Monday, January 14, 2008

How To Use Hot Rollers: A Tutorial

While the wavy and curly-haired ladies of the world slather their hair with anti-frizz products, spend hours blowdrying and straightening and constantly complain about their uncontrollable locks, those of us with the opposite hair (limp, lifeless and flat) invest time and money in the hopes of getting even the slightest bit of volume and bounce in our hair. This is the female hair conundrum- we always want hair that's the opposite of what we've got. When I wrote my post last week reviewing the Conair hot rollers that had given me the fullest, thickest hair I'd ever had, I was happy to hear that many of you were dealing with the same hair issues, and wrote in requesting a tutorial on how to use the hot rollers. I have to admit that it took a while of trial and error for me to figure them out, and I certainly don't claim to be a hair expert. I just want to share what I've learned works for me, since I'm pretty happy with the results I've been getting from my rollers. Here are my tips and a step-by-step guide for using hot rollers to get big hair.

One of the first issues I had when using my rollers was getting them to stay put once I'd rolled my hair. The little metal pins that come with the set don't do a great job keeping my rollers up, and I sometimes got creases in my hair from where I'd pinned them. I found a deal on Amazon for a set of roller clips (make sure that the clips are large enough for your rollers or they'll be worthless) that were far easier to use than those pesky pins. My one beef with the clips is that only 10 come in a set, while I have 12 rollers. I'll use pins or other large hair clips for the last two, and make sure to use them on the bottom layers of my hair, where the curls don't have to be so perfect.

So, onto our steps.

1. After you've showered, set out your clips and plug in your rollers, preferably in front of a mirror in a room that isn't too humid (if you've got a small bathroom that stays hot after a shower, you probably want to do this in front of a mirror in your bedroom). The humidity of the bathroom will prevent your curls from holding and you'll be sweating bullets from the combined heat of the room and the rollers on your head.

2. Comb your wet hair and apply a quarter-sized ball of volumizing mousse to your hair, making sure to get it at the roots. If you've got longer or thicker hair, you'll want to use a little more, shorter-haired girls use less. Comb the mousse through so that it's evenly distributed and then flip your head over and blowdry it upside-down (I do this while sitting on a chair so I don't get dizzy or tired). Once it's partially dry, use a large round brush to brush your hair while drying it (you're still upside-down), making sure to curl the ends a bit. Once your hair is totally dry (you need it to be completely dry or the rollers won't set) use your dryer's cool setting to blast your hair with cold air before you flip over.

Note: If you've got bangs, it's a good idea to dry those first while standing up, otherwise they'll be all funky.

3. Brush your hair a bit so it's not all over the place, and open your box of rollers, which should be hot by now. Take a piece of hair at the crown of your head (the one closest to your face) that's about 1.5-2 inches wide and not very thick and use your round brush to brush through it. While holding your hair in one hand, take a roller (grab it by the plastic edges, not the middle) and wrap the bottom of your piece of hair around it. Now lift your hair straight up and begin rolling the length of your hair around the roller slowly and tightly, until it hits your head. Secure the roller with a clip.

4. Continue rolling small pieces of hair, starting at the hair at the top of your head, then moving onto the next layer below that. Don't worry if there are small pieces that don't get rolled in, you probably won't notice them once the rollers are out, and you can always use a curling iron for touch-ups. Once all your rollers are in, go and do your makeup (preferably in a cooler room, since your face and head will be warm from the rollers and you don't want to sweat your makeup off).

5. Once the rollers cool (after about 10-15 minutes), begin removing them. Go slowly, starting with the bottom layer, careful not to pull on them. Once they're all removed, you can decide how much you want to brush them through (if you want very curly hair, only brush a little bit and very lightly so that the top of your hair isn't messy). Your hair should be very big right now, but keep in mind that it will fall down as the night goes on. If you notice any mistakes, fix 'em with a curling iron or brush through them. Also, if you really want your hair to stay, flip your head over and spray it lightly with hairspray.

One final note: Depending on your technique, you can achieve vastly different results from hot rollers. When I took these pictures, I was rolling quickly and kind of sloppily, didn't use any product and brushed through the curls after I took them out (my boyfriend and I were planning on staying in that night, so I didn't really care whether my hair was perfect). If you want tighter curls, don't brush your hair, and if you want ringlets, roll the rollers vertically instead of horizontally. The more you practice, the more control you'll have over the style. Good luck!

Products Mentioned in this Post:
Conair CHV14J Instant Heat Jumbo and Super Jumbo-Sized Rollers
ConairPro Pro Clips


Cate said...

thank you so much, meg! this is awesome!

Katherine said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial!

Does anyone know if these hot rollers would work on your typical very straight/thick East Asian hair?

FakeSara said...

This is the first time I've regretted shaving my head in September... it looks fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial, I'll come back for it in a few years.

WendyB said...

Gorgeous!!! Come over and do mine now.

Anonymous said...

to comment on the straight v. curly hair discussion: I have very thick and frizzy/ on good days curly hair. And while I love to try and tame it into nice curls for going out, I work in the financial industry where is it highly encouraged to look "professional". "Professionals" do not have unruly and sexy hair. They look pulled together every day for work and thats why it is much more convienent to have straight hair, because at least you manage to look respectable with significantly less effort every (or everyother) day.

Mikaela said...

Love it, wonderful post. I must say I wish you could get this from a perm... someone needs to perfect that - they can do thermal reconditioning to straighten, why can't there be a good perm to get a nice smooth curl?

Bianca said...

Wow u have such a great blog. Would u like to link?

Anonymous said...

This note is for Katherine. Although I'm not Asian, I have very straight and thick hair. Hot rollers work great for me, but you won't get the same results that Meg gets. Think more like Marlo Thomas in her younger days, except not quite so extreme.

The important thing is to leave the rollers in until they are cool. Then, carefully take them out without disturbing your hair much more than you absolutely have to. Wait a little longer to let your hair cool off before doing the final styling.

I also had a set that used steam, and that seemed to help a little more, also.

Ashley said...

This is great! i'm so going to have to try this and soon. My hair is pin straight and has never taken a curl well. I have ot try this and hopefully i'll be successful without using a full gallon of hair spray :)

amanda said...

You look gorgeous in that last shot! Perfect, enviable, movie-starlet hair.

Stephanie said...

Thank you so much! I JUST got a curler and am still practicing. Those hot rollers look like slightly less work; at least they'd allow for multitasking?

Anonymous said...

Very pretty! I must admit I really enjoy reading your blog. It's fashion + intelligence!


Carol said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial AND the pic! I have not used hot rollers in YEARS, and have been debating about buying them again ONLY because they used to give me a "too set look". Having seen your pic, I am going to give them another try. I wear my hair similar to yours except I have a longer "bang".

I think hot rollers are kinder on the hair than people think and certainly gentler than curling iron - Do you also used a curling iron the ends sometimes?

Anonymous said...

Hot rollers work great but you can get a slightly curlier look if you use a 1 1/2 inch curling iron. Curl small sections and then peel them off the barrel without unraveling the curl. Pin it lightly with a bobby pin and wait for it to cool. Curl some curls one way and some the opposite - this will give you a more natural look. When you take the curls out, spray with hairspray and run your fingers through. I use this method in combination with hot rollers to get a Carrie Underwood kind of look.