Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Overnight Sets – Part 3 – Experiment to find out whats best for you!

And that applies to both how to make setting overnight most comfortable as well as produce the best results. Try a few different rollers to see which you sleep best in, how to set them, and what produces the best result for your hair. Its almost different for everyone. So you really do need to experiment. As a general rule, smoother rollers produce best results, but are also harder to wind and secure poorly for overnight. Here are some notes on a few types of rollers:

Vintage Wil-hold Plastic Brush Rollers. Brushes are like mini combs, so nice crisp results almost like mag rollers, but much easier to wind and secure. Easy to forget your set during the day if done properly, but the hard plastic can be quite prickly if you rest your head on them, so rest your cheek on a pillow, or if you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your neck.

Vintage Solo-Sleepeasy Plastic Brush rollers. Softer plastic, smooth rounded bristles and produces almost identical results as Wil-hold rollers. Feels a little prickly all over but comfortable when your used to it. I find these are less pressure sensitive than Wil-hold rollers so better for resting your head on a pillow.

Wire brush rollers. Also easy to roll and secure, but can get entangled a bit and resulting styles not as smooth. A little itchy so if that bothers you may not be the rollers to use. Easily available.

Velcros are really not well suited for overnight. They don’t secure well, coming loose and pulling uncomfortably. Like wire brush can get a bit entangled.

Mag rollers (smooth plastic) produce the best styles if you can get them to stay in overnight. Really hard to do. If you have any tips, please send them. A little hard and bumpy, but also can get used to it.

Mesh rollers are half way between Brush and Mag rollers in almost every way. Not a bad compromise.

Sponge rollers are the softest, but can be tight and pull. But the sponge can compress the shape of the roller and hence the result.

I find the vintage Solo Sleepeasy Plastic Brush rollers the best, although almost a tie with Wil-hold Plastic Brush Rollers. Both produce excellent results and easy to use, and the ability to secure them well so they don't loosen and yank outweighs the fact that they are a little prickly. And you really get used to them, particularity the Sleepeasy rollers and you do feel nicely set when done properly. Unfortunately these rollers are hard to find except in second had stores or eBay.

Besides finding the right roller, do everything you can to make the experience pleasant or even enjoyable or you may find regular sets too much of nuisance to keep doing. If you do find your set uncomfortable before bed, take out your rollers or loosen them a bit rather than enduring a miserable night. As I mentioned, I don’t like sleeping in very wet rollers, so I dry before bed which is a real treat because the dryer so relaxing. Even better, there is nothing like getting out of bed and warming up for a few minutes under a dryer on a cold morning. Or read or do something you enjoy, or write emails, or blog, so you don’t feel your wasting time after setting.

(Photo – from an ad depicting the 60s, not sure of the original source, but picture in various places on the net. Imagine how hard it must be to sleep in huge rollers or cans like that, or even to keep them in all night!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Overnight Sets – Part 2 - Practice

Its probably worth doing an evening set almost every day for a week before trying an overnight set. After a week you should have the roller tightness just right to be as secure as possible but not uncomfortable. You also get more used to be in curlers which tends to make wearing curlers feel more comfortable. Along those lines, if possible, try spending a day in curlers. If you still feel comfortable after being in curlers for hours, you are ready to try setting overnight.

For you first attempt at sleeping in curlers, do dry your set before going to bed. That way, if your set isn’t perfect and comfortable after its dry, you can always decide tonight isn’t the right night after all. If you set does seem perfect, cover it in a nice smooth scarf to protect it (smooth is important - you don’t want the scarf to get entangled in the curlers). Make sure you have fluffy soft pillow. If you sleep on you back, scrunch the pillow so it supports you neck reducing pressure on your head. If you sleep on your side, support you cheek with the pillow. You may find it hard to sleep in curlers at first, so try it the first few times on a weekend. If you have never done it before, it might take a week to get used to. But don’t give up after the first day or two, anything worthwhile does take some effort. The good thing is you really do get used to it, and sleeping in curlers becomes second nature.

Its also a worthwhile to experiment what works for you. I really hate sleeping in wet hair, but sleep well in curlers if it is dry, so I always dry before bed. The nice thing is the that the dyer always makes one sleepy and find going to bed in still warm curlers so cozy that it can really be quite enjoyable. Also try drying if you have trouble falling asleep set. In spite of the hair being dry, you will still have the advantage of better set due to the extra time in curlers as well as the convenience of waking up ready to take you curlers out.

