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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Conair Mini-Pro Collection

Mother's Day is this Sunday. If your mom likes to travel and save money, I've got a handful of copies of my book in paperback left and am offering them (signed) for $14, including shipping to the continental U.S. if purchased by Wednesday (5/9). They're going fast. Buy one now!

I love to travel, but sometimes taking everything you need is a pain, because it all takes up so much room. I have been preaching the goodness of mini travel appliances for years and have converted many. I own a mini flat iron that I take with me everywhere my carry-on goes, but I see that some people just aren’t convinced. Sure, it can take a few tries to get the right product and that can be frustrating, especially when you get to your destination and realize the travel-size hair dryer you brought doesn’t produce enough heat or air to effectively dry your hair. I have always had great success with Conair products, so both my home flat iron and my mini one are made by them. I like them so much that I asked if they might like me to try some of their other hair appliances.


By now, everyone probably brings their own hair dryer or uses the one in the room, but it’s scary to rely on new products when you need them to do something other than get your hair dry. Conair offered to send me 3 items from their Mini-Pro Collection. The Mini-Pro Ceramic Straightener (Flat Iron), The Mini-Pro 2-in-1 Ceramic Styling Tool and The Mini-Pro Cordless Curling Iron. I was truly excited to test them out, because I’m not really all that good at using appliances on my hair and feel like I must have missed that bit of talent when they were giving it out.


I already own a similar version of the Mini-Pro Flat Iron, so I can both review it and give one away! After some practice with my regular size flat iron, I felt like this smaller one was a lot easier to handle. You could get closer to your roots with it and had more control with it. You have to do smaller sections of hair to get it to work correctly, since the plates are small and the whole thing is mostly handle. This won’t bother those like me with shorter hair, though I would suppose if you had a lot of hair to work with, you might find it tedious. My hair is very thick, so it takes a little longer to get it all straight, but I find it still only takes about 15 minutes at the most. It produces a very sleek style and it doesn’t dull or burn your hair.


The plates are ceramic-coated, heat up pretty quickly and don’t take long to cool down after you switch it off. And it comes with a fancy little pouch to keep it all together and toss in your bag. No cord tangling! I like my Mini-Pro Flat Iron so much, I’ve considered using it as my everyday straightener or just buying a second one. I’ve taken it on 3 different trips and it has worked perfectly each time – except for the time I forgot to bring conditioner, but that is a personal problem, rather than a flaw in the product, as my hair won’t do a thing without some sort of conditioner to tame it. All-in-all, I think this is one of the better flat irons you can own. It’s also the perfect size to keep in your purse or gym bag for those times you need a touch-up or are styling on-the-go. (Don’t forget to enter at the bottom for a chance to win one of your own.)



I was skeptical when I first pulled out the Mini-Pro 2-in-1 Ceramic Styling Tool. I honestly wondered how many thousands of times I would burn myself on the outside curved plates and how many tries it would take for me to achieve even something as attractive as in the how-to booklet. Yes, I am that bad at this! So, I was more than surprised when I read through the instructions on how to create a curl with the curved plates (only THREE steps?! Shenanigans!), but after waiting a few moments for it to heat up and doing exactly what I was told, I was able to produce a perfect curl! In fact, it was so fun and easy, I had curled half my head within 5 minutes and I didn’t even burn myself ONCE (or twice). This is my new favorite hair appliance!

5 minutes from THIS
To THIS!
After making my hair bouncy with curls, I was just as easily able to straighten them back out using the 2-in-1 as a regular flat iron. Just don’t twist the barrel and you get sleek straight hair just as beautiful as with the Mini-Pro Flat Iron. This one is perfect for those that like to change up their look and curl their hair quickly for a fun going out look or keep it straight for business meetings or easy maintenance. The size is similar to the mini flat iron, so you can toss it in your bag or purse and create a whole new look in the middle of the day in just minutes.


If you are curling iron challenged, like me, you will love this little gadget. It doesn’t require you to curl your hair up (and somehow get it all tangled up like I always end up doing, even though I’m sure it’s impossible). If you can comb your hair, you can pretty much get this thing to work. The only thing I think that might deter some is that it gives you big curls or even wave, but if you want tighter curls, you will probably need a curling iron. Luckily, that’s not a problem, because I also have the Mini-Pro Cordless Curling Iron!



Cordless, you say? Yes, I am completely hopeless when it comes to using a curling iron if the strand of hair I’m trying to work with is not right on the side of my face. I get all confused in the mirror, get half my other hair caught in it and end up trying to scalp myself, burn my fingers and hit myself in the face with the cord 32 times before finally giving up. Maybe you are laughing, but maybe you aren’t because you are just like me. Maybe you’re afraid to admit it, but that’s okay. I know I’m not the only one who can be bad at curling irons. I figured, at least this cordless one has one less thing to go wrong with it…and I could use it at my desk at work! (Don’t get any ideas. They didn’t make this for you to curl and drive.)



I will start out by telling you that I didn’t actually burn myself with this or pull out half my hair. That was a plus. You may think it’s a bit wonky, because it runs on butane and you have to click to start it, kind of like your gas BBQ. The instructions say that you will hear a click when the iron is “lit”, however I didn’t seem to hear it and wasn’t aware it was ready to go until I touched the barrel and found it to be warm. While it was easy to use, I didn’t think it was as simple as the 2-in-1 styler. It took me 15 minutes to get half of the hair done with the curling iron as I did with the 2-in-1 styler. You definitely can’t do much hair at a time, as the barrel is smaller than a regular curling iron, so it will take you longer to get your hair curled, especially if you have longer tresses. This one is particularly good if you are going to be traveling a lot and either don’t want to bring a travel converter or may have iffy electricity. Staying in a place with a shared bathroom? You can use this in your room, even if there are limited outlets.


You can use each butane cartridge up to 1 month, depending on how often you curl your hair and for how long. It comes in a fancy case and the cartridge is TSA approved for air travel. That’s a bonus right there. The negative is that you have to continue to purchase cartridges for it, which means you will keep spending money to keep using it. Obviously, you will save money on it if you only use it while traveling. The butane cartridge is stored, capped, separate from the barrel, so the liquid doesn’t evaporate quickly.

More information:
Where you can buy them: Conair-Store Online or your local discount store (like Target)
How much they cost and other details: 
MiniPro Ceramic Straightener: $19.99-22.99 | 30-second heat-up, heat resistant travel pouch, dual voltage
MiniPro 2-in-1 Ceramic Styler: $19.99-24.99 | 30-second heat-up, heat resistant travel pouch, dual voltage, 5/8″ straightening plates
MiniPro Cordless Curling Iron: $19.99-22.99 | ThermaCELL butane cartridge, travel case, 60-second heat-up, 5/8″ barrel

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I was provided with the Conair Mini-Pro items for the purposes of this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
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