At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsCordlessNo skin burnNo frazzled hair endsCons3 hour charge40-min battery lifeTrial and error learning curveOur Verdict
This cordless, automatic hair curler is a wonder for those days when you want to change your look. Still, you won’t get the root lift of a more conventional curler and it might not suit people with very long hair.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Revamp iGen Progloss Liberate Cordless Automatic Curler
£149.99 (£149.99 / count)
The iGen automatic hair curler is the latest offering from Revamp, and it solves all the pesky problems of a conventional hair curler. It’s cordless, so you don’t need to attempt to style with a cord wrapped your wrist. It automatically feeds your hair around the curling barrel, so you don’t need to twirl. And as it starts the curl from your scalp, you won’t suffer frazzled and burnt ends.
You might be asking: what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. However, the automation of the curl rotation means that the iGen behaves a little differently from a conventional curler in ways you may not expect.
The iGen cordless model is not yet available in the US, but you can buy the corded model for $119.99 from Revamp.
Design and appearance
LightweightTwo ways to USB charge: bottom of curler and charging baseKeratin, argan and coconut oil-infused barrel
When you first unpack the curler, the intriguing shape might strike you as reminiscent of a Maglite: that iconic tulip-shaped flashlight you see in pretty much every American TV cop drama. Of course, it helps that the iGen is matt black and is well weighted, with a diamond patterned grip.
The curler itself is 25cm long. It’s 5.5cm in diameter at the top where the automatic curling unit sits, and 3cm in diameter at the bottom where you hold the curler. It’s easy to hold and manoeuvre because the weight sits in the curling unit while you hold the end. The curl barrel itself is 7cm long, which has implications if you have very long hair: you might need to curl strands of hair in two parts.
You get UK/EU interchangeable pin plates for the power adapter, which is great for European holidays and travel. The USB power cable is a good 190cm long, and you can either charge the curler by plugging it straight into the cable or into the dome-shaped charging base.
The battery is lithium-ion. One of the only downsides of the iGen is that it takes upwards of three hours to fully charge to 100%. It’ll take around three hours if you plug straight into the curler, and three and a half hours using the stand. From this, you get 40 minutes of curling time.
This short operational time is down to the energy required by the curling tong: not only is the top temperature 210°C, but there’s also a motor that rotates the curl barrel.
Revamp has added hair-protecting ingredients into the ceramic and ionic curling barrel: keratin, argan and coconut oils to ensure maximum shine and gloss on your curl. Still, like other Progloss products, we don’t know if this will wear off over time.
Four temperature settingsRight and left curl rotateLCD display
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
On the front of the iGen, there’s a single power and temperature button, an oval LCD display, and two upper buttons: one for left rotation and one for right.
The iGen gave us perfect ringlets of the same diameter all the way down the hair shaft
When you turn on the curler, it will beep and automatically bring up a flashing 190°C on the LCD panel. You simply press the power button again to scroll through the four temperature settings – 150°C, 170°C, 190°C or 210°C – and choose, then leave it to heat up. The temperature will stop flashing when it’s reached the chosen heat setting.
Revamp suggests that you use 150°C for beach-style waves and 210°C for tighter curls.
The LCD panel also shows you the battery level both in percentage and as a battery icon indicator, and you use the left and right rotate buttons to control the direction of your curls.
One oddity, however, is that if you place the curler into the base stand while in the middle of curling your hair, it turns off. This flummoxed us the first few times, but it’s a safety feature designed to prevent you from accidentally leaving the curler on.
Performance and styling
Learning curveCurl effect similar to heated rollersUniform curl results
On to how you use the curler. The advice is that you separate your hair into 2cm-wide sections, which for most people will require first dividing the hair into upper and lower sections. You feed the top of the hair section over the front dip, down the side of the curl barrel and out of the back niche, so most of the hair length falls out of the back niche, and then you press one of the rotate buttons. The curler will then automatically wrap your hair from the top downwards, not from the end upwards.
Now this isn’t a difficult process, but it can be rather confusing at first because it is the opposite of the way you’d curl your hair with a conventional curler. We found it helped to watch a few YouTube videos to see exactly how to thread the hair through, and where to position the curler with respect to your hair (the front dip should always face your head).
Another tip is that if you want a longer-lasting set, you’ll probably need to pin your curls until they cool.
After a while, we began to develop our own technique, which made the threading quicker and easier, although we had a slight tangle panic at the beginning.
The biggest boon of this curler is that your fingers never get anywhere near the heated barrel, and the barrel never gets anywhere near your ears, scalp, forehead, or neck.
You get shine and softness, there was no heat damage to the hair itself, and you just can’t burn your fingers
We began our test at 190°C on European 1A type hair that reaches the bottom of the shoulder blades. It took about 40 minutes to do the whole head, plus pinning time, so you might want to go for a corded model if your hair is longer than this.
At this temperature, we found the iGen gave us perfect ringlets of the same diameter all the way down the hair shaft, which was easier to then re-concertina and pin to the scalp. As the curler curls downwards from the top of the hair, the ends of your hair ends are not directly next to the heat barrel, so there is no frizzing or frying.
However, as this process means the curl starts from two to three centimetres away from the scalp, you don’t get the root lift you may get from a conventional curler. The process also means that you can’t curl the hair under at all. So if you use a large barrelled curler primarily for root lift and volume, you may want to look elsewhere.
We allowed the hair to cool and the result, when unpinned, was extremely ringletty, a whole heap of fun, and very 17th century. The shine, softness and feel were remarkable. A shake out and a finger comb through made it rather Farah Fawcett in the ‘70s, and a further brush through calmed everything down.
We felt that the effect at this heat was very similar to ragging hair or using medium-sized heated rollers. There was a terrific amount of body and movement that lasted all day without hair spray, even through to the following morning, and there was none of the static or dryness that often accompanies a heated curling process.
One word of caution though: while the oil infused barrel gives incredible shine and seems to protect the hair, it also seems to coat it. So if you have fine hair, you may discover you need to wash out the style after a day or two to recover your natural root lift.
Price and availability
The iGen Progloss Cordless Hollywood Curl Automatic Rotating curler model is Revamp’s newest model in its hair styling range and it’s pricey, at £149.99.
At the time of writing, you can buy it direct from Revamp, or from Very, Amazon or Sephora. But if you like the idea of the curling mechanism but aren’t sold on the need for a cordless model and want to save some cash, there’s a corded model available for £89.99-£90. At the time of writing, it’s in stock at Very and Argos.
The cordless model is not yet out in the US, but for $119.99, you can buy the corded model from Revamp.
Revamp makes an entire range of hair styling tools that are good quality and mid-range in price. We’ve also reviewed the Liberate compact cordless straightener, the ceramic hot straightening brush and the steamcare straightener.
For perfect curls, the iGen is terrific. You get shine, softness, and we found there was no heat damage to the hair itself, and you just can’t burn your fingers. That said, you pay for safety by losing tool flexibility. You can’t really curl under and are limited in curl size by the thin barrel.
But all-in-all, it’s a great hair styling appliance.
To see some multi-styler options that will let you easily style curls, have a look at our reviews of the Dyson Airwrap and the Shark FlexStyle.