This week the Gloss team test out the best hair straighteners and tongs that promise to transform your locks into sexy surfer girl waves
BaByliss Curling Wand Pro (Model 2285CU)
Buy online: www.very.co.uk
Feedback: “This easy-to-use, versatile curling wand was great at creating a range of different looks from tight, Shirley Temple-esque ringlets to loose and voluminous waves. I opted for the latter and just ran a serum through my hair with my fingers when the curls had cooled so that they were a little less uniform.
“They heated up within a minute and it took 15 minutes in total to curl my entire head of hair, which considering how long and unmanageable it can be was pretty quick! The whole process went smoothly and was refreshingly stress-free (profuse sweating and swearing were avoided) and my hair felt full of body afterwards. I particularly liked the heat glove that was included and the automatic shut off feature too, so post-curling paranoia about whether I’d turned them off was thankfully kept to a minimum!”
John Frieda Defined Curls Hair Tongs
Buy online: www.boots.com
Feedback: “The tongs heated up to the full 205°C in under 30 seconds, so I was off to an impressive start. The digital display shows you how hot the tongs are and you can adjust the heat setting depending on your hair type – I didn’t need mine too high at all as my hair is very fine. They’re very practical; the tongs have a stand attached so you can prop them up when you’re not using them and there’s also a heat mat included. The tong does make a slight buzzing sound when in use which can be a little off putting, but it does warn you about this in the booklet so it’s nothing to worry about.
“To use you simply clip the end of the hair strand in place and wind it up to the root, hold it in place for a few moments and let the curl fall. I didn’t have to hold the tong in place for very long at all to create a curl so it’s very quick to use, and is supposed to control frizz, which it did – my curls were smooth with a shiny finish. I had the 19mm barrel which creates thin, very defined curls (hence the name), so I ran my fingers through them a couple of times to get a softer wave. I will definitely use it again, but would always brush out the curls after to get a more natural look as otherwise it can look a bit 'too done'.”
Toni & Guy Hourglass Wand
Buy online: www.superdrug.com
Feedback: “The instructions that come with the curler are very clear and it was useful having tips on the length of time needed for both thick and fine hair. The wand is long, which is useful for me as I have very long hair and I was able to wrap the entire length of my hair around the wand.
“I was aiming to have quite loose flowing curls, so I curled larger sections as advised. It took a few tries at the beginning to get the hang of it, but it was really quick to curl. The heat-proof glove was a great addition to make it even easier. The curls came out quite tight, but they looked really good and after brushing through with my fingers, loosened up. Overall, it was simple to use and created defined, tight curls but takes a little practise if you prefer a looser, beachy wave.”
BaByliss Pro Perfect Curl
Buy online: www.sallyexpress.com
Feedback: “They did it with the Big Hair and now they've done it again; BaByliss are changing lives one hair tool at a time and as a seasoned hair curler (I am adamant that I should have been born with lovely curly locks, but was cheated), I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about. The BaByliss Pro Perfect Curl is, frankly, groundbreaking. To use, you clamp the hair near the root, release the end of the strand (no more than 3cm else it won't work) and the tool pulls the hair in and works its hidden magic with its internal curling iron. It'll then let out a series of beeps, either 8, 10 or 12 seconds later depending on your setting, and you open the tong to reveal an absolutely perfect curl (don't believe me? Watch the video here ). The settings allow you to switch direction according to which side of the head you're working on, as well as pick whether you want loose beachy waves or more defined curls - all gave a gorgeously natural looking result. There's also a heat setting so depending on your hair type you can select a temperature that suits you; mine was on the lowest as I have quite fine hair.
