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My daughter was given this Hello Kitty crimping set for her birthday in June, it's the end of August now and already we've got rid of them - not because they're broken or anything drastic like that, but simply due to the fact that they're far too much of a faff for results that aren't brilliant anyway. When Hollie unwrapped the gift we were both impressed; it's packaged beautifully in a purple box to match the crimpers and accessories, it was actually the first present she wanted to unwrap when we got back from her birthday party and the moment she'd ripped the paper off the rest of her pressies she decided she wanted her hair crimped. And on day ONE (hell, HOUR one) I realised this wouldn't be something we'd use very often.
The crimpers heat up fairly quickly to 200 degrees and are very easy to operate as all you really have to do is switch them on and wait. The handle doesn't get hot and neither does the casing around the crimping plates, although this does get a little warm sometimes if you're using the crimpers for longer than average. They have a nice smooth operation and a small rubberised section on the handle helps with the grip as you're holding them closed to crimp the hair - this is important as the crimpers themselves are extremely shiny; it's a long and tedious job to crimp your hair using these tiny stylers so your hand will invariably start to ache and sweat, without the grip I'm sure they'd be sliding around in my hand by the time I've done half of Hollie's hair!
To crimp the hair you simply take a section and hold it between the two plates for a few seconds, it's the same principle as straighteners but you're not running the crimpers down the hair and each section needs to be done individually. Now, Hollie has got very long hair so (not only does the crimped look look ridiculous anyway, but) it takes absolutely bloody AGES. I spent over an hour that first time and didn't even get half of her hair done, I realised this was going to happen quite early so arranged the crimped sections to make it look like I'd done it all - it looked really nice actually but the crimping didn't stay in long anyway and within a couple of hours her hair just looked strangely kinked.
The plates are ceramic coated to avoid heat damage, but I'm not convinced these actually heat up to 200 degrees anyway as the metal never really feels as hot to the touch as other 200 degree stylers I've used. They take roughly five minutes to heat up and crimp a section of Hollies (fine, flyaway) hair after being held closed for around twenty seconds, I could really get into the maths here and start explaining about how each length of Hollie's hair takes five or six sets of crimping (and that's allowing a cheeky gap in between each set) - the plates are only 15cm long too, so just imagine how long it takes! It's ridiculous and massively frustrating for everyone!
My other daughter borrowed them to see if they were any good for adding volume to her choppy style, obviously as a seventeen year old cool college student she didn't want crimps on show but attempted to crimp the hair underneath her (bizarrely massive) fringe. It worked, volume was achieved and Charlotte tells me that with a good blitz of hairspray the volume DID last - but she too said that it was a lot of messing around to create a look that she could achieve in far less time with her curling wand or straighteners. She likes her beauty gadgets so persevered for a few days after I announced I was sending them to the charity shop, her drawer wouldn't look out of place in any hair salon so I think she was loathe to allow me to send this gadget away and was determined to use them - she admitted defeat however and agreed she wouldn't be likely to ever use them.
The final crimped hair does look good, Hollie looked very retro that day (for a couple of hours at least) and was pleased as the proverbial punch with her hairstyle. She didn't notice when all the crimps dropped out but I could see they didn't last for long, the crimps near the roots disappeared first and after a maximum of four hours only the very ends of her hair had retained the style - the rest of her hair had morphed into a giant fuzzball and this has happened each time I've attempted to use the crimpers. I used a tiny amount of hairspray but this didn't really help to hold the crimps in place, Charlotte had to use an awful lot to keep the tight waves in her fringe but I wouldn't want to spray that much onto a six year olds hair!
With the crimpers is a set of purple hair clips, supposedly for sectioning but Hollie used them as plain hair clips. They're the crocodile clip type and held her hair nicely as they have a strong spring and small grippy teeth, I felt slightly cheated that they're not Hello Kitty face shaped but Hollie is perfectly happy as they represent the flower Hello Kitty has in her hair - although frankly they're tiny so the fact these clips are flower shaped is neither here nor there as you can barely see them in the hair anyway unless you're standing very close! They're a nice addition to the set though and Hollie has worn (and lost) all of them now, as far as I'm aware none were broken in the time she was using them and presumably they're been left at friends or fallen out in the playground.
We're both very happy with the cosmetics purse, which Hollie uses as a coin purse to take her 'milk 'n' fruit' money to school - this is a great initiative set up by the school in a bid to teach children about money while getting a healthy play-time snack into them. The problem is play-time lasts for twenty minutes so a class of 28 all grabbing their purses from the purse box is a little bit like bedlam, Hollie tells me she's always first out and into the fruit line as her purse is the biggest in the box! It's not huge in size but bigger than the average six year olds purse, if you bought this set for an older child who actually needed a cosmetics purse they might be able to make use of it but really it's quite small if used for the proper purpose. I'd guesstimate a small eyeshadow compact, lipstick/balm and one of the very tiny sample size mascaras would fit in but not much more - it was pretty full even when Hollie was storing the hair clips in it so that should give you an idea of the dimensions.
I've just checked the price of this set and you can buy it for as little as £9.99 online, which changes my perspective of it somewhat as based on the appearance (and Hello Kitty endorsement) I imagined it would have cost a little more. Until this point I was going to say 'don't bother' as these crimpers are so ridiculously time consuming, but for less than a tenner (and if you have the patience...) these would make a nice little stocking filler if you have a daughter of a similar age to Hollie - a daughter with less hair obviously, otherwise you're going to be in the same position as me and have a simple styling job take hours on end!
"Say hello to retro-fabulous hair with the Hello Kitty 2857HKGU Mini Crimper Set. Great for creating that textured effect it quickly heats to 200°C and is multi-voltage too - so you can use it anywhere you go. The crimper comes with a cosmetic purse and jaw clips. Comes with a five-year manufacturer's guarantee."