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How to Use Hot Rollers to Curl Your Hair

Set your hair in hot rollers, then forget it—apply your makeup, wash the dishes, read the paper, whatever. When your chores are done, your hair will be, too.


  • Step 1: Choose rollers Choose your rollers. The size of each curl will depend upon the circumference of the roller, so use whatever combination of rollers you want to achieve your various curls.
  • Step 2: Plug in rollers Plug in your rollers so they begin to heat up.
  • TIP: Hair generally holds a curl best when it's not freshly cleaned. If you must wash your hair before curling, make sure to go easy on the conditioner.
  • Step 3: Apply product Apply a styling product to your hair according to the product instructions. Products with more control, like a gel, will give you more defined curls; those with less control, like mousse, will give you looser curls.
  • Step 4: Use comb Use a wide-toothed comb to remove any tangles and make sure your hair is completely dry.
  • Step 5: Section off hair Using hair clips, section your hair off into two sections: one from your ears up, the other from your ears down.
  • Step 6: Roll hair around roller When your rollers are fully heated, take one lock of hair from the bottom of your head and pull it up and away from your head. Place a roller under this lock about 1.5" from the end and wrap the hair under it as your roll it toward your scalp, continuing to pull the hair taut.
  • TIP: Remember, the less hair set on each roller, the curlier your hair will be, and vice versa.
  • Step 7: Insert roller pin When the roller is as close to the root of the hair as possible, insert a roller pin to hold in place.
  • Step 8: Roll rest of hair Repeat this process until all your hair is rolled up, choosing the size and the amount of hair in each roller according to the style of curls you want.
  • TIP: If you want spiral curls, simply twist each lock of hair before you roll it up.
  • Step 9: Leave curlers in Leave the curlers in until they are completely cool to the touch—probably around 20 minutes.
  • TIP: To lock in the curl, use your blow-dryer to give your rollers a final blast of hot air, then switch the setting to cold and cool them back down.
  • Step 10: Remove roller Starting at the front of your head, carefully remove a hair pin and unroll one roller.
  • Step 11: Use hairspray Spritz the curl with a little hairspray to help set it, then move on to the next roller until you've removed them all from front to back.
  • Step 12: Style curls Once all the rollers have been removed, gently style your curls with your fingers, tousling for a loose, wavy style or simply settling them into place. Head off with a spring in your step—and in your hair.
  • FACT: In 1905, the first permanent wave used electrified curlers that hung from the ceiling—and took 7 hours to set.

You Will Need

  • A set of hot rollers
  • Styling product
  • A wide-toothed comb
  • Hair clips
  • Roller pins
  • And hairspray
  • A blow-dryer (optional)

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