Better than GHDs? Road testing the Nicky Clarke DesiRED Straightener

So the blurb for this straightener says that they are better than GHDs.

That is the ultimate right? I bought many many pairs of straighteners before spending £100 on GHDs and yes, so far they are the best.

The main thing I find with GHDs is that once my hair is straight it will STAY like that whereas with all other brands, my hair will kink as the day goes on.

In the US they have far more high end straighteners to choose from – a lot of ladies there have already moved onwards from GHDs.

Anyway, enough babble – here are the Nicky Clarke DesiRED (geddit) hair straighteners:

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So what does the DesiRED have?

Adjustable temperature – the dial has choices for fine, medium and thick hair, then a high setting of 230 degrees (hotter than GHDs).

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It has the rounded edge for curling, like GHDs.

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It can be used worldwide and has a 360 degree swivel cord.

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The RRP is £79.99 which is less than the average price of a GHD, £94.99 on the official GHD site.

The first impressions of the Nicky Clarke Hair Straightener is good, but its no good without a road test! So I dug out my beloved GHDs:

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Length wise they are the same. The GHDs are heavier, perhaps sturdier. The Nicky Clarkes are plastic and feel lighter – with second thoughts, they are a little easier on the wrists especially if you are straightening a lot of hair.

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Once again they look quite similar. The GHDs don’t have adjustable heat though BUT – this is a small thing but I miss it on the Nicky Clarke straightener – it doesn’t do the beep! I love the beep the GHDs do when its ready, cos then I don’t have to pay attention to it, I just wait for the beep then wonder why the duvet is smoking.

Heat up times wise, they both heat ups within a minute. No problems there. The Nicky Clarke is ready when the red light stops flashing.

I choose MAX temperature with the NC, just because I can 😀

My hair before – it grows quick but I am in serious need of a chop chop. Its a recession ok! One must space out cuts 😉

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Its wavy and very layered – hello hairdresser! I didn’t realise you put so many layers in! Tut.

After (a so-so hair straightening job by me but you get the idea):

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So my verdict…

Both of the hair straighteners are excellent. Both lasted – I didn’t wash my hair for a day and both sides look great even after a sleep.

1 point each

The GHDs are heavier, the NC’s are lighter. Overall I think I prefer the NC’s for build because although the GHDs feel more sturdy, I get arm ache after holding it up for too long.

1 point to NC

There is the temperature variation on the NC’s you don’t have on GHDs- it depends if you feel that you need this. If you have fine hair you may not need super heat, so perhaps choosing a lower temp means you don’t have to exert it to a very high temperature. I found the thick and max temps worked well on my hair.

1 point to NC

I love the beep feature on GHDs though!

1 point to GHD

Here’s another thing I noticed – the NC was very glidey – like it went through my hair smoothly and quickly, and only needed one stroke per area (ahem). The GHDs I ran through each section once or twice to get it perfectly straight (so it took a bit longer in the end to do the GHD side).

1 point to NC

Price wise, the NC’s are around £79.99 give or take a few pounds. You can get it from Boots and collect the points too. GHD’s vary around £95 – £130, depends where you get them from. GHDs come in different patterns too, but I never got the point of collecting the same straightener in different colours unless you have 10 bedrooms and 10 heads or something.

Therefore….yeah I think I prefer the Nicky Clarke DesireRED’s to GHDs. If you get the chance to try them out let me know what you think but for me, lazybones, the NC worked quickly and was light and effortless.

You can buy it here (boots) or here (argos).

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  1. says

    Ooo, NC straightener’s red colouring looks hot! I love my pink FHI straighteners, but then again I don’t straighten my hair every day. xx

  2. MandyP says

    I too have wavy/frizzy hair, so I recently splashed out for a FHI Nano Salon Pro 2000 hairdryer in hopes of getting my hair smoother and silkier, but I find the only thing that tames my unruly hair is a large paddle brush and a nickle-sized dollop each of John Masters “Shine On” gel and “Hair Texturizing”. My hair is rendered stick straight, but doesn’t feel terribly soft or moisturized. What styling products do you use when straightening your hair?

