70s Hair: How to Do Feathered Hair with Hot Hair Rollers

Eunice Lucero | 23 November 2016

Why, of course they’re back!

Remember those hot hair rollers your mom had back in the day? Well, they’re back (edit: and some say they never left), as is fitting since ’70s-inspired, disco-era hairstyles have also seen resurgence as of late. Although the look may be replicated using modern-day curling wands, there’s just something authentic—and blissfully nostalgic—about going straight to the source.

In staying true to the theme, we’re giving a quick background on hot hair rollers, as well as a short tutorial on getting that iconic feathered hairdo that was super-hot during the 1970s. Read on and get groovy!

Hot Hair Rollers: The Must-Have Tool of the 1970s

hot hair rollers wavy process
Start with the fattest curlers on the crown to infuse volume where you need it most.

What are hot hair rollers?

Hot hair rollers, or hot rollers, first came to the fore in the 1930s, and have been a well-loved tool used for curling hair ever since. This popularity comes from their ease of use. Typically heated up via a chamber, hot rollers are used to set curls or provide volume just as with normal curlers. However, they have the added benefit of a longer-lasting curl or volume as provided by a heated barrel, and are especially handy when you want to curl your hair in a pinch—the curls set for approximately the same time all around, allowing you do go about your business while your hair is setting.

To use hot hair rollers, first make sure all curlers are placed in their specific chambers; some models have varying sizes of curlers in each set, so be mindful of placing them in the correct slot. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure they’re heated for the correct amount of time before use. While heating up, take the time to prep damp to dry hair with a styling agent (wet hair won’t hold a curl via this method, not to mention can get really damaged when curled).

Scroll down for a quick tutorial on the right way to position hot hair rollers when creating a hairstyle. We chose a feathered look for this example:

Step 1: Prep hair with a thermal protectant.

Hair will be subject to localized heat, so it’s always best to shield it from damage while styling with a thermal protectant that also supports the creation of styles via hot tools, like TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray. Follow up with a curl-defining mousse, such as Dove Style+Care Curls Defining Mousse for more definition.

2. Blow-dry your hair.

After spraying, blow-dry hair thoroughly until it is 90% to completely dry.

3. Section hair.

For a feathered look, the key is infusing some volume on the top, with curls that face outwards on the sides. Begin by creating a middle part, then section off the back.

4. Start with the fatter curlers.

Using the bigger-sized barrels, roll the hot hair rollers on your back section, starting from the crown. Twirl upwards so you end up with a flip, then secure each curler with the corresponding clip. Repeat in a straight line from your crown all the way to the nape, in descending order of curler size. Careful when handling with bare fingers! Kind of clueless? Check out our hot roller tutorial.

hot hair rollers karen stranger things
Make like Karen from Stranger Things and curl away from your face. Photo credit: Netflix

5. Curl your sides.

Using smaller curlers, curl each side beginning from the strip nearest your middle part. Again, twirl upwards so you get that feathered look, and start from the middle part downwards. Secure each with its clip. Repeat on the opposite side.

6. Leave for around 20 minutes.

Hot hair rollers usually take around 10 to 20 minutes to completely cool, but you can also touch them as they’re setting to test whether they’ve cooled down. Once all curlers are pretty much room temperature—or by the time you finish doing your full face of makeup, whichever comes first—remove each roller by carefully sliding out each pin. Unfurl your hair slowly, making sure not to tug and being mindful of strands getting caught in the seams of the roller.

hot hair rollers Karen stranger things feathered
Brush out your curls for soft, cascading feathering. Photo credit: Netflix

7. Brush out your curls.

Use a flat brush to brush out your curls and soften and separate the ringlets, as well as define the feathering on the sides. Finish with a hairspray made for touchable bounce on waves and curls, like TRESemmé Perfectly (un)Done Hairspray.

Want more vintage hair inspiration? Check out these awesome non-ironic perms.

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