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Cloud Nine Contouring Iron review: An innovative iron for curling and straightening

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £299
inc VAT

With quick and easy curling and straightening, the Cloud Nine Contouring Iron is the perfect 2-in-1 styling tool – if you can afford it


  • Stunning design
  • Two-in-one styling
  • Long-lasting styles at lower temperatures


  • Expensive
  • Still fiddly for curling

Creating straightener curls is a skill few can master, but the Cloud Nine Contouring Iron could be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Its innovative design uses curved floating plates to help create a smooth curl without snagging or pulling the hair. It can also be used like a normal pair of straighteners to achieve a sleek, straight style.

All this versatility comes at a price, however. Cloud Nine is unquestionably high end and at the forefront of innovation in the hair tools arena, so I was keen to discover whether the Contouring Iron could justify its £299 price tag.

In tests, the Contouring Iron was able to style my hair at remarkably low temperatures, delivering shiny, bouncy curls with ease; it’s hands down the easiest straightener I’ve used for curling. That said, I doubt I’ll be making the switch from my trusty curling wand.

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Cloud Nine Contouring Iron review: What do you get for the money?

For almost £300 you’d be right to expect a high-quality finish and beautifully thought-out design, and the Cloud Nine Contouring Iron doesn’t disappoint. Inside the box, you’ll find the iron itself, a heat guard that keeps the iron in a closed position for storage and a handy velvet-style travel case. Purchase a Contouring Iron at the time of writing and you also get a free pair of Cloud Nine i3 earbuds – we haven’t tested these before, but it’s safe to say you shouldn’t expect any miracles from a haircare brand when it comes to sound quality.

However, what you can expect is an iron that effortlessly delivers excellent styling results with minimal heat damage to your hair. The main selling point of the Contouring Iron is its curved interlocking plates, which are designed to make it easier to create curly styles in the hair. Measuring 23 x 90mm, the plates here are of a similar size to most standard hair straighteners and, despite their curved shape, they can also be used to create a pin-straight look.

Like most high-end straighteners, the heated plates here are both ceramic and “floating”, which means they move up and down ever so slightly when pressed together; this minimises any snagging. The Cloud Nine ceramic plates are also infused with “healing” sericite and tourmaline, which are said to lock moisture into the hair. Although there’s no way for us to scientifically test such claims, what I will say is that my hair certainly felt soft and looked shiny after styling.

The controls are located in the centre of the iron, so there’s no danger of accidentally changing the settings mid-way through styling. The power button is positioned on one side of the iron and, with the iron switched on, the touchscreen on the other side of the unit displays the temperature setting on an intuitive scale. You can adjust the temperature by touching the up and down arrows on the screen.

There are 11 standard temperature settings, ranging from 100°C to 200°C in increments of 10°C. However, similar to the £249 Cloud Nine Original Iron Pro, the Contouring Iron has a “Revive” mode that uses vibrating plates to allow you to style your hair with less friction and at a lower temperature of 150°C. This setting can be switched on and off by pressing the power button once.

Of course, lower temperatures result in less heat damage, which means that the Revive setting should keep your hair looking healthier for longer. The vibrations, which happen at a rate of 8,000 times per minute, appear to use kinetic energy to supplement the heat energy required to break and reform the weak bonds that give hair its shape. So, if you’re concerned about how long hair will stay in place, the Revive mode should maintain the style for just as long as if a higher temperature had been used.

The iron we tested heated up to our standard testing temperature of 180°C in just 22 seconds, which is blisteringly fast compared to other heat-styling tools. The touchscreen indicates when the iron is ready for use, but there are also LED lights built into the side of the hinge mechanism that flash and then turn static when the iron has reached temperature. This might not appear a revolutionary feature, but the lack of such a feature on cheaper irons can leave you guessing over the best time to start styling.

Less exciting but equally important features include the 30-minute automatic safety shutoff, which means you won’t burn through energy – or, worse, burn down your house if you forget to switch it off. Handily, the Contouring Iron also comes with a 3m long cable that swivels, offering plenty of flexibility to comfortably manoeuvre the iron around your head – something that’s integral to achieving the best straightener curls.

READ NEXT: Best hair straighteners

Cloud Nine Contouring Iron review: What’s it like to use?

When testing hair straighteners and curling wands, I have a set procedure to follow – heat the iron up to 180°C, spritz clean, dry hair with heat protection spray, style the hair and then monitor the style to see how long these results last. While performing these tests with the Contouring Iron, I soon learned that I’d have to include more nuanced tests to really gauge this model’s capabilities. As such, I tested the iron in four different ways, using 180°C to create a straight style and a curly style, then repeating this on two more occasions using the Revive mode.

When using my standard testing procedure, I found it incredibly easy to create smooth, straight styles with a slight flick at the ends. There was minimal, if any, drag on the hair, and the style lasted well into the second day without going frizzy – my hair is mostly straight anyway, but it’s prone to developing frizz in hot and humid conditions.

The same was true using Revive mode, except that there was noticeably less drag on the hair thanks to the microvibrations and, of course, the use of less heat. This was a pleasant surprise, since I had been sceptical about how long styles created using Revive mode would last.

The real positive of this model was the Contouring Iron’s ability to curl hair. As someone who has always struggled to achieve curls with my GHDs, I was hoping this model would finally put an end to my terrible suffering. It did, but not completely.

Part of the reason I’ve always struggled with straightener curls is because you can only style small sections of hair at once, which means it can take forever to style a full head of thick hair. Larger sections of hair tend to wiggle their way out of the grip of the two heated plates, which means some sections curl beautifully while others remain dead straight. This problem persists with the Contouring Iron, which means those with thicker hair like mine will likely be better off using a good curling wand instead.

Using smaller sections of hair, about an inch wide and half an inch long, I found that the Contouring Iron curled my hair beautifully. There was no snagging or pulling, or trouble getting the curl to hold its shape after styling. The only caveat was that this took more than half an hour, which is quite a long time in a busy schedule – I can curl my hair using the Hot Tools Curl Bar in just over half this time.

Nevertheless, once I’d mastered the technique – clamping the hair near the roots, dragging the tool down an inch or two, then turning the iron away from the face and dragging it down until you reach the ends – I had no issues whatsoever with either styling mode. To my surprise, I’d say that styling hair using the Revive mode saw longer-lasting, shinier curls than if using the tool at a higher temperature; curls lasted two days without dropping much at all, while when styled at 180°C they dropped more noticeably after the first day.

The key to effective styling with the Contouring Iron is ensuring the curved plates are the correct way around. As long as your hair wraps around the convex part of the barrel, you’ll get a great curl without any effort at all. This seems simple enough, but each time I put the straightener down and picked it up, I had to remind myself which way round it had to be.

READ NEXT: The best hair curlers for long hair

Cloud Nine Contouring Iron review: Should you buy it?

If you want a styling tool that can do it all, and you’re prepared to splash the cash for that convenience, the Cloud Nine Contouring Iron is an easy recommendation. It’s perfect for travel – it’s a lightweight, do-it-all styling tool that won’t take up unnecessary space in your bag – and will keep your hair looking shiny and healthy every time you style it. It also offers a range of heat settings, so there’s a setting for every type of hair.

However, those with thick hair will need to be patient to get good results; it doesn’t quite remove all the pain from creating straightener curls. Those who are primarily looking for a tool for curling might be better off considering one of the best curling wands instead.

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