“ Brand: Nicky Clarke „
Having spent my teenage years trying to get really poker straight hair, I've spent my mid-twenties trying to get voluminous hair with plenty of bounce. I bought this hot air brush mainly for the barrel attachment to try and get some volume in my locks. My stepmum uses a hot air brush and her hair always looks lovely and volumised so I bought this one to give it a go myself. I'd read online that hot air brushes are good for people who can't manage a barrel brush and a hairdryer on their hair - that'll be me then!!
For reference, my hair is very thick and goes to just past my shoulders. Naturally it is kind of crazy/wavy/messy but not in a good way. I usually allow it to dry naturally and then run straighteners through it for a straight and smooth look.
~Nicky Clarke Hot Air Styler~
I bought this hair styler for £20 from John Lewis. I had some vouchers from survey websites which I used to purchase the item, it came recommended to me by a lady working in the beauty section of the store over the Babyliss hot air brush (which was twice the price at £40)
The brush comes in a box with the base and four attachments - a large barrel, a smaller thin barrel, a nozzle that looks like the end of a hairdryer and a clamp which is a bit like a straightener.
The base is 25cm long and the width is 6cm at its widest point. I find the base very comfortable to use in my hand and not too big, although it's bigger than any hairdryer I've used before. The base is black with purple detailing to the base and buttons. The cable is long at 210cm and 'twizzels' so you can turn the brush easily.
You can add each attachment via slotting them in at the top, and they release easily at the press of a button. They stay secure in place throughout use of the hot brush.
There are three settings for the hot air - 1 (a low intensity blow) 2 (a high intensity blow) and cool (a cool blow with less power) You slide the button up once for one, twice for two and three times for cool. Personally I have found this a pain as I quite often accidentally knock it to cool by pushing it all the way up. The first time I used it I thought that was full power until I checked it properly. I personally think it would be better if you push up two for the hot settings and maybe push down for the cool setting.
There is also an 'ionic' button which lights up red when pushed. I believe this is supposed to make hair less flyaway and more smooth. I have tried the brush with and without the button pressed, and do think I can tell a bit of a difference but not sure if it's placebo effect! I think the ionic stuff has become a bit of a haircare buzzword so I'm not that convinced.
A large barrel brush attachment. This has a metal base with bristles across it, to dry hair with volume.
A smaller barrel brush attachment. This is black plastic - I assume this is to be used on shorter hair/fringe
A straightening attachment which clamps onto hair and can be pulled down to dry hair flat
An attachment which looks like the end of a hairdryer, so that you can have a more concentrated air flow to dry hair like a hairdryer really.
I have mostly used this item for the large barrel, so I will talk through the other attachments first and then go back to the large barrel.
Smaller barrel brush
This feels fairly useless to me. I tried it on my fringe but it didn't work for me as it was too small and curly. This might be useful for people with short hair. Sorry I can't say much more on this!
I've tried this but found it fiddly to use. You pull the lever down to clamp hair and can then pull it down the length of your hair, I used it on about 3cm of hair at a time. Whilst the attachment is a generous size and has a brush to keep hair straight, I kept burning my hand and found squeezing the attachment was giving me handcramp (something I've never experienced with regular straighteners.) I wouldn't say my hair was particularly straight when finished - it was straighter than if I'd used a hairdryer but still needed the straighteners running over. A lot of hassle for no difference really. I haven't used it again.
I don't find this useful to use on your own hair - it's like holding a long wand with a hairdryer on the end! You have to hold your arm miles out at a funny angle to get it on your hair. It might be useful for doing someone else's hair but it does absolutely nothing for me. As mentioned I bought this item due to my inability to handle a brush and hairdryer at the same time - this attachment feels counter productive as it makes it even harder than using a typical hairdryer shape!
Large barrel attachment
This is the one I wanted the product for really, other hot air brushes I was looking at didn't have the other attachments. The barrel is like a regular barrel brush, a good size and should make it easier to dry your hair with volume and bounce.
I grab 3cm sections of hair, hold the brush under the hair and slowly bring it down all the way to the tips of the hair. The hot air heats the brush up, so the metal inner can get very hot. The hot air blows out of the holes and can make your head/ears/fingers hot, even when you're very careful. The angles you need to get the brush under the hair means that you inevitably end up burning your scalp, forehead or ears which is unfortunate.
I am right handed, and find that when I do the right side of my hair I'm pointing the end of the wand into the air in front of my face and it works well, however when I move to the left side of my hair I'm pointing the end back into further back sections of my hair and the escaping air affects the hair behind and can be counterproductive making the hair go wild (hope that makes sense!)
Overall, using the large barrel does dry my hair straighter than using a hairdryer, but its far from perfect. Afterwards I have to run my straighteners lightly through my hair as the style is still a bit wavy. This is the same whether I dry it with the hot air brush from towel dried or partly air dried. My hair is more volumised and I like it more than when I just plain use straighteners. However, it is very time consuming taking up to half an hour to get through all of my thick hair (which I can straighten in 10 minutes) As such this product has been relegated to nights out or weekends as it's too time intensive for before work. I would say that as a result I only use this item maybe once every two weeks or so.
The other thing that I find is that my hair isn't 'sealed' the way it is with straighteners. When I straighten my hair I can get caught in rain or moisture and my hair can curl a bit but stays generally straight and not frizzy. With the hot air brush a sniff of moisture and my hair goes back into batpoo crazy mode like it does naturally. I tend to wash my hair every other day, when using straighteners on my second day I wake up with generally ok hair which just needs a two minute top up with the straighteners in the morning, with the hot air brush it's usually quite a mess and needs much more seeing to.
I like the results of using the big barrel, but it's time consuming and I still need my straighteners as well. I do worry about all the heat on my hair and I have purchased a heat protection spray to try and protect it. This item is very much for special occasions, but I can't see myself using them for much longer this year as when we get into autumn/winter and the air gets damper I think my hair won't be able to cope with it.
I don't find myself using this product very often due to the time and quality of dry. I'm glad I didn't pay more than £20 for this, any more would have been a waste of money. I do sometimes wonder if I'd have been better with the Babyliss big hair as that rotates. I do like the volume in my hair and the product is well designed and easy to use/hold. Most of the attachments are not for me and just live in the box. I wish this product dried my hair straight and I didn't need to use straighteners afterwards but this may just be the curse of my thick wavy hair! I think if I had straighter hair like my sisters this could be a good purchase, but then a good blow dry would probably be enough in that situation anyway.