Saturday, November 23, 2013

A few curlers from the "What were they thinking" category

I was pleased to come across two types of vintage rollers that I had never seem before: metal mesh rollers (or unknown brand) and Tip-Top "Controllers". Both seem quite unique.


Metal mesh rollers


I think these metal mesh rollers are made from aluminum because they are very light. They are also solid since they are somehow made from a single piece of metal (not a woven wire or nylon mesh the way most mesh rollers are) and smooth. Yes, smooth like a magnetic roller. But seem very hard to wind neatly because the hair does not cling to them the way it does with magnetic rollers. Unfortunately, the holes in them are a little to small for plastic roller piks to secure them, so I gave up trying them

These certainly seem like very high quality rollers, and with the metallic coloring even look nice. I'll have to find the narrow metal piks for German brush rollers and have another go at trying these curlers again sometime.

Tip-Top "Controllers"

 "Soft as foam, curls like magnetic, holds like a brush roller" is what it says on the package. 

Curls like magnetic rollers is probably true. They certainly don't grip the hair well like brush rollers should. The bristles are far apart and thin, and while hair slides around the roller almost like a mag roller, it stays loose. But the worst thing is the bristles which are poky uncomfortable to say the least. So bad I didn't even try them. I'm guessing you never see them because of that. A bit surprising from Tip-Top since they already had some very nice lines of curlers. But perhaps they worked well for really long hair in spite of  short curly hair shown on the package.

If you have ever come across or used either of these rollers, please let me know. It would interesting to know how they were actually used at the time.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dippity-do and Wil-hold Curlers

I was so lucky to get half a jar of real vintage Dippity-do on eBay. Dippity-do was apparently the  home setting gel in the 60s and 70s, and came in two colors depending on the strength: green for regular and pink for strong.

I was lucky enough to get this jar: 

The instruction on the back say:

This fresh cool gel makes winding faster, neater.
Hair feels clean ... has body. sets last longer.

AFTER SHAMPOOING - apply a generous teaspoonful to damp hair - comb through - then set. or - with fingertips - apply to each strand as you roll. 

BETWEEN SHAMPOOS - apply directly to dry hair, strand by strand, as you roll. 
FOR STYLING - use a tiny bit on fingertips to smooth "wild" hairs, flatten bangs, hold flip-ups,  etc.

The "etc." is actually part of the instructions.

It also came in a stronger Pink colored version:


Apparently it was even sold in Germany:

Dippty-do that appeared later in these jars is a more modern version and the not the same. If you see one of these jars, don't be fooled:

To make the best use of  the half jar of real vintage Dippity-do that I had, I tried to do the most authentic 60s type sets possible, first with my usual vintage Solo Sleepeasy plastic brush rollers,  then with classic black wire brush rollers, and finally with the so typical Wil-hold plastic brush rollers, all set quite tightly as per the typical 1960s way of winding curlers. I would love to say that the vintage Dippity-do was so much better than the modern version, or any modern setting lotion for that matter, but it wasn't. It was pretty much the same. There was one difference though and that was the smell. Vintage Dippity-do has a very unique smell that I would describe as somehow sharp and sweet at the same time.  That really doesn't describe it well, but maybe someone who used and remembers it can post a bit of a description. It certainly seems to be fondly remembered herehere  and  here .  

There are  some really  vintage Dippity-do commercials on youtube: 

 and lady wonderfully recalling Dippity-Do and the 70s in general:

The one unexpected things as a result of trying Dippity-do was discovering how the Wil-hold rollers turned out to be the most comfortable  rollers when set quite tightly. I usually find the Solo-Sleepeasy rollers the most comfortable, but wound tighter they get too prickly. Wil-hold rollers are much  more comfortable when set a little tight, which probably accounted for their popularity in the 60s and 70s..

Here is the classic Wil-hold roller set from the picture on the package:

Feeling so nicely set all the time with the occasional whiff of the iconic Dippity-do smell was  actually a really nice experience and I certainly wish I has some more real Dippity-do.  Rediscovering Wil-hold rollers was also great, and I will make a point of using them more often.

Monday, May 6, 2013


As part of the continuing series of  Mad Men hairdos from Karen's  Bobbins and Bombshells  blog (see the latest article about doing Peggy's Hairstyle here), here is yet another vintage hairstyling article from April, 1963's Good Housekeeping. This article is a real gem because the hairdos featured in it are so iconic of that period. Unfortunately,  the page with "hairdo #1"  is missing, presumably because someone tore it out to try it.  If  you happen  to have a copy of  that magazine and a scanner, please send me a copy and I'll post it! As always, click on an image for a larger view (and then right click->view image, and then click again  for even bigger).

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


And again in keeping with the Mad Men theme from Karen's Bobbins and Bombshells  blog, here is another vintage hairstyling article, this time from April, 1964's Woman's Day. As always, click on an image for a larger view (and right click->view image for even bigger). For details on how to do vintage hairdos, see some hints here.

Monday, April 22, 2013


In keeping with the Mad Men theme from Karen's Bobbins and Bombshells  blog, I thought I would post a few complete hairstyling sections from magazines of that period. The article has a nice variety of hairstyles. As always, click on an image for a larger view (and right click->view image for even bigger). For details on how to do vintage hairdos, see some hints here.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why Solo Sleepeasy Curlers are my favourites

Of all the rollers that I have  used, I keep coming back to Solo Sleepeasy Curlers. In case you don't know which ones they are, here is the classic ad for them.

And this newspaper ad from 1970 shows you could have them for a mere 77 cents at your local drugstore!

So what makes these curlers so great? In many ways they combine the hair smoothness of magnetic rollers, the ease of setting, tension and drying ability of brush rollers, and the comfort of sponge rollers. The bristles on these rollers are thicker and spaced further apart than those on similar plastic rollers of the 60s and 70s and there are no sharp edges to catch and damage the hair. So while the bristles help secure the roller like other brush rollers, the hair does not really get caught and them and instead lies on the roller itself between the bristles, more like a magnetic roller.

In spite of the coarser bristles, they are still as easy to set as any other brush roller, if not easier. The soft plastic and rounded shape of the ends of the bristles really adds a new level of comfort. Like foam rollers, they flex a little. If you wind your hair neatly and secure with two piks (see image below) you can create whatever desired level of tension is best for your hair, and because the rollers bend slightly, you can easily adjust it across the length of the roller (contrast that to hard plastic Wil-hold rollers, where if the tension is slightly off, you will end up with a roller close to falling out or uncomfortably  tight).

So what are they really like to use? Easy  and quick to wind, and also easy and quick to secure neatly with plastic piks, and because the air flows though them, easy and quick to air dry or dry under the dryer, and quick and easy to unwind for a prefect result.  They are even nice to wear - wound the moderate, even tension they stay in perfectly all day or all night if needed, and you just feel so nicely set all the time. No loose curlers falling out or tight ones yanking. Definitely the best curlers ever! To bad they don't make them any more.

Careful: Like most brush rollers, if you have longer hair and use smaller rollers and don't wind or unwind them carefully. you can easily end up with a tangled mess. I have heard stories of  rollers having to be cut out of hair to get them loose. If you have longer hair, experiment with one or two rollers and see how they work for you, and/or have a friend who can better see what they are doing wind and unwind them carefully and neatly so they don't get tangled.