Hot Rollers: Not Just for Grannies

by Catherine Q. O'Neill

I hadn't used hot rollers in over a decade when I found a set under my mom's bathroom sink. Did they look retro? Yes. But did they create the sleek, glamorous waves I was desperate for (since I'd left my curling iron at home)? Also yes. And I'm not the only one who's hooked: "Hot rollers are one of my favorite tools," says hairstylist Mark Townsend, whose eureka moment came when he broke a finger and couldn't wield a round brush. Here, four versions we love for creating lush, beautiful bends.

InfinitiPro by Conair Instant Heat 20 Ceramic Flocked Rollers
These are the ones I almost stole from Mom. For gorgeous waves, try this trick from Townsend: Hold the roller at the scalp and point it at the ceiling (so it's vertical, rather than parallel to the floor), then wrap a section of hair around it, instead of twirling up from ends to roots. Alternate directions as you move around the head.

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Caruso Professional Molecular Steam Hairsetter
We're not sure about the molecular part, but these steam-heated cylinders can turn even the straightest hair into big, bouncy curls that last. Just be sure to shake each one before you wrap or you could end up with a wet, frizzy mess, says Townsend.

FHI Heat Runway IQ Session Styling Rapid Roller Hair System
The futuristic-looking base heats one roller at a time (but don't worry, it just takes eight seconds). And the rollers turn clear when they get hot--and darken as they cool--so you never have to guess when to take them out.

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John Frieda by Conair Body & Shine Smooth Waves Hair Setter
The perfect travel companion, this small case of five rollers is just enough to curl most of your hair. If you have thick strands like me, roll five sections, let them cool, slide them out, and clip the hair in place; then reheat the rollers and start five new sections. It takes a little more time, but the results are worth it.

For tons more hair ideas and inspiration, check out Allure Hair: The Ultimate How-to Hair Guide, available on newsstands.

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