For many years, hairdressers have told me that tonging hair is a quick, easy way to make your barnet look better. This is true when a professional does it for me. This has not been true when I have left myself approximately seven minutes to do my hair and I've reached for the curlers I’ve had since I was about 14 years old (they’re called Angel Curls and are everything that they sound like – and more), only to give up halfway through because a) I’m late and b) I look terrifying.
I have long pined for the easy, sleek tools that hairdressers use, which have managed to make it seem as though curling my hair is as easy as breathing. Now, faced with Christmas events and the impending threat of January – when I won’t want to leave my house, let alone waste time out of bed doing my hair – I have decided to invest in a proper pair of hair tongs that will (hopefully) make my life infinitely easier. And better looking. I could not face such a task alone, so I roped in Team Pool to help…
Best for: Thick Hair
Babyliss Metà e Metà
After reading the manual and initially being scared about this contraption sucking up my hair and burning it off, I decided to YouTube how to use it properly.
Similarly to the BaByliss Volume Waves curler, this gave me more of a wave than a curl. If this is your first sortie into using a curler and you're after a more natural wave, it is rather simple and quick to use, and will make a beeping noise once the curl has formed inside the device. Bonus, it also has a smoothing option and a function to switch your curls from clockwise to anti-clockwise, to help make sure you're curling away from your face on both the left- and right-hand side, which is key!
Best for: Easy, loose waves at speed
Hershesons Tourmaline Professional Curling Tong
I knew this gave great results before I even removed it from the box, because it’s been used on my hair in the Hershesons salon before. I had not, however, tried it myself, which I presumed would be a whole different ball game. At first I found it fairly tricky to use. There were mild burns and a lot of kinks, rather than waves or curls. Luke Hersheson himself, however, advised me not to look in the mirror as I did my hair, suggesting that this may confuse proceedings, given that I need to wrap hair around the barrel, clamp and release. He was correct. After the first few tries I finally mastered it, leading to really lovely loose waves. It’s the sort of hair I’ve always wanted, but thought would take an age. While it’s not quick while you’re first getting used to the tong, once you’ve got the knack it’s genius.
Best for: Versatility
T3 Twirl Convertible Curling Iron
This tonging tool might just be my new BFF – even despite its alarmingly phallic shape. Four attachments mean you can manage anything from a tight curl to a big, bouncy wave, but I'm most in favour of the undone-waves attachment. It gave me this look in eight actual minutes. Top tip: point the wand downwards and wind an inch-thick piece of hair around it, not the other way around. Straight on the Christmas list.
Best for: more defined curls
Boots Essentials Tong & Brush, £9.99
I have an awful lot of thick hair and was super-dubious about this doing anything of note, but it worked a treat. You can get proper ringlety curls with the tong, if you want, which I then ran my fingers through to ease them out. Also, the brush attachment has become my morning go-to – I've been running it through my fringe and the bits of hair either side of my face in the morning to give a bit of bounce in almost no time at all.
Best for: Adding movement (and easy to use)
Cloud Nine Curling Wand, £99.96
I am forever on the quest for sexy, tousled bed hair, so have spent years using different curling implements to achieve beachy waves – with varying degrees of success. I’ve been curling my hair using straighteners – which sounds counter-intuitive, but does work – however the curls are more ringlety than the relaxed ‘s-bend’ that I was after. The Cloud Nine, however, gives perfect loose waves – the type that only hairdressers seem to be able to achieve. The wand is really easy to handle thanks to being both slim and light. Simply wrap a section around the barrel, hold for a few seconds, then release. Try alternating the direction of curl to get a less uniform and more natural look. I also like the little stand on the wand that stops it burning your carpet when you put it down. I’ll definitely be using it again – five stars.