This Instagram-famous tool promises to curl or straighten your hair—does it work?
The 2-in-1 product claims to be a hair game changer.
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It’s evident from the number of two-in-one hair products that we, as hair-havers, look for ways to speed up the process of washing and styling our hair. These shortcuts include single bottles labeled as both shampoo and conditioner and wet-to-dry straighteners that take out the blow-drying step. The underlying theme here: the fewer products and tools we have to invest our precious morning minutes into, the better. So when the Tyme Iron, a straightener and curling iron combo, popped on my radar, I was down to try it on my naturally wavy-curly locks, which I tend to heat-style about twice a week.
What is the Tyme Iron Pro?
There are a number of ways to achieve volume or soft curls using hot tools. Usually, you break out a traditional curling iron or wand after finishing your blowout. If smoothing frizzy hair is part of that process, a flat iron becomes an in-between step. It can replace the hair curler if you’ve mastered the learning curve of using that tool to achieve soft waves, but that’s not easy: You have to twist the iron just right, take care to hold your hair tightly between the two scorching plates but avoid imparting unwanted crimps, and slowly move the iron down your tresses in a curving motion. Oh, and not burn your fingers in the process.
But Jacynda Smith, a hair stylist and the CEO of Tyme, says her clients struggled to create curls using this method. Smith thought up the Tyme Iron Pro as a remedy, which is designed “to make travel and everyday styling easier and faster, by combining many different size curling irons with a straightener.” The iron doesn’t actually have different barrel sizes; instead, depending on how long you hold the hair in the iron and how you twist the curl around the tool, you can get tighter ringlets or looser waves. At least, that’s the promise.
The Tyme Iron Pro is pricey, nearing $200, but could be a good value if it takes the place of two tools (or more if you have curling irons with varying barrel sizes). The iron has a single button for powering it on and off and for cycling through its five temperature settings, which range from 300°F to 400°F. The Tyme Iron comes with a heat-resistant sleeve so you can store it before it’s cooled down (more minutes saved!), and in case you forget to turn it off, it shuts off automatically after 30 minutes of non-use.
How does the Tyme Iron Pro work?
The tool looks something like a hair straightener with its silver plates that clamp together, but when closed, the exterior is rounded, rather than flat. The other major design difference is that there’s a rounded lip that juts up on one of the plates, so when you close the Tyme Iron, it extends past the other plate on one side, rather than clamping completely flush like a typical flat iron. The idea is that you approach your hair from the lipped side when you want to curl it, or from the flush side when you want to straighten it.
Straightening is simple: choose which of the heat settings is right for your hair, clamp a section of hair with the device oriented the right direction, and glide the iron down. When you want to curl, you put the opposite side facing your head, guide your hair into the clamp, flick your wrist so the curl is wrapping around the rounded edge, then glide down and out away from the head. (Don’t worry: I’ll wait for you to watch the video below.)
What does the Tyme Iron Pro claim?
Designed for any hair type or length, the company claims the product takes the place of a curling and straightening iron, and “creates curls, waves, and straight styles in a matter of minutes.” Not only can you customize your style with this one tool, Tyme claims that the titanium plates transfer heat to the hair faster and then the curl can cool on the rounded edge (which isn’t heated), and this process helps curls stay longer than they would with a traditional iron. The company doesn’t go into detail about why this works, but most hair dryers, for example, include a cool shot button that locks the style in place after heating up the hair, and the Tyme Iron seems to follow this school of thought.
Can the Tyme Iron Pro curl hair?
When I first picked up the Tyme Iron Pro, it was to compare it to several other irons for our curling iron review. To give you an idea of my skill level, I’m not a stylist by any means, but I’ve been doing my own hair since I grew it long as a young child. I wielded my first curling iron somewhere around age 10 for a dance recital. I found the Tyme Iron hard to use because of its unique design, and either curled my hair in the wrong direction or accidentally left behind crimps. On my first go-round, I achieved limp waves and walked away with my hair smelling burnt—very disconcerting.
Since my initial passes with the Tyme Iron, I’ve been able to master curling my hair with it, though I still find it difficult to maneuver around the back of my head. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have to do multiple passes on some sections and twirl or finger-brush the curls to get them to look how you want. Without using any hair product, the curls stayed well in my hair, but they fell some throughout my day.
My takeaway: You can create different curl types, from waves to ringlets, but it is not as simple as a clamp, flick of the wrist, and swipe down the hair—at least, not for me. The iron also didn’t save me any time; I could have styled faster using my InfinitiPro by Conair wand, which is much easier to use, even for beginners.
Can the Tyme Iron Pro straighten hair?
Straightening my hair with the iron was also frustrating, but much easier than curling because the only goal here was to get my hair flat and smooth. I didn’t like the sensation of pulling my hair through the iron—it felt like my strands were pinched by the plastic of the iron instead of gliding between the metal plates, and that created a gritty feeling of resistance. I tried using the iron the correct way, with the gold plates facing toward my head, and the opposite way, just to see—neither was any better at correcting this. I also got an occasional crimp at the top of my head from taking too long to position the iron flush with my scalp before swiping it down my locks. This process took just about as long as it would to use a normal straightener, but my hair didn’t end up as sleek as I’d like. It puffed out a little at the ends and felt denser in my hand. The style held up as well as my straightened hair typically does, lasting a few days with a normal amount of kinks from sleeping.
Is the Tyme Iron Pro worth it?
If you ask me, it’s better to either use two tools or learn how to curl your hair with your straightener—which probably has about the same learning curve as the Tyme Iron. I have no doubt that some customers have great success with the Tyme Iron, and I can see why it could be useful for a frequent traveler who likes to pack light, someone with limited bathroom storage, or someone who is looking for one tool to get them through work days, nights out, or special occasions. That said, for a fraction of the price of the Tyme Iron, you can purchase our Best Value straightener and curling iron, neither of which require much space.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.