What's the best tool to curl your hair with? The ELLE team tried and tested hot and cold rollers, tongs and more...
Pro Perfect Curl by BaByliss
Stockist: McIntyres Salons
Pros: My hair is committed to staying straight. It can be up in braids all day long and will fall out without a kink so I was sceptical when I set about testing the BaByliss Pro Perfect Curl. The idea of feeding my hair into a mechanised curler just to get my standard 30 minutes worth of results was not appealing. Luckily, this is not your average curling tong. Yes it is expensive, and yes it takes a bit longer to complete a full head of hair than using an iron. Honestly, if your hair takes easily to being curled, this may be an investment above what you require, but if you have a curl resistant mane like me, it's something of a wonder machine.
Cons: The only downside was the weight. The extra bits of machinery make for a pretty heavy tool and if you have a lot of hair, it can feel a bit like an arm workout by the end. But, hey, if the results are curls and firmer biceps, BaByliss won't be getting any complaints from me.
Verdict: Worth the investment for dead straight hair- it's the only one that will keep it curly!
Tested by Phebe Hunnicutt, Digital Director
Glamour Wand by Corioliss
Pros: Overall it was very easy to do. There are different heat settings, from 100degrees to 190. I settled for 160 and never had to hold my hair around the wand for more than 8 seconds to get a defined curl. I didn’t want it to look too ‘done’, so after doing my whole head I gave it a good tszuj.
Cons: I’ve never used a wand before so I watched a YouTube demo video for the Corioliss wand to make sure I wasn’t making any huge mistakes. There’s a thumb and forefinger cover that comes with the wand, to make sure you don’t burn your fingers. At first this seems novel and quite fun, but once you realise the hand you should wear it on is also the hand you need to part sections in your hair... it gets a bit tedious. But the point at the end doesn’t heat which means my fingers weren’t in any danger.
Verdict: I love the way it defined my curls, and could imagine using it for a night out when I want to look more put together. My flatmate gave me the ultimate compliment with- ‘It looks likes you’ve made an effort, but you’re not trying too hard.’
Tested by Emma Hoareau, Beauty Intern
Bad Girl Glam by Mark Hill
Stockist: Mark Hill
Pros: My hair is shoulder length and big curls or tight little ones might give me an undesired effect of too much volume, so Mark Hill's waving device looked perfect. The electrical has no clip like normal curling tongs, good as this give you more freedom to dart around your hair and achieve a more natural look.
Cons: I sectioned my hair off, it took longer than I expected as holding the hair with no clip on the device, wrapping it round and not burning myself took a while to master, but once I got going it was doing the trick and giving a lovely effect of tousled summer hair.
Verdict: The look is perfect for somebody with shorter hair and would be a great holiday hair style (although you might struggle fitting it in your suitcase).
Tested by Phoebe Sing, ELLE Designer
Hot Roller By TRESemme
Pros: I simply popped the rollers in the top section of my hair, fixed them in place with the grips provided, and sat back to watch the latest Made In Chelsea (Spencer, what a rat). After about half an hour, when cool, I took out the rollers and et voila: lovely bouncy, Kate Middleton-esque hair.
Cons: I'm a heated roller virgin, so these were a bit baffling to me at first. However, the plug in, wait to heat up (about 10 mins), and go system was fairly easy to use. My only niggle is that it isn't clear what the 'ready' indicator is (it's actually the centre of one of the rollers, which turns from pink to white when hot to trot).
Verdict: I loved using these, but the only issue is that the lift was more through the ends of my hair, rather than the roots, so it just looked like I'd had a good blow-dry. But hey, a girl can't have everything.
Tested by Fern Ross, Production Editor
Thermo Ceramic Hair Rollers By BaByliss
Pros: These.are.amazing. I had been looking for a set of heated rollers for a while, as I am quite lazy when it comes to styling my hair in the mornings, and had heard that heated rollers were the way forward - maximum effect, minimum input. The set of 20 includes 8 large, 6 medium and 6 small rollers, which you can mix up depending on what kind of style you want. It takes a mere 8 minutes for the rollers to heat up and the temperature can be varied from low to high, depending on your hair type (I opted for a lower heat, as I have quite fine hair).
Cons: None here!
Verdict: The rollers themselves are really easy to use and don't get tangled up in your hair like others I have used in the past, and the clips provided keep them held in place perfectly whilst I put my make-up on. When ready to go, each roller was easily removed and my hair fell bouncily into place, section by section. I highly recommend!
Tested by Debbie Morgan, Editorial Business Manager
The ‘O’ Ultimate Set By Cloud Nine
Stockist: Cloud Nine Hair
Pros: One of the most exciting products I’ve tried out in ages. You pop the rollers into the pod and it heats them up in 4 seconds. What really surprised me was that the rollers were cold enough to touch meaning that manoeuvring was easy and quick, and I didn’t have the fear of burning myself (something that I often end up doing with curling tongs). I had them in for 15 minutes whilst I rushed around getting ready for work they gave me big, bouncy curls that looked like I’d been to the salon before 9am.
Cons: At just under £200, they’re expensive but an investment definitely worth saving up for. Think about it like paying a pound a day for 200 days to have a permanently salon-worthy blow dry.
Verdict: A great alternative to curling tongs and really easy to use. I’m already excited to use them before my next evening out when I can leave them in for even longer than 20 minutes.
Tested by Joely Walker, Beauty Assistant
Glam Goddess Ionic Hot Air Magic Wand By Mark Hill Salon Professional
Stockist: Mark Hill
Pros: I was excited to test out Mark Hill’s uber-wand, which promises big volume, beachy waves and perfect curls, depending on which of the three attachments to click into the wand. It stomped me at first, but after a bit of perseverance it was under control.
Cons: It’s a little bit terrifying, to be honest, tipping all six parts out of the box and then having to put your Crystal Maze hat on the get it together. (Plus, the wand itself is leopard-print, which is a boon or a bust depending on the aesthetic of your dressing table.) But persevere, and it works.
Verdict: It’s basically like a hairdryer that allows you to style and dry at the same time – perfect for girls like me who no longer have the student luxury of spending two hours fussing over their hair every day.
Tested by Leisa Barnett, News & Social Media Editor
Keratin Therapy Pro Curl By Remington
Pros: Years of bleaching means my hair is fairly adverse to heat styling so I was happy to discover this curling tongs has a ceramic barrel that pumps a bit of keratin into each strand as you use it.
Cons: It took some time to figure out which of the five heat settings worked to create long-lasting curls in my hair.
Verdict: Once I figured out which heat setting could create the maximum results with minimal heat damage I really fell in love with this curling tongs. The keratin left my hair feeling soft and shiny instead of parched and over-processed.
Tested by Gillian Brett, PA to the Editor
Mega Bounce Rollers By Sleep-In
Stockist: Sleep-In Rollers
Pros: These are easy to put in, comfortable to wear. The only rollers I have used before were heated so heavy that they inevitably gave me a headache.
Cons: Unfortunately, they didn't stay in for very long. I do have quite a lot of naturally curly hair – I was hoping that these might give me big, bouncy regular curls instead of the slightly erratic god, erm, blessed me with, but to do this I needed to anchor them in with multiple clips. And I realised that heated rollers are heated for a reason – these didn;t really do much for me.
Verdict: Think I'll stick with the tongs.
Tested by Collette Lyons, Acting Content Director