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23 Apr 2014

Babylis Pro Perfect Curl v Babylis Curl Secret

L -> R: Babylis Pro Perfect Curl, Babylis Curl Secret

I recently purchased the Babylis Pro Perfect Curl and I've been using it away for a couple of months.  I have to say, I absolutely love it.  I used it on my mother and she loved it so much I promised her I'd get one for her for her upcoming birthday.  Unfortunately, all the salon services / trade stores that I searched were fresh out of the Pro version, so I did some research into it and decided that, for her use, the consumer version, called the Babylis Curl Secret, and available in Boots and a few other places, would do the trick just as well.

To prove this to myself, and because I'm a product geek (!), I went ahead and purchased the Curl Secret and gave it a whirl to test its efficacy.  For natural curls, it is every bit as good.  I'll get to the geeks stuff shortly (difference between temperature and timer settings), and some how-tos for creating different looks with these tools - but first up, let's do a quick review of these products.




So what's the fuss about these yolks anyhow.  Well, you've probably seen the ads (if not, look here).  "Hair goes in, curl comes out".  It really is that simple.  Well, with a few provisos too (we'll get to those in a minute).

But first... the comparison table...

BaByliss Pro Perfect Curl
(Professional/Trade Version)
BaByliss Curl Secret
(Consumer Version)
Price I paid around €180 inc VAT, I think the price has dropped to around €150 (inc VAT) Approx €160


Timer- 3 pre-sets with audio indicator:
8 (3 beeps), 10 (4 beeps) & 12 seconds (5 beeps)
an option to turn the pre-set timers off
- 3 pre-sets with audio indicator:
8 (3 beeps), 10 (4 beeps) & 12 seconds (5 beeps)


Temperature3 pre-sets:
I: 190°C (delicate/fine/coloured hair)
II: 210°C (normal texture hair)
III: 230°C (thick, coarse or wavy hair)
2 pre-sets:
I: 210°C (delicate/fine/coloured hair)
II: 230°C (normal to thick hair)


Curl Direction 3 settings: curl right (ie away from your face on the right), curl left (ie away from your face on the left side) & automatic alternative curl (curl right, then left, then right...) 1 setting: fixed automatic alternate curl (curl right, then left, then right...)



Heating Elements 32
Cord Length 2.8m swivel cord 2.5m swivel cord
Added Extras Cleaning device, and annoyingly, nothing else Cleaning device, heat protector mat & miniscule travel pouch
Other - On/off switch with indicator light
- Heat Ready indicator
- Auto shut-off after 60 minutes of non-usage
- Sleep mode: after 20 minutes of non-usage, temperature drops to 150°C (closing then releasing the handles will re-set to the previous temperature)
- On/off switch with indicator light
- Heat Ready indicator
- Auto shut-off after 60 minutes of non-usage
- (No sleep mode)




Warranty 6 months - !!! 3 years
Limitations None

Supposedly not recommended for very long hair (see below)


The provisos

The hair should be clean, dry, brushed through, and not overloaded with product.  Don't attempt to put your hair through this if you haven't combed out any snarls first!  Similarly, as with all concentrated heat devices, don't use it on wet hair and a hair protector product (a spray or a leave-in balm) is always recommended.  In general, it will work best with hair sections 3cm across and less - if you attempt to overload it, it will let you know however.  It looks scary in the ads, but it gently clamps and pulls your hair into the device, we're not talking death-grip here.  And it's easy to release: just open up the handles.


How to use (either of) these

Easy peasy.  Switch it on, sort out your timer, temperature and (for the pro version) curl direction settings.  Look below for the geeky info on these settings.  Feed your hair into it wherever you want your curl to start (I prefer about a third of the way down its length from my scalp) by closing down the handles at that point.  Watch your hair wind up into the device in general wonder awe and amazement (and, if you're like me, general cringing as you'll assume it's going to pull on your hair - don't worry, it doesn't).  Count down the beeps (if you don't have the pro version and you haven't switched the beeps off) - you'll hear four rapid beeps at the end, indicating that your hair should be removed.  Release the handles to free the curl and really gently pull the styler away from the curl (if you pull the styler away without releasing the handles, your curl will straighten-out and you'll have to curl it again).  That's it.  No big deal.


What's the fuss about the curl direction

Babylis Pro Perfect Curl has settings for curl direction as well as timer and heat
Babylis Curl Secret has settings for timer and heat

OK so there's a few general guidelines when it comes to curling hair.  In general, you create volume and defined curls by having the curls alternate direction with each successive layer.  Or you create waves by having the curls all going in the same direction.  And importantly: curls set as they cool down - they are created by heat, but set by cooling.  So avoid touching them until they're cold.


