[Hallyupedia] Hair Roller (헤어롤)

나확진 / 인턴 차민경 / 2021-11-14 07:00:10
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by Ra Hwak Jin / Cha Min Kyung 


[ENG] A beauty tool used to curl people's hair

▲ This photo, provided by the Kumho Museum of Art, shows artist Yoon Dong-chun's artwork of hair rolls as part of his solo exhibition "Ordinary." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



Hair rollers, also known as hair rolls or hair curlers, are beauty tools used to easily curl strands of someone's hair.

While there are various types of hair rollers, it typically refers to a finger-length plastic cylindrical roller with velcro surrounding the outer surface. In Korean, hair rollers are also called "goo-urp." According to Doosan Encyclopedia, these hair tools have been widely used in Korea since the 1970s.

The standard method of using hair rollers is to part your hair into sections, place the tool on the bottom of your hair, and wind the roll upwards to your scalp. Although this method doesn't require any additional heat or wetness, it still takes some time to curl the hair into a desirable shape. Nowadays, hair rollers have become sort of a fashion item in Korea.

◇ “Goourp" possibly originated from the pronunciation of Japanese word for “clip”

It is still not clear why people call hair rollers as "goo-urp." However, in a response to a similar question posted online, the National Institute of Korean Language explained, "It is difficult to give an accurate explanation because there is no information on the actual origin of the word. But we believe 'Goourp' may have stemmed from 'Guritpu (クリップ),' a Japanese expression for the English word 'clip.'



▲ This photo shows artist Lee Ji-min's "Curlers" artwork, which is part of Lee's solo exhibition titled "Personal Values." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


The institute also suggested to use the Korean phrase "Meo-li-mal-gae" instead. The phrase directly translates to "hair rollers" as '머리·[meo-li]' means hair or head and '말개·[mal-gae]' refers to rollers in English.

◇ Hair rollers become trendy fashion item among young women in Korea

In Korea, it is easy to spot female students or young office workers with hair rollers on their bangs while commuting from their home to school or work. In the past, people would normally curl their hair with rollers at home and remove them before going out. However, now it has become a common thing to see people wearing hair rollers outside.

This phenomenon comes from people using hair rollers while moving from one place to another after not having enough time to finish getting ready at home. It is also perceived as normal to see women style their hair while riding the subway, bus, or even walking. In addition, the fact that celebrities like K-pop girl group EXID's Hani were seen using hair rolls outside, seems to have affected this change in perception.



▲ This photo, captured from SBS' official YouTube channel, shows EXID member Hani using a hair roller on her bangs while filming for the entertainment program "Running Man." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

◇ Hair rollers seen on then-acting chief of the Constitutional Court during the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye



▲ Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi arrives at the court in Seoul on March 10, 2017, the day the court is to rule on whether to impeach President Park Geun-hye. She had rollers in her hair when she arrived. (Yonhap)


On March 10, 2017, ahead of delivering the ruling on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, Lee Jung-mi, acting chief of the Constitutional Court, made headlines as she was seen on her way to work in the morning with hair rolls attached to her hair.

Lee became an Internet sensation because her appearance did not seem to match the severe situation in which the country's attention was focused on the Constitutional Court's decision.

At the time, an official from the Constitutional Court said, "All members of the Constitutional Court are currently in a state of extreme tension," adding, "I believe this incident occurred because acting chief Lee was solely focused on how to complete this impeachment trial smoothly." The official implied that Lee's appearance wasn't intentional and that she had simply forgotten to remove the hair rolls before heading to work.

In a Twitter post, singer Yoon Jong-shin wrote, "It was both sad and touching to see that scene in the morning. Thank you to all the judges for their hard work. We won't forget this beautiful situation you have created to save us all," referring to Lee's commitment to completing the trial.

Other internet users also responded by saying, "I guess (Lee) was only thinking about the ruling" and "I can see how hectic Lee's situation must have been."

Some even made absurd analysis of the situation, such as saying the shape of the two pink hair rolls symbolizes 'ㅇㅇ,' the first letters of the Korean word '(탄핵)인용,' which translates to agreeing and approving the impeachment.



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