I’m not exactly the biggest fan of washing my hair, especially now that quarantine has me embracing my naturally wavy texture. My waves tend to look better as the week goes on, becoming more tousled and beachy—that said, my roots aren’t exactly thriving by day three. No matter how voluminous the bottom half of my hair looks, my roots are usually flat and greasy after one night’s sleep, and the contrast is, um, not great. Thankfully, ghd’s rise hot brush is the answer to my flat-hair prayers.
When I first heard about the ghd rise, I was excited but skeptical. I’m a big fan of the ghd glide, their other hot brush, which I love for de-frizzing and smoothing my hair when I wear it straight. Still, since I’ve been embracing my natural waves for the past few months and not using tons of heat on my hair, I didn’t really think a hot brush would work well in my routine. However, my tune changed after speaking with Justine Marjan, ghd’s Brand Ambassador and creator of every celeb hairstyle I’ve ever loved (hello, Ashley Graham’s maximalist Met Gala braid).
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When I spoke with Marjan, she broke down the major differences between both of ghd’s hot brushes. “This is similar to the ghd glide hot brush that launched last year, but the glide is more of a traditional brush style that heats up and is great for de-frizzing and smoothing, and the rise is for volume, curl, lift and texture in the hair,” Marjan explains.
The new rise is all about giving deflated strands some extra oomph without damaging them, so if you like risk-free volume, it’s for you. Teasing roots (something I did back in my college cheerleader days) can lead to breakage, and using a traditional hot brush too close to the scalp can damage and even burn strands if you aren’t careful.
That’s why the rise hot brush is different. The body of the brush heats up, but the bristles themselves don’t conduct heat, so you can hold the tool directly onto the roots without them getting too hot. “While it looks similar to a regular curling iron, the effect is more like a velcro roller in the hair, or almost as if you put together a curling iron and a blow dryer,” says Marjan. “It’s a fluffier, airier texture, whereas a traditional curling iron collapses the hair and gets rid of volume while shaping.”
Embarrassed by my flat roots on an almost-daily basis, I was more than excited to give this tool a try. While I love my ghd air hair dryer, I don’t want to wash and blow my hair dry every single time my roots are flat, so this hot brush seemed like a great alternative. First, though, I had to retrain my muscle memory. It was tempting to wrap my hair around it like I would any curling iron, but to get the most out of the rise, it’s important to make sure hair lays flat against the iron, without any twists or overlapping. Because of this, it’s best to detangle hair before using.
I can’t really detangle my hair when it isn’t wet without ruining my waves, so I sectioned to the best of my ability, lifted my hair and held the iron beneath each section, elevated from the roots. After pausing to let my hair safely heat up, I removed the tool and definitely noticed some ample lifting.
My hair no longer looked like a triangle—the added boost at my scalp made it look voluminous from root to tip! Peep the Before & After below to see for yourself. Of course, if I had straight hair I could finish each pass by gliding the brush through my strands, but for me, this slightly altered method of lifting the roots and then stopping still did the trick.
That said, you can use the rise on your whole head, and in addition to lifting roots and refreshing dirty strands, it can create curls, help detail face-framing pieces and tame cowlicks. Not too shabby, huh? I’m nowhere near done playing with this baby, but I’m already super impressed.
As I learn to embrace my hair’s natural wave and stray away from using excess heat on it, I want to make sure every time I do opt to use a hot tool, the results are worth it. For me, the ghd rise is definitely a tool I’ll be reaching for, and I’d gladly recommend it to anyone else whose roots could use a little lift.
A version of this article appeared in July 2020.