At the 2011 Aspen Fashion Week festivities last March, I picked up a Mini GO Styling Iron from FHI Heat, a hairstyling-tool company that was one of the event’s sponsors. While I rarely straighten my hair with the full-size iron I already own (coincidentally also a freebie I received the 2010 Aspen Fashion Week swag bag), I figured that if this tiny straightening iron did the job, I’d absolutely pack it in my luggage for upcoming trips.

Unfortunately, the Mini GO Styling Iron is just way too small to effectively straighten my thick, long hair.

The iron is just six inches long and a half-inch wide, making it the ideal size to pop into a purse or carry-on bag, but not nearly big enough to straighten an entire head of thick hair in one sitting. It would just take a ridiculous amount of time, since a very small amount of hair can fit in between the ceramic plates. It does heat up enough to straighten small amounts of hair — marketing materials say that the ceramic plates reach 410 degrees. But with the volume of hair I have, the process would be way too time consuming.

This product might be appropriate for someone who has already straightened her hair at home with a full-size straightening tool, and just needs to touch up bangs or bits and pieces that have frizzed up or otherwise gone rogue in a humid climate. Or, if you have very fine, thin hair, it might be plenty powerful to do the job. But as the only straightening tool that I’d be able to bring along on vacation… no way.

The Mini GO Styling Iron from FHI Heat comes in several colors, and can be purchased at brick and mortar beauty supply outlets. I also found it online at Missiko for $40 (though the GO Hairstyling website says the manufacturer’s retail price is $29.99). The full-size, 1-inch-wide GO Styling Iron from FHI Heat retails for $49.99 on

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