Ghd has long been at the forefront of hair innovation. Their styling portfolio boasts some of the best tools in the business and I’m a longtime fan. I got my first pair of ghd straighteners for my twelfth birthday and to this day, 13 years later, they still work perfectly. So when their innovative new product, the ghd Oracle curler was announced, to say I was excited would be an understatement.
I have fine but thick hair that’s naturally straight and has always been a pain to style. Curls never hold and you won’t believe the number of times I’ve burnt myself unsuccessfully trying to curl it with a pair of straighteners. So I’ve resorted to a traditional curling wand, painstakingly wrapping each strand tightly around a scalding hot piece of metal and watching them fall out during the day. By the time I get home, I look like I’ve got beachy waves, rather than beautifully tousled curls.
The ghd Oracle promises to curl hair without the need for wrapping tresses around burning hot wands or getting hair caught in straighteners, creating the perfect curl in one simple stroke. Adam Reed, ghd’s Global Brand Ambassador explains that with the new tool, “Curling is now as easy as straightening.” Surely not I thought, so I went along to its launch at the Rush Hair Academy to find out if it delivers.
As I’m sitting in the salon chair, Steve Elstein, ghd Vice President of Product Development and Research explains that this has been seven years in the making, with £5.2 million and 675,000 hours of testing invested. “We know that curling is one of the most difficult things to do and it's the category with the highest level of dissatisfaction. With the Oracle, there’s no twisting, sucking, wrapping, or waiting. It creates long-lasting, smooth, sleek curls”, he explains. “With a wand or a tong, you can achieve a look, but this allows you to create an endless array of curls and waves with just one tool.”
So how does it work? There are four ceramic plates which heat up to 185 degrees in just 30 seconds, (the optimum styling temperature without damaging the hair follicle FYI) which when the hair passes through, shapes it into a curl. Simultaneously there’s a flash-cooling system which cools and sets the hair instantly, meaning the tool is never too hot to touch and can be used from the root to tip without any discomfort.
The outside of the Oracle is 100 degrees cooler than the heated plates, which Steve Elstein explains allows you to heat the hair, shape it, cool it and set it as it’s coming out of the tool. “There’s no waiting involved, and because you’re setting it as it comes out, you get great curl retention and the hair compressed between the plates gives it a better shine as well,” he says. So you can say goodbye to burnt scalps, fingers and carpets. Hallelujah.
With the help of a Rush hair stylist, who demonstrates on one strand of my hair, I give it a go. Clamping the hair over both the barrels of the Oracle and holding it shut, I gently glide it through my hair, tilting it towards me at a 90-degree angle, then release, and I’m left with a tight curl that’s cool to touch. It takes a bit of practice to create completely uniform curls as the speed of which you glide it through the hair dictates the tightness of the curl, but I get the knack of it pretty quickly. Within five minutes, I’ve curled half a head of hair. It’s simple, smooth and easy to master.
Within 15 minutes, I’ve curled my entire head of hair, and for the hair styling novice that I am, it looks pretty good. The curls are tight, I haven’t needed to apply any hairspray. I’ve never used anything with such instant, impressive results that looks like I’ve just come out of a salon appointment. It’s minimal effort with maximum results. As Steve Einstein eloquently puts, ‘It’s like magic, but it’s actually a lot of physics.”
The trick to tight, definitive curls (my personal fave) Adam Reed explains, is to glide it through the hair slowly, keeping it pointed towards you. For a beachy wave or more relaxed style, simply glide it through each strand faster. “It all comes down to the tilt of the wand, you can get so many different textures, curls and waves. It’s a whole new world of curl.” As for Adam’s favourite style? ”I love a subtle, glossy, luxe wave, created by gently working the tool down the hair in slightly thicker sections”, he reveals.
From May 2019, it’s being launched exclusively through the 94 Rush Salons across the UK — find your nearest salon here — for the next four months, so customers can be educated on how to use it and learn how to create different styles with it before taking it home. It’s £175, which is admittedly pricey, but well worth the investment for the myriad of styles you can create, the ease of use and the little, if any, damage it will cause to your hair.
Long live good hair days. (See what I did there).