Not only coping with how to dress for the weather, but also how to do my hair has been challenging. It's no secret that I like wearing my hair curly, as you've probably noticed by now with my weekly outfit posts. But I've learned that what used to work for my hair on the low-humidity west coast no longer works out here.
Luckily, with some experimenting, I've finally figured out what does work, so I thought I'd post about it, in case anyone else out there is struggling with keeping your hair curly in humidity!
The secret? Hot rollers and expensive hairspray. You're welcome.
What? That wasn't enough of an explanation? ;)
Ok, well, to understand where I'm coming from, regarding my hair, this old hair curling tutorial might be useful, where I detailed my technique for using a curling iron (#1 tip, start at the top of your hair and twirl the hair around the iron down to the base. #2 tip, shelling out for a more expensive, professional curling iron makes all the difference in the world.).
Problem is, that old curling iron technique has only been working for me here on the east coast when I don't have to go outside, even when using even more hairspray than usual. I've literally gone to BBQs and told people, "Well, my hair was curly this morning..." It's been really frustrating.
So I decided to start experimenting with hot rollers. After all, they take less time to put in than standing there with my curling iron, and your hair is exposed to heat a lot longer, which in theory should give you better, longer lasting curls.
I had only limited success with my about 10 year old rollers though. They were just a standard cheap set from Target though, that took forever to heat up, and didn't really ever get that hot.
(An example of my not-so-curly curls with the old hot rollers)
I knew I needed something better, and pro heating products have always worked best for me in the past, so I invested in a new set of rollers from Sally Beauty Supply. Armed with these new rollers, and my more expensive hair products (that I used to save only for special occasions, but now they're being used everyday), I had much better results.
(A shot of my vanity table in my walk in closet bedroom. Our counters in our bathrooms are much too small to hold all of my junk, so I'm set up on a drawer unit in the bedroom. 3 of the 4 styling products I use are in the red box: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Aerosol Hairspray, which used to be my main hairspray, but now I only use on my bangs, Tigi Catwalk Volume Collection Your Highness Root Boost Spray, and Tigi Biggie Maxxed Out Massive Hold Hairspray, which I used to only use occasionally, since it's about 3x as expensive as the Fructis hairspray, but it's definitely worth the cost in this humid climate. Not pictured is my Garnier Fructis Curl Construct Mousse.)
(My new Hot Shot Tools Hairsetter rollers on my vanity side table. I picked these, rather expensive, rollers 1) because Helen of Troy is one of my two favorite pro heat styling brands (the other is Gold 'n Hot), 2) it was one of two rollers under the "professional" level of rollers on the Sally website, and 3) it was one of the only roller sets I found that didn't have the super tiny rollers, which are way too thin for my long hair. This set I got only has two sizes of rollers, which was a big plus for me.)
(Here is a closer look at the heating elements of the rollers)
(And another big plus with these is the roller clips have metal strips on the inside, so your hair gets headed on the inside from the roller, and the outside from the clips themselves. I'd never seen this feature before, and I love it. Also, I'm not sponsored or anything by Helen of Troy, I just really like these hot rollers. Just thought I'd put that out there!)
Now, for the curling which I'm going to break down into two different types, since I've been using two different techniques with the rollers.
First up, standard curls, i.e. hair that is more curly at the bottom.
Spray the root boost on your roots near your part, and apply some curl construct mousse to just the ends of your hair (if you do the mousse all over, it makes your hair crunchy, so I only do the tips for extra curling power there). Blow dry your hair straight.
Grab sections of your hair about this big...
And roll up from the tips of your hair, clipping the rollers into place.
For the top layer of you hair, I find the rollers stay in better when they're in the horizontal position. But for the layers underneath, I like to roll the curlers away from my face, and clip them into place in a vertical position. Also, I like to use the smaller of the two sizes of rollers around my face, saving the larger ones for the back half of my head. And I save two of the smaller ones for the very bottom layer of my hair, since it's a little more coarse and harder to curl.
So, this is a pretty standard way of using hot rollers. Nothing too groundbreaking or original, other than maybe the products I use. Anyway. It usually takes me about 5 minutes to put the rollers in, and then I go make coffee, eat breakfast and do my makeup, and come back about 20-30 minutes later to take them out. 30 minutes is more time elapsed than it would usually take me to curl my hair with a curling iron (average was about 20 minutes), but I still feel like 5 minutes to put them in, and then time to do everything else is a lot better use of my time than holding the curling iron for 20 minutes and then still having to do my makeup afterwards.
When I take out the rollers, I'm careful to unroll the curls neatly and away from my face.
Here they are, fresh out of the rollers. I like to now let my hair cool for a few minutes, so the curls are completely set, so I go and iron my clothes for the day and get dressed.
Once I've given the curls a few minutes to cool, I finger comb them out a little, and spray them with the Biggie Maxxed Out hairspray. I really like this hairspray, even though it's on the expensive side. Not only does the use of hot rollers make my hair feel a lot softer than a curling iron, this pump hairspray holds way better than aerosol in humidity, and is a lot less crunchy.
The final results of my standard curls with rollers: lots of curl that lasts even outside in North Carolina!
So, that's how I get my standard curls. But I've been experimenting with another hot roller technique, bouncy waves, i.e. curls/waves that start higher up your strands of hair.
Normally, I'd start the same way, with root boost and curl construct mousse before blow drying. Although for the purposes of these pictures, I just brushed out day-old curls to start.
So here is where the tricky part comes in. To get waves that start up higher with hot rollers, you have to grab your strand of hair about 1/3rd of the way down from the roots, hold the roller there, and use your other hand to wrap the strand of hair around the roller all the way down to the tips. Then you roll it up the top 1/3rd to your head and clip into place. Basically, what this does is expose more heat to the hair in the middle of your strands of hair, instead of like in the standard curls method where you roll from the bottom, which concentrates the heat exposure on the tips. So you get curls that start higher up, and look more like waves.
Here's a photo of me mid-wrap using this technique.
And to make it even more clear, here's a gif, since I know a lot of people can't watch videos at work (don't deny it, I know everyone reads blogs at work ;) !)
With this bouncy wavy technique, I still roll my hair away from my face, and also leave them in for 20-30 minutes. And I still carefully unroll my hair, away from my face, but now you can see that the curls start a lot higher than with the standard curl technique.
So much bouncier than the last version, look how short my hair is, fresh out of the rollers. And the curlier you start with, the longer your curl is going to last overall.
I let my hair cool completely here too, before gently finger combing it (again, this is really important, if you brush your curls out when they're still warm, they won't hold as well).
But with the waves I like to spritz my hair with the Maxxed Out spray...
And then "scrunch" my hair up. This helps the hairspray hold the waves even better.
It's also really important, with any hot curling technique, to spray the bottom layer of your hair. The bottom layer is next to your body, getting hot all day, so the curls naturally don't want to hold as well, and extra spraying helps a lot.
And done! Bouncy waves, with about 10 minutes of actual work (5 minutes to put the rollers in, about 3 minutes to take them out, and 2 minutes to finger comb, spray and scrunch).
So there you go. My tips on how I've been getting my curly hair to last in the heat and humidity of the east coast!
And in case you're curious, after sleeping on my wavy hair, it's still pretty much good to go the next day (I can only wash my hair every other day, or it gets dried out). I just gently finger comb it with a small amount of Pureology Shine and Control DryShine Styler, to tame the flyaways and frizz, for a more relaxed wavy look.
Have you ever experimented with hot rollers before?