Friday 01 July 2011

Babyliss Curls: How To

Hello :)

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I would be reviewing one of my new acquisitions, the Babyliss Pro 180 curling iron. So in this post I will review it and also let you know how to use it. As some of you know I went to two functions where I wanted to curl my hair. The first function was my graduation, and the second was my friend's wedding 6 days later. The look I was going for was something like this:

I have been trying to grow my hair out to this length for ages now - but since I heat style I have to have my hair cut about every month and a half, so it seems I am stuck at a length slightly shorter than this. Either way, my hair is long enough to try this look. I got the Babyliss Pro Curl 180 (25mm) from Clicks for just under R300. I'm going to do a step by step, hope it helps and is easy to read :)

What you will need:
  • Curling Iron. I have a 25mm thick curling tong. If you want loose curls, you'll  need to go for a thick tong (25 or 30mm). If you want tight curls (ringlets) you should go for a 19mm or something like that. It seems that shorter hair (shoulder length) would work better with a thinner tong. If you don't have a Babyliss curling iron, make sure that the one you have is ceramic. The Babyliss glides through your hair beautifully which makes it easy to use. If it is just metal it'll stick to and really damage your hair. It's worth spending some extra to get a ceramic iron.
  • Heat Protectant. It is very important to protect your hair against heat. (see Heat Protection - why?) At the moment I am using a Swarzkopf product which apparently protects your hair for heat up to 210 degrees. I've only used it twice so I'll see how it goes. It's important to also make sure your shampoo and conditioner are suited to hair being heat styled (and to use a clarifying shampoo once every 4 washes or so to get rid of the product build-up which will dull and weigh down your hair).
  • Curl activator, Setting Spray. To make sure your curls don't fall flat and stay in all day, and to smooth it out (get rid of flyaways). I use Tresemm√© Thermal Creations Curl Activator Spray to create the curls, and 24-Hour Body Finishing Spray to finish it off.
  • Clips/Pins just to get your hair up in sections to make it easier to work with.

Step 1: Heat
It has heat settings (minimum-maximum), with the max heat being 180 degrees Celsius. I use it on max, and as a general rule I try not to use heat higher than 190 degrees (as recommended by my hair stylist). The heat setting is done by turning a dial of sorts on the handle. This is the only complaint I have about this tool - when you want to flip the stand out, you inevitably turn the heat dial, and you have to constantly make sure it's up to max or whatever your setting is. Badly placed heat control system. It seems they've sorted this out with the Pro 210, where it's digital.

Step 2: Protection and Hold
Make sure your hair is completely dry (and remember to use heat protectant if you're drying your hair with heat!). If you have straight hair, spritz your hair with the Curl Activator Spray (which is a heat protectant too), and lightly blow dry your hair to get rid of the stickiness and to set the Curl Activator. If you're going to use a mousse or something else, make sure to add heat protectant again. The idea is to both protect your hair from the heat and to ensure that your curls set to last.
If you have curly/frizzy hair (i.e. hair like mine that doesn't curl nicely, it just poofs out),  lightly spritz your hair with a heat protectant and run your straightener through it. The idea is to smooth your hair, not to straighten it completely. Just make sure the top is smooth and that the fly-aways are tamed. Then add the Curl Activator spray and dry for a minute.

You'll have to experiment with how much Activator spray you use - it depends on the type of hold you need, and you don't want it to look like it's got product in it. 

Step 3: Curling your Hair
Depending on how thick your hair is, and which type of curl you're after, separate your hair into sections. Tie/clip the top half back, and work with a layer at a time. Divide each section into smaller sections and curl these. The smaller the section you curl, the tighter the curl will be. If you use bigger sections, it'll be more of a wave than a curl. Again this depends on your hair and how it responds to the tong.

I have tried two ways of curling. The first is to roll the hair around the tong from the bottom to the top:

25mm Pro 180 (like mine)
Here, you wrap all the hair around the barrel of the tong. You can see how to do this on the Babyliss Website. The other way is winding it around the barrel in a spiral way:

19mm Pro 180
I haven't decided which way I like best. I have used the first method for my graduation and found it to work quite well. It lasted long and I liked the shape of the curl. You'll need to be patient - to make sure you've had it curled in for long enough, lightly touch the hair (don't burn!). If it's warm to the touch, then it's ready. If you have a lot of time, wind the curl back up and pin to hold it in place so that it cools curled (you can even spritz it with your holding spray here). I haven't done this, but I don't like spending years on my hair, and it also curls easily. I might try this on my friend who has very straight hair that fell flat despite my best efforts.

I tried the second method too, and it gives more of a spiral curl. It's a bit tricky getting this right initially, but you'll get there. You'll need to be very patient and ensure proper curling when you use this method. I used this in a rush for my friend's wedding, and my hair fell flat. If you have short hair, I think the spiral method would work well if you have a thick tong.

Very important: make sure you wind every lock in the same direction. I didn't, and ended up folding the end part of the strand back on itself, creating a horrible 90 degree angle at the bottom. I had to wash my hair and start again (after thinking I had burnt my hair!).

Step 4: Shaping
After all your curls are done, you can either leave it as is, or run your fingers through them lightly to loosen them up. After that, you can wind some curls together etc as you like. Then spritz with the holding spray once you're happy with your look. Pin/braid your fringe back if you want, or curl it away from your face to create a nice shape.

I hope this has helped those of you who want to curl your hair. You can also use a straightener to do the job, but I have found this quite tricky. And since my straightener is very thick I can't use it for curling anyway.

Videos to watch for a visual 'how to' - these have helped me so much!
1 Curling Method for 3 Different Looks - LetsMakeItUp1 (method quite tricky, haven't managed to master it yet).
Taylor Swift Curls - LetsMakeItUp1 (good to see the difference between a thin tong and a thick one).

Please comment and subscribe! If you have trouble commenting (as some people have been having), you can email me at prettymooiblog(at)gmail(dot)com. Suggestions and questions welcome!


  1. Fantastic blog post - you make it seem so easy! Even though I am a complete philistine with beauty stuff, but after reading this I caught myself thinking - hey, I could totally do this! :) thanks! (Although I think I will just offer up my hair for experimentation)

  2. This was awesome!!! I finally started to learn how to use my curling irons correctly. lol. Good advice :)

  3. @kellabella83, thanks! I'm glad people are finding it useful :) I have entered you into the competition. If you have any suggestions/ideas, let me know ;)