Good roots

In Hair on February 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Suddenly it’s all about root lift. (Aussies – settle. Root root root root. OK? Can you stop snickering now? Root. Ha ha snort. Nice root lift… Sorry.) It’s the latest development in a life of gadget-tastic hair obsessions.

I spent the mid 70s wishing I had wavy hair and the late 70s trying to make it stand on end dead straight.

Farrah ruled the waves.

Siouxsie Sioux queen of girl punk hair.


The 80s were all about big hair and high hair, in particular a monstrous quiff arrangement at the front.

Madonna dressed as me in the 1980s.

Meg's perfect ruffled bob.

In the early 90s I wanted to look charmingly tousled (Meg Ryan) and then I spent the second half of that decade trying to make it cling to my head in perfect straight smoothness (Jennifer Anniston).

We really wanted Jennifer's hair. We did.

At some point in the Noughties it came to be all about looking professionally groomed and that has now segued into an obsession with root lift.

I want my hair to spring bouffily from my head before falling into bouncy glossy flips. It’s so flattering and uplifting for a face which is headed in the opposite direction.

But how to achieve it without the professional blow dry I can longer afford/access/be bothered with?

All of my earlier hair fixations required specialist equipment and product, in the following timeline:

curling tongs

hairspray (Nuclear Fission hold)

fine-toothed back-combing comb and more hairspray

mousse and gummy hair wax caca

straightening irons

professional hairdresser, twice a week.

And now I have found the gadget that enables me to achieve the newly all-important root lift in my own home. Praise the Lord!

It all started when India Knight posted about the Babyliss Big Hair on Twitter and then on her blog.

My best friend V., who knows a good thing when she sees it, immediately bought one and after the first try out sent me a text ordering me to do the same.

‘Don’t argue, just buy it,’ she said and she was so right.

This gadget is a miracle. It’s a hairdryer with an integrated rotating brush, that enables you to give yourself an almost professional looking blow dry. You get shine, you get bounce, you get that fabulous curve. And without needing three arms to do it.

(I’ve always felt the lack of that third one when trying to dry my own hair with a separate brush and dryer, which is why I never used to do it.)

It took me a couple of goes to get the hang of it and now it’s second nature. The only props you’ll need is some good protecting blow dry lotion (I use John Frieda Luxurious Volume) and a couple of those hair sectioning clips, which make me feel very professional.

My other tip is to let the hair get nearly dry before you start. If you’re in a rush, turn your head upside down and blast it with a normal hairdryer for a bit first.

But although I loved my glossy bouncing home-made hair something was missing from my Big Hair do: root lift.

The rolling brushing pulling down on the hair shaft was making it cling to the head in the Anniston stylee of yesteryear, even when I did that thing of holding it by my scalp for extended brain baking periods.

So imagine my delight when browsing in my local branch of Boots I discovered the clever folk at Babyliss have already thought of this. Enter, Root Boost. (Settle…)

This gadget is like a hair straightener, except the heated ceramic plate has ridges on it. These create crinkly sections of hair right at the roots, which lift up the smooth top layer – which you have fastened carefully out of the way with your sectioning clips.

It does take a bit of getting used to but – yes – it works. I’ve used it twice now and it passed a before and after test with my mum, who is known for telling it how she sees it. She said there was definitely a difference after I root boosted and I hadn’t told her what I was up to.

You do have to be a bit careful near your hairline, where I currently have a section which looks as though I’ve got too close to a packet of crinkle cut chips, but I’ll get more confident with use.

With a quick spritz of my adored Elnett hairspray, I reckon I look like I’ve had a professional blow job. I mean root lift. Oh you know what I mean.

  1. I am desparate for Big Hair to be available in Australia. Hurry up, Babyliss!

  2. Can we see a picture Maggie?

  3. I’m desperate for a root boost too I can tell you (snigger – sorry), but they’ll have to come up with a different name down here. (Or not: it could generate plenty of publicity; copywriters could go to town on it). Can it handle Sydney humidity?

