This little beauty looks more like some form of power tool, than a hair curler, and it's all because of the innovative technology behind it. Instead of wrapping your hair around a long barrel, you place the curler around a section of your hair and voilà, it's automatically sucked up into a ceramic curl chamber, and when you release it a couple of seconds later, you have a perfect curl. Let's see how this actually works in a little bit more detail.
1. Curl direction: you can either have all the curls go in the same direction or you can choose to alternate between each curl, for a more natural look
2. Time setting: ranges from 8 - 12 secs and the shorter the time, the looser the waves
3. Temperature setting; three different temperatures depending on your hair type.
When I tried it I chose for all the curls to be in the same direction, soft curl style (10 secs) and temperature setting 2 for normal texture hair. I applied heat protectant spray and after the hair was completely dry I sectioned it off, to make it easier to work through. They recommend that you use sections that are no more than 3 cms, but since I have quite long hair my sections were probably no more than 2 cms. Wherever you decide for the curl to start, that's where you position and release the clamp of the curler - it doesn't have to be close to your scalp, it can be much further down if you wish. Once you've released the clamp your hair is automatically pulled into the curling chamber without you having to do anything at all.
I'm not going to lie, I was more than a little bit apprehensive about this bit. I was worried that my hair would get stuck, I had visions of it burning off or that I would need to cut off long sections to free myself of this contraption - but there's no need to worry about any of that. If the section of your hair is too thick, or it's not wound up properly in the ceramic chamber, there will be a few warning beeps and you just release the clamp and your hair is freed. There is no pulling of your hair or "getting stuck", and in fact there were no hairs around the tool at all after I had finished curling it, which makes a nice change from what my hair usually goes through when I wave it. In short it feels incredibly safe, comfortable to use the tool and it's relatively gentle on your hair. It looks like a bulky tool (sorry Gladys), but it doesn't weigh more than a slightly larger blow dryer and you don't need to worry about your arms getting tired. The only thing I would recommend is that you try to avoid pulling the curler when you have a section of hair in the chamber. Instead perhaps try to hold the curler a bit closer to your scalp, so that the hair is relaxed - I think the curls turn out better that way.
A few beeps will let you know when the curl is done, and you simply open the clamp and gently release the hair. It took me a little over 30 mins to do my hair, but I noticed that as I got more comfortable and confident with how to work with Gladys that the left side got done in much less time, so I'm pretty sure I can get that down to about 20 mins - which I think is an acceptable amount of time to spend on your hair in the morning. When the hair has cooled down completely, you might want to use some hairspray to set the waves and then work through with your fingers or brush, however you prefer to style your hair and loosen up the curls. On me the curls lasted a little longer than two days, and in the photos below I've shown how they changed during that time:
8 hrs after styling
32 hrs after styling - including a workout at the gym and shower + miserable rainy weather
This is an amazing curler - it gives lovely, bouncy and long lasting waves in the style of your choice, however it does also come at a price. Is it worth it? Well that all depends on how good you are at styling your hair and how much you want those curls. I'm pretty good at doing my hair using a wand, but this is so much easier, gentler on the hair, the curls look more or less the same on both sides and it's minimum effort. I LOVE Gladys the BaByliss, and can't recommend her enough, and I really think that the hunt for the perfect curling tool is at an end - may we live happily and curly haired long ever after!