I used to own a Chi, which I purchased from a hair salon for $120. I used it almost daily for about two years until it literally blew up on me. Not a big blow up; it just started smoking and sizzling from where the cord attached to the iron and in the socket. So I unplugged it and threw it away. I was recently browsing around to see if I could find a new one for a decent price when I came across comments on pages stating they had received fakes.
Fake Chi flat irons? I didn't know they existed. I decided to research a little since I'm a curious thing, lo and behold, I realize the one I had was a fake! I was pretty mad, I couldn't believe I paid $120 for a fake when apparently they are being sold for really cheap. So I have put together this little guide to prevent others from making the same mistake.
The most obvious way to tell whether or not you have a fake Chi is by the plug.
- An authentic Chi will have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter with a reset button on the plug, just like most hairdryers have.
- A fake Chi will have your typical plug that can be found on most simple electronic devices such as stereos, phone chargers, or even lamps.
It is important to buy an authentic Chi with the right plug because these are safer than the counterfeits, which may be why mine died the way it did. I want to add my house could have easily been set on fire due to this; there have been times I had left it on and not realized it until I got home that evening, so be safe and buy an authentic Chi.
Your second indication will be the label.
- Counterfeit Chi irons will usually have a sticker on it stating the usual 'Caution' warnings.
- Authentic Chi irons have the warning engraved into them. Mine also had the sticker—strike #2.
3. LED light On/Off Switch
The third indication to look for is the LED light on/off switch.
- On the authentic Chi irons, the LED light will turn off when the switch is in the off mode, and turn on when it is in on mode.
- If you have a fake, the LED light will stay on regardless of being in the on or off mode.
Mine stayed on unless it was unplugged, which obviously made it a fake.
Your final indication that you have a fake is the logo or anything else that is printed onto the iron.
- On a Chi iron, if you look at the base of the handle, there is a circular cap where the logo is printed. If your Chi is authentic, the logo will be perfectly centered and will be printed in the correct font.
- On a fake Chi, the logo may be off-center and in a smaller or different font than the Chi logo.
I was very disappointed when I realized my Chi was a fake. I loved it, and it still did the job I would expect of an authentic one; the main problem I had was the fire hazard. Mine had he first three indications of a fake. It did not have the bad logo, though. The logo on it was perfect.
Be sure before you buy a Chi online or from someone in person, you check for these signs. I have seen too many pictures of Chi irons for sale on eBay where the plug wasn't shown in the picture; this is likely someone who didn't think it was necessary to include the plug or someone who knows the iron they have for sale is a fake. Either way, don't take any chances and waste your money on what could possibly be counterfeit when for a few more dollars and a little more time you can probably find a real one.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
VANESSA from GA on August 14, 2020:
8/2020: CONFIRMED WITH THE MANUFACTURER and they have been making them with the 2 prong plug for a while, so there are both types of plugs that Chi uses for them.
Cathy Brown on January 14, 2020:
I just bought the Chi Lava travel size at Ulta this past weekend. It has a regular plug. It does NOT have the GFI plug. If Ulta is selling fakes, there is an issue!!
Amanda on August 31, 2019:
This is wrong. I got one from Ulta that has a straight plug. Its def not a fake
Anonymous on May 15, 2019:
I recently purchased a Chi G2 from a reputable salon distributor and the plug is similar to the fake in the example. I went to the sorce and called the Chi head office to ask if ALL Chi irons have the larger plug and if that is a sign it is fake. I was told that many newer models now have the regular plug. I was also told that stickers as opposed to engraving is also on some of their newer products.
Sarah on August 10, 2018:
I really like my Karmin.
Christina on December 26, 2015:
I just bought a limited edition rose bold chi from Macys and im pretty sure its real. It does not have an adapter for the plug in, its a regular plug. That doesnt necessarily mean its fake. When i plug it in and its off, the led light is off. The precautions are engraved and the logo is centered. Mines is real btw not all chi flat irons come with an adapter...well at least the holiday limited edition ones dont. Macys is authenic and i doubt they sell fake chi flat irons.
Jenna on November 28, 2014:
okay i bought my chi from ulta & i cant tell if its fake or not . i bought last weekend . its the holiday one .
jbug on September 18, 2014:
You brought a fake if you got it from Target. Especially if it says "air chi." This post is a PERFECT way to tell if you got a fake or not!! Just follow this post and you will be fine. Please only buy from retailers that sell the "CHI" brand! You should look Farouk website and see their retailers. If its not on the list.....AVOID!!!
maggie on July 17, 2014:
Wow well mine is fake but fortunatley i didn't buy this my sister in law gave it to me as a gift ...useful article thanks
brittanygc (author) from Blackshear, GA on June 28, 2013:
Ana, it doesn't matter where you purchased it from, real authentic Chi flat irons will not have a standard regular plug, they just don't. The user that commented is correct, Target was sued over this. Just because they are a large corporation doesn't mean they would never have counterfeit goods.
User on February 26, 2013:
Actually Target was being sued for selling fake chi irons. Ulta is the only store out of which you have named that sells real chi's
Ana on January 10, 2013:
I bought a Chi Iron for $100 and it has a regular plug I know it's original cause I don't think Walmart , Target, or Ulta sell fakes and I bought it at Target.