Pros: Great styling tool, facial steamer, long lasting, fast, easy, not hard on hair.
Cons: Roller sizes, steam burns possible, rollers last about six months.
Remember those old Caruso steam hairsetters with the sponge rollers that you saw advertised on television years ago? The kind you had to add salt to get the steam going?
Those days are LONG gone. I've used various versions of the Caruso Molecular Steam Hairsetter for almost 10 years now, sometimes twice a day.
The model I am now reviewing is the one I'm currently using, and I've had at least two of them. I like this version very much, because it's small and fits easily on my countertop, and packs well when I travel.
I paid about $30.00 for my last unit at Sally Beauty Supply, and it came with 30 rollers ranging in size from Jumbo for very large or loose curls down to "Petite Petite" for short hair with a tight curl.
But I use almost exclusively the medium sized rollers for my shoulder-length, relatively thick hair. This set comes with only five of that size, and I usually use 10 to 12 to cover my entire head.
I solve the roller problem by selling the sizes I don't need brand new on eBay (they always sell), and by buying a single box of all medium rollers online. Most of the time, I make enough money selling the new extra rollers to pay for the entire unit, because replacement rollers by the box can cost up to $15.00 online or in stores -- IF you can find them!
How the Hairsetter Works
The top of the unit (the red part in the photo) is taken out of the white bowl, and you fill the bowl to the fill line with cold tap water. Then you place the red unit into the bowl and plug it in.
It takes about 30 seconds to create steam, which comes out through a hole with a small spindle. You then take the sponge roller (with or without the plastic roller shield) and place it atop the spindle for about 10 seconds -- any longer might make the roller too wet to use.
There are three different ways to steam your rollers. The first is just to place the roller by itself on the steam spindle for about 5 to 10 seconds, then quickly roll it into your hair and secure it with the roller shield.
The second way is to put the roller and the shield on the spindle together so both get heated.
But the way I usually do it is to heat the roller alone first, then put the shield alone over the steam spindle (there are two raised areas on the red steamer top where the shield can rest horizontally for separate steaming).
If too much moisture has collected inside the shield, I simply dab it out with a clean washcloth or paper towel to keep my hair from getting wet. The shield still stays hot to warm.
I like to heat the roller and shield separately to maximize the time the roller stays hot enough to set the curl. But you can experiment yourself to see how to achieve the results you want for your style.
Curl Stays Until You Wash It Out?
That's been one of the claims Caruso has made for years about its steam rollers. But as far as I'm concerned, that depends on too many outside factors, like whether or not I need a new perm, the humidity and styling products I've tried.
But in general, I have found that the Caruso rollers helps my hair hold its style longer than curling irons I used in the past, and they are less damaging to my hair.
Hairdressers have long told me how amazingly healthy my hair is for all the abuse it takes with color treatment and perms. I'm sure that some of that is due to use of good conditioners and the Caruso hairsetter.
Rollers and Replacements
The down side is that the Caruso sponge rollers don't last as long as the hard type with spikes or coating. You can expect them to hold out for about three to five months with daily use.
You can order replacements from Caruso, but they are overpriced in my opinion. I also have found boxes of the Large and Jumbo sizes at stores like Wal-Mart in the past for about $12, but they never have the medium size I favor.
I have found good deals for replacement rollers at Folica.com, and I tend to order two boxes at a time perhaps twice a year.
How Long Does It Take to Do Your Hair?
People sometimes ask me this question, and I think they expect me to state a longer time period than I tell them -- about 10 minutes.
That's how long it takes me to steam each roller, put it in my hair, and cover my whole head. By the time I'm finished putting in the last roller, the first ones I set are usually cooled and ready to remove.
After removing the rollers, I let the undisturbed curls set and cool for another few minutes, then just brush and style freely. For the rest of the day, I just fluff with my fingers or brush and fluff with fingers if it's windy.
Warranty Information and Replacement
Perhaps because of heavy daily use, my hairsetter has "died" a couple of times. If I have purchased it within a the past year, I send the unit back to Caruso with the warranty card, and a replacement arrives within about three to four weeks.
The problem is that I can't do without my hairsetter that long, so I usually end up buying a whole new unit with the 30 rollers again -- and sell the extra rollers on eBay.
Keeping up with the life cycles of the rollers and the unit can be a bit of a juggle, but overall, it's well worth it for me. I love what Caruso does for my hair, and the ease of use.
It also provides the right kind of steam for facial cleansing and opening those pores -- two beauty machines in one!