The reviews we found for Sarah Potempa's The Beachwaver were divided, based on users' experience levels. For novices, The Beachwaver's rotating barrel cuts styling time and makes curling hair far easier than a traditional iron. But while some more experienced owners do like The Beachwaver, several voice complaints. They find the buttons and clamp on The Beachwaver harder to use. The Beachwaver also isn't ideal for short-haired women, as it has a 1-inch barrel.
The Beachwaver's twirling barrel shortens curling routine. Sarah Potempa's The Beachwaver sets itself apart in that it has a rotating barrel, which turns left or right, for creating perfect, beachy waves. The rotating barrel is a big hit with owners who consider themselves hairstyling novices. They say it simplifies their curling routine and helps them style in less time. Both Good Housekeeping and More magazines say their testers also find The Beachwaver easier to use than traditional irons.
We didn't find any complaints that the iron didn't heat well or create curls, but there are caveats. Short-haired women find that the 1-inch barrel doesn't provide a lot of oomph for them -- More magazine even pleads for a smaller barrel-size. A couple of reviewers say the shorter-than-average clamp doesn't hold onto hair well.
Some love it, others hate it Women who are self-proclaimed beginners say it's easy to learn to use The Beachwaver. However, several more experienced self-stylists say it doesn't make hair styling much easier and can in fact make it more difficult. For example, several owners note that the buttons can be difficult to use when styling your own hair, as it's hard to find the Go. Once spinning, the iron twists from the tip of the hair to the scalp very quickly, yielding singed scalps if at-home stylists aren't careful. Some find these minuses an acceptable price to pay for The Beachwaver's spinning barrel, while others are happy to return to standard irons.
Use caution to prevent scalp burns. There's always a possibility of burning yourself while styling with a curling iron, and The Beachwaver is no exception. We found fewer reports of burned fingers (or foreheads or necks), since The Beachwaver essentially curls itself, but owners did note that you have to be careful not to let it wind up too quickly. On the other hand, The Beachwaver offers several safety features, including an auto-off, a swivel cord and a stand to rest the iron while styling.
Review Credibility: Very Good Amber Katz interviews several celeb hairstylists and asks for their recommendations for specific hair types. To go from straight hair to voluminous and textured locks, the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver is recommended by hairstylist Gregory Alan. He says, "It can style your hair in the matter of minutes, plus it's fun to operate."
Review: The Best Tools for Your Hair Type: The Pros Spill, Amber Katz, Jan. 11, 2013
2. Good Housekeeping
Review Credibility: Good Each year, Good Housekeeping releases a list of the most innovative and exciting products of the year based on its own testing. While Good Housekeeping hasn't reviewed any curling irons, the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver makes it onto the 2013 Very innovative Products list. Editors call it the Easiest-Ever Curling Iron. While Good Housekeeping testing is generally very thorough and unbiased, it isn't clear how they've tested this and whether it was compared to other models. They say, "Longer-haired women testers found it faster, easier, and better than traditional irons." They also praised the digital temperature gauge and swivel cord.
Review: 2013 Good Housekeeping VIP (Very Innovative Products) Awards, Good Housekeeping, Not Dated
Review Credibility: Good More magazine lists several products it says will get you salon-like results at home, and the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver makes the cut. It's not clear what other curling irons were tested -- if any -- and whether the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver is better than other irons or just easier for inexperienced at-home stylists. Many of the in-home testers have some qualms about this iron. They say it takes a good amount of practice to be able to use it, it isn't great for short hair and the twirling iron can singe the scalp (especially on shorter hair) if the button isn't released quickly enough.
Review: Beauty Tools That Get You Salon-Like Results at Home, Genevieve Monsma, Dec. 26, 2012
Review Credibility: Good About 10 reviewers share their opinions of The Beachwaver at Folica.com, and they give it an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars. Several reviewers say they love it, and The Beachwaver helps them create salon-like curls at home. However, about half find some kind of flaw in the design. Several note that the buttons are hard to use when styling your own hair -- though easier when styling someone else's -- and a couple say the clamp is either too short or too loose.
Review: Sarah Potempa Beachwaver, Contributors to Folica.com, As of May 2013