Hair

“I’ve had the same hair curling tong for 15 years and it gives me perfect loose waves”

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Megan Murray
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This is the enduring story of one woman and her curling tong, sticking together against all odds for more than a decade.

I’ve always attributed a sense of identity to my hair. In primary school, it was bob-length, fiercely curly and carrot-top ginger – as you can imagine, the other children were not kind.

When I reached my experimental stage around the age of 14, I was swept up in the emo trend and fawned over images of girls on MySpace with blocks of peroxide, pink and blue dye in their hair. Of course, I copied them with a DIY job in my bathroom which my mum, let’s say, didn’t appreciate.

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Hair has always meant a lot to me: expression, attractiveness, comfort, a mark of subscribing to a certain trend or tribe. To not put everything I had into sculpting my hair into whatever style I considered ‘the one’ at the time, especially back then, would have been unthinkable.

So, when I was caught short without a hair curling tong before a party when I was about 16, I conveyed to my mum with all the drama that the situation deserved, that I desperately needed her to take me somewhere – anywhere – that we could buy one from, before my three hours getting ready process commenced.

Megan, enjoying the sunshine, with a head of freshly-curled hair.

A Tesco superstore was our only option and, though the offering was slim, I managed to pick out a Tresemme wand. Little did I know that this was a moment of cosmic alignment and that my hair had just met its perfect match.

Since that teenage party, I have used this hair wand nearly every day, which considering I’ll be 29 next month, is pretty good going. It has helped me fine-tune ‘my’ hairstyle, a look that I’ve been rocking (hopefully a little better now I’m in my late 20s) for nearly that whole time, too.

This is the wand that helps me get (in my opinion) the perfect curls. Not too ringlet-y (I don’t fancy re-living my year four Annie stage) and nothing near an ‘angel curl’, but with enough body and spring that they don’t feel beachy. My aim is to achieve clear definition around the face, a loose wave in the middle section and to end with healthy bounce.

The wand has become so famous throughout my friendship group that they’ll request I bring it with me on holidays, nights out and weekends away – as if I would ever leave it behind?

Megan says: "I try to create an almost corrugated look with my curls"

I love this wand so much for three main reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t have a second plate which clamps your hair in place as your curling it. These clamps are the bane of my hair life; they usually trap the end of the section (aka the driest part of the hair) creating a harsh, straight crease and ruin any bounce that could have been created.

It also has a cold tip. I’ve seen so many hair wands which come accompanied with a heat-proof glove but if the wand simply has a cool tip, then you can easily wrap the section of hair around the barrel without accidentally burning your hand (I don’t think the gloves ever work).

Finally, it has a subtly sized barrel which thins out towards the tip. I find that really large, thick barrels can be difficult to handle and make it hard to get close to the scalp or work effectively around the ends. 

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How I create my perfect curls

I have mid-length hair which is relatively thin but there’s a lot of it (as my hairdresser tells me), with some colour damage from highlights over the years. I find that my hair looks best when I wash it with Cowshed’s Soften shampoo and conditioner, before roughly towel drying and adding a pea-sized amount of Moroccan Oil to the ends. 

Next, I need to dry it with a hairdryer to smooth out its natural frizz and brush it through with a big paddle brush. When I start curling I separate my hair into three sections: bottom, middle and top/ front pieces.

First I hold my curling tong in front of my hair and curl a section away from my face. I go for sections that about two inches in width. I start with one side at the front until I reach the back-middle area, then I start with the other side. Once I’ve brushed this through I start on the next section which works in the same way.

Remember, if you're using a heated hair tool you should use a protective spray.

The top section is the most difficult and most important. Here, I concentrate on winding the sections of hair a little tighter to create more of a spring and get as close to the scalp as possible to give the hair some body. Lastly, I brush all my hair through and add a tiny drop of oil to the ends again before squirting in some perfume (I find that hair holds fragrance better than anywhere else).

It sounds trivial, but a centre parting and long, loose waves have become so integral to the way I present myself to the world, and the way I see myself, that I can’t imagine not having this wand. What will I ever do if it gives up on me?

Although my curling wand isn’t available to buy anymore BaByliss have one very similar called the PRO Dial a Heat Conical Wand (32-19mm).

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Images: Megan Murray

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.