Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Product Review: Conair Instant Heat Jumbo-Sized Rollers

For a tutorial on using hot rollers, check out my post here.

While my sister was blessed with thick, dark, full-bodied hair that looks good even when she doesn't shower for 3 days straight, I was not so lucky. It takes a shower, a blowdry upside-down and some work with a round brush to get my flat, thin hair to look alive. By mid-afternoon it's sunk considerably, and a liberal coating of Psssssst is necessary if I want it to look good for a night out.

I know that a lot of women would love to have stick-straight blonde hair, but proving the rule that the grass is always greener on the other side, I spent most of my life wanting thick brown curls, hair that was full and bouncy and quirky. In high school I experimented with dying my hair different colors (including pink after a botched home dye-job) and I permed it for 3 years. The combined effect of perming and coloring every few months literally fried my hair, to the point where it began to break and fall out. I decided it was time to accept my natural hair, boring as it was.

But that doesn't mean I stopped trying to fight my hair's natural inclination to play dead all day. After a lot of trial and error, I've finally found a routine and a good haircut that makes the most of what I have. And I'm pretty happy with how my hair looks most days, but there are plenty of times when I still yearn for something more fun and interesting.

For the last couple of years, I've curled my hair with a curling iron before going out with my friends or boyfriend. The curls added a little bounce, but the roots were still always flat, and unless I used a ton of product, my hair was usually straight by the end of the night. But a few months ago I bought a set of hot rollers on sale from Amazon, hoping they'd do a better job giving me big, full, movie star hair.


Because I didn't want tight curls or perm hair, I bought the Jumbo-Sized Rollers from Conair and gave them a try before a the first big party of the semester. After I blowdried my hair, I put in the rollers and let them sit while I did my makeup. It was early September and about 90 degrees in my un-air-conditioned room, making for a less than pleasant experience. I didn't know how much hair to put on each roller, or what areas to start with, and when I took them out, I found a number of creases and kinks in my hair, in addition to a few weird curls. But I had some hard-core body and fullness, and I was able to smooth the funky pieces out with a round brush and hairdryer.

Since then, I've gotten the hang of how to put in the rollers, with better results. After taking out the rollers, I look like I have four times as much hair as before, very feminine and glamorous but still natural looking. The key is using small pieces of hair at a time and starting at the roots, rolling the roller tight and securing it with clips instead of the crappy pins they give you. I really hate hair products (they tend to make my face breakout and the fragrances irritate my allergies), so I usually don't put anything in my hair before using the rollers, but I think I'll start to experiment with mousse if I want my hair to stay big and dramatic for more than a couple of hours.

The rollers add about 5-7 minutes to my routine, which really isn't too bad for special occasions. I recommend practicing with them a couple of times if you've got a big event coming up, since it does take a little while to get the hang of it. But I've never received so many compliments on my hair since I started using them, so the extra work is definitely worth it to me.

Anyone else have suggestions for creating full-bodied hair?

EDIT: Some people requested before and after photos. I was reluctant to post these, since I've seen how cruel commenters can be when bloggers post pictures of themselves, so please refrain from making any personal attacks about my looks.

Here I am (on the right) after I blowdryed my hair for 5 minutes when I was running late.

Here it is after blowdrying my hair completely dry and then putting in the hot rollers (I left them in for about 15 minutes and took them out. I didn't put any product in my hair, which probably would have made it bigger at the crown (teasing does the same thing but I'm a little reluctant to try that).

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

28 comments:

Sarah said...

Meg! This post definitely calls for a photo!

Anyway, I'm with you 100% on the greatness of jumbo rollers. I have a BabyLiss set that I use every other day or so to smooth out my naturally wavy hair. It's funny how some people use rollers to make hair fuller and others use them to make hair smoother.

Cate said...

I want a before and after photo! PLEASE! I have similar hair--baby fine, but there's a ton of it, with a weird "kink" in the middle (like a perma-ponytail-holder-line), and I've always wondered if hot rollers were the way to go for volume and some curl. If you could do a step by step tutorial, that would be awesome!

maui-girl95 said...

I have the exact same hot rollers! When I had long hair, I tried to wash my hair every other day. On the days I washed my hair, I dried it straight with a round brush. On the the other day, I used the rollers to add some life to my hair.

Sometimes, I used some Herbal Essences spray gel to get some extra hold, but most times I got enough hold even without any product. I just used some hairspray afterwards to hold the curl.

I have fine hair, which has some natural wave, but not much body and these rollers are great.

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone talks about the agony of flat, straight hair! If you read any beauty magazine out there, you'd think that the one and only hair problem in existence was frizz! The thing i don't get is how you have it down to 5-7 minutes. If I do hot rollers or God forbid a curling iron, it adds 30-40 minutes, and my hair is only just shoulder length! What's your secret?? And how do you "start at the roots" as you said?

Meg said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I'll write a post for next week detailing how I use the curlers (I certainly don't claim to be an expert, but I can at least speak about what works for me!)

nadarine said...

A: how sad is it that on YOUR PERSONAL BLOG you have to ASK people to not negatively comment on your appearance (especially when you're posting photos not to say "look, photos of me!", but just "two different hair things with the pictures that readers probably want for illustration").

