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The Under-$100 Flat Iron Stephanie Uses to Create Easy Waves

It takes a straightener to create perfectly un-straight hair.
T3 SinglePass Compact Iron, $89, available at Photo: Courtesy of T3

T3 SinglePass Compact Iron, $89, available at Photo: Courtesy of T3

Last summer, I had super-long (and not-me) hair extensions, and I swore by the Beachwaver by Sarah Potempa to do 90 percent of the tedious styling work for me. And I stuck with it, even once I was back to my natural, medium-longish length. But then a few months ago, I had an encounter with a hairstylist who didn't seem to hear me when I said, "I just want to cut off a few inches; I'm not trying to clear my shoulders," and I wound up with a lob. Suddenly, my beloved Beachwaver seemed a little too large and cumbersome to get all up in my short, choppy layers. Then there's the fact that this happened not long after I'd traveled to London and brutally killed my Beachwaver by plugging it into a U.K. outlet (Pro tip: Don't.) So I turned to the other hair tool I'd brought with me during said travels, a miniature, .08 inch flat iron from T3. And it turned out to be a game-changer for my hair routine.

Until I encountered this tool, I'd never really mastered flat iron waves (or "S" waves, as they're also called). The goal of such a technique is to yield an undone, lived-in effect that's not curly or even wavy, really — just bendy and cool. Hairstylist Jen Atkin is a genius at this; so is Anh Co Tran. I'd tried to absorb their methods, but my version came out dent-y and weird. Enter this flat iron. Its narrow ceramic plates and slightly rounded edges enable me to create bends that are the perfect proportion for my shorter length. It's super-lightweight, so my embarrassingly weak arms never get fatigued, and I can style my whole head in a matter of minutes. And did I mention it costs less than $100? That, too.

T3 SinglePass Compact Iron, $89, available at

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