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10 Types of Hair Rollers and How to Use Them

Want extreme body and volume that lasts? Use hair rollers. Defined spiral curls or messy beach waves? Hair rollers. Flawless hairstyles with less breakage and heat damage? Hair rollers. Easy styling while you do your makeup or literally anything else? Hair! Rollers! And we’re not just talking the old-school velcro rollers or hot rollers from your grandmother’s beauty cabinet. These days, there’s a set of these curlers for every hair type — even naturally curly hair. If you’re ready to become a hair roller connoisseur, you’ve come to the right place. This is your expert guide to using hair rollers. 

"Hot rollers are all the rage, AGAIN. It’s essential to ensure that your hair is completely dry before placing your hot rollers. Try using a hot roller that is larger than 2 inches for a more modern curl. Using a metal clip rather than a plastic claw clip will keep you from getting any lines of demarcation. Place them in a Mohawk section, let them cool all the way through and brush through with a Mason Pearson to achieve that TikTok glam you keep seeing everywhere!" —Alicia Miller, Davines National Master Trainer

What are the benefits of using hair rollers?

A great set of hair rollers are a must-have in any hair care routine. These multi-tasking tools are the secret to more than just gorgeous waves and frizz-free curls. You can use hair rollers to create faux-curly hairstyles, casual beachy waves, and endless texture. You can even use them in place of a blowout for creating mega volume on fine hair. Plus, they’re easy to use and healthier for your strands than traditional hot tools like blow dryers and curling irons. If you have color-treated or dry hair, you should be using hair rollers in place of your usual blow dry routine. And even if you don't, your strands can benefit from styling with rollers. 

Wet hair in shower Davines products

Prepping hair before using hair rollers

There are many different types of hair rollers, but I want to first cover some tips to keep in mind, regardless of what kind you use. When it comes to styling with hair rollers, a lot of your success in achieving your desired style has to do with the way you roll them, similar to a blowout. The direction you wind the curlers in forms the direction of the bend or curl, so be mindful of that. Also, before rolling, you need to make sure you’ve prepped your hair properly for best results. Start by washing your strands and following up with a hydrating conditioner. Use a microfiber towel to dry your hair until you’re left with damp hair. Run a hair serum or curl prep product through your hair and section your hair into four quadrants: the front, the left, the right, and the back. Work with one section of hair at a time, and work in subsections that are roughly the same size. Now let’s take a look at the different types of hair rollers and the hairstyles they’re best for.

Types of hair rollers and how to use them

1. Velcro Rollers 

Velcro rollers give you the kind of long-lasting volume you just can’t get from a blowout. These curlers work for all hair types, but give the most bang for their buck on fine hair. Wrap sections of your hair around the velcro roller. Hold in place with a straight pin, and leave your curls to set for 30 minutes. Remove the velcro rollers and finger comb your hair.

2. Flexi Rods

Also known as bendy rollers, these bend into any shape and hold themselves in place without pins or clips. They’re ideal for creating tight ringlets or stretching out a tight curl. Section off your hair and roll vertically from end to root. Depending on the thickness and coarseness of your hair, use a heat protectant spray and blast with a blow dryer to speed up the drying process. Take out the rods and finger comb your curls.

Davines Melu Hair Shield heat protectant spray

3. Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are one of the more comfortable options if you're looking to set your hairstyle overnight. The spongy body protects your head from the outer clips that hold the roller in place while you sleep. Section your hair and starting at the end, roll up each piece of section in the hair roller to the scalp and clip it in place. When you wake up, unroll your curls and spritz with a curl refresher.

4. Steam Rollers

Steam hair rollers are similar to hot rollers, except that they’re heated up one at a time by holding them over steam. You can get a variety of waves and curl patterns with these curlers. If you start them at the ends of your hair and roll up toward the scalp, you'll get more of a curl, and if you place them a few inches from the roots and then wrap the hair around the cylinder, you'll get more body. With either technique, wait about 20 minutes for the rollers to cool, then unravel, comb through with your fingers and finish with an anti-frizz hairspray.

