The Steampod hair straightener was introduced by L’Oreal around 2012, and there is a retail version available for everyday customers to buy, as well as a profession version for use in salons only. The New Generation Steampod 2.0 released in 2015 is a lighter colour and slightly sleeker.
It’s not a new concept – the Babyliss hair straighteners introduced in the 1990s (with modern models available today) also included steam flat irons. Nevertheless, L’Oreal says the Steampod introduces enough new technology that it is the first of its kind: “A result of five years in research and eight patents.”
The Steampod effect
The straight, smooth, frizz-free effect will last a maximum of three days, unless you wash your hair sooner. What’s more, it can even create voluminous waves, not just the straight look.
Because of the steam, this straightener doesn’t just dry your hair out as it straightens. It holds in the hair’s natural moisture while the heat brings new manageability and smoother texture to the hair. The steam has been described as “dry cleaning” your hair for you.
How the Steampod works
The Steampod has the following components:
- Anodised plates
- High pressure steam jets
- A comb insert to spread hairs evenly over the steam jets
You use the Steampod by washing and blow-drying your hair, then applying the keratin-containing heat protective serum and using the Steampod to style your hair like you would use a normal hair straightener. The steam opens up the cuticle (hair shaft) slowly and heats the hair, then seals the cuticle shut, which makes your hair look smooth.
You can set the temperature to 5 levels of temperatures to suit your hair type (170°-210°C), which is a good heat-protective feature to have in any hair straightener. The temperature setting is “locked” while in use, so you can’t accidentally bump it up to 210. It does take a while for the water pod to heat up enough to make steam, and also for the anodised plates to heat.
As you can see from L’Oreal’s salon YouTube demonstration, the original Steampod is quite a lot wider, longer, and heavier than the average hair straightener. And the New Generation Steampod is sleeker, with a slightly more compact handle, but it’s pretty much just as big. So you do have to ask yourself a few important questions:
- Do I regularly straighten a short fringe? (A big, wide, bulky thing like the Steampod will not do this easily.)
- Will it fit in my storage space?
- Will it fit in my suitcase when I travel?
- Are my arms strong enough to not get tired holding this mammoth machine above my head?
One last thing – the Steampod is not cheap. When you add on the cost of the protective products, it is definitely a long-term investment. If you follow the instructions and use 20mL of protective product every time, you run out pretty quickly with a 200mL tube. The protective products can also run out of stock, leaving you in the lurch unless you buy in bulk every time. Because of the cost, it would be a very sensible idea to book in a few salon appointments to try out the Steampod and see if you’re a true fan before buying one for yourself.
How Steampod counters the risks of using steam on your hair
For those who equate humidity with frizz, the idea of a “steam iron” for your hair may seem silly – but it does work, albeit with some risks.
As we’ve talked about in other articles, steam can be highly damaging to your hair, which is why we’re always told not to use a hair straightener or hot comb when our hair is still wet. For this reason, L’Oreal tells you to use Steampod Pro-Keratin Replenishing protective cream or serum every time before using the Steampod.
Having wet hair when straightening normally also bring serious risks of steam burns to your scalp, face, and hands. But the Steampod does not appear to create this risk – no steam sneaks out of the machine itself onto your skin.
Finally, we’re talking about dealing with a water pod while using an electrical appliance! It might not sound safe, but L’Oreal have done their best to make it safe. The water pod has suction cup feet to hold it to your bathroom bench or vanity, and the tube bringing water from pod to appliance is pretty heavy duty.
Where to find it in Australia
If the Steampod sounds good to you, visit the L’Oreal Australia website to find out more. If it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can still find out which normal hair straightener brands Australians are most satisfied with on the Canstar Blue website.