Pros: The curl and shine truly do last all day!
Cons: Smells and sounds like ironing clothes during use, but no odor noticeable thereafter.
After searching multiple drug stores for the regular Conair curling iron with a 1 1/4" barrel and coming up with only the Steam 'n Shine, I finally found them side-by-side and compared. The Steam 'n Shine had all of the features I wanted in the standard iron--correct size, multiple heat settings, and automatic shut-off. Additionally, it had the steam action and a heat sleeve--perfect for travel.
The Steam 'n Shine suggested that it could help the condition of my hair and give it a lasting shine, but I kept thinking to myself how steam/humidity etc. only ever made my fine, strawberry blonde hair go flat. I doubted that this product could work for me as claimed, but as frustrated as I'd been over the dryness of my hair in recent months, I rationalized that if I didn't like the steam action, I could just use it as a regular iron and consider that I'd paid the approximately $8 extra ($22 v. $14) for the heat sleeve.
I've been using the Steam 'n Shine for just under a week now and simply cannot stop playing with my hair and looking at it in the mirror! The shine is beautiful. The softness, spring, and durability of the curl are remarkable. This product functions well beyond my expectations. I am thrilled that I took the risk!
Here's how I use the Steam 'n Shine... I towel dry and comb as much moisture from my hair as possible so that I only have to blow dry the underneath for about 5 min. Before blow-drying, I generally spray a light detangler and comb that through, then work a small amount of creamier conditioner mostly into the ends and comb that through--squeezing off any extra. Finally, I use a little bit of gel, again mostly on the ends, but also on the bangs and the rest of the hair line above the ears, and comb that through. I let the hair cool and run through it with a brush after blow drying and before curling. Then, I use the Steam 'n Shine on setting 15. I roll each section of hair around the barrel twice and press the steam button--conveniently located on the bottom of the barrel, underneath my middle finger.
I find that the hair curls faster and better with the Steam 'n Shine, such that I only have to hold it for about two seconds. I don't press the steam button when curling the bangs because I prefer that they don't look as shiny (just my own little quirk). Even when you don't press the button, you still get a little bit of steam effect. My final touch is an all over strong hold aerosol hairspray. The Steam 'n Shine definitely saves me precious minutes getting ready in the morning and I can't say enough about how happy I am with the way my hair looks and feels all through the day.
I honestly have no idea how this product might work on other hair types. In fact, I don't know of anyone else who has used it yet. I would certainly recommend it to anyone with fine to normal hair that is on the slightly dry side from blow-drying, curling, and using styling products, as well as to someone who lives in a somewhat drier climate (I happen to be in Northern CA which is neither especially wet nor dry, but definitely not known for humidity). The water reservoir is a separate compartment that lifts out easily and is simple to refill. I've been using filtered water because I keep forgetting to pick up the distilled stuff...tsk tsk. I do wonder whether after extended use rust or mineral deposits might become a problem. Only time will tell...
I'd say Conair needs to advertise this thing big time! Then again, if it works as well for other people, word will surely spread quickly of its own accord!!