Hair setting lotion

Hair Setting Lotion: What It Is And How To Use It

Hair setting lotion is a type of styling product used to set hair into a particular shape or style. It is often quite a popular product in the rockabilly circles – probably because this hair product can reliably make pretty pin curls and retro waves like no other.

But, how does it work? The lotion is similar to a gel and it coats the hair. When your hair is set in rollers, it stops those strands from drying out. Once dry, it secures your style for a long period of time, by stopping moisture from being absorbed by the hair.


How to use hot rollers: Brunette model with damp long medium brown hair wearing a yellow jumpsuit starting to roll a heated roller
Credit: Verity Jane Smith

How Is Hair Setting Lotion Applied?

There are a few ways that you can apply the product: Apply it to damp hair, add the product to your hands first for even distribution, or sprinkle it directly onto the hair.

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray Front of bottle

Editor’s Tip: Always read the product’s instructions before you start styling your locks. You may also want to use a heat protectant to prevent damage. We like using the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray that’s enriched with keratin and marula oil.

When you’re applying hair setting lotion to damp hair, be careful: you don’t want to apply the product to thoroughly wet hair, as this will dilute the product and affect your overall look.

While you typically apply products like mousses and gels by putting the product onto your hands first to evenly distribute it, some hair setting lotions are sprinkled directly onto the hair.

Once you’ve saturated your strands with the lotion, you can then begin to set your hair into the style you want to create, by using hair rollers or curling clips.

Keep it rollin’

The size of the rollers you select will result in different-sized curls – for looser curls, opt for a larger cylinder, and if you’re after a tighter curl, pick a slimmer one. Begin by sectioning your hair for your rollers, starting from the ends and winding your tresses around the roller until you reach the roots.

Repeat this process, working your way around the round your head, until you’ve set all of your hair. Then you can either let your hair air dry or use a hair dryer to help speed up the process.

Try to make sure your sections of hair are fairly even: overloading each roller with too much hair will affect the quality and appearance of your curls!

TRESemmé Body & Volume Shampoo Front

Editor’s tip: Need more volume? Prep your hair with a volumising shampoo like the TRESemmé Body & Volume Shampoo that’s enriched with silk proteins, collagen and a unique Volume Control Complex to give your roots an extra lift.

black woman with curly hair
How do you use setting lotion?

What Can You Use Hair Setting Lotion For?

With the advent of modern styling products like mousses, gels, and even hair sprays, the popularity of hair setting lotion has decreased in recent years.

Granted, it might seem a bit old school, but it is still a great product for hard-to-curl hair and for creating more structured vintage styles like finger waves that you’d like to stay in place for some time.

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