At a glanceExpert’s Rating
Pros11 temperature settingsAttractive colour optionsWell pricedComes with heatproof matOur Verdict
This straightener is a good buy, with its choice of temperature settings a great feature for its price point. Its design isn’t as innovative as MDLondon’s Blow hair dryer – but it’s stylishly made and works well, heating up quickly and straightening effectively.
MDLondon is a new hair care brand from celebrity hairstylist Michael Douglas. It was launched after his online hair clinic sessions during lockdown convinced him that there was still space in the consumer market for high quality hair styling tools.
The brand has so far released the clever and compact Blow hair dryer (you can read our review to find out more) and the matching Strait hair straightener, which we’re reviewing in this article.
Design & Build
No lock for tongs
Comes with heatproof mat that doubles as cover
While the design of the Blow hair dryer is markedly different from other popular hair dryers, the straightener looks much more familiar. It has a very similar build to models from GHD and other brands. But if that’s what works, why change it?
At 30cm from end to end and almost 3cm wide, the Strait’s tongs are longer and narrower than many rivals. Its ceramic plates mirror this shape, at 11 x 2.2cm. In comparison, the GHD Gold has shorter, slightly wider plates at 9 x 2.6cm. The advantage of longer plates is that they can accommodate more hair, but their narrowness means the hair won’t be exposed to heat for as long.
For some hair types, this may mean you’re less likely to achieve the dream of one-pass styling.
Altogether, the Strait looks and feels high quality, with nice detailing: that’s especially notable given its price point
The most obvious visual difference between the Strait and competitors is its colour. The Strait comes in two colour options, olive green and a muted blue (which we’re testing) with gold plates, buttons and accents. Either colour is a more attractive and sophisticated option than safe and boring black.
Altogether, the Strait looks and feels high quality, with nice detailing: that’s especially notable given its price point. It has a matt, silicone coating that feels pleasant but does pick up fingerprints if you have hair product on your hands. It’s easy to wipe down, however.
It weighs only 215g (minus cord and plug), with a 3m long, swivel-set cord. It’s light in the hand in use and the long cord gives you plenty of leeway when using it, but it’ll more than double its weight (435g) for packing.
There’s no lock to hold the tongs closed, which is something I like to see, especially for travelling.
But in a clever touch, the heatproof mat that comes with the straightener can be wrapped around the hair tool and secured for safe storage and packing. It’s a nice idea but I’d still make sure it cools down first: the mat can shift around a bit, so you might still get a burnt fingertip if rummaging in your bag.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
While lots of other brands have floating plates with an almost spongy feel when you press them, those on the Strait don’t have as much give. I didn’t find that this affected its performance, but it’s worth noting if this is a feature you like.
The Strait has an automatic shut off after 30 minutes. This is a good feature and better than the hour it takes some other brands to switch off, but I’d still prefer this safety feature to kick in more quickly.
The Strait is nicely boxed in all-recyclable packaging and the heatproof mat comes as standard.
Performance & Features
11 heat setting options
The Strait has three buttons for control. There’s an On/Off button, one to adjust the temperature up and one to adjust it down. They’re small buttons, set into the side of the straightener and some people might find them a bit fiddly.
Switch it on and it heats up quickly: it’ll reach 180°C in 36 seconds. You’ll be able to see the the numbers climb on the digital display. There’s no beep to alert you when it reaches its target temperature, however.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
One of the Strait’s best features is its choice of temperature settings. There are a whopping eleven options, in ten degree increments, from 130-230°C. It means you can get the temperature just right for your hair type and styling needs.
This isn’t something offered by all straighteners – even high quality ones. GHD, for example, has decided that the perfect temperature for straightening is 185°C, and that’s what you’ll get if you buy most models. Meanwhile, the Dyson Corrale has three temperature options.
But what if your hair needs more heat? Or less? One of the useful things about the Strait was being able to use it on a low heat setting to smooth hair the day after straightening and return it to a silky style without subjecting it to high heat two days in a row.
In use, the Strait is light and easy to manoeuvre. As the tongs were a little longer than on some competitors, I did find that I was holding them closer to the top in order to get the same control. I never burned myself but it did make me decide I’d ideally prefer shorter tongs.
After some experimentation, I found that 190°C was the best temperature for day one styling. I was never able to achieve perfect, one-pass, straight hair but it was comfortably as effective as most rivals. And, once straight, my hair held the style well.
Price & Availability
The MDLondon Strait is competitively priced at £109. That makes it much more affordable that most of our recommended buys in our round-up of the best hair straighteners we’ve tested. The GHD Original, for example, costs £129 and that doesn’t have a choice of temperature settings.
We think the Strait is good value, and worth it, especially if you are buying it to match a Blow hair dryer.
You can buy the Strait direct from MDLondon or from Harvey Nichols. At the time of writing, there’s no price advantage from buying from either retailer, but if there are deals available around Black Friday, you’re most likely to find them on MDLondon.
Should you buy the Strait hair straightener?
There are plenty of good hair straighteners on the market and the Strait is not offering anything unique. But what sets it apart is its price point. It’s very good value, especially given its choice of temperature settings and stylish colour options.