As one reviewer puts it, the InStyler is basically an "extreme curling iron." Simply pass a lock of hair between a bristle-lined clasp and a rotating, heated barrel to either curl or straighten your hair.
The InStyler works almost as well in real life as it does in the infomercial -- at least for most owners. Users say this device does a good job of both curling and straightening hair, though there's a bit of a learning curve involved. A couple of TV news reporters get largely positive results in their tests -- with a few dissenting opinions. On top of all that, there's video evidence: several YouTube video reviews demonstrate its straightening and curling prowess.
We did find a few complaints about the InStyler. Several reviewers and owners say that the unit is somewhat awkward to use and that they burned themselves when first using it. It is also a bit on the noisy side, at least compared to other curling or flat irons. A few women say the InStyler isn't any faster than other hairstyling devices. Others warn that the size of the roller does not allow users to place it close to their heads. Some short-haired owners even burned themselves attempting to straighten their roots.
On the customer-service side of things, some consumers report the InStyler infomercial -- which advertises a 30-day trial for only $14.99 -- conceals the fact you have to buy two InStylers at a time for $140 once the trial expires. Numerous users found they were billed the full amount before the 30-day trial ended and had to haggle with customer service for a refund. Lauren Keith, who tested the product for KFVS 12 media outlet with a friend, was able to avoid the extra charges: "I was vigilant in shipping the products back in the middle of that free trial period and calling several times to double check I would not be charged in full." We suggest purchasing the InStyler in a brick-and-mortar store with a reputable return policy and where you may limit your purchase to only one.
Almost 400 customers of the online beauty-product retailer Ulta.com leave feedback on the InStyler. They give it 3.5 out of 5 stars, and 66 percent would recommend it to a friend. Ulta requires users to list pros, cons and best uses and to post a comment with a bottom-line statement. Users' experience with beauty products is also displayed.
Review: Instyler 1-¼ Inch Rotating Iron, Contributors to Ulta.com, As of August 2013
MakeupAlley.com is a website for user reviews of beauty products. Additionally, there are discussion boards for contributors to discuss other topics. The InStyler garners 3.8 stars out of a possible 5 from 106 users. Contributors must select age, eye color and skin and hair type.
Review: Hair Styling Tools - InStyler - Tre Milano Brand, Contributors to MakeupAlley.com, As of August 2013
On Walmart.com 75 out of a total 129 customers give the InStyler 5 out of 5 stars; 98 say they would recommend it. Customers must state how long they have owned the product and how often they use it.
Review: InStyler Rotating Hair Iron, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of August 2013
4. KWCH (Wichita, Kan.)
Reporter Kim Setty asks three women to try the InStyler with a hairstylist. The stylist approves of the device, saying it does a great job of both straightening and curling.
Review: InStyler, Kim Setty, May 20 , 2009
5. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Anchor Lauren Keith asks test subject Missy O'Kelly to describe her experience with the InStyler. The product works as advertised, she says, and O'Kelly is impressed by the volume it creates. However, both O'Kelly and Keith take issue with the $14.99 free trial (which can easily balloon to more than $140 if you don't send back your two InStylers promptly).
Review: InStyler Rotating Iron: Does It Work?, Lauren Keith, May 13, 2009
6. O, The Oprah Magazine
This short review of the InStyler explains how it works and recommends it because it both straightens the hair and curls the ends, while leaving the roots full of volume. While the author actually tested the device, she does not compare it to other models.
Review: Editors of O, the Oprah Magazine, 5 Beauty Innovations, March 2009
In this post on her website, Joi Ennis recaps her previous video review and demonstration of the InStyler. Overall, she likes the InStyler for her own hair, but says it probably wouldn't work well for people with very curly or kinky hair because you cannot reach close enough to the roots with the device to straighten it there. She also likes that her hair does not smell burnt after she uses the InStyler.
Review: Instyler Review Recap, Joi Ennis, March 23, 2009
This blogger reports that the InStyler works, but says it requires practice not to burn yourself. She offers tips for learning how to use it and says it is a "little on the loud side." Almost 100 comments, many from other InStyler owners, offer additional perspective.
Review: Review: InStyler Rotating Hot Iron Hair Straightener, "Amber", July 14, 2009
In this post, a blogger recounts the time she borrowed her hairstylist's InStyler. Although she finds the InStyler to be heavy and difficult to position at first, she is completely thrilled with the product after using it. Regardless of how much this blogger loves the InStyler, she has yet to purchase one for herself -- she says the price is way too steep.
Review: "Non-Review" Review: The Instyler (Angels Singing), "Katherine", June 23, 2009