Jul 03, 2023

Road Test: I tried TikTok’s viral hair roller trend

IMAGE VIA @daisyhenry_/INSTAGRAMWords by Daisy Henry

Channelling my inner Matilda Djerf.

After years spent perfecting the classic beachy wave with the aid of a curler, big, fluffy waves have swept in and taken over. Whether you’re drawing inspiration from celebrities, hair stylists or influencers, the voluminous blowout is undoubtedly on this year's ‘in’ list.

Consider them one of the countless ’90s trends – sitting comfortably alongside low-rise jeans, frosted eyeshadow and thin eyebrows – that has staged a comeback. Take TikTok, for example. The hashtag #blowout has racked up 1.6 billion views and is full of hair inspiration, tutorials and #takemyrollersoutwithme clips.

After some time spent researching (i.e, scrolling endlessly through my feed), it appeared there were two main ways to achieve the ’90s-esque bouncy blowout: the Dyson Airwrap or velcro hair rollers. And for those of us not quite able to spend $899 on the Airwrap, the rollers are an alternative way to get the same look for a lot less.

Curious to give them a go, I decided to reach out to Mermade Hair so I could try them out myself. After connecting with the brand's founder, Tara Simich, she immediately told me about the increase in demand for rollers.

"[They’ve] become super popular with the butterfly hair trend and Matilda Djerf-inspired TikToks," she explains. "Layered hair is very in and rollers complement this haircut really well. Also, they’re the perfect [option] if you have bangs – you just need [to leave] one roller in to set while you do your makeup."

Armed with freshly washed hair, 12 hair rollers and numerous TikTok videos saved on my phone for inspiration, I was ready to go. As it turns out, there are a couple of ways to do it. You can use a straightener to heat your hair up before putting it in the curler, or blow dry wet hair to 90 per cent and then roll it up to finish drying.

I decided to blow dry my thick, curly hair before putting them in (missing the 90 per cent rule). I soon realised that 12 rollers were not nearly enough for the amount of hair I had. After waiting 15 minutes before unrolling my hair, I was left feeling defeated when there was no curl.

I tried not to be deterred by the time-lapse videos I saw of TikTok girlies with their perfect rollers and their perfect curls, so I texted my friends that I would (unsurprisingly) be late, reread the instructions, and went in for round two.

This time, I used a sea salt spray to dampen my hair as I sectioned it off. I also found @oliviadaytonn's video which explained that in order to avoid tangling your hair on the velcro, it's better to run the roller through your hair from the root before wrapping it up (rather than starting from the end).

Although the instructions say five to 10 minutes is enough time, I was feeling paranoid, so I ended up letting them sit for around 20 to 25 minutes. After unrolling the bottom sections of my hair, I then reused a few rollers on the top and did my makeup while I waited.

After taking out the last of the rollers, I was excited to finally see bouncy, voluminous waves. I felt well and truly in my Matilda Djerf era. The curl was completely different to what I was used to seeing with a GHD – they were bigger, looser and far more fluffy. Plus, I didn't use nearly as much heat on my hair as I usually would.

While I opted for the hairdryer initially, the rollers ended up working a lot better with the aid of water, rather than heat. Although I didn't have any hairspray to set my hair, I was impressed at how well they lasted. And now, two days later, while my hair may not be as voluminous as it was on the weekend, the curl has held.

If you’d asked me 10 minutes in, my answer probably would’ve been no. I expected my first time to be quick and easy, and I let myself get stressed and discouraged when it didn't immediately work out. But after slowing down and taking my time, I soon got the hang of it.

Now, I would undoubtedly say yes. The velcro rollers gave me the big, bouncy curls of my TikTok dreams – something I only thought possible with the aid of an Airwrap. While I’m not prepared to officially put my hair curler to rest, I will definitely be reaching for these again. You might even find me out running errands while I wait for them to set.

Head here for this year's best hair trends.

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