Review: Ghd Chronos costs a lot, promises even more and delivers - mostly

We all know ghd for its range of cult-classic hair straighteners, coveted by elder Gen-Z and millennials in their teenage years many, (many) moons ago.

We would sandwich our strands - sans heat protectant, of course - between the plates and scorch them to a crispy sizzle, our dead-straight locks (dead being the key word) then helmeted with a coating of L'Oréal Elnett.

Technology has come leaps and bounds since then, with the haircare giant revolutionising its products over the years to be more hair-and-arm-friendly (i.e., more lightweight, ergonomic designs that don't turn your biceps to jelly during a styling session).

The latest addition to its lineup, the ghd Chronos, launched in January - with some pretty big promises. The new iteration claims to deliver one-stroke styling, up to 85 percent more shine, three times more breakage protection, and results that are not only three times faster, but last 24 hours - for all hair types too.

The styler also features HD motion-responsive technology, which according to the promotional jargon, is meant to make the Chronos two-times more responsive for heat-monitoring accuracy. Basically, it's meant to maintain the optimum temperature of 185C as you style, which minimises the risk of damage without compromising the result.

When I was given the ghd Chronos to review, I must admit, I was sceptical of its marketing claims - considering so many products fail to reach the lofty heights of the promises made on the packaging. So, let's unpack a little about the Chronos and whether it delivers on any of said promises.

ghd Chronos in white
Photo credit: Supplied

First things first, the Chronos features high-performance floating ceramic plates with an ultra-gloss coating to help the styler easily glide through your hair. This makes sense as a design feature, as I'm sure many of us have used straighteners in the past that fail to slide through the strands as fluidly as you would expect - some can be downright sticky, leaving behind dreaded creases.

The Chronos does not have this problem; the plates effortlessly flow down the hair like a freewheeling bike and remain mostly unperturbed by a slight snarl or tangle. Very good.

My hair is fairly straight but does have a natural wave that is especially accentuated when it's air-dried. When I used the Chronos on my kinky bits, it certainly straightened them with ease, but I am hesitant to give the claim of 'one-stroke styling' a seal of approval as I don't have curly, coarse or frizzy hair - textures that would put this promise to the test more thoroughly. The reviews online mainly stack up, with the website boasting several glowing assessments of its ability to straighten each section with one pass.

I did find my waviest sections maintained the slightest hint of kink, but that may have been due to user-error; I am usually in a bit of a hurry and tend to swipe the straightener quickly through my hair, rather than sliding the plates down the strands in a more controlled manner.

As for the shine, it can be hard to tell; claims such as "85 percent more shine" can be difficult to objectively determine due to motivated perception - i.e., we see what we want to see. If you're actively looking for shine, you're likely going to convince yourself you can see a difference. Sure, my hair had a nice sheen to it, but to be honest, my hair is healthy and naturally pretty glossy (weird flex, but okay). I wouldn't conclusively say it was the work of the Chronos.

ghd Chronos in white
Photo credit: Supplied

Let's touch on the design, because it really is quite pretty to look at and is certainly more ergonomic than the straighteners of yesteryear. The Chronos features a re-engineered wishbone hinge, which is meant to make the styler easier to use and control by holding the plates in perfect alignment. It is certainly very simple to manoeuvre, helped by the 2.7m, 360-degree swivel cord for convenient and comfortable styling. It's also a sleek, compact size and ultra-lightweight, making it A) easy to transport, and B) easy to use for extended periods of styling.

Of course, while the product is primarily a straightener, it can also be used to create other styles such as curls and waves. This is down to the rounded barrel, which ghd hails as an "ultra-ergonomic" design that allows you to "transition effortlessly from sleek and straight to curls, flicks and waves with a slight turn of your hand".

Look, I'm not saying the Chronos isn't capable of creating defined, pretty curls - I'm saying I am. I'm aware the technique of curling with a flat iron has been well-documented by beauty gurus for over a decade, but I have yet to master it. I can see the twisting motion working more effectively on shorter hair, but it doesn't quite do it for me. I think I'll stick to my ghd 0.5" Thin Wand for that.

However, if you are a hairstyling goddess™ and can create bouncy, beautiful curls with the Chronos, hey, presto - you have two products in one, which makes it a great bet for styling enthusiasts.

Other nice additions include a 20-second heat-up time, protective plate guard, universal voltage, and an automatic sleep mode - a very important safety feature which prompts the Chronos to shut down after 10 minutes of non-use. This is an improvement on its previous offerings, with the ghd Platinum+, ghd Duet Style and ghd Max only shutting off after 30 minutes of non-use.

ghd Chronos in white
Photo credit: Supplied

When compared to the rest of ghd's range, the Chronos is marketed as one of ghd's premier flat irons - with a price tag to match. The Chronos, available in either white or black, is sold for a hefty $500; that's a dollar more than the classic Dyson Corrale is currently asking for. Is it worth it? I think that will depend on your individual priorities and hairstyling needs.

With a good heat protectant, like ghd's Bodyguard, the Chronos claims to be a healthier option for your hair, with its own studies indicating less breakage and damage. While I can't get to a lab and prove this myself, I can tell you anecdotally that it never feels like I'm frying my hair when I use the Chronos. Maybe it's the motion-responsive technology maintaining the optimum temperature, but the product doesn't sizzle or steam like many other heated stylers, which is pretty reassuring.

When it comes to speed, everything about the Chronos is designed for maximum efficiency - from the plates to the coating to the hinge. Without a harder-to-tame hair texture, it's difficult for me to conclusively say it's "three times faster" than other flat irons, but it is absolutely designed to make quick work of unruly locks and left my hair effortlessly sleek within minutes. For people with little time in the morning, such as parents, I can see this being a huge drawcard as it makes styling hair child's play.

If you're considering the splurge, I'd recommend reading reviews from people with a similar hair type to you, particularly if you have curly, coarse or Afro-textured hair as I can't speak to those.

If you have naturally straight, fine locks or a slight natural wave, the Chronos will work its magic at creating a sleek, polished look; but are the results noticeably, drastically better than other acclaimed straighteners on the market? I'm not convinced.  

Overall, would I recommend the ghd Chronos? Yes, but for the cost-conscious among us, the price is high and there are other great stylers out there for less - even from ghd's own arsenal.

Newshub was supplied a ghd Chronos for this review.