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It seems like a problem with no good solution: let your wavy hair fling itself in all directions and frizz into a giant mass, or tussle with rollers that get hopelessly tangled in your hair to the point where you’re tempted to cut them out with scissors. And then there is the question of whether adding heat to the equation will damage your hair and make matters worse. Fortunately, new roller designs put an end to snags and even pamper your hair with moisture-sealing technology. Those no-heat rollers your grandma used produce surprisingly good results.
Hot Roller Designs
Hot rollers have the advantage of speed, but they have a legacy of fear because the early versions were the descendants of medieval torture devices with ominous protrusions that tangled and pulled hair. This prickly format is still on the market today, but don’t reach for it, no matter how inexpensive it is. Opt instead for rollers with textured or padded sides that will gently grip your hair without stressing it. Felt-covered rollers offer the advantage of a shiny end result.
The heat from hot rollers can be damaging, but ultra-modern ionic technology is a great way to combat this stress. It helps seal the outer shell of your hair shafts and lock moisture inside. Damaged hair tends to have a positive ionic charge that pulls in dirt and bacteria. Because opposites really do attract in the world of atoms, the negative charge from ionic curlers neutralizes this positive charge, which releases bacteria and debris. The result is fresher-smelling hair and a healthier scalp.
If you want to avoid heat altogether, classic rollers -- like the ones TV wives of the 1950s used -- are a great option. Sponge rollers are the most comfortable for sleeping on and they come with an integrated plastic locking mechanism that eliminates the need for clips or bobby pins to hold the curler onto your hair. Velcro rollers also have a self-gripping mechanism, but they're not as easy to sleep on. Opt for larger sizes if you want looser waves and a smaller diameter if you want more intense curl. On those special occasions where you can’t wait for an overnight set, you can hasten the process by running your blow-dryer over your hair once the rollers are in place.
Prepping and Styling Tips
Be sure that the hair sections you roll are no wider than the your curler. For an extra-smooth appearance, twirl the section around your finger before rolling it onto the curler. Wrap with firm but gentle tension to ensure a smooth, lasting curl. Apply a light mist of hair spray or a thin coat of styling gel before using hot rollers. If you’re concerned about the styling product drying too fast, apply it to one section at a time as you roll. For no-heat rollers, use a setting lotion instead. Once you have released your hair from the rollers, use your fingers to comb the curls and set the look with a light mist of finishing spray.