I've been writing for Consumer Reports Shop Smart, a magazine worth subscribing to if you are out to make the best buy on all your purchases.
Reason: Not only does it report on bargain buys (and items to avoid); products are tested/rated by consumers and the magazine uses the same experts and testing capabilities as Consumer Reports.
Blow dryers and flatirons are one beauty category you can spend a bundle on. In the January '09 issue, Shop Smart reports that despite difference in price and wattage, blow drying time doesn't vary much between the products they tested, and if speed is key, shelling out a lot doesn't pay.
Factoring in noise and other features, Revlon Ionic Ceramic Pro Stylist RV484, $20, is their pick as a bargain buy. If you want to make a smart spluge, consider the CHI Pro Dryer GF1505, $135.
Straightening Irons: Revlon Perfect Heat Ceramic RVST2001C, $30, is the best bargain buy. For a splurge, try Conair Infiniti Nano Silver SS9, $100.