  4. Maggie – I don’t think you realise that you have CHANGED MY LIFE!

    Yours Eternally,


  5. Did you buy the BaByliss direct from the UK? If so, was voltage a problem or did you just need a transforming plug? It looks amazing. Thanks!

  6. A friend has just reviewed a root lift product here a magic powder apparently. Sounds groovy.
    Haven’t tried any of these things as my hair sticks up like a dunny brush anyway

    (hehehe Maggie said root!)

  7. So you mean I have a new use for my 24-year-old hair crimper?

  8. All this talk of root lift and blow jobs, I mean, waves reminds me of my first serious job. I worked for an old fashioned bloke. I was his only female senior staffer. On my first day he told me: “we work hard, when there is work to do, you work. But when it’s quiet, if you want to take yourself off for a blow wave, you should.”

    Hilarious thing is, I have the curliest hair imaginable, but I had ‘blow wave leave’ whenever I liked.

  9. Great post, more gadgets to look into. I too have the limp hair described by the post in

    I use Label M Resurrection Style Dust which is similar to Schwarzkopf Dust It (which I want to try). I purchased the Label M from a UK eBay seller as it was so much cheaper. Make sure to buy the bigger 7g bottle as the 3g one goes quite quickly.

    Important not to go overboard with it as it is a little sticky. Works a treat though. Needs to be applied again the next day as it seems to not be effective the day after. I also sometimes use a little hairspray whilst holding my head upside down, for a bit more oomph.

  10. What! You mean there is an alternative to blow-drying my hair whilst upside down and then getting to apply make-up to my bright red tomato face? I’ll have to think about this….

  11. You should try Mycurl. Very easy to use _ idiot proof. Gives perfect toussled beach waves in less than ten minutes. Perfect weekend hair. Australian made. I cannot rate them
    highly enough.

  12. Come on Bayliss – we need a root lift down under (oh isnt it great when you can fill a post and comments with double entendres!)

  13. I am desperate to get one of these! Ordered one from after reading about it a few months ago, but wouldn’t deliver to Australia so ended up giving it to my mum – who says it’s fab! Do let us know when they will become available here…

  14. As always, thanks Maggie for the tips and the fun!
    The first time my (French) mum visited me in Sydney,
    she asked the hairdresser for ‘colour and blow-up’…
    Lovely to read all the replies too.

  15. Yes! on the Big Hair–I saw the India post as well, bought it, and this is the happiest hair helper I’ve ever owned. Will now branch out (up?) into crimping. the only problem: getting my lazy self to actually do it rather than sling it all back in a little bun. To think our grandmothers spent hours on their bouffs! Off to do mine now . . .

  16. you mean they still make elnett??????? what fabulous hairspray, slight smell of celery as I recall?

  17. Good news ladies, just seen an ad in an Australian magazine for BaByliss – it would seem you can buy them here in Oz!

    You just need to visit some of those well known hair care shops you find in shopping centres/shopping strips.

  18. Tres excited about this gadget. I’m still getting over the thrill of my new conical wand styler so the last thing I really need is more hair tools. Oh well!

    • You do need this…. I wouldn’t bother with the Root Lift. I’ve used it a few times, but can’t be bothered every day. The Big Hair, on the other hand, is life changing. I use it every time I wash my hair and can never get over the result… Salon hair. x

  19. You can buy the Big Hair Styler in Oz, only it’s branded as VS Sassoon, rather than Babyliss. It’s exactly the same gadget though. I bought one three days ago and it’s surprisingly easy to use, but on my thick, curly hair I definitely don’t need the root booster! Thanks for alerting us all to this Maggie.

  20. […] size of the brush rather than the volume of the hair it whips up). I read about these devices in Maggie Alderson’s blog Good Roots and bought one from Amazon UK. Thanks to my London based sister, Mary, for making a big space in […]

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