Hot rollers are a hair styling tool used to create curls. There are a number of different types, but they all work in the same basic way, setting curls that can range from gentle waves to tight ringlets. Many stores which carry beauty supplies and hair accessories stock rollers in a variety of sizes, and they are relatively easy to use, although it can take some trial and error at home before a person achieves the look she wants.
To use hot rollers, they must be heated first — this is where they get their name. Most fit into an electric tray with heating elements that is plugged in shortly before use. To use them, hair is prepared and then carefully segmented into sections that are rolled around individual rollers. The rollers are left in until completely cool, and then carefully removed; for a firmer curl, some people put the rollers in at night and sleep on them.
There are a number of ways to vary the look achieved with these curlers. Long thin rollers, for example, can be applied vertically to create corkscrew curls, while extremely large rollers can be used horizontally to create a soft curl that will turn into a wave. Many people like to use them in graduated sizes for a more natural look, as uniform curls can look somewhat artificial. People can also change the effects by brushing the hair immediately after taking the rollers out, or applying products to the hair before they are put in.
When preparing hair for hot rollers, the most important thing an individual should remember is that the hair needs to be totally dry, or the curls will not set. Some people like to wash their hair and apply a moisturizing mousse the night before they use curlers to get around this problem. Others simply use a hair dryer, applying a light mousse and sometimes a cream to enhance shine while they prepare the hair.
In addition to traditional hard rollers, soft ones are also available. This type is more comfortable to sleep in, but the end hairstyle will be a little messier, with larger, looser curls, rather than sleek and uniform. Some people like the slightly tousled look, feeling that it looks more natural and casual, and the look also increases the volume of the hair, which can be useful for those who feel like their hair is a little thin or flat.