How rollers ruined my romances: As Vogue declares hair curlers are the height of fashion, a cautionary tale from a lifelong devotee
As we stood on a rickety roof terrace overlooking Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay on the night before my wedding, my mother offered me some rare words of advice on matrimonial happiness.
‘Never use the bedroom to get your way with your husband,’ she said. ‘Never sleep in separate beds, always provide a decent hot meal with meat and two veg for him at the end of the day and it’s not too late to change your mind, darling.’ My mum always was a wise bird.
She then looked at me with my hair up in curlers the size of Coke cans, which I would sleep in that night, and added one final insight for her 26-year-old daughter: ‘Oh, and never let your husband see you in curlers.’
Amanda Platell wouldn't be caught dead wearing curlers in the street even if they are 'back in fashion'
There it was. The wisdom required for a happy and enduring marriage. Hers has lasted 64 years, mine lasted four. I blame the curlers. If only I had listened to her.
For my mum views hair rollers as she does scruffy undies — they may be practical, but a woman is rather letting herself go if she allows a man or anyone else to see her wearing them.
So it was with some surprise that I read this week that Vogue has now endorsed the curler, in and out of the home. After a fact-finding visit to Liverpool, the international style-setters decreed that curlers were cool. Pictures of Coleen Rooney and Abbey Clancy in public in curlers were a fashion statement, they said — an affirmation of the legitimate and lasting desire by women to have fabulous curls and big, big hair.
Come to think of it, I even remember seeing a picture of Angelina Jolie — the sexiest woman on the planet — in full make-up and rollers in a magazine shoot not so long ago. She looked magnificent.
And a vintage shot of Marilyn Monroe being made up for filming, but she was wearing a rather gorgeous basque at the time which distracted one from the rollers.
I was heartened to read recently that even Margaret Thatcher was a roller addict. In her diary each morning was an entry that said simply ‘Carmen’ — and everyone knew that the lady was not for disturbing during these times. They were, in fact, her daily appointment with her Carmen heated rollers, the brand that long before Ba/02/01/article-2094662-11897B2E000005DC-683_306x502.jpg” width=”306″ height=”502″ alt=”In 2009 Colleen Rooney was spotted wearing her hair curlers out and about in Liverpool” class=”blkBorder” />
In 2009 Colleen Rooney was spotted wearing her hair curlers out and about in Liverpool
So are rollers as shameful as Mum thinks Or can the many women like me finally come clean about our dirty little secret and admit that curlers are an essential part of our lives Even now, I still it find hard to admit. Whatever Vogue decrees, I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead in the street in them.
It’s a bit like smoking in public — plain common. Yet the truth is, if I didn’t use them I could rarely go out in the street in the first place. At least, not with my head held high.
Disappointingly, I never inherited Mum’s lovely natural wavy hair. Mine is curly in places, frizzy in others, and I have always worn it long as the weight holds it down.
It has always required much taming and lorry-loads of products to look its best and I spent my childhood experimenting with hair cures: Rags, rollers, olive oil treatments, cold tea washes, even ironing it straight on the ironing board, then rollers — anything to recreate her lovely soft curls.
My own sense of shame at being a roller addict dates back to when I was 15 and my unbelievably handsome surfer boyfriend Derek turned up unexpectedly one afternoon, hours before our date, and I was sitting in the back garden with my hair in rollers.
These were pre-Velcro monsters with hard plastic spikes held in place with metal clips you’d wear all day. I would have felt less embarrassed if I’d been caught kissing another boy. A month later he dumped me for a girl with perfect natural curls.
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Hair in a twist: Diane Keaton, left, and Katie Price, right, have both been spotted out with their hair curlers in
After years of practice, I’ve become something of an expert with rollers. Having watched my hairdresser Kerry do it, I can now blowdry, roll-up and pin my hair (actually, using Velcro tabs) to perfection.
I either use big rollers all over for a big, smooth look, or mix up three different sizes of rollers in a random pattern to create a more natural effect with more curls. I’ve ditched the Carmens, except in emergencies, as the heat bakes your hair and once you’ve started colouring it, it’s a disastrous combination for your tresses.
Desperate Scousewives: Chloe Cummings and Amanda Harrington were caught with their curlers in during filming of the TV series
But the secret of really good home
curlers — the one I can hardly believe I’m sharing in print — is a white
plastic bin bag that I wrap around my entire head once I’ve got the
full set of rollers in (obviously excluding my face).
Amanda Platell with her hair neatly curled under after taking out her rollers
plastic traps the natural heat of your head and sets the hair more
firmly, a bit like the effect of one of those space helmets
old-fashioned salons put on your head. If you can bear it, it’s best to
wear it for about an hour. That’s when I do my make-up.
Yet my most mortifying roller moment — the one that still makes my toes curl, let alone my hair, came more recently and it has convinced me that rollers are a beauty routine best kept out of sight.
It was a Sunday morning and I had a big date. I’d got up early, washed my hair, blowdried it and wound the 20 rollers in.
The routine is always the same. Clip the crown of your hair up first, then blowdry each segment, starting at the base of the neck and working upwards, and then secure.
After that, a dose of hairspray to give a bit of root lift. I then applied my make-up, planning to give my hair a good hour in rollers for the maximum ‘natural’ effect.
I was wearing a T-shirt dress and Ugg boots, about to get dressed up, when I remembered to put the rubbish out. So with two large rubbish bags in hand, I walked out the front door of my cottage to be met with about 30 astonished faces.
My home is on the route off one of those walking tours of London and it turned out the tourists were admiring my original Georgian doorbell. I stood frozen to the spot, screamed, and ran inside.
Frankly, I’d have preferred it if they’d caught me running naked down the street. So whatever Vogue says, I still think curlers are a secret that a woman should keep to herself.