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!)


  1. I am really enjoying reading your blogs about setting! I agree with everything you have hear about the types of rollers. I just end up doing pincurls most of the time because its easier to sleep on bobby pins, but those are not good for 60s styles; not enough volume. I would do more 60s sets if I could get used to sleeping with rollers. Have you tried the foam rods that are really long? They fold over and twist like a twist tie. I tried sleeping in those and it was a NIGHTMARE. But it was a pretty set LOL

  2. Wow - thanks - glad your enjoying it the blog! Have you actually tried some of the vintage curlers? They really are much better than many of the modern ones for overnight.

  3. I have vintage 30s pin curl clips that are bent in order to keep from crushing the curl. Other than those I do not own any vintage rollers. I have the sponge ones, then ones I mentioned above, and I do have some velcro ones, and 3/4 magnetics. I think I would love to try the wire ones. I use end papers when wrapping my sets with everything but the velcos, because as you say, they aid in keeping ends straight. I tend to do more 40s and 50s sets than 60s, but I do 60s about once a month. I don't like to sleep on them so it has to be weekends before a band show or something like that. I try different ones.

  4. Pete, thanks very much for your posts on sleeping in curlers. I slept in sponge curlers 2-3X week throughout high school for cheer. These days I set my hair and my BF's hair regularly on velcro rollers. On Saturdays I'll often set our hair in rollers in the morning and we'll spend the day like that, but during the week I like to do our sets in the evening. I purchased an old-fashioned bonnet dryer and I'll put us both up in rollers with wet hair. Then we take turns drying our sets under the dryer. For sleeping I usually pin our curls (using roller clips) and we sleep in hairnets. This gives us both big bouncy curls in the morning that we can style in lots of fun ways. I think that's an easy and fun way to get lots of wear out of our roller sets without trying to sleep in them.
    Thanks so much and please post more often!
    - TT