B: all that aside, and my personal hot roller disaster nonwithstanding, that red dress in the second photos is fabulous. So pretty!

lainey said...

Meg,

You are about 10000x cuter than I thought you were. No need to worry about cruel comments girl!

Luwanda said...

I love hot rollers. A spray with Aquanet after you take them out helps the curls hold longer.

Katherine said...

I agree nadarine, it sucks that you actually have a legitimate concern that trolls might make nasty comments just because you posted some photos.

I wish more blogs would do before/after photos when it comes to makeup and other products. It would be particularly helpful for people who are just learning about makeup (like myself), since I think a lot of the changes are subtle and you have to train your eye a bit to see them.

cat said...

another pin straight blondie! yay! you are too cute :)

Cate said...

a) hear hear nadarine!
b) meg, could you be prettier? no? i didn't think so. gorgeous and you have great taste--LOVE that dress!
d) the rollers make your hair look AWESOME. i'm buying some. right now.
c) hooray for the tutorial! i'm so excited!

rachelh said...

I really love the effect of rollers but it isn't easy with my hair (thick and longish). When I try rollers I either have to do 1 side of my head and then the other b/c I run out, or it takes me 20 minutes to get them all in. I usually stick to a curling iron. That said, the effect is great, and I'm looking forward to the post on technique!

lisa said...

You look so pretty in the before and after pics! Kudos to you for mastering new hairstyling techniques. I'm pretty deficient in that department...I'm still waiting for the day when I triumph over the slight waviness in my otherwise straight hair that gives me frizziness!

GlamaRuth said...

I think I have hair more like your sister's, but I am in awe of your ability to deploy rollers in under 7 min! The only think I know how to do with my own hair is twist it up in a chignon or plain braids.

madison said...

Meg, you're gorgeous! And your hair is too. :)

Amanda said...

Hey Meg. thanks for the tips! I love how hot rollers make hair look so voluminous. Could you do a post about different hair cuts for different types of faces? I am in love with this bob trend but I don't know if it work on my face. You look tres cute always! <3

Sherry said...

I have the exact same set of rollers and also got them on sale at amazon! The rollers make my hair look so great; my hair is fine but I have a lot of it so it's always a struggle to make it look presentable. Your curls look awesome!

Cherie said...

Um, I can only add that I can see you looking really fab in a shorter cut - a bob no less! With or without bangs. A well-cut bob is really good for your (our) type of hair, and is so sophisticated. Your eyes and fab smile would stand out wonderfully! Not just a bob, but a reverse bob. (google for a photo!)

Stephanie said...

I've never used hot rollers before but they look worth looking into. I've been thinking about buying a curling iron too but have no idea how I'm supposed to wrap my hair around it or anything (which is why I ask friends to help me for important occassions!)

Anonymous said...

I have those same hair rollers too. I use them in an attempt to take out some of my curl though, which is hard to get the hang of. We never seem to want what we are born with! I guess we should just be grateful we have hair to complain about in the first place. Looking forward to the tutorial

Mom 2 Divas said...

Hi Meg,
I am asian with the same problem - straight, fine flat hair. Even when I use a curling iron, it goes back straight after about an hour. I tried the wave iron and it did a great job. With your length of hair, it will give you lots of body. Thanks for the review and pooh to all the haters our there who like to write unnecessary things that don't contribute to the discussions.

Amanda said...

don't wash your hair if you're going to curl it. the oils in your scalp and the normal dirt will help the curl to take easier and hold longer.

also, once the rollers are in, give your self a fine mist of hair spray all over your head.

let the curlers cool completely. when you remove the rollers, flip your head over and shake out your hair (don't touch!) then finger style and spray, spray, spray.

Kerastase makes an AWESOME (and wickedly expensive) but AWESOME hairspray that holds like no other.

Mikaela said...

Your hair looks good! I know the benefit of hot rollers and I wish it were easier for everyday. They give you Blair Warner-rich girl hair!

Jen Hill said...

You look fabulous and love how your hair turned out using the rollers.

Lack of volume has never been an issue for me, I have the opposite issue, hair that wants to shoot out vertically. In the past, I have used rollers like Sarah.

Last year my naturally curly hair was so damaged I decided to stop using any dryers or heated devices. It has made a HUGE difference and I have learned to embrace my curls. Come visit my blog www.mythbusterbeauty.com, I have written several posts about naturally curly hair!

Laura said...

Hi Meg. I have fine hair too that quickly goes straight in Houston humidity. I was on a mission for a new set of hot rollers, and came across the Caruso steam rollers. I have to say the rollers create a great curl in 5 minutes that lasts, without having to keep the hot, heavy rollers in my hair for 15 minutes. Plus I feel the steam is healthier for my hair. It is slightly more labor intensive, since you have to steam one roller at a time, but once you get a system down of heating a roller while putting a steamed one in, it takes the same amount of time as regular hot rollers.

heather said...

very pretty:)

Bellwether said...

You're adorable - ignore anyone who says otherwise. You actually remind me of one of my favorite actresses/comedians - Rachael Harris - LOVE her!

knoxwhirled said...

super cool dress.