BaByliss Straight and Curl Brilliance full review
Straighteners aren’t just for making your hair smooth. Some people want a styling tool that's versatile enough to produce a nice curl as well. The BaByliss Straight and Curl Brilliance claims to have a design that can produce both a high quality straight finish, as well as a head full of curls that you would expect from the likes of a tong.
But how does it work in practice? We spent some time testing out these straighteners to see how they fair. If you'd like to know some other recommendations for hair styling, then take a look at our list of the best hair straighteners and the best Black Friday deals on hair styling tools.
Price and availability
The Straight and Curl Brilliance launched at £120, but since then BaByliss has knocked the price down to just £60 (around $77), so you shouldn't pay any more than that for them.
However, as its Black Friday week, stores are offering big savings on this pair, knocking them down to as little as £33.99. You can find this deal on Amazon, or buy them from Argos if you prefer. The BaByliss Straight and Curl Brilliance isn’t available in the USA, though Amazon UK may be able to ship it to you internationally depending on where you’re based.
You can get the Straight and Curl Brilliance in one of two finishes - rose gold and silver, the latter of which we tested. The rose gold model does seem to retail a little pricier than the silver pair, and you can buy it from the likes of Boots and John Lewis.
Design and build
Black and silver is always a winning combination, and the curvy finish really gives these straighteners a classy look. However, the shiny outer edges do pick up fingerprints very easily, if that’s something that will be bothersome. The silver steel and black plates should prevent discolouration over time, something you may get with a straightener that has a painted colour finish.
The plates are 28mm thick and 120mm long, and extend practically all the way to the edges of the implement in a glossy black finish. Combine that with the rounded exterior, and no part of this straightener is put to waste.
One of the differentiating factors between these straighteners and others is the stainless steel curved housing. Usually, straighteners come with an exterior that’s heat-resistant. But on the Straight and Curl Brilliance, the outside gets very hot so you can wrap your hair around it as you would a curling tong to get a better curl.
Great in theory, but not so great if you’re a bit of a klutz (hello!). I did find myself forgetting that I couldn’t touch the outside of the straightener, so came away with a few nasty burns on occasion.
The Straight and Curl Brilliance comes with rubber grips that are designed to sit on the tips of the plates, so you can control the straightener when using it to curl your hair. However, I found these to not work as intended, as they kept falling off during use, which again was a cause of singeing the tips of my fingers. Ouch.
The straighteners come with five different heat settings: 150°, 170°, 190°, 210° and 230°. The highest is really for people with thick or frizzy hair, so you can use a lower setting if your hair is more fine. There is a slight odd noise when the straighteners are on, but not enough for alarm.
With a 3m swivel cord, you can easily use these straighteners from any corner of your room. They’re not too heavy to use, so your arms won’t get tired when using the styler for a long period of time. The straighteners come with a heat-resistant pouch that is great for travelling, but the material does pick up stray hairs very easily.
One of the best things about these straighteners is how well they glide through the hair. Cheaper straighteners can be janky to use, which means that there’s more chance of them getting stuck and consequently of burning your hair - which nobody wants. But the Straight and Curl Brilliance moves effortlessly, no matter which way you twist.
I personally have a lot of hair that is quite coarse and can become knotty easily, so not many straighteners can do a solid job on my bonnet without a lot of time and effort. These were no exception - I had to separate it into small sections to get a smooth finish, and I was using it on the highest heat setting. However, the overall finish was sleek and I was quite impressed - but it wasn't notably faster than any other bog-standard straightener for me.
There are of course a number of things that can affect this - how you dry your hair, the products you use, the style of your hair before you straighten it etc. Throughout the day I did find that some kinks occurred in my hair, but again someone with finer hair may have a much better experience with these.
There was however a much more notable different with these straighteners when it came to curling my hair.
Typically when you pull your hair through a straightener, you’ll get the biggest twist at the end of your hair, as that’s where it’s hottest. Although having a steel exterior is a bit on the risky side, it manages to produce a much more defined curl than a normal straightener does, because you can wrap your hair around the whole implement, meaning that the curl will be through all the lengths of your hair.
The curls last reasonably well - hairspray does help. There wasn’t really a notable difference in terms of shine on my hair, but that isn’t an advertised part of the product anyway. The straighteners are however advertised as minimising static and frizz - something I didn’t particularly find to be true.
Keep in mind though that the Straight and Curl Brilliance is practically half the price of GHDs - so performance is not going to match these flagship straighteners based on cost alone. But as a cheaper hybrid product, they work quite well.
For the price, the versatility of this straightener is pretty good. In fact, I found it to excel more on the curling side than the straightening side - though this is something that’s dependent on the style of your hair.
Unfortunately, the design does make them slightly hazardous to use, and the removable rubber grips on the ends of the plates proved to be very irritating - these probably should have been either built permanently onto the product, or just omitted altogether.
The Straight and Curl Brilliance doesn't quite compare to the likes of GHDs in terms of lasting style. However, they won’t break the bank, and with the right products they can create a great style, so they’re still one to consider.
BaByliss Straight and Curl Brilliance: Specs
- Up to 235°C
- Stainless steel curved housing
- Extra-long true-titanium plates
- Ionic frizz-control
- Five heat settings
- 15 second heat-up time
- On/off button
- 3m swivel cord
- Removable rubber tips
- Heat protection wrap