the styler has a tendency to get hot during use, making it uncomfortable to grip for long periods. On the plus side, the large size does allow you to tackle bigger sections of hair at once.

Size and weight issues aside, the GHD Duet Style's controls are simple and easy to use and the fact it creates styles that last is a major selling point. If you're looking for a one-stop shop for drying and straightening your hair, and you're a patient person, the Duet Style could be a good option. However, if you value speed, maneuverability, and styling versatility, or you have thick hair, you might be better off sticking with your trusty hairdryer and straightener combo.

GHD Duet Style review: price & availability

  • List price: $399 / £379 / AU $595

  • Available: US, Australia, UK and Europe

The GHD Duet Style is available in black or white as standard, and at time of writing there's also a limited-edition Elemental Blue colorway, which forms part of GHD's recent Color Crush collection.

The standard model costs $399 / £379 / AUD$595, making it the most expensive GHD styler on the market. In the US, the Color Crush version costs the same as the standard model, at $399, yet in the UK and Australia the price for the blue model rises to £389 and AUD$605 respectively. All three regions sell the blue version with a leather storage case.

You can additionally buy the black GHD Duet Style as part of a styling set in the US. This kit contains the styler, a 'lizard velvet' storage case and the GHD Sleek Talker heat protect spray yet still costs the same, at $399.

Within the wider GHD range, the Duet Style most closely resembles the $269 / £209 / AUD$370 GHD Max in terms of design, and is closest in price to the $299 / £309 / AUD$500 cordless GHD Unplugged. Yet stands apart from all of its siblings, as well as the vast majority of the market because of its 2-in-1, wet-to-dry features.

The only other like-for-like styler wet-to-dry styler is the Dyson Airstrait. The Airstrait is available in the US and UK for $499.99 / £499.99 and is due to launch in Australia later in 2024. The Airstrait offers the same wet-to-dry features as the Duet Style but doesn't have the flat iron hot plates seen on the GHD model.

The GHD Duet Style is available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and across Europe, and is sold directly from the GHD website, but also via plenty of third party retailers.

Given that the choice of wet-to-dry stylers is limited, and the GHD Duet Style is significantly cheaper than the Airstrait, despite featuring hot plates, it represents decent value for money. You're effectively paying for advanced, cutting-edge tech and innovation and getting a GHD hair dryer and flat iron styler for the price of one. That said, you could still a separate hair dryer and flat iron with change to spare, so it depends on your needs.

  • Value for money score: 3 out of 5

GHD Duet Style hair dryer review: design

  • Large and heavy paddle-shaped design

  • Easy to use controls

  • Well-placed air vents 

The GHD Duet Style is notably larger and heavier than the average styler, measuring 16.7 x 12.8 in / 42.4 cm x 32.5 cm (H x W) and weighing 1.5lb / 675g. The hot plates each then measure 0.6 in / 1.7cm wide. This makes it a bulky piece of kit and not the easiest of stylers to move around the head. It also makes it a pain to store.

GHD Duet Style hair styler with other GHD stylers to show how the sizes compare
GHD Duet Style hair styler with other GHD stylers to show how the sizes compare

The plates sit either side of a central air vent on both the upper and lower arms of the styler. These vents are covered in a grid that disperses the hot air evenly onto your wet hair as you pass it through the dryer. There are then two thin air vents built into the arms of the Duet Style. These are used to dry the hair above and below the styler as it moves through the hair. A small but welcome, and smart, addition.

Grille between the plates on GHD Duet Style hair styler
Grille between the plates on GHD Duet Style hair styler

Design-wise, the Duet Style closely resembles the GHD Max, thanks to its wide, paddle-shaped design, albeit with a much thicker handle. This handle is where the motor and filter for the drying element sits and this filter is attached to the Duet Style's 360-degree, 8.8ft / 2.7m cord. Its minimal, easy-to-use controls are then found on the top of the styler's arm.