  3. Row says

    Hey Pandy

    That sounds like a lot of work (I am so low effort when it comes to my hair!). At the moment I am a sucker for Organic Surge products, which I think are similar to Aveda in terms of being natural but less heavy. I use their protect leave in cream conditioner (AMAZING) and the spray if I am straightening. Clairol (in a pink bottle) Shine on is quite nice as a finish and…oooooohhhhhhhhh Shu Uemura of course! They have some stunning bits and pieces – I like the Hair Milk and Cameilla Serum thing.

  4. Row says

    Hi Mizz

    I guess there are GHDs on sale too but the NC is definately still a saving! Plus u can get Boots Points!

  5. Stephanie says

    Hey there! I work at a beauty supply store in the US, and I know that GHD doesn’t have an adjustable temperature setting just because the temp that it is set on is supposed to be the optimal temperature for keeping hair straight with minimal damage (no matter the texture/coarse-ness of the hair). I’m not sure whether this is factual information or just something that GHD claims to be true, but thought you might like to know! :)

  6. says

    FHI.. not a scooby what it stands for!!
    I suppose it’s like the brand name .. like GHD (but I know that stands for Good Hair Day..) hmm! Fabulous Hair … erm.. intuition?! Not a clue, but they are such a cute baby pink pair of straighteners 😀

  7. Caroline says

    NC ones are only £44 right now in Boot’s. I’m getting one tomorrow now, also time to put more point onto my advantage card 😀

  8. Liz says

    I love the look of these and the price!!! 43.95 on!!!! i need to get
    these as the only ones i have were 2.50 from woolworths when they were closing down! lol. they do work well though.
    why spend over 100 on GHD’s when you can get somthing just as good or better for 44? with GHD’s your mostly paying for the name

  9. Hannah says


    Thanks for doing this site. I saw some Nicky Clarke Desired straightners on offer at boots for £39.99 and i was wondering whether they were any good, and if they were it was a good time to buy them as they are a good price. I have heard many good comments about GHD’s and how great they were and they were the best straightners around, but having a lower budget i couldnt afford them. But now i know that they produce results the same, if not better than GHD’s i am probably going to buy them! Thanks so much!
    P.S. Do you know approximataly how long they will last?

  10. Soni says

    ^ Same, i bought them today at boots for £39.99. When i got home i poened it straight away, i was kinda disapointed because there was some paint scratched off. But when i used them, They were REALLY good! ( For me, anyway.. And i have very messy wavy short hair ) Afterwards i thought i might try curling my hair so I did and the curls come out really nice aswell (:
    i wouldn’t say they are as good as GHD’s but… Almost as good. ;D

  11. Hannah says

    ^^ How do you curl your hair with them? because i have curlers i didnt think i would want to but i want to know how so if i want to – i can!!

  12. Soni says

    Ermm… i can’t really explain 😛
    But If you check on youtube there are lots of videos on curling your hair (:

    Tbh, i think GHD’s are slightly better cuz the DesiRED doesn’t make it as straiight as the GHD’s . BUT DesiRED makes it look more Natural (:

  13. Ruth says

    i just bought the NC straightners from boots, they are £39.99 right now beacause of christmas, can’t wait to finally get my hair under control!

  14. Karen says

    Just bought myself some NC DesiRed an think they are excellent. I have thick curly hair, which i often wash and let dry naturally. The NC’s do a great job of straightening my hair with one run through. Just about to buy my two daughters some for thier birthdays.

  15. KATIE. says

    Wow these straighteners look awesome! 😀 I was really struggling because I wanted GHD’s until i saw all the good reviews! I straighten my hair quite a lot are these suitable to be used everyday? I obviously use a product 😀 ! i chose these over GHD’s btw! :)

  16. carol says

    Hi I have just purchased a pair of NC desired from boots £40. I tested my nieces before doing so and much prefer them to GHD, they make my hair have terrible split ends. My first pair of straighteners were SAKS but they broke after 6 years and they didn’t sell them any more but they were also great and never made my hair split.GHD are now going on e-bay