vintage hairsetter


1970's Clairol Hairsetter  
I recently purchased an old 1970's Clairol hairsetter from eBay and wanted to write about how I liked it. My mom used to have one like this, but the last time I was home she couldn't remember where she put it. I know she used to have one with a mirror and I remember thinking how amazing it was when I was growing up. I've hardly ever used hot rollers, since I always thought they looked too complicated. But more recently I have had a new found curiosity for hot rollers, possibly because my hair is getting really long and I thought it's about time I play with it a bit more than I have. I love the fact that hot rollers are really a lot easier than they look and are much faster than a curling iron. You simply roll your hair up and let it sit there while you do other things around the house. Easy! I have a modern velvet style roller set that are really large, but I've found these can be tricky to work with. They don't really grab onto your hair as easily, so they have a tendency to fall or flop around on me. I really like how the vintage hot rollers have these little spikes that grab onto your hair when you roll them up, so you don't really have to worry so much that they will fall out. Although I will say I had a bit of trouble getting them out. I think it was the way I wrapped my hair around the curlers. Next time I'll be more careful.

From the little experience I've had so far using hot rollers to curl my hair, I've found a few things that are helpful. First of all, I like to start with freshly washed and dried hair. For some reason my hair keeps curl so much better right after it has been washed (I've heard this from others as well). I like to blow dry my hair, but if you prefer, you could probably let it air dry. After the hair is dry, I like to spray Elnett hairspray all over my hair and then brush it out. The curls tend to last so much longer when I use hairspray. With this set, I didn't add any hairspray (need to get more) and today my hair is wavy, but not as curled. I also left the curls in for a good 30-45 minutes. I've read that it's best to leave them in until they are no longer warm to the touch. When I took mine out they were still slightly warm, but I didn't want to wait any longer. As you can see, they did a pretty good job of curling my hair! I was a little surprised because the hot rollers didn't feel very hot to the touch like my modern velvet rollers. An added bonus!

I highly recommend using a vintage hair setter if you happen to find one. I am betting you can find these all over at thrift stores for much cheaper than you can find them on eBay (where I got mine) or Etsy. Mine cost about $20 (including shipping), which I don't think is bad, but I just know you could find them for much less if you frequently go thrifting! Mine is in great condition, but I still washed all the curlers in soapy water (I used a cheap shampoo) and cleaned everything else with vinegar. In my hairsetter, there is a compartment where you were supposed to put a special conditioning liquid in the base, under where the curlers were placed. I discovered you could remove the metal cover and since it looked like it could use a bit of cleaning, I poured some white vinegar in there and turned on the heat. It cleaned the gunk right off and now it looks brand new!

A few videos on using vintage hot rollers that I found helpful. Also the vintage manual I got with my set can be found on


  1. Oh my goodness my mom used to have these and I would use them all the time when I was a kid! I COMPLETELY forgot about them until I saw this - it brought back so many memories. Now I want to get my hands on some too!

  2. It turned out great! Lovely styling! I'm not sure why, but when I hot roll my hair, I always get 'country music hair' it's BIG, lol. So I usually will roll my hair at night and then sleep on it and it will have calmed down in the morning. I've never seen a set with a hairsetter! That's a good idea!

  3. I inherited a set like this from my grandmother when I was 14 or so, and having straight hair was a revelation when i was a teenager. It still works, has the original manual and smells like dusty deliciousness! Yours looks like so much fun xx

  4. I'm so impressed and inspired! I see these kinds of things in thrift stores but never pick them up because I'm not sure how to use them or what the results would look like... but this looks so easy and those are perfect curls!

  5. Oh just perfect! I really can't wait for my hair to grow a bit more so I can try it out too! Great job, Anna! xoxo

  6. Hi Anna, I've followed your blog for awhile but I'm not sure I've ever commented--I fell in love with your love of vintage things and never left :)

    You're hair is so gorgeous, I'm sure you've shared before--but what products do you use to get it so healthy looking? I have long hair too, but once it gets a certain length it starts looking ratty :(


  7. Hi Anna!

    Have you ever tried setting your (damp/wet) hair on sponge rollers overnight? They're far lighter than the hot rollers, and (in my experience) don't get tangled as easily and last longer.

    Happy experimenting!

  8. Found you thrue Malin Bohm. Just love your clothes! Wrote about your blog in my blog today. Hope that is alright with you.

  9. how fun! I want to borrow my best friend's set now and try again! My hair curls best when it's a day dirty, actually. Your curls are so pretty.