Answer: Often and with enthusiasm

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There are few hair tools quite as nostalgic to the Southern woman as her hot rollers. She likely witnessed her mom meticulously wrapping hair, section-by-section, around those little barrels before fastening each with a clip. How did she get such tidy little rows? How did she manage to use every single one of the rollers with nary a stray hair left behind? While we can’t promise to know all of Mama’s best-kept beauty secrets, we do have a few tips for using hot rollers that make this short and sweet tutorial a pretty good second source—if Mama isn’t available, of course.

 

There are a few universal rules for hot rollers that should be heeded regardless of your hair length or texture. The most important of these is to start with completely dry hair—we’re talking dry as a desert, not a drop of moisture in sight. After all, the style won’t hold if your hair is even a little damp. When you’re ready to roll, start with a section that is the same width as your roller and roll from the end of your strands up. If volume is your endgame, roll horizontally to boost your roots and give your ends lots of playful movement. For those who are after actual curls, place your rollers vertically. Another good rule of thumb? Always roll away from your face.

 

How To Use Hot Rollers On Short Hair

It’s all about volume when it comes to using hot rollers on short hair. Stick to horizontal roller placement, only using enough rollers to cover the front of your head. The shorter hairs toward the back and nape of your neck probably aren’t long enough to hold a roller, so focusing on creating volume toward the front is the ultimate goal. Keep your rollers in until they’ve cooled—probably about 15 to 20 minutes.

 

How To Use Hot Rollers On Medium-Length Hair

Thick hair? Leave those rollers in a bit longer (30 minutes or more), that way you can ensure the heat penetrates all the way through to your ends. Stick to medium-large to jumbo-size rollers to avoid spirals that could end up giving you a Shirley Temple look.

 

How To Use Hot Rollers On Long Hair

See our medium-length hair notes above—the same rules apply here. You can go even bigger with your rollers (if you dare) the longer your strands are, which will just bring even more volume. Now, find us a Southern lady doesn’t want that.

 

WATCH: The Difference Between Fine Hair and Thin Hair 

 

The finishing products are key when using hot rollers. Go with texture spray at the roots for added lift, a shine serum for smooth ends and a frizz-free finish, and volumizing mousse for touchable hold. As for Mama? A healthy coat of Aqua Net was always her finishing touch.