Review: I tried out the ghd rise Volumising Hot Brush on long, thick hair. Here's how it fared.
I can't remember the last time I styled my hair before leaving the house. Thinking about this ritual from a bygone era makes me nostalgic (remember going out?).
So, when I got the opportunity to review the ghd rise Volumising Hot Brush, it took me right back to the days of straightening my hair before a night out. What I'd conveniently forgotten, of course, is just how laborious the entire process is.
If you're not familiar, ghd has just launched a new hot styling brush that claims to be kind to your hair while providing all-day-long volume. Number one on the list of features is something ghd calls "ultra-zone with predictive technology." Now, what that string of words appears to mean is that an infinity sensor ensures the styling temperature of 185° is maintained across the entire 32mm barrel of the brush. That basically means you'll end up with consistent results when styling your locks. The product takes 25 seconds to heat up, meaning you can get styling straight away. And it also has a 2.7 metre swivel cord, which makes it easier to move and hold the brush when you're using it. If you're the type of person who worries about leaving your straighteners turned on, this product automatically switches off after 30 minutes.
ghd rise Volumising Hot Brush had a lot of hype around its release — YouTuber Zoella tried the product out on Instagram before hordes of influencers and YouTubers rushed to get their hands on one, leaving a trail of YouTube reviews and tutorials in their wake. You might have noticed that hot styling brushes and blow-dry brushes are having a real moment. Gone are the days of straightening your hair to within an inch of its life, these days it's all about the DIY blowout look. Question is: Did this particular hot brush live up to a) its hype and b) its price tag?
In order to answer that question, I needed to try this hot brush out on my hair to really put it through its paces. I have long hair and lots of it. I also have tatty, knotty hair with the odd bit of frizz thrown in just to make my life even more fun. Because my tresses are quite, err, difficult to tame, I tend to do as little as possible with them. Particularly during summer months when I give my hair a holiday from the blowdryer and let it dry au naturel. Because of all these myriad factors, I usually find styling my hair with any tool pretty damn annoying and time-consuming.
The first time I tried the hot brush, I got just about everything wrong. What I will say is this is a product that takes some technique. So, if you're buying the product ahead of a big event, I'd get some practice in beforehand. I ended up watching a load of YouTube tutorials to get to grips with some of the different styles you can achieve. From ghd's own tutorials, it looks like there are three main looks you can create with the brush: root volume, full bodied volume, and volume curls.
I ended up trying out a mix of volume curls and full bodied volume, based on the tutorial below. I'll be honest, I never really got the hang of the root volume technique and I feel like it might be better suited to much shorter hair.
Before you even start using the brush, my advice is to make sure your hair is 100 percent bone dry — no moist bits at all. ghd stipulates in its product info that the brush is designed for use on dry hair only and, take it from me, they definitely mean that. I thought I'd dried my hair pretty thoroughly, but must have left the odd bit of dampish hair. When I tried to use the brush (and its 185ºC heat) on my precious locks, it made a kind of crackling sound and emitted a decent bit of steam. Never a good sign, let's face it!
So, if you have quite knotty hair, then I'd pay attention to this part. I managed to get my hair completely stuck in the bristles, prompting me to freak out and frantically turn off the whole brush so I could avoid a Jo March in Little Women hair burning incident. The air turned blue in my flat, I can assure you.
Two things: 1. Make sure you've properly brushed your hair. Make sure you've got every single knot out of there. 2. When you are twisting a strand of hair around the barrel, try and keep it neat, and don't wind it round and round willy-nilly.
Even though I watched a fair few tutorials, I learned best through trial and error while sitting in front of a mirror. If you're using the brush to create curls, small or thin sections work better. This is a bit annoying if you've got a lot of hair, as it makes the process really arduous, but I definitely didn't style every single strand on my head — I would have been there all day. The end result is loose, beachy waves rather than tightly defined curls.
Personally, I think the most effective technique is the second style shown in the ghd tutorial video: full bodied volume. Use a comb or brush to find your parting, then select a wide section length-wise from your parting. You're essentially focussing on the width of your section and NOT the thickness. If you grab too much hair, it won't style as well. Hold the strand upright and taught and curl the brush under the end of the strand, curling in a downwards motion towards the root.
So, what do I think of the ghd rise hot brush?
Once I'd got the hang of it, this was pretty straightforward. Because of my hair type, I did find the entire process of styling it quite long and a bit of a faff. But I really loved the way my hair looked once I'd finished — it was smooth with soft curls that didn't look over-styled or too defined. I'm not a professional, so the finish isn't exactly perfect as you can likely tell from the photo. As mentioned before, I couldn't quite get the hang of root volume strokes — this could be because the product might not be suited to long, heavy hair.
You definitely notice the consistent barrel temperature, particularly when using the brush for curls. And the swivel cord is actually really helpful when you're styling a particularly awkward section.
I love a good blow out, but can't always justify the spend, so this is a good product for anyone with a blowout habit that's looking to save money long-term. I do feel that £169 is a little steep for any hair styling device, but if you knew you would use it frequently, then it could be an investment.
If you're thinking about using this brush on a hot or humid day, don't. I was sweating profusely by the time I finished doing my hair and I was so hot, it was unbearable to have my hair around my face.
This isn't an everyday-use type of brush. But if I had a hot date lined up, or an event I wanted to get spruced up for, then I'd be cracking this out for sure.