Louise McSharry: The hot rollers of my youth are back and here’s how to use them

I have always considered myself a person on the lookout for trends. I’m no slave to it, but I know what kids wear and why, and so far I’ve always managed to incorporate the trends I love into my personal style. Everything has changed now. It changed because of Y2K. This trend, based on year 2000 trends, as the name suggests, is just not for me. I just can’t. I can’t, because I’ve done it before. I guess I’m officially old.

I certainly felt old recently when a friend of mine brought a beautiful friend to a party. The friend was 20 years younger than me, absolutely adorable, and full of enthusiasm and joy: two things I don’t regularly deal with anymore.

As we were getting ready to go to the event we were attending, he nonchalantly popped tiny plastic butterflies into my hair. “Cute!” he said. “No,” I replied firmly as I pulled them out. You see, I know these butterflies. I know them too well. They were an integral part, along with the shimmering gold lacquer (also appearing regularly on TikTok these days) of my teenage style when Y2K was a computer glitch we were all terrified of. I was wearing said butterflies when I had my (misguided) first kiss in a stairwell at a party full of people I didn’t know when I was 16. I just can’t go back.

That said, I remember all the beauty endeavors of my youth and was happy to see the return of curlers, which were a staple of my young life. My roller of choice has always been electric, like in the plastic box of rollers that heat up via hot pins and cool in your hair.

As a teenager, during my years in the United States, I got up several mornings a week at 5:45 a.m. to wash, dry and roll my hair. Absolutely deranged behavior, we can agree, but my hair has always looked flawless.

Hot rollers require none of the faff of blow-drying with a round brush or the expense of the coveted (by me, anyway) Dyson air envelope (€499.99 via dyson.co.uk), but can achieve the bouncy, rich hair of your dreams if used with care.

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Dyson Air Wrap, €499.99, dyson.ie

Dyson Air Wrap, €499.99, dyson.ie

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First, remember that the hair must be completely dry. Second, think about the type of curls you want. Obviously, the smaller the roll, the tighter the curl – if you’re looking for volume rather than actual curl, consider a larger set like the T3 Luxe Volumizing Heat Rollers (160€ through beautybay.com).

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T3 Luxe Volumizing Heat Rollers, €160, beautybay.com


T3 Luxe Volumizing Heat Rollers, €160, beautybay.com

T3 Luxe Volumizing Heat Rollers, €160, beautybay.com

Otherwise, you don’t need to spend a huge sum. A classic set in line with Babyliss Thermo-Ceramic Rollers (€42.99 via boots.fr) will work fine.

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Babyliss Thermo-Ceramic Rollers, €42.99, boots.ie


Babyliss Thermo-Ceramic Rollers, €42.99, boots.ie

Babyliss Thermo-Ceramic Rollers, €42.99, boots.ie

If you’re having hold issues, apply mousse to your hair to give your strands a little more texture. Next, hold each section of hair above your head before rolling the strands over the roller to ensure you get lift at the roots.

Leave the rolls until they are completely cooled. I used to leave them on for up to an hour while I did my makeup/had breakfast etc. As with any heat styling, it’s the cooling process that helps maintain the style.

Once you’ve removed the rollers, brush or run your hands through the curls, depending on the look you want to achieve. Don’t panic if it’s a little more curly than expected, it will fall off.

Finally, don’t give up if your first effort doesn’t achieve exactly what you want. A few experiments will help you determine the positioning of the rollers that works best for you. Enjoy!

lost in translation

When reading about skincare, you may come across the term non-comedogenic, but why don’t we want our treatments to be comedogenic? This is perhaps the simplest explanation I have ever given on this page. The comedogenic ingredients clog the pores, creating tiny white bumps on the skin and potentially blackheads. Many oils are comedogenic – coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil and avocado oil, to name a few – as is wax. bee and certain acids. If you’re concerned about bumps and blackheads, it’s always best to look for products labeled non-comedogenic.

Something old…

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Kérastase Elixir Ultime, widely available


Kérastase Elixir Ultime, widely available

Kérastase Elixir Ultime, widely available

About 10 years ago I had a hair incident involving a significant amount of bleach, which left me with a substance on my head that was more akin to cotton candy than hair. I was working on a TV show at the time and the hairstylists on set were horrified. “Kérastase! Elixir!” they barked at me staring at my head in abject horror. The product they were pointing me to was Kérastase Elixir Ultime, a treatment in the form of oil that provides nutrition and thermal protection to the hair, leaving it shiny and improved. I can’t say it immediately restored my hair to its former glory, but it certainly helped – and I haven’t been without it since.

… Something new

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Olaplex No 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum, €29.38, cultbeauty.com


Olaplex No 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum, €29.38, cultbeauty.com

Olaplex No 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum, €29.38, cultbeauty.com

Olaplex has become a kind of hair religion since the arrival of this line of products that can achieve miraculous results on damaged hair. The products are based on patented Olaplex Bond Building Technology, which the brand claims works at the molecular level to repair damaged hair and the broken bonds within it. The new arrival of Olaplex is No 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum (€29.38 via cultbeauty.com). Packed with antioxidants, this serum aims to protect hair from heat and pollutants while adding shine and style memory.

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