Natural looking waves and curls are my favourite and I think Babyliss Boutique Soft Waves may be The One for achieving this look with very little effort. It’s a heated styling wand with an extra wide 34mm ceramic barrel, which works really well on longer hair. If your hair is shorter than shoulder length I’m not sure that this would work so well. Here are my thoughts and tips for getting the best results…
WHAT YOU GET
The wand comes with a heat resistant glove (which you will NEED - it gets very hot) and a cooling mat that doubles up as a storage pouch. When open, the mat has a slim pocket that the wand slots right into, holding it securely so that you can wrap it all up immediately after use, rather than leaving it out to cool (handy with children /animals around).
As there is no clamp on the wand, you wrap pieces of hair around it in sections and hold the tip in place for 5/6 seconds. This is why the gloves are so essential as your fingers are very close to the hot barrel. The temperature can be adjusted from 165-210C according to your hair type and how tight you want the curls to be; my advice is start low and work your way up if required. Generally I use it at 195C as I think this gives my curls more lasting power; immediately after they do look a bit OTT, but soon loosen into… you guessed it, soft waves!
HOW TO: LOOSE CURLS
1. SMOOTH - As my hair has a natural wave and is quite frizzy, I need to smooth it before curling, which I do using my hair dryer and Lee Stafford My Big Fat Silky Smoother brush. If I don’t have time for this I’ll use GHDs, though prefer to avoid a double whammy of excess heat if I can. If your hair is naturally straight, or at least smooth, you can skip this step.
2. SECTION - I recently picked up a set of basic sectioning clips and they’re a godsend when heat styling. I pin up the whole top section of my hair and start curling from the back forwards. Larger sections give looser curls and I generally use about 2” of hair for each section. This wand is extra long, meaning that hair can be looped right along it. Avoid overlapping your hair around on top of itself or the ends won’t get as much heat. Wrap each new piece of hair in a different direction for a more natural look, starting just below the crown. Leaving out the ends will also give a more natural, wavy finish rather than a very defined curl.
3. COOL - This is important as curls/waves hold better if allowed to cool while held in place (which is why heated rollers are so effective). After curling each section, I slide out the wand and cup my hand under the curl for about 20-30 secs before moving on to the next piece of hair. I must buy some of those metal clips that hairdressers use!
4. PRODUCTS - Styling products are essential to heat protect your hair and give waves lasting power. Immediately after washing, I work Aveda Phomollient volumising mousse into my roots for extra oomph; this helps balance out the waves and stop them weighing my hair down at the crown. I then add L’Oreal Mythic Oil Seve Protectrice into the lengths before blow drying - this is a great heat protector for dry/damaged hair and I feel like I’m getting extra thorough protection by massaging in a rich cream rather than just using spray.
Post blow-drying, I add a second layer of heat protection (paranoid much?)… Windle & Moodie Light Satin Hairspray both heat protects and gives gentle hold, so it’s great for use before using any heat styler and doesn’t makes the curls feel stiff. If I have any frizzy ends, I’ll add a quick spritz of Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist, a light spray that adds definition and is also great for revamping flagging curls a few hours later. Once my hair is completely finished and I’m happy with the final look, I go in with my favourite hairspray, Fudge Urban Iced Raspberry & Vanilla - it works, the pink and orange bottle always makes me smile - and it smells gorgeous!
PS *If you have naturally silky smooth hair, you won’t need all of the above products - a heat protector and hair spray should do it!*
PPS This process is special occasion prep and not something I (have time to) do on an everyday basis… I’m more likely to wash my hair the night before, rough blow dry it and then go in with my styling wand the following day. For an everyday look, I just use the wand to add definition and a few casual waves in big sections, rather than sectioning it all off carefully… ie 5 mins vs 15 mins!
One freshly done curl - you can see how high and springy it is (‘scuse the dimly lit, probably a good thing make-up free pic). The one on your left is where I held the curl until it cooled; you can see how much more defined it is than the other, which has already dropped a bit.
And after, soft loose waves.
What style of curls do you prefer - and have any of you tried this styling wand?
Babyliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves, £40