I’ve always dreamed of having long, luscious mermaid waves — blame a childhood diet of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Aquamarine and H2O: Just Add Water. Unfortunately, I was born without two very important genes: the naturally curly hair gene (I have thin, fine hair that needs half a can of hairspray to do anything) and the gene that gives you the ability to curl your hair with a straightener (my hand-eye coordination is terrible). So when my TikTok algorithm served me a video of Millie McCarthy aka @milliemacmakeup styling perfect mermaid waves with the Amika Jumbo High Tide Deep Waver, I was more than a little intrigued. I wanted effortless, shiny curls like Millie's (the shine she attributes to Amika Blockade Heat Defense Serum). Was this souped-up, refreshed version of a crimping iron the secret to my hair woes? At £115, it isn't the cheapest of tools so I called in a sample (plus the serum and Amika Fluxus Touchable Hairspray) and began to play. Spoiler: It’s taking my uncoordinated, not-used-to-hair-tools self a while to nail but I’m already hooked. The best part? I’ve finally achieved curls that last for hours on my fine hair with just a light spritz of hairspray. No more crunchy tresses!
First up, the Jumbo High Tide Deep Waver is seriously big. It made me think of those giant crimping irons we used years ago (burning off half our hair in the process). Amika's waver is a lot chicer though, comprising three tourmaline ceramic barrels and harnessing something called negative-ion technology to seal your hair cuticles and leave hair smooth and frizz-free. It has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a high-end hair tool: adjustable temperature from 50°C to 200°C (it takes less than a minute to heat up), a 360° swivel cord that means it moves with you as you curl different sections of your hair, a grippy clamp to prevent any slips while styling, a metal stand and a heat-protective glove. The Jumbo Waver is significantly heavier than many other tools I’ve used so if your upper body strength is lacking like mine, you'll want to make full use of that stand.
Thoughts while using
Before picking up the tool, I ran Blockade Heat Defense Serum through my dry hair and it instantly made it look so much smoother and shinier — not greasy, as is often the case with serums or oils on my thin hair. I then sectioned my hair to make sure I didn’t miss any strands. This is where the size of the Jumbo Waver comes into play. Because it's extra large, it takes a lot less time to curl your hair — a huge bonus for anyone who struggles with arm ache during styling. The trick, I've found, is to start waving a few inches down from your roots so it looks more natural, and to work gently down each section of hair, clamping for a few seconds. Rather than pulling the hair taut, I learned to follow the last curl and try to fit the barrels into these to keep the curl pattern fluid. If you nail the technique, the size of the iron produces big, loose waves without any of those crinkles that scream "I just curled my hair and I don’t know what I’m doing". I struggled occasionally to keep hold of the hair as I curled down so some of the ends are a little messy. But I got better (and, with my heat-protective glove on, braver at holding hair near the iron) as I went.
For someone who struggles to curl their hair with a straightener, this was so easy to use and you do pick up the technique quite quickly. My main gripe is that I had to rest my arm a few times because the iron is so heavy but I’m sure this will become less of an issue once I get into the swing of things (plus you have that super helpful stand). I also found it worked best to set each section of hair with hairspray as I went. In total, it took me about 45 minutes to curl my hair, a time I hope to cut down in future.
After I was done styling with the Jumbo Waver, I added one last spray of Fluxus Touchable Hairspray and I was good to go. The curls lasted throughout the day, which is unheard of for my hair! By day two, the curls had fallen out but I still had some volume going on. For my first attempt, I was really impressed with the tool and I’m keen to get the hang of it, as I don’t think I’ve quite mastered the technique (I might need to ask a friend to help perfect the tricky strands of hair at the back, where the size and weight of the tool make it especially tricky to manoeuvre). Due to its size and weight, I probably wouldn’t travel with the Jumbo Waver but it’s definitely going to be one of the first tools I reach for when styling my hair at home. Not only did it achieve the style I wanted but the fact that the curls actually lasted is a real game-changer.
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