5. Spoolies

These are another type of hair roller with various options for creating ringlets, or waves. Start with a volumizing mousse from mid-length to ends to combat frizz, then section out your hair. Place the spoolie at the scalp, wrap the hair around the thin middle section, and then collapse the top over it to lock the hair in place. If you’re looking for some quick body, leave the spoolies in for about 10 minutes. For tighter curls, leave them overnight and unroll in the morning.

6. Jumbo Hot Rollers 

If you’re wondering how to get frizz-free curls, jumbo hot rollers are your answer. These come in a box that gets plugged in to heat up. Once they’re warm, wrap your hair around them from end to scalp and use a clip to keep your hair attached. Only use the smallest rollers on the longest sections of your hair to keep your curls from getting too tight. Give the rollers 15 to 20 minutes to cool in your hair, then gently unravel and brush through your hair. 

7. Cold-Wave Perm Rods 

Cold-wave perm rods are ideal for creating defined spirals on short and medium-length hair, particularly natural hair. Prep your wet hair with hair oil to seal in moisture. Section your hair and start each roll by tucking the hair into a folded sheet of paper. Then roll it around the rod from ends to roots, and secure it by snapping the elastic into one end of the rod. Repeat until all your hair is wound up. Wrap your head in a scarf and style these undercover by disguising them as a simple scarf updo for curly hair while they dry. Then when you take off your scarf and unroll your rods, you’re ready to rock hairstyle number 2!

8. Ribbon Curlers

These hair rollers work wonders for creating perfect overnight curls on short to medium-length hair. Ribbon curlers come with a stick, a hooked end, and a spiraling piece of fabric. Twist each hair section slightly before rolling. Then, making sure the hook is facing the ceiling, hook your hair and gently pull it down into the spiraling fabric until the stick comes out completely. In the morning, take the rollers out by completely straightening the fabric, gently squeezing the rubber at the scalp, and sliding off the hair. Shake out your hair and spritz with a curl refresher if needed.

Davines curly hair products care

9. Pillow-Soft Hair Rollers  

If you’re wondering how to get beachy waves overnight, these hair rollers are your answer. Regardless of your hair length or texture, they’ll give you crimp-free curls by morning. Curl your hair section by section, wrapping around the roller and secure by tucking the sides of the roller inwards. These hair rollers are super comfy to sleep on, like the name suggests, so if you like to style while you snooze, we highly suggest this option. In the morning, unroll your hair and finger comb through your curls.

10. Rag Rollers 

Rag rollers are a budget-friendly option for creating curls, waves, or texture throughout your strands. You can buy rag rollers at a beauty supply store or use any scraps of fabric (even socks). Section off your damp hair and tie the fabric half way down an inch wide section of hair. Once the knot is secure, pull the fabric to the end of your hair, and roll like you would a regular roller until you reach your scalp. Once you’re fully rolled let your rag curls sit for as long as they need to dry. Unwrap your hair and finish with an anti-frizz hairspray.

Final thoughts on hair rollers

Hair rollers are the multi-tasking superstar of the hair tool world. A great set of hair rollers are the secret to flawless hairstyles, no matter what your hair type or texture. You can use hair rollers for long-lasting body and volume, defined ringlet curls, or beachy waves. And no matter what type of curler you use, they’re a safer, healthier alternative to styling your hair with heat. And remember that in addition to avoiding heat damage, it’s important to add a weekly hair mask for curly hair and use only high quality hair care products to keep your hair looking healthy. All of our Davines formulas are free of harmful toxins, use natural ingredients, and are made with renewable energy and packaging that minimizes the environmental impact. Our hair care isn’t just good for your hair, it’s good for the planet. 

by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor

photos by @goldandglowco

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2 Responses

Marquita Dowdell
Marquita Dowdell

March 17, 2023

Really would like to LEARN and SAMPLE your PRODUCTS, I am a hairstylist, and I want NOTHING more but, THE BEST PRODUCTᔕ to use on my CUSTOMERᔕ….

Straight Hair
Straight Hair

April 18, 2022

Hey, Are these rollers working on straight hair too. As I am having long straight hair.

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