mdlondon Wave design
£125

mdlondon WAVE review: Effortless waves and curls from a superb 2-in-1 styler

4th March 2024 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber
Verdict

The performance of the mdlondon WAVE is a testament to its easy-to-use design and innovative features. Both of which have undoubtedly been driven by Michael Douglas’ deep experience and understanding of what both professionals and clients want from their styling tools.

The WAVE’s biggest selling point is its versatility. You can easily create everything from curls and loose waves to sleek, smooth finishes, meaning it appeals to a range of styles and people. This is helped by the fact its 33mm heated barrel is the ideal diameter for various styles without compromising on effectiveness or efficiency.

What’s more, the WAVE’s features, such as the retractable bristles, add to this experience. These bristles make sure the hair is gently, but firmly, gripped during styling, reducing the chances of your hair getting all tangled up which allows for smoother, more controlled movements.

Despite its advanced features, the WAVE has been designed with user-friendliness in mind and its lightweight build and ergonomic design make it comfortable to hold and move around the head. This makes the WAVE particularly great for beginners or people who aren’t as skilled at styling hair as they may like.

My only complaint is that this lightweight, plastic design does make the WAVE feel cheap which, at £125, it’s not.

Speaking of cost, there’s no denying that £125 for a styler is a lot of money. Even if you have the budget. Yet considering its wide range of features, innovative design, and the versatility it offers, the WAVE represents significant value for money. It’s effectively two stylers for the price of one.

This ability to replace multiple tools makes it a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to streamline your styling routine without compromising on results.

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Pros
  • Versatile styling options
  • Tangle-free retractable bristles
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Requires practice for perfect styling
  • Slightly cheap-feeling design
  • Higher price point
Where to Buy
mdlondon £125
Prices are accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

The £125 WAVE styler is part brush, part curling wand that lets you create a range of styles thanks to its retractable bristles


mdlondon, the hair styling brand from celebrity hairdresser Michael Douglas, recently launched the WAVE heated barrel brush multi-styler.

It went on sale on 8 February and stands out for being part hot brush, part curling wand that lets you create a range of styles thanks to its retractable bristles.

It’s the latest styler to come from the London-based brand and the WAVE joins the mdlondon BLOW hair dryer, and the STRAIT straighteners. Douglas also recently launched a range of brushes too.

In our mdlondon WAVE review below, we explain more about how the WAVE styler works, why it’s different, and who it’s best for. Plus, for a limited time when you buy the new WAVE styler you’ll also get a bundle of Arkive hair products.

You can also read our full MD London BLOW review here.

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mdlondon WAVE review

mdlondon WAVE review and dupesmdlondon

The WAVE is a heated barrel brush multi-styler from London-based hair brand, mdlondon

The WAVE is a heated barrel brush multi-styler from London-based hair brand, mdlondon. Mdlondon was founded by celebrity hair stylist Michael Douglas and is the fourth release from the brand in the past 18 months. The full mdlondon hair tool range includes:

  • mdlondon BLOW: A high-performance hair dryer ideal for quick drying and styling. You can read our full mdlondon BLOW review here.
  • mdlondon STRAIT: Flat iron straighteners used for sleek, straight styles. It can also be used for curling. Read our full mdlondon STRAIT review here.
  • mdlondon BRUSH: There are four brushes in the mdlondon BRUSH range – Radial 1, Radial 2 and Radial 3 are barrel brushes ranging in size from Small, Medium and Large. Mdlondon also sells a vent brush.
  • mdlondon WAVE: The latest release, a multi-styler for creating different hairstyles.
mdlondon BLOW hair dryer designmamabella | mamabella

The mdlondon hair tool range includes mdlondon BLOW (pictured). A high-performance hair dryer ideal for quick drying and styling

Outside of mdlondon, there are other curling wands and hot brushes on the market already. One of my favourites is the GHD Rise, for instance, but there are very few multi-stylers that work in the same way as the WAVE.

The Revamp Progloss Volume and Wave Ceramic Hot Brush is one of only a handful of tools like the WAVE. It can add volume, and body and create waves and curls and even comes with the same retractable bristles.


mdlondon WAVE: At-a-glance

mdlondon WAVE specificationsmamabella | mamabella

The mdlondon WAVE is a multi-styling hot brush and curling wand that has rows of retractable bristles and fine teeth to brush and grab the hair mid-style

