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Some of the most played with toys are those that allow role play and imagination in my experience. That's why this Beauty Case was one on the Christmas list for the littlest this year. Granny was happy to oblige and buy this £16 case and contents from ELC and the toy has been a firm favourite since it was first opened on Christmas day.
The case, which is made of strong plastic, comes with a number of items inside it. What you can't see on the picture above is that the front is see-through so the child can see the items that are inside. There's a sturdy carrying handle, and a pink clasp that is easily opened and closed by little hands.
As well as a hair dryer there is also little mirror on a stand, a diffuser and blow-dry attachment, 3 clips, slides, a brush, comb and also a pretend little lipstick and cover. It is, it has to be said, all resoundingly pink (with grey tones).
Though this toy might seem quite expensive, it is worth saying that the items are quite well made, everything in the set still looks good as new after plenty of play. The little hair dryer, which is stamped with "Braun" does actually make a noise and blow out air when the button is pressed. It may not have more than one speed but it is powerful enough to mean your child can have that authentic "playing hairdressers" experience without the hair dryer being too annoyingly loud. If you are a parent you will know that that is quite a plus.
The mirror is made of safe plastic but does reflect well and, thus far all the clips have held up to being used to clip up customers' hair and teddies' ears. The mini brush and comb are authentic looking and quite soft ended, which I find a boon when I am being the one having my hair "styled" by a rather over enthusiastic trainee!
As I was hoping, the toy has been used in a number of ways, my children have used it to play hairdresser's shop but it also has been a useful addition to their playhouse for playing "mummies and daddies", and they have even used the hair dryer to make a rather inventive game seeing how far they could blow different things along the floor. Once play is finished everything is nicely stowed in the case, which is a compact 28cm by 20cm by my measurements.
My only criticism of this set would be that it doesn't, for some reason, contain any pretend scissors - perhaps the designers were worried that their inclusion might encourage cutting-your-own hair disasters! We have made do with a pair of play dough scissors that can't inflict any actual harm, but it might have been nice had some scissors been included.
Overall this is a great toy, which will probably appeal to children up to the age of 7 or so, rather than the 3-8 that the manufacturer suggests. I assume the age 3 guideline is due to the small nature of the slides and lipstick but I would think younger children would love this set too if due care were taken.
Realistically this item probably isn't going to appeal to boys due its aforementioned "pinkness", and I don't think it is available in any other more neutral colour, however I think it was an excellent gift. I am happy to recommend it as promoting imaginative play and not being likely to languish unused in the toy cupboard. It's a good toy!