Since beauty salons closed earlier in March, many of us have been forced to tend to our own hair, including colouring, cutting and styling. Whether you've worked out exactly how to master your monthly trim or thought your DIY dye job to be a total disaster, one great thing that has come out of lockdown is the number of innovative new hair tools to play with.
Earlier in the year, everyone was Googling Revlon's One-Step Dryer, £59.99, a 2-in-1 barrel brush meets hairdryer, which was touted as your very own at-home hairstylist by editors and influencers. But this month, the beauty industry is waxing lyrical about another game-changer: the BaByliss Big Hair Rotating Hot Air Styler, £70. The tool does exactly what it says on the tin: it's a hairdryer come round bristle brush and pressing the buttons on the side rotates the brush as hot air is distributed from the barrel, making smoothing and curling quick and easy.
Not only have many of us realised that a lot of time and money can be saved blow-drying our own hair in the comfort of our bedroom, but according to some reports, professional blow-dries may be limited or scrubbed off the menu entirely when salons open their doors on the 4th July, due to fears that coronavirus could be transmitted through airflow. In other words, it makes sense to hold onto the DIY tools for a little while longer. But is the BaByliss Rotating Styler worth the hype? I had to give it a go myself.
Unlike a traditional boar bristle brush used in professional blow-dries, the bristles featured on this tool are much softer, a tad longer and more sparse to ensure that hair isn't easily tangled or pulled while the brush is rotating. It's also a little lighter than a traditional hairdryer. The handle boasts three heat settings: cold, warm and hot, while there are two buttons to determine the direction in which the brush head rotates, so that you can curl ends under or flick them out depending on the style you're trying to achieve.
I took a cue from previous blow-dry appointments and rough dried my wet hair first until it was ever so slightly damp. It pays to section your hair with small clips or scrunchies so that you can achieve a better shape. The trick is to lift the section of hair at the root and place the brush underneath for a couple of sections to boost volume. Then, brush the tool through each section. Once you're an inch away from your ends, place your hand around the barrel and hit the button to curl and smooth. Keeping your hand there while you do so gives you a lot more control and reduces tangling.
Just like a salon blow-dry, it took me quite a few attempts to style each section and to achieve that professional, curled-under shape; I have a lot of hair and it's quite thick and wavy in places. As you can see, the result was smoother, straighter hair, but I struggled to get a hang of the back and had to go over any bumps with my trusty ghd Platinum + Hair Straighteners, £189. Top tip: instead of sectioning your hair from top to bottom, try parting your hair down the centre and working from the sides inwards to style as much of the back as you can.
If your hair is thick and wavy like mine, have a good glossing serum to hand, such as BLEACH Hair Elixir, £6, to minimise frizzy bits at the roots. Finish with a veil of hairspray, like Vo5 Flexible Hold Hairspray, £3.59, to help prolong the style. And before letting loose with any heated tools, it pays to protect your strands with a heat protector spray. I like Drunk Elephant Wild Marula Tangle Spray, £21, which shields hair and makes it both soft and manageable, and Aussie SOS Instant Heat Saviour Hair Spray, £6.99, which doesn't weigh hair down or make it oily.
This tool isn't suited to big, bouncy curly blow-dries if that's what you're after. Instead, it makes hair relatively straight, lifts the roots and gives the ends a little movement. If you have very wavy, curly or textured hair, you might find it takes a lot longer. In that case, invest in a hairdryer like ghd Helios Hairdryer, £159, which is incredibly speedy, nimble and works on all hair types, or BaByliss 3Q Hair Dryer, £60, which controls air to make styling simple. Try it with the Philip Kingsley Vented Radial Brush, £25. The little holes allow for better air flow and a smooth shape to ends.
Overall, the BaByliss Rotating Brush doesn't feel like a chore to use and I was pleased with the sleek results, even if I did have to look to another tool for a little help. Right now, no-one really knows when we'll be able to book in for an expert blow-dry, but until then, this could be a good substitute.
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