These controls consist of a power switch surrounded by a white LED ring, above a Shine Shot button. The switch controls the dryer element of the GHD Duet Style and can be used on wet or damp hair. The Shine Shot button controls the hot plates and should only be used on dry hair. Both controls are accompanied by a short beep that signals that the styler is ready for use. I'm a big fan of this auditory feedback and I miss it when I use other stylers without it.

Control switch on GHD Duet Style hair styler
Control switch on GHD Duet Style hair styler

The hot airflow on the GHD Duet Style maxes out at 300F / 150C while the plates operate at 180C / 360F. GHD stylers only ever offer one temperature setting. This is the optimum temperature, according to GHD, because it's hot enough to mold the hair into shape, while causing minimal damage.

While the GHD Duet Style has a built-in filter, it doesn't offer a cleaning mode (like the Dyson Airstrait) so you'll need to keep it free from dust and build-up over time. GHD recommends using a soft toothbrush to keep this filter clear.

It may not be the most stylish, or compact styler, but the GHD Duet Style's design is well considered. It shares the premium look seen across rest of the GHD range and there are small touches and accents that elevate its appearance.

  • Design score: 3.5 out of 5

GHD Duet Style review: performance

  • Slow drying times

  • Difficult to maneuver and use for long periods

  • Long-lasting styles 

The GHD Duet Style takes a bit of getting used to. Not just because it's unlike any styler I've used before, but because it goes against everything I'd ever been told about using stylers on wet hair. For my Duet Style review, I tested the styler on wet hair, straight from the shower; on damp towel-dried hair; and on second-day hair.

My favorite way to use the Duet Style is on second-day hair. It brings my style back to life without having to rewash it, and it gives more precision than a traditional hair dryer without having to resort to straightening it or similar.

From wet to dry, the GHD Duet Style took significantly longer than it does with a regular hair dryer – almost 15 minutes compared to the average of four. If you have long, thick or coily hair, this could exceed 30 minutes or more.  Taking my hair from damp to dry then took, on average, nine minutes and produced a similar finish.

GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home
GHD Duet Style hair styler in reviewer's home

These lengthy times are largely because you have to section the hair, and dry each section in turn. GHD advises that you hold the dryer near your roots for three seconds to dry the hair closest to your head before passing it over the lengths, which adds to this time. It then takes multiple, slow passes over each strand of hair to dry it effectively. I had hoped, after spending this long drying my hair, that I'd be ready to leave the house, but my hair lacked the shine and finish I'd have expected.

Thankfully, the Duet Style's Shine Shot came to the rescue. Press the button, wait 20 seconds and the Duet Style becomes a flat iron styler. You then run it over your hair to knock out any remaining frizz and add shine.

The biggest selling point of the Duet Style, however, is that whichever way I use it, my style lasts much longer than when I blow dry it. I have naturally curly hair and usually, as soon as it gets even a hint of humidity, it becomes frizzy and the curls return. This was noticeably improved while using the Duet Style. It isn't the cure for frizz, but it's close.

This does come at the sacrifice of body and movement though. The root drying vents help add volume at the roots but you don't get the same movement or bounce as you do with a regular blow dry. What's more, there's not much you can do about this. The Duet Style is too large and unwieldy to move around the head easily, or twirl it around the hair in the same way you would with a barrel brush. No matter how hard I tried, I never managed to add flicks or curls or achieve the versatility that GHD promises.

Cable on GHD Duet Style hair styler
Cable on GHD Duet Style hair styler

Given the size and weight of the styler, it's also necessary to hold the end of the Duet Style while passing it over your hair to keep it steady and to manage the weight. This can get uncomfortable as the styler gets hot and you have to avoid the hot air coming out of the side vents.

It's not so hot that it burns you, but it's hot enough for you not want to hold it for long periods. There are strips of rubber edging to help with this but they're too narrow to really make a difference, and these rubber strips tend to attract a build-up of leftover heat protector and styling products easily. If there is one plus side to the Duet Style's large size, it means you can dry large sections of hair at any one time. Helping to counteract the long styling times.

  • Performance score: 3.5 out of 5

Should I buy the GHD Duet Style?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

First reviewed: April 2024