I LOVE my combs. I honestly don't brush my hair, I comb it. I use a wide tooth comb to work out my snarls and to put my hair up in a pony or bun. I love it. If you use the wrong brush or a fine tooth comb, you can pull too much on your hair and cause breakage. I know many stylist who love their brushes, but I am a sucker for a good comb. The other comb that is key is a rattail comb. I HATE all things rodents, but for some reason this comb's name doesn't seem to bother me. I prefer the metal rattail to smooth out curls in a updo or to make a part. I also want the comb part to be fine so I can get a good back combing out of it. (I also mostly use this comb for my weaving, but I doubt you will be using it for this reason.)
I know I said I don't use brushes, but I wasn't talking about ROUND brushes. I find that my hair is a little too long to work a round brush easily. However, I almost always use it to style my bangs and the front layers. When I had shorter hair, I used a round brush to style my hair all the time. I like the brush to have a metal base so when it heats up with my blowdryer the brush warms up and produces a better curl or smooth look. It also needs to have a handle that I can grip and manage without my hand slipping. The bigger the round brush, the more volume you will get, the smaller the brush, the more curl. That same thing goes for curling irons as well. And speaking of curling irons...
I have three different size irons. I use all of them for different reasons. Like I said about the brushes, the bigger the barrel, the more volume. I often use my biggest iron to give the same look as my round brush since my hair is getting so long and using a round brush on it can be difficult. I use the smaller size for tight curls with lots of bounce. I use the marcel style curling irons which are more professional and faster to use. It does take practice to learn how to use them, so I would suggest you just stick with the spring loaded kind. I like the Helen of Troy irons. They get really hot fast and they last forever.
You CANNOT go cheap on a flat iron. I see clients all the time coming to see me with major damage and breakage from cheap flat irons. There are a few things that are a MUST when buying a flat iron. First of all, it has to be ceramic not metal. The metal will scratch your hair and it doesn't distribute the heat properly along the plates. Second, the heat has to distribute evenly along the plates. When the heat doesn't distribute evenly, you have to work harder to achieve your look which in turn causes more damage. And finally, make sure it has beveled edges so you can use it to curl as well as smooth your hair. I get so bugged when someone wont spend the money on a nice flat iron and instead buys a $60 iron that ruins their hair and ends up breaking since it is so cheap. Right now I have two irons that I use all the time on myself and clients. I have had both of them for over three years. Get a nice iron!! The flat irons I own are FHI irons. I think they work great, and heat up super fast. I could spend an entire post talking about flat irons, but I wont bore you. Just remember, if you are going to flat iron your hair everyday, you might as well spend the money.
This is a tough one for me. When I first started at the salon, I went through four hair dryers in a year and a half. It has to have the right weight, heat, ionic, air flow, handle... I am very picky. I am using a FHI dryer at the salon, but a no name one at home. The best advice I can give about dryers is to be aware of any changes in the heat. If you have had the dryer forever, it might be time to purchase a new one. When dryers get to be too old, they start to over heat and can cause some major damage. I can't tell you how many dryers I have tried, and I still have not found the perfect one. As long as it can dry the hair fast and safe, I'll use it.
Was that enough reading for today? I am sure I forgot some details or tool that I am not thinking about. Just remember, I have been doing this for awhile and there is always a new iron or comb or technique that is coming out. That is what I love about my job so much. Things will always get better, but for now, these are the tools that I love.