  • What is mdlondon WAVE?:  The mdlondon WAVE is a multi-styling hot brush and curling wand that has rows of retractable bristles and fine teeth to brush and grab the hair mid-style. It can be used for curls, waves, smoothing frizz and fringes, and adding body and volume.
  • mdlondon WAVE price: £125
  • How to use mdlondon WAVE: This depends on the style you’re after and we explain more in our How to Use section below but as a rule, run the brush through hair to smooth frizz, twist it through the hair to add waves, retract the bristles and wrap the hair around the 33mm barrel to create curls, and lift at roots to add volume.
  • When to use mdlondon WAVE: Ideal for quick touch-ups as well as full styles.
  • Who should use mdlondon WAVE?: The mdlondon WAVE is suitable for all hair types, short and long, and can create a range of styles.
  • Where to buy mdlondon WAVE: mdlondon
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How I tested mdlondon WAVE

I have spent the past month using the mdlondon WAVE as my main styling tool. I’ve used it for both daytime looks and to create more dramatic styles for nights out and even my Valentine’s Day dinner with my partner.

I have long, thin, and flat hair. It’s naturally wavy so becomes frizzy easily.

To test its versatility, I’ve used it to create curls and waves; I’ve used it to smooth and restyle second-day hair, I’ve used it to smooth frizz after drying my hair with the Revlon One Step Volumiser Plus, and I’ve used it to add volume to straight styles, created by the GHD Chronos.

At each stage, I assessed how well the WAVE worked, how easy it was to use, and the impact it had on my hair texture and health.


How to use mdlondon WAVE

We explain the specifics of using the WAVE for different styles in the Performance section below but for the best results, the WAVE should be used on dry or slightly damp hair.

Avoid using on wet hair to prevent heat damage, and consider using a heat protectant for added protection.

  1. Begin by selecting the appropriate temperature setting based on your hair type.
  2. For curls and waves, wrap sections of hair around the barrel and gently twist.
  3. To smooth and add volume, use the brush in a lifting motion at the roots.

Douglas is very good at posting How-To videos on his Instagram and website so if you want specific tips, I recommend checking there too.


mdlondon WAVE: Design and features

mdlondon Wave designmamabella | mamabella

The styler is incredibly lightweight and it’s made of plastic and metal. This makes it easy to use but it does leave the styler feeling a bit cheap in comparison to other stylers I’ve tried

As was the case with the mdlondon BLOW, and the STRAIT, Michael Douglas has clearly spent time and effort working on how WAVE looks and works, and he’s applied his decades of hair styling knowledge to the design.

Firstly, there’s the colour. I tested the Blush version – Douglas is keen to stress it’s not pink, it’s blush. This, alongside the matte green and blue seen on the rest of the WAVE and mdlondon range set the brand apart in a sea of black and white hair tools.

It shouldn’t make much of a difference as it’s the design and features that count, but it does add a sense of premium quality to the range. As well as being a USP.

The styler is incredibly lightweight and it’s made of plastic and metal. This makes it easy to use but it does leave the styler feeling a bit cheap in comparison to other stylers I’ve tried.

The heated barrel measures 33mm. On first use, this seemed on the large size, especially for short hair but having spent three weeks using the WAVE, I’ve changed my mind. This is a great size, particularly when adding volume at the roots.

Other hot brushes I’ve tried promised to add volume but, at best, they just added a small amount of lift. The WAVE created noticeable lift and volume with just one use, especially around my face where my hair is its thinnest and flattest.

mdlondon WAVE buttons and temperature settings mamabella | mamabella

On the handle of the WAVE is the on-switch, which lights up blue when the styler is on

This barrel size also saddles the need for loose waves and more defined curls perfectly. Granted, it won’t create super tight ringlets but even on shorter sections of my hair, the curls look great.

The biggest standout feature of the WAVE, however, is its lock-and-release retractable bristles, and the fact there are two lengths. This allows the bristles to gently grip the hair during styling, giving you more control than a standard curling wand, for instance. It also helps brush and separate the hair as your style. This is particularly useful on second-day hair.

The retractability feature is far from a gimmick either. It’s a game-changer in my opinion. Curling with a curling wand is smooth but can be fiddly and slippery. Curling with a hot brush offers more control but I always tend to snag the hair as I remove it from the curl.

With the WAVE, both issues are solved in one fell swoop. After you’ve gripped the hair and curled it, with the bristles holding it in place, you simply flick a switch that’s conveniently placed where your thumb naturally rests and the curls are released. You can also lock the bristles in the retracted position if you want to just use the WAVE as a curling wand.

This not only enhances the styling experience but also adds to the tool’s safety and longevity.

mdlondon wave bristlesmamabella | mamabella

This barrel size also saddles the need for loose waves and more defined curls perfectly. Granted, it won’t create super tight ringlets but even on shorter sections of my hair, the curls look great

Speaking of safety, the WAVE has a cool tip that helps you hold it in place as you style. Although to be fair, you rarely need to do this because the bristles keep it in place. The bristles also act as a barrier against the brush touching your scalp or burning your hand accidentally.

