High rollers are back,but without stiffness


Steel yourselves, ladies. Words like rollers and setting are about to re-enter your beauty vocabulary.

Hair is getting longer, softer, wavier and curlier. The pretty, girly-girl locks of the '50s and '60s are back, but with one big difference, thanks to new hair spray formulations.

Retro hair won't feel like a boat pillow without the cover. It will feel good, look soft to touch, and, according to Charles Booth of La Coupe, it will have "memory." Which means that after being caught in a high wind, hair will snap back into place.

All this takes some doing, however.

The cut is still the most important part of the new hair look. Curls and waves can't substitute for a great substructure.

After that, the ways to achieve softer, more feminine hair are numerous. For instance:

* Wire rollers, the kind that used to stay rooted to heads all day all over the country, are often the basis of the new hair looks. Booth, who modestly considers himself the world's leading expert in rollers, cautions that they must have the inside brushes removed.

"If you use rollers," he says, "use a lot. The more rollers you put on, the more bounce and lift you get. Don't use clips or bobby pins to hold rollers to the head. Use straight hair pins."

"Whichever way you want a style to go, put the rollers in that direction. They should be arranged like bricks side by side, with rows overlapping, not in strict marching formation. The smaller the sections of hair, the better, and make sure the ends are neatly tucked in and that each roller is anchored right on the root.

"To attach a roller, comb hair forward, and then roll it all the way back. That way, the roller will rest close to the head." Booth urges that rollers be covered with foam, so that they will be extra-gentle to the hair.

* State-of-the-art Velcro rollers need no pins. Used on dry hair and given a blast of steam, they are speedy and effective, says stylist Bruno Pittini. He sells them in small, medium and large sizes and a pack of 12 is $30 at his salon at 746 Madison Ave.

* For umpteen years, an amateur following has remained loyal to the electric curling iron. Carmine Minardi of Minardi Minardi believes they are ill-advised. He says curling irons are considerably more difficult and time-consuming to use than electric curlers. Also, "most people don't know how to use one correctly. The diameter of a curling iron is much smaller than that of curlers," he says. "You end up with more curl, rather than large, loose waves."

Electric curling brushes, larger in diameter than curling irons, may be more suitable for making loose waves and curls at home, says Minardi.

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