Hair Tool Secrets with Monique McMahon

We’re diving deep into the tricky topic of hair tools - from blow dryer brushes, curling wands to hair straighteners and curling irons - with leading hair colourist and salon owner, Monique McMahon of the blonde specialist salon, QUE Colour in Sydney’s Darlinghurst. 

Monique’s team at QUE is renowned for its signature ‘brushed out blow dries’, a bouncy, voluminous ‘70’s inspired blow-out that’s glossy, healthy and sexier than Farrah Fawcett.  We’ve talked Mon into delivering the low down on the professional hair tools that she uses to nail this look at home.  

MCM: What are your ride or die hair tools?

Monique: Hands down, it’s Ibiza Hair Tools. Their range of hair straightening brushes, hair styling tools and blow dryer brushes are second to none. I discovered the brand through Instagram a couple of years ago after seeing the likes of Tracy Cunningham and Chris McMillan using them on their celebrity clientele. I just had to try them for myself. 

 Hair Tool Secrets - MCM Beauty

MCM: What makes Ibiza Hair Tools so special? 

Monique: There are so many reasons why Ibiza Hair Tools are the best around. All their hair styling tools are designed by company founder Aaron Johles, a second-generation hairdresser who picked up his craft from his father who used to sell Ibiza brushes from the boot of his car. Each brush, whether it’s a hair straightening brush or blow drying brush, has a cork handle. Cork is an amazing material, it’s sustainable to produce, incredibly lightweight, super durable and antimicrobial which makes it the perfect handle material for a blow drying brush. So excited to have these hair tools available in Australia!  


Hair Tools from Ibiza Hair Tools | MCM Beauty

MCM: Ibiza Hair Tools feature natural boar bristles, why is this so common with blow dryer brushes? 

Monique: Boar bristle is as close as it gets to human hair as it has a very similar molecular structure. This means that the bristles are gentler and less likely to snag the hair when you brush through tangles. Most Ibiza Hair Tools feature a special boar bristle blend which is great blow drying for all hair types as it helps you achieve the right kind of tension - the GripSlip Technology allows you to grip and slip to create big voluminous curls. For dead straight, glass-smooth hair, Ibiza’s hair straightening brushes like the round OC6  deliver a smooth, polished end result that will give the sheeted-hair trend a run for its money. Boar bristles also massage the scalp, circulating the natural oils and delivering that little bit of extra shine. The B Series of round blow-dryer brushes is a favourite of mine, I love the blonde bristles for my fine hair girls.  


MCM: Should we be reaching for a hair curling wand as well? 

Monique: We reach for a Hair Curling wand, like ghd’s creative curl wand, to touch up a day-after blow dry and add shape around the face. They’re great for getting that soft summer wave. Rule of thumb is the bigger the barrel of the hair curling wand, the bigger the wave. That said, if you’ve got coarse hair, a hair curling wand with a smaller barrel will help hold your curl for longer.  


What tips do you have for achieving this season’s glass finish trend? 


Monique: Nailing the Sheeted Hair trend is all about healthy hair, healthy colour! You can’t get that mirror shine without starting from a good base. Regular trims and treatments are your answer here. If you’re finding that your colour is looking dull and is lacking luminosity, I’d recommend an in-between treatment like Wella’s Colour Shine at your salon, or using a toner mask to nourish and illuminate. Our go-to are Christophe Robin’s shade variation masks. You’re aiming to achieve a smooth, sheet-flat cuticle that reflects light for that ultimate sheeted-hair finish that we’re seeing all over TikTok.. Then we can pick up the hair straightener - or one of the new generation hair dryer brushes  like the Air Wrap from Dyson (imagine a cross between a round blow dryer brush and a hair dryer) Don’t forget your fringe - loving the new GHD mini for this bit.  


MCM: Talk us through the creative process behind sheeted hair … 

Start by applying a silicone free heat protectant like Christophe Robin’s regenerating serum with prickly pear oil or ANTI’s finishing cream to damp hair throughout mid-lengths and ends. Section your hair, then with a large round brush that’s curved so it sits close to the head  like Ibiza RLX Series and hairdryer at medium heat, direct the heat downwards from the crown, keeping it close to the brush without touching the hair. Repeat until your hair is dry. Brush through, and finish with a smoothing cream like Larry King’s A Social Life for Your Hair to tame any rogue flyaways.  At QUE Colour, we rarely use hair straighteners even to achieve a silky, sheeted finish preferring the old school set and brush method.


MCM: Buying professional hair tools is baffling, so much technical terminology and jargon to untangle. Can you shed some light on what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to hair dryers? 

It’s a minefield out there! Our go-to for professional hair tools in Australia is ghd. The tools are designed out of the UK (as are Dyson’s incredible hair tools) and feature leading innovations that care for your hair and scalp, and deliver amazing results. Buzz words to look out for:

  • Even heat distribution (no hot spots), 
  • maximum temperature 185℃ (any hotter will damage your hair), 
  • contoured nozzles (for precision styling), 
  • cool shot button (sets your look, adds shine).

A light overall weight and ergonomic design are also vital for easy handling. The new Coanda attachment for Dyson’s award winning SuperSonic is pretty fabulous for nailing the sheeted hair look. Watch the demo here and prepare to be amazed.  


MCM: Let's get into the Brushed out blow dry! How do we recreate this look at home, and what hair styling tools do we need?  

Monique: This style is the ultimate luxurious blow dry. It is voluminous with a capital V. To master this look at home, I suggest starting in the shower with Christophe Robin's Cleansing Volumising paste with pure rassoul clay. This clay to foam formulation turns creamy white on the hair and emulsifies beautifully, deep cleansing and creating a natural fullness from the roots. The perfect base with which to begin.


Let’s break this down into steps


Step 1: 

With a classic blow dry set like this one, the first step is sectioning. Divide the hair into 6 equal sections - one at the front, four around the hairline and nape, and one at the crown. This is blow drying back to basics.  Everything we do with the hair from this point in is to work it into its final position. Start clean = End clean! 

Step 2: 

Next roll up each section with your round blow dryer brush, making sure to stretch and over exaggerate every section of the hair in an upwards direction, making sure to never let the root drop. We want volume people! Clip the roll as you move around to the next section. Once you’ve dried and rolled each, you need to set them with styling spray like ANTI Collective’s Styling Spray to hold those babies firm!  You’re aiming for the grandma effect at this point!  

Step 3: 

Using the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer or ghd Helios with a diffuser attachment, diffuse and double set the hair. First on a medium heat, and next with a cool shot over each section. This creates a style memory every time.  

Step 4:

After setting, it’s time to (gently) unpin those curls, in preparation for our next step…

Step 4: 

Our top tip for the perfect finish? Spray your blow dry brush with Christophe Robin Paris volumizing mist with rose extract to add volume and shine 

Step 5:

With your favourite round detangling brush or blow drying brush, work your hand underneath the hair to make it bounce! Take your time with this step – this is the most rewarding part of the whole process, and shouldn’t be rushed. 

Step 6: 

Use whisper-light fingers, pinch and manipulate the hair into shape till you have the perfect finish. 

Want to try Ibiza Hairbrushes for yourself? Head down to Hair Festival, 12 - 13 June at Sydney's beautiful Carriageworks and find the full range on Stand 61. 

Register HERE for free entry.  

Picture credits @quecolour @paulmcmahonphoto  @natalia_parsonson


I’ve only had time to do one blowout with this brush but results were phenomenal. Hair was soft and shiny, and the brush is incredibly light so no arm fatigue. Loved it!!

Review by Jennifer B. on 15 Mar 2021