On the handle of the WAVE is the on-switch, which lights up blue when the styler is on. This makes it easy to see, at a glance, when it’s on or not. There is then a long, thin button that you use to cycle through the five temperatures – 150°C up to 210°C.

Finally, there’s a three-metre cable and an automatic turn-off feature that shuts down the tool after 30 minutes of inactivity.


mdlondon WAVE: Performance

Having used hot brushes and curling wands in the past there wasn’t a huge learning curve when using the WAVE for the first time. This is also helped by the fact it’s been designed with ease of use in mind.

mdlondon WAVE reviews photosmamabella | mamabella

Adding curls is probably the hardest style to master, but this is a relative statement. Adding volume and waves is so easy that curling, while more difficult, is still a doddle

Adding volume and smoothing frizz are the easiest styles to create. You just put the toothcomb bristles at the root and either hold it there for a few seconds (the time will depend on your hair thickness and the temperature you’ve selected) for volume, or you brush it through to smooth the style and get rid of frizz.

Adding waves is next. Thanks to the bristles keeping your hair in place you can simply put the styler at the roots, or further down your hair if you want looser waves, before twisting the styler slowly as you move it to the ends of your hair. One of my favourite looks is keeping most of my hair straight and just adding a slight wave or curl to the very ends.

You can also use the barrel shape of the wave to flick your ends up, or under to create a sleek bob, or 60’s-style finish.

Adding curls is probably the hardest style to master, but this is a relative statement. Adding volume and waves is so easy that curling, while more difficult, is still a doddle. The way I do it is by placing the wave at the end of my hair and twisting it towards the roots.

However, you can also put it at the top of your hair and use your other hand to wrap it round the barrel. I’ve tried both ways and the curls look the same so it’s a personal preference.

In my experience, the curls and waves didn’t set particularly well or last very long on the lower three settings – 150°C, 165°C and 180°C.

I was surprised by this given how thin my hair is. However, when I switched it up to 195°C, the curls were large and bouncy and didn’t drop for hours. I didn’t subject my hair to the hottest setting as I didn’t want to add excess heat unnecessarily.

It’s likely that the lower settings are more suitable for hair that’s already naturally curly. They also work great for adding volume and flicks. If the styler topped out at 180°C I’d have been disappointed but as it offers a range of heats, this is a minor complaint.

Another complaint is that while the retractable bristle feature is game-changing, the barrel itself isn’t as smooth as it could be and I often had to shake the styler out of my curls. The mechanism of retracting and locking them in place feels a bit cheap too.

And finally, I’d prefer to have some audio feedback, or similar, to tell me when the styler has reached the desired temperature.

A small red LED light next to each temperature setting flashes while it’s heating up and then stops flashing when it’s ready, but I really like the little beep sound that GHD stylers make and missed it on the WAVE.

However, all of these are very minor complaints. None of these did, or should detract, from what a great styler the WAVE is and I mention them purely for reference.


mdlondon WAVE review: Verdict

mdlondon Wave retractable bristlesmamabella | mamabella

The performance of the mdlondon WAVE is a testament to its easy-to-use design and innovative features

The performance of the mdlondon WAVE is a testament to its easy-to-use design and innovative features. Both of which have undoubtedly been driven by Douglas’ deep experience and understanding of what both professionals and clients want from their styling tools.

The WAVE’s biggest selling point is its versatility. You can easily create everything from curls and loose waves to sleek, smooth finishes, meaning it appeals to a range of styles and people. This is helped by the fact its 33mm heated barrel is the ideal diameter for various styles without compromising on effectiveness or efficiency.

What’s more, the WAVE’s features, such as the retractable bristles, add to this experience. These bristles make sure the hair is gently, but firmly, gripped during styling, reducing the chances of your hair getting all tangled up which allows for smoother, more controlled movements.

Despite its advanced features, the WAVE has been designed with user-friendliness in mind and its lightweight build and ergonomic design make it comfortable to hold and move around the head. This makes the WAVE particularly great for beginners or people who aren’t as skilled at styling hair as they may like.

My only complaint is that this lightweight, plastic design does make the WAVE feel cheap which, at £125, it’s not.

Speaking of cost, there’s no denying that £125 for a styler is a lot of money. Even if you have the budget. Yet considering its wide range of features, innovative design, and the versatility it offers, the WAVE represents significant value for money. It’s effectively two stylers for the price of one.

This ability to replace multiple tools makes it a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to streamline your styling routine without compromising on results.

BUY NOW

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