As I’ve continued to try out products for Fab or Flub, I’ve come to realize that there’s a downside to some of my beauty habits. Case in point: my regular use of hot tools.
When you have thick, long or wavy hair, it can be hard to get by without the use of a flat iron or curling iron, a habit that usually leads to a nicely styled head of hair but also means frying your precious strands and leaving them damaged and dry. If only there was a safe and softer way to get those bouncy curls, right?
Like an answer to our beauty prayers, the Air Curler claims to be just that and more. Shaped like a funnel, this item attaches to the end of your blow dryer and uses “air vortex technology” to create beautiful, loose curls or waves without the intense heat that damages hair.
I’d seen the Air Curler on an infomercial and it reminded me of a cotton candy maker. Sweet. I wasn’t convinced it would produce the voluminous, shiny curls that the infomercial’s smiling model wore, but I was still eager to try it out.
Tracking down the Air Curler was easy. It can be found at most stores that carry As Seen On TV products, such Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. I found mine at Walgreens for $9.99, a bit of a steal compared to the $14.99 price tag (not including shipping) on the Air Curler website.
When I opened the box and removed the product, my first thought was “Whoa, this thing is big.” Besides its generous proportions, the Air Curler requires some assembly, although that’s not a deal-breaker if you can handle popping three pieces into place and double-checking the instructions a few times to make sure everything goes together properly.
Once I assembled the Air Curler, I immediately tried attaching it to my blow dryer. Just as quickly, it slipped right off. Thinking my review might have hit a roadblock, I finally realized that the product comes with a thick rubber band that slips on the end of a blow dryer’s barrel in order to give the Air Curler a snug fit, even with smaller models like mine.
With the Air Curler finally attached, I was ready to forge ahead and make some curls — a task that would turn out to be easier said then done.
Reviewing the instructions, I discovered that the Air Curler requires that the roots of your hair be dry and the ends damp. No problem. I reached for my spray bottle filled with water and wet my ends. The instructions didn’t end there though.
Next, I found out that my blow dryer was not equipped for the Air Curler, which called for the use of a medium setting, while my $10 Conair is limited to high and low settings. For best results with the Air Curler, the instructions require dropping each section of hair into the funnel and blasting it on medium for 15-20 seconds followed by a similar dose of the cool button (to lock in shine).
Even though the instructions discouraged it, it seemed like my only option was to use a high setting in place of the recommended medium.
Dropping a small section of my hair into the funnel, I hit the on button of my blow dryer and let the hot air hit it for 15-20 seconds. The funnel seemed to twirl my hair in a circular motion but it did not produce the nice defined curl it had promised.
Finishing up with 15-20 seconds of the cool button, I removed the section of hair to witness that, although twisted, it was still damp and limp. I couldn’t base my review on just one try, however, so I continued on with the process, hoping for an occasional curl.
Fab or flub?
A big fat flub. I can’t say that I had the highest of hopes when I started this review because the amazing claims common to As Seen On TV products often inspire doses of skepticism, but the Air Curler did nothing to change that.
In the end, it didn’t come close to achieving the defined curls and controlled waves that come easily with a curling iron. And by using it on damp hair as instructed, I wound up without any wave in my hair.
In fact, although I found that using it on dry hair produced better results, even then, my Air Curler curls were limp and had little volume. Overall, I can say that my hair has definitely looked better.
The Air Curler’s lack of curling power, however, isn’t my main gripe. Much worse is how tedious the product makes the whole hair-curling process. Although it claims to help make things easier, the Air Curler is so bulky and large that it makes it almost impossible to curl hair toward the back of your head without assistance.
It also takes a lot longer to use than a curling iron. And, as a final insult, it made my blow dryer overheat and stop working. I’m not a fan.
For those who still remain concerned about damaging your hair with hot tools, there are several great products currently on the market to help deal with heat damage or restore moisture to dry and brittle hair.
Tresemmé has an awesome heat protectant spray that you apply to wet hair before the use of a blow dryer or hot tools, while brands like Wella and It’s A 10 make great hydrating hair repair masques.
Whether or not you choose to try products like these, my advice about the Air Curler still stands: Save yourself a waste of time and money and just say no.