Tried and Tested – Hair curlers


Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Long Tong, £29.99 (Argos, Tesco)

What they say

40% longer barrel will easily create gorgeous curls for even the longest hair. With a coconut oil-infused ceramic barrel, silky soft hair is no longer a dream!

Ease of use

Very easy and intuitive for all testers. The thumb grip is excellent at holding the ends of hair in place and the longer barrel allows you to evenly wrap even the longest hair. If we were being picky, the cord could be longer, but the tong heated up to full strength in ten seconds.

Finished results

Testers achieved both big and bouncy as well as smooth glossy curls on all hair types, quickly and easily. Curls lasted at least six hours.

What we found

Despite the name there is no coconut scent, however the infusion did seem to avoid drying out even brittle, coloured fine hair. All testers were very happy with their curls and its ease of use – especially for those who aren’t expert at doing hair – meant it was a popular appliance.


InStyler Max 2-Way Rotating Iron, RRP £89.99 (Boots)

What they say

The Max 2-Way Rotating Iron delivers maximum straightening results, while offering the ultimate styling versatility to create body, loose curls and beachy waves.

Ease of use

Very fiddly, as the two-way rotating takes a bit of getting used to and some testers got frustrated. Watching the instruction video is crucial. Because the tong is quite short, testers found it quite difficult to wrap hair around to achieve even curls – especially for the back of the head. An extra pair of hands was useful here. The extra-long cord was very helpful though and it did heat up extremely quickly.

Finished results

Disappointing. Curls did not materialise on fine hair, and although thicker hair held loose waves, they didn’t last long. On the plus side, frizz was eliminated.

What we found

We really wanted to like this two-in-one hair appliance and the straightening and de-frizzing magic of the ionic bristles was excellent. However, the curling element just didn’t hit the mark. It was also the most expensive product tested without results to match.


BaByliss Tight Curls Wand, £25 (Argos, Boots, Superdrug and major department stores)

What they say

Achieve on-trend, super-tight curls with this ultra-slim curling wand. Tighter curls are perfectly formed, frizz free and long lasting.

Ease of use

Quick to heat up and very easy to use. The heat mat and glove are essential to help prevent burns. Testers of all hair types found creating curls for a whole head of hair did take time – and, unless you’re very dexterous, you may need a bit of help to do the hair at the back of your head. Care needs to be taken with fine hair that doesn’t need as long on the wand as thicker, longer hair.

Finished results

Curls were fabulous – uniform, neat, tight and held on all hair types for a minimum of six hours. Worth the time taken to create them.

What we found

The super heat and curl hold of the wand is fabulous. Testers with long thick hair rated this as their favourite. Excellent value for money


GlamWaves, £12.95 (Amazon, eBay)

What they say

The GlamWaves band is an easy-to-use one-piece hair roller to effortlessly create sleek-looking waves without the need to use hair-damaging products. Designed to be comfortable to wear during treatment or sleep, the outer mesh material helps grip on to the band while not making hair frizzy during removal.

Ease of use

Once you’ve watched the instruction video on YouTube, the headband is easy to apply – fine hair can be a bit slippery but will tuck in eventually. However, every tester found sleeping in the band uncomfortable, so opted to try it during the day. The band came out fairly easily on all hair types.

Finished look

Results were mixed and a little underwhelming. Fine hair achieved a slight wave, but that didn’t last unless some product was put in at the time of using the band. Thick hair found damp hair never dried properly even with the use of a hair dryer. Curls, as a result, were not uniform and fell out quickly.

What we found

Overall, this band worked better for mid-length fine hair where a gentle wave was wanted. We found any other look just wasn’t achievable – despite following the instructions to the letter.


Curlformers, styling kits from £38.95 with top-up packs from £8.95 (curlformers.com and Amazon)

What they say

Create gorgeous, smooth, glossy, medium or narrow-width curls with no heat damage.

Ease of use

Before testing, we watched the how-to videos on the Curlformers website curlformers.com/how-to-videos/. Hair needs to be damp before starting and you do need to pay attention to the different types of curlers – some are long and narrow, others wide and long. For each type there are two colours, one to curl clockwise and one to curl anti-clockwise, so you can choose uniform or random curls. Once you get the hang of it, applying Curlformers is quite easy – you just twist the section of hair, hook it (remembering the keep the hook facing upwards) then hold and push the Curlformer at the root, and pull the hook out. Every now and again one would get a bit stuck and had to be re-applied. It took about 40 minutes to apply them to the whole head. Hair can be blow dried or left to dry naturally and they’re easy to remove by simply untwisting and sliding off after a minimum of 1.5 hours.

Finished results

The resulting curls were both spiral and corkscrew and testers loved the effect. Without applying a product such as lacquer, the curls dropped as the day went on although hair stayed wavy for at least six hours. For longer lasting curls, leave in for longer and use hair products before and hairspray after application.

What we found

For a non-heating option, we really liked the simplicity and results of Curlformers on all hair types. A modern take on the rag curlers of old, you could achieve curls after an hour-and-a-half, or leave them for longer for a more intense, longer lasting effect.

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