Review: ConAir Travel Smart compact heated rollers
I love to travel. I try to get out of the country at least once a year, and I would do it even more regularly, if I possibly could.
What I hate about travel, though, (Well, other than the actual “travelling” bit, that is: not a good flier…) is what it does to my hair. Sun, sea, sand, humidity – none of them are exactly friendly to the ol’ tresses, and when you add in the change in water, I tend to end up with hair that somehow manages to be simultaneously limp AND frizzy: awesome!
Then there are the difficulties in styling your hair when you’re away from home. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been wearing my hair curly (or at least wavy) most of the time lately. There are obviously lots of different ways to do this, but I find I get the best results from heated rollers, and therein lies the problem: my regular rollers are much too heavy and bulky to take with me when I travel, and although I do occasionally pack a curling tong or set of straighteners instead, I most often spend my vacations wearing my hair up and messy or down and frizzy. Not good.
This year when I was in Florida, however, my parents very kindly bought me this set of Conair Travel Smart ceramic rollers. As the name suggests, these are made with travellers in mind, so they’re small, lightweight, and have a universal power source, so you can use them anywhere in the world (although you will need a travel adaptor if you’re using them outside of the US, as they come with a US style two-pronged plug).
As you can see, there are 12 rollers (8 large, 4 small) in total, all ceramic-coated, and with a set of metal clips to hold them in place. They come in a little fabric carry case which plugs directly into the power source, and that’s pretty much it: there are no switches or dials, or any other bells and whistles to take up space: they’re as simple as it gets.
Because of this, I must admit I had my doubts about whether they’d actually work. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough rollers for my long hair, that there wasn’t enough variety of sizes (my regular set holds 30 rollers, in four different sizes), that they wouldn’t get hot enough to create a proper curl, and so on. As it turns out, though, I needn’t have worried, because these are pretty darn fantastic: in fact, I like them so much that I actually use them at home fairly often, too. Their advantage over my regular set is that they heat up super-quickly (they’re ready to use in just a couple of minutes), and because the set is so compact, they fit easily into a drawer and can be whipped out and set up in a matter of minutes: much faster than my usual routine!
This is also a huge benefit when you’re travelling, obviously: they don’t take up much room in your suitcase, or in a hotel bathroom, and they’re quick and easy to use, too. I don’t know about you, but when I’m on holiday I just don’t want to have to spend a lot of time fussing around with my hair, so I’m looking for something really simple. I like the ridges on the sides of these, which keep the hair smooth, and I’ve also found that they don’t need to be left in for very long to set the curl. I normally put them in as soon as my hair is dry, and then remove them once I’ve finished doing my makeup, so maybe 10 – 15 minutes. That’s long enough for me to get the effect I’m after, although I’m sure I’d get even better results if I were to leave them longer.
My one criticism is that the pins used to secure the rollers are all the same colour, which makes it a little hard to tell at a glance which are for the larger rollers and which are for the smaller ones:
With my regular rollers, the pins have differently coloured “stoppers” (for want of a better word) which correspond to the colours of the rollers, and tell you which should be used with which, saving you the time spent scrabbling around trying to match them up by size. These ones, however, are all white, so it takes a little longer to work out which to use, although it’s obviously not a huge deal. (I actually prefer using the plastic “claw grips” which came with my other rollers, so I use those at home, and save the pins for travel.)
As far as the size/amount of the rollers go, I find that there’s just enough for my hair, and to create a medium-sized curl. Here’s my hair right immediately after removing them, using the smaller rollers at the front, and the larger ones at the back:
And after being brushed out and, well, frizzed up a bit by the wind – sorry about that: it has more to do with my hair, and the lack of products used on it than the rollers themselves, I promise!
If your hair is very long, or if you’re looking to create a more elaborate effect with different sized curls, then these probably aren’t what you’re looking for, as they’re designed to give you the basics to create curls on the go, rather than every possible style. With that said, I find these pretty much fulfil all of my needs, which is why I’ve continued to use them so often at home, even when I have lots of other options available to me.
BUY: Travel Smart® by Conair® Heat Setter, $32.99