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Why new-generation brands are making waves in haircare

Big-volume curls are back but innovative products mean you can be kinder to your crowning glory this time

Right now, demand for hairstyling products is split down the middle. On one side of the parting are what Clare McGinty, product and marketing manager for small appliances at Harvey Norman, refers to as the “well-known, everyday brands”, such as Remington and Babyliss. These are workhorse brands, beloved for generations; the ones, as McGinty puts it, that your parents have.

On the other, sleeker and more voluminous side, is the new generation of haircare brands, dominated by Dyson.

Its Supersonic hairdryer, Corrale straightener and Airwrap multi-styler are among the most coveted haircare tools around. Priced from around €400 to around €550, they’re also among the most expensive.

Dyson only entered the haircare space in 2016 and even McGinty was sceptical at first. “At the time, we laughed at the idea that this vacuum company was making a move into haircare. Now they dominate it,” she says. “Dyson is our number-one haircare brand by value and the three most in-demand products we stock are its products.”


The other new brand making waves – literally – is Mermade. It specialises in the kind of big beachy curls you might expect from a brand with Aussie origins.

“It’s increasingly clear that big-volume curls are on the way back in and this time around it’s all about creating them without the risk of heat damage,” says McGinty.

Mermade’s Interchangeable Blow Dry Brush has one base and three heads, so you can dry, smooth and style hair with a single tool. Basically you dry the roots and any excess water with the pre-styling dryer attachment, then opt either for the volume head attachment for a salon-quality blowout, or the curling head attachment to create loose curls with ease. It currently retails for €119 at the store, making it a good value all-in-one option too.

People are much more aware now about the dangers of heat damage and how to avoid it than they used to be and are much more careful about how they treat their hair overall

—  Clare McGinty

Alternatively, the Mermade Professional Waver produces big, bouncy waves in seconds – simply clamp down and release. It costs around €70 and, since its introduction, has quickly become a firm favourite in store. Alternatively the Babyliss Big Hair Care Hot Air Brush, which costs around €90, is also in demand as the desire for volume grows. “Apparently the quiff is coming back too but big hair generally is on the way in,” says McGinty.

You don’t get to be an expert on haircare appliances without knowing a thing or two about styling. “People come in to us to ask what the best appliance is for what they want to achieve,” says McGinty. “Typically they will know what they want their hair to look like and we’ll know the best way to get them there. We provide training to staff on the floor so that we can advise customer on this.”

Big hair may be the hot look but the other big trend in the sector is towards cool. “People are much more aware now about the dangers of heat damage and how to avoid it than they used to be and are much more careful about how they treat their hair overall,” she explains.

Temperature plays a big part in that. “With entry-level appliances you’re talking basic on and off but what people increasingly want is appliances that manage temperature control,” says McGinty. “With Dyson, for example, it maintains the same temperature throughout. That stands in contrast to the old days when you’d use heated rollers and the hair in the first one would be almost crusted with heat before you got the last one in.”

Indeed, in what is the final piece of evidence proving we are mining the 1980s for style, heated rollers are making a comeback too – just cooler and kinder.

“Historically we’ve have had one set in store, a 12-roller set from Remington, which has always sold steadily,” says McGinty. “But since last year we’ve started to notice an increase in sales, so we’ve introduced a second line now too.”

Gypsy skirts ahoy!

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell is a contributor to The Irish Times