Something very sad happened late last year.
My cherished Conair hot rollers, purchased in 2004, finally died. It’s not that they completely stopped working, but they just didn’t get as hot as they once had, and I had to say goodbye to them.
Yes, you read that right: I’d had the set of purple “ionic” rollers for over 10 years.
I’ve been setting my hair on rollers regularly for most of my life; as a kid, I seemed to be getting my long, blonde hair wound up on hot rollers every month of summer to suit my role as flower girl in various weddings. In high school, I set my hair on my Conair rollers almost every day of sophomore year. What can I say? I was really into Marilyn Monroe and wore a pencil skirt most every day, too.
Conair graciously sent me a new set — the Infiniti Pro Xtreme Instant Heat Ceramic Rollers — to replace my old favorites, and while winding my hair around a curler, I thought about just why it is I love to hot roll so much.
1. It’s much easier for me to curl my hair in rollers than with a curling iron. Even though my hair is short (I hacked it to chin level in November), there’s a lot of it. Curling with an iron takes a very long time, and I tend to get bored fast. With rollers, I can quickly set my hair and I don’t have to worry about missing a spot.
2. They’re fast! Rollers heat up quickly, and the longer you use them, the faster you get at attaching them to your head. Then you can go about your other activities as they cool, unroll them and go!
3. It’s a fun ritual, too. Dita von Teese likes to set her hair and then painstakingly do her makeup and dress before unrolling and brushing out a set. I do, too! I like to put on a cute slip or robe, do my hair, and then spend a really long time putting on makeup and perfume before a big night out.
4. The retro styles I love are easily done with rollers. I’m still mastering a real roller-set brush-out style, but getting Marilyn hair is simple with the right curl pattern and a little patience.
5. They revive a drooping style. Is your blowout looking a little blah a few days in? Add a few rollers to the top layers to plump it up and give it extra volume and, shall we say, sass.
6. They're the easiest way to get '90s supermodel hair! Conair sent me another set of jumbo rollers to try, but since my hair is so short, I gave them to a friend with long hair. They’re perfect for giving her that Victoria’s Secret bombshell hair. If you're patient and let them cool completely, say hello to serious volume and sexy, tumbling curls after you shake them out.
7. Your style stays far longer with hot rollers. Since you need to let them completely cool and set, the curl made with a hot roller tends to last longer than a curling iron curl. I like to blast my curls with a little hairspray while they're setting. (Also, I just really like the smell of Aveda's Air Control.)
8. Hot rollers remind me of my mom setting my wet hair on foam rollers for Easter and Christmas when I was a kid. I tried this again as an adult and it wasn't a good look for me. I'll stick with the hot rollers.
9. My new Conair set comes with four different-sized rollers, which is perfect for me since sometimes I'm feeling Marilyn and sometimes I just need a boost. Many roller sets give you the option to order extra rollers in your preferred size, so I might pick up some more small ones for future retro roller sets.
10. The heat you get from a hot roller isn't quite as strong as what you'll feel from a curling iron or a flatiron, so I always give myself a pat on the back for being (slightly) kinder to my hair when I roll it.
- Do you use hot rollers?
- Do you know any great tips for creating an awesome retro roller set? I need your knowledge!
Photos by Amy Gee.