(Photo taken from a Kindness hot roller ad from the 60s. She looks so content in her curlers makes one wonder f she really would go out an buy some hot rollers.)

Look for part 3 in a day or so!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Overnight Sets – Part 1 – Getting Started

Wearing curlers overnight was common in the sixties, partly because many women didn’t have access to dryers, but also because sets tend to hold better if the curlers are left in longer. Sleeping in curlers can be uncomfortable – just search twitter to see a new list of complaints. Its really unfortunate because it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable if you know a few tricks and practice. Vintage rollers also help because some of them were really made for sleeping in.

There are really three important things that go into sleeping well in curlers: you need to pick the right type of curlers, they must be set properly, and you need to get used to wearing curlers before attempting to sleep while wearing them.

Picking the right curlers depends on your hair, which you find easiest to use, and which you find most comfortable. The traditional curlers for sleeping in are brush rollers which I like best because they tend to stay securely set all night. I hate it when curlers loosen and even fall out. But if you have sensitive scalp, they can be uncomfortable. The next best are mesh rollers which are simply brush rollers without the brush and are almost as good. Magnetic rollers (aka smooth plastic rollers) are also common, but are much trickier to wind. Velcro roller are the modern replacements for all of these. I'm not a fan of these: they don’t secure well tend to work themselves out of the hair overnight.

Besides winding the rollers neatly, the most important thing when doing an overnight set is getting the tension right. If you read about sets in the 60s, curlers were often wound incredibly tight leading to breakage and well as being uncomfortable. Velcro rollers today are often wound without any tension at all, also not good. The best tension is somewhere in between. Exactly how tight is good for you is something that you will have to experiment with, and is best gauged if you are setting you own hair. I find the way to do it is to wind the rollers so that, once they are secured with piks, you can feel them, but just barely. Its actually easier with brush rollers because at this tension level you can just feel them, and you get to know how a well done set feels with practice. With mesh and mag rollers you have to sense the tension alone which is a bit harder. If you like the ease of winding of brush rollers, but cant stand the prickly feeling all night, there is a trick you can use: fold up a tissue into a rectangle about the size of roller, and wind the roller down on this. You can do a nice secure set with brush rollers this way and not feel the prickels.

One thing hair tends to do as it dries is shrink a little, so you curlers tend to tighten a little as they dry. If they are too tight in the first place, curlers can become really uncomfortable. There is nothing worse that waking up at 3am with curlers that are too tight, and then spending what seems like an eternity deciding whether to take out your curlers, or try and go back to sleep. The good news it that is doesn’t have be that way, but it does take some practice. The best way to do this is to do a number of daytime sets, or if that is impractical, evening (but not overnight sets. So set you hair, then dry it which should take no more than an hour unless you hair is longer. Hood dryers are easy to come by on eBay or places like Goodwill, sometimes being available for then that $5, so there is no reason not to have one. Now here the trick: stay set for at least an hour after drying, and if at any point you curlers become uncomfortable take them out and make your next set a little less tight. The reason it is important to leave the curlers in for a while is that while they tighten under the dryer, the warmth is so soothing your set may feel quite comfortable until it cools down, which is what it would be like overnight.

(Photo taken from the 1961 movie "The Parent Trap")

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A vintage trick: how best to secure mesh or brush rollers

I was going to call this “The best way to secure vintage rollers” but it really applies to most mesh or brush rollers and particularity plastic ones. The typical way of securing these types of curlers is to place as is as follows (thanks to Hairdo May 1961).

Using a comb, create a rectangular section of hair about the size of the curler you want to use:

Wind the section of hair neatly around the roller:

Place a pik (aka pick aka pin) through the roller in the direction shown in the picture. This is particularly important. If you place the pick trough the roller the opposite way relative to the direction is it wound, the pik will not hold it in place. There are actually a few tutorials on on the web that seem to get it wrong with the rollers left on the verge of falling out, usually by first time users of these type of rollers.

Now the trick, and it comes from a vintage package of Solo Sleepeasy brush rollers. Instead of one pik through the center of the roller, use two, one on each end of the roller as shown in the diagram beside“fasten with roller pins” below (you may need to click on the image to enlarge it).

Without any greater tension being required, by securing the roller on each end with a pik will hold it in place much better than with one pick in the middle( which can even allow the roller to wobble if not wound perfectly). Because even the more rigid rollers are still somewhat flexible, you can also use the two piks to adjust the tension on each side of the roller so that is it even across the roller, not only resulting in a better set but also making wearing rollers much more comfortable. It really makes a big difference, and doesn’t take much more effort than just using a single pin.