Well, here’s something I was expecting to hate but ended up loving: the Babyliss Cordless Hot Brush. I realised, through a bit of self-therapising (basically just me staring at the window for a while, pondering stuff) that the reason I took instant dislike to the thing was because it had lots of short, completely rigid bristles. It reminded me of the little brushes you used to get in the eighties to do hairdressing on the mannequin head’s plastic, knotted hair and it also reminded me of a certain type of mascara wand that I very much dislike.
So yes, I judged this particular book by its cover. (I don’t mind admitting that I judge nearly every single beauty and grooming product by its proverbial cover, because products are not people and they can’t be offended and so on the “moral offences” scale it’s pretty tame.)
But how wrong I was. The rigid bristles are there to slide and glide through the hair so that nothing gets tangled and it makes the whole process, if you’re simply sleeking everything down as I was, effortless and speedy. I had no idea what the Babyliss Cordless Hot Brush was supposed to do because I didn’t do any research before I turned it on, but I began brushing my hair with it and it was instantly smoothed. I then decided to mix things up a bit and brushed it from the underneath, like the hairdressers do, turning the brush as I went, and it gave a little bit of volume through the lengths and then a rounded-under finish. A very smooth, swanky, expensive-looking long bob.
I realise that in the age of “gadgets needing to do more than one thing” this isn’t the most all-singing all-dancing hair tool; it doesn’t use air like the Dyson things and it you can’t do fancy twists and turns with it like you can with a pair of straighteners (I mean I don’t think you can…again: haven’t read the instructions) but for me, it’s an absolute Godsend. Because I have that particular length of hair that looks excellent styled but that makes me look like a medieval lute player if I don’t do anything with it. And most of the time I really can’t be bothered to do anything with it. The Babyliss Cordless Hot Brush offers me a sort of “midway effort option”: three minutes brushing through, wearing silly heatproof gloves because I can burn myself on anything, and my hair looks just slightly more…purposeful. As though it’s actually in a style. All of the hairs point the same way and kick under at the bottom and, with some makeup thrown onto my face, I can get away with looking as though I’ve made a hell of a lot more effort than I actually have.
So there: mind changed on this one. I dismissed it straight out of the box but in just three or four minutes it had become the hair tool that might just convince me to keep my hair at the length it’s at. I don’t find it very heavy, though I’ve just looked at some reviews and a few others do – it’s not the sort of tool you have to hold up in a perfectly still position for ages (like a wand) but anyway, I didn’t find it noticeably cumbersome. Especially as it doesn’t have a cord – cords usually causes me all kinds of grief.
On another practical note, it takes around three hours to charge up for a forty minute use on maximum heat. Again, not a problem for me – it took seven minutes to do my entire head twice on max power and charging it up isn’t exactly a hardship. I’m not sure where exactly I’ll take it that will necessitate cordless styling but it’s nice to know there’s the option!
You can find the Babyliss Cordless Hot Brush online, RRP £180 but most places seem to have it at £120-ish – it’s currently £126 at LookFantastic here*. Watch me using the Hot Brush for the first time – the shirt I’m wearing, by the way, is from Boden here* and the hair oil used as a final finish is the excellent L’Oreal Professional Absolut Repair Oil, online here*. Brilliant, cheap as chips Elnett hairspray can be procured from just about anywhere in life, but if you need a quick link then click here*.
This is how I style my mid length hair now that it’s slightly shorter than usual – it sits just below the shoulder. Obviously I use the word style in its very loosest sense because I’m about as wieldy with heated appliances as an elephant would be with a crochet hook, but I’ve just about mastered the art of putting some waves in without burning huge welts in my head and so I thought I’d share.
(It’s incredibly similar in vibe and “technique” to this post here if you’d like to see my version from a few years ago.)
I use the Cloud Nine curling wand (it’s here online*). I like it because it doesn’t have one of those clamps on it, the long section of the tong that can be opened and closed. I hate those because a) they are too taxing on my very basic coordination skills and b) they look (to me) a little bit like the speculum they use when you have a smear test.
So yes, it’s just one long heated round-ended bit of metal, really, and you wind each section of hair around it and hold on until your fingers start to smoulder through the heatproof gloves**.
(**this is not official advice. You’re supposed to hold the hair around for a limited amount of time so that you don’t a) damage your hair and b) singe off all of your fingertips, but I have no idea what that amount of time is. I suppose you just have to experiment…)
There’s an art to the hair-winding. You section off small pieces of hair and then wind all of them away from your face, or maybe it’s supposed to be towards your face… but it should be clear to you by now that I have no idea what I am doing and that I just wing it. Sometimes the hair turns out OK, other times I look slightly deranged for a day or two until the curls drop out. It’s a risky business.
The best part of the whole process is the day after. Delayed gratification. On my bleached, roughened hair, the slept-in curls suddenly go huge and voluminous and I get a lovely, sexy texture that has body and shape but no real discernible curl. So on day 1 I have the full curl, which is fun, on day 2 I have the sexy texture and then it stays sexily textured for around two or three more days, throughout which I add more dry shampoo than you’d think would be possible.
On day five I usually can’t resist the urge to wash it. It starts to feel like old felt. I then give it a day off and start the whole process again. I just think that the curl/wave/texture thing works really well on this length hair. Shorter would actually be even better, but I can’t bear not being able to tie it up so it’s not an option for me anymore. I’ve learned the hard way with that!
So that’s my current mid length hair style. The long fringe bit is annoying – can’t wait for that to grow out! – but it’s relatively easy to tong that bit separately and just ease it into some kind of gentle face-framer or (on energetic days) power quiff.
This wasn’t even supposed to be a written post, I was just going to bung the video up, so please do watch that for a more sensible explanation of how I currently style my hair!
See also: How I Style My Party Hair
Wearing: red Adidas track pants, bought here* and a Boden cashmere jumper from a few years ago.