“It takes a little while to get used to, and my first go was nerve-racking as it swallows the hair so quickly you wonder what on earth it will throw back out. But apart from a sticky moment where I tried to put in too much hair (it just didn't work - but no tangles thanks to its safety mechanism) it was fuss-free and genuinely exciting every time another immaculate curl popped out. The only downsides, if one is very picky, are that it's quite bulky to hold and the fact you have to do such slim sections means it would take time to do the whole head - but with practise, you definitely speed up. Some angles are also a bit tricky as you have to be careful to keep the correct side of the barrel facing your head; a willing friend would come in very handy. It may be pricey, but it’s revolutionary - I can now get away with letting people think Mother Nature was kind enough to give me curls.“
GHD IV Mint Professional Styler
Buy online: www.ghdhair.com
Feedback: “In a word... LOVE! I’m a hardcore GHD fan and when my originals broke after four years I was quite upset. These new limited edition ones are beyond cute; they are in a glossy mint candy colour which looks super stylish. The ceramic heat technology straightens hair so that it is sleek and smooth and stays in place all day. When creating waves and curls, I rarely use a curling tong, because GHDs do the job brilliantly. The rounded body helps you to be versatile in the curls you create, whether you want soft flicks, waves, or tighter, bouncy curls. They’re very lightweight and easy to use, and heat up really quickly. They also have a sleep mode and a swivel cord that makes it easier to twist round your strand of hair perfectly designed for curling. I love the curls that can be created with GHDs – these are still my number one styling product for tousled tresses.”
Toni & Guy Deep Barrel Waver
Buy online: www.johnlewis.com
Feedback: “As someone who doesn't own or even know how to use hair straighteners, I found these particularly easy to use and fool-proof for a hair-styling novice. The instructions were simple and straightforward to follow: separate 2inch sections of hair, place between the tourmaline plate and clamp down for 5-15 seconds depending on hair thickness. I thought the slightly tricky bit would be making sure the waves along the strand of hair overlap without looking awkward and messy, but as the overall effect was more of a natural wave rather than tight curls, this was remarkably simple.
“The end result was different to what I expected; I envisaged 1940s glamour crimp-curls. Instead I had effortless boho waves; a much easier everyday look that I prefer to neat defined curls which I find can look like a prom-date nightmare! Another plus is that typical hair tongs can make the tips of hair look like rats’ tails, but the wide barrel design avoided this unfortunate look. The only cons were that it was awkward to leave this to cool without burning the surface so I’d definitely invest in a heat-proof mat, and there isn't an indication on the handle to show whether it has reached the optimum temperature - you have to go buy testing with a wet finger when you switch it on. It’s not a problem but not as tech-savvy as other hair tools are.”
Babyliss Boutique Soft Waves
Buy online: www.boots.com
Feedback: “Past experience has taught me that using a clip-free curling wand is the quickest and most foolproof way to create perfect curls. This Soft Waves Curler appealed to me for that very reason.
“The ideal tool for those with mid-long length hair, its ability to create perfect tousled tresses and beachy waves is partly due to it being clip-free and partly due to the fact that the diameter of the barrel is 34mm, which is big enough for the curls to look natural as well as grown-up and glamorous. It also has five different temperature settings which meant that I could use a low setting and thus minimise any damage that using a heated tool can cause. Very impressed at how quick, easy and effective this was and would highly recommend it for natural-looking curls.”
Mark Hill Salon Professional Bad Girl Glam Wicked Waver
Buy online: www.boots.com
Feedback: “First thing’s first: I wasn’t overly keen on the design as it has a bold zebra print which is pretty loud - but if you like brighter looking tools then this is the one for you. The tong claims that ‘no two curls are ever alike’, which is certainly true of this wand as it creates a very natural looking head of waves that don’t look too ‘styled’. It heats up nice and quickly, and also has adjustable heat settings so you can tailor it to your hair type. Starting near the root of the strand, you need to wrap the hair around the wand towards the tip; it takes no time at all for the hair to curl and it gave a natural, wavy finish. I found it a little harder to get the angle right for the right side of my head as I’m right handed, but all in all it was quick, easy and gave a great result.”