Some How-Tos - Three Different Styles:

(I was going to do a video but honestly, there are so many of these on the web, just do a search online and you'll be tripping over them.  They really are as simple to use as the promo videos suggest too).

If you want to create an old-fashioned full-on Hollywood glamour wavy style like this one:

Today's Hollywood old-fashioned wavy style is courtesy of Jessica Alba's stylist

... you'll need to use the Pro version:

  • Use a medium-high heat setting and a medium-long time setting
  • Curl in layers but for each layer, set all of your curls to be going in the same direction (eg all left on the left side of your head, and all right on the right side)
  • Allow them to cool then gently brush them out afterwards
  • Add a glossing serum or spray, and you're done


If you want a full head of curly hair, like this (irrespective of where the curl starts):

Lots and lots of ribbon curls
(note these are curling towards her face as opposed to away from it) 

... then you'll really need the Pro version here, to guarantee you can control the direction of the curl.

  • Use a high heat and long timer setting
  • Curl your hair in layers, but for each layer, alternate with left and right direction (for example, on the left hand side of your face, your base layer might be all curled to the left, then the next layer will be all curled to the right, then the final layer, all to the left), and so on, depending on how many layers you want to introduce, and how tight you want the curls to appear.  You want to end up with the final/top layer's curls pointing "away" from your face (it just looks nicer that way, in my opinion!)
  • Do the same (but opposite) on the right hand side of your head
  • The point of this is that each layer of curls doesn't "sit into" the previous layer, giving the illusion of a lot more volume and curl
  • When it has cooled, add some glossing spray


If you want to create beachy waves, like this:

My favourite look du jour: beachy waves :-)

then you can use either the Pro or the consumer version.

  • If using the Pro version, put it onto the "alternate direction" setting
  • Use a low-medium heat setting and a low-medium timing setting
  • Curl your hair in layers as before, then leave the curls to cool down
  • Once cool, either turn your head upside-down, or tilt your head back and run your hands gently through the curls, further loosening and separating them, until it looks the way you want it
  • Finish with a spritz of a texturising hairspray (mix sea-salt, water and a splash of oil to make your own one) and you're sorted


The Geeky Stuff: What's the big deal about temperature

For temperature and timer settings, you'll really need to experiment a bit, as the style you want to create will require different settings but these will vary depending on your own hair type, condition and length.  In general, though, where temperature is concerned, it's not a bad idea to use a lower temperature for fragile, damaged, chemically- or colour-treated hair.  Better condition hair can tolerate higher temperatures (and/or longer times).  That's the main rule of thumb.


And what will the different pre-set time settings do for me?

Simple.  Applying heat for a longer time will give a tighter curl.  So use a lower time setting if you want loose beachy waves, use the highest time setting for defined spiral curls.


Finally, what about size of hair section?

Again, this one is a no-brainer.  Curling a smaller section at a time will give you very tight, spiral, defined curls, and lots and lots and lots of them.  Curling a larger section at a time will take a lot less time and - if your hair is either particularly thick and/or long - give you a slightly looser finish.  3cm is the general maximum recommended size of each section.


Which one of the two do you need
(and do you in fact need them at all?)

Do you prefer black or aubergine?!  Pro version on left, consumer version on right

I seriously recommend either of these.  If you're a product junkie like me!  Or if you're a bit fingers-and-thumbs when it comes to doing your hair, or can't get to grips with creating curls using flat irons, or don't have tongs, or simply frequently burn yourself when using them (!), then either of these is a fantastic idea.  These are only useful for creating ribbon curls though - you really can't do much else (whereas depending on the angle at which you hold and flick and turn your flat iron/tongs, you can get slightly different types of curl).  You really can go from zero to hero in a matter of minutes with these devices: they're safe, simple to use, and guarantee results.  Personally I love 'em.  They've become for me what my GHD was in the 90's :-)

30cm difference in cord length (1 foot).  No biggie.

So - which one?  There's 30cm in the cord length difference - not enough to get excited about, considering both are a decent length to start with, and both are swivel-cords.  Availability-wise, you'll have to get the Pro version from a trade store, but mostly anyone can purchase at trade stores, once you're willing to pay the VAT.  The warranty might be the only deal-breaker (6 months versus 3 years), but in general, Pro versions are intended to be used and abused in a salon setting, day-in, day-out, hence the difference - you should get the same lifetime out of both.  The consumer version comes with a warning that it shouldn't be used on particularly long hair, but I've used both of them, and my hair is quite long (past the middle of my back), and I've had no issues either way.  If you're a professional, and/or you want the added functionality offered by the pro version with respect to choosing curl direction (which gives you a variation on the kind of styles you can create), then go Pro.  If you are happy with using this device to create natural curls and waves, then the consumer version will be just fine.  As price-wise they're much-of-a-muchness, it really might be just down to where you can purchase them from...

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