Everything You Need To Know About Hair Rollers

Achieving those dreamy curls is not as hard as you think, especially if you have the best rollers for your hair type. You don’t have to limit yourself to using a curling iron or a curling wand either, because of all the curling tools in the market, hair rollers can actually give you the most uniform and long-lasting look.

With the help of hair rollers, you also get much-needed volume. The most important thing, therefore, is to understand what type works best for you.

Types of hair rollers

There are many types of hair rollers that you can choose from. The options available in the market today range from the simplest to the most sophisticated, but basically, they belong to 2 main categories, depending on whether or not they need heat to function, and they are as follows:

how to make your hair super curly without heat using flexi rods

1. Non-Heated Rollers

Plastic Mesh Rollers

Made of mesh, you can use this type of rollers on wet hair because the material allows your hair to dry quickly. Using plastic mesh rollers will result to smooth and beautiful curls


True to its name, this type of hair roller is basically made of long and flexible rods that are cushioned. Sometimes this is also known as ‘hair twirlers,’ precisely because you use it to twirl your hair and achieve ringlets: tight and spiral curls. Made to be used even by itself, you can even use flexi-rods to twirl and curl hair without having to deal with additional clips or pins.

Magnetic Rollers

Also used with wet hair, you need to put this on your hair right after you shower and allow it to dry overnight. By doing so, the curls last longer and you get the smooth and voluminous appearance that you want.

Velcro Rollers

Made of Velcro, this type of roller was made to do away with clips and pins because the material should be able to keep hair in place. Used on either dry or damp hair, using Velcro rollers will result to soft curls that add some volume.

Foam Rollers

These hair rollers that are made of soft foam are ideally used with dry hair. Because this type is so gentle on the hair, you can even sleep with these rollers on.

2. Heated Rollers

How to curl hair using hot rollers – Curling Diva

Steam Rollers

As the name implies, this type makes use of the moisture of the steam to set the curls and make them last long. These are basically soft foam rollers that you first set in steam and place in your hair, but once the steam evaporates and leaves your hair dry and curly, your hair is also left shiny and soft. This also produces volume without much frizz and is quite safe to use because the steam doesn’t damage your hair.

Ceramic Hair Setter

This produces heat to lock in the curls, and it does so through the ceramic core. The core produces ions and far infrared heat to ensure that the heat transfer is maximized and the curls are long-lasting and shiny. Like most heated rollers, the ceramic hair setter can be used right away because they heat up fast, and can definitely eliminate frizz.

Wax Core Rollers

Ideal for hair that’s quite resistant to curling, this type of hair roller has wax in its core, and this is why it’s able to hold the curls longer and make them stronger.

Other Hot Rollers

All heated rollers make use of heat, but they differ from one another because of the material and technology used. Aside from ceramic and wax core rollers, some use Nano Titanium technology, pulse technology.

Hair Roller Sizes

Hair rollers also come in various sizes because each size will produce a different type of curl. As a general rule of thumb, the size of the hair roller will dictate the size of the curl because your hair will be rolled in that particular diameter. Using only one size will, of course, give you uniform curls, but if variety is what you’re looking for, then using assorted sizes will help you achieve that unique style. These are the sizes you can pick from:

Small (About ¼ – 3/8 Of An Inch)

Small rollers are useful if you want smaller and tighter curls. This gives you minimal volume at the root area and gives you really compact waves that look nice. The tiniest option is also useful if you want to curl hair tendrils that frame the face.

Medium (Half An Inch)

Medium-sized hair rollers are useful if you want some volume at the root area, but still have waves that are tight.

Large (1 Inch)

Large hair rollers will give you large romantic curls and mid-sized waves, with moderate volume in the root area.

Extra-Large To Jumbo (2 Inches And Above)\

Extra-large, smooth, and voluminous waves can be achieved by using jumbo rollers.

Best rollers for your hair type

While the types and sizes of hair rollers are pretty straightforward in terms of what each can achieve, it’s also critical to look at your hair type. Depending on your hair type, you should pick the hair roller that works best with it in order to avoid frustration and achieve the best results in the shortest possible time.

  • Thin/Fine Hair

    For hair that’s thin or fine, your best bet is to use smaller rollers. With thin hair, the main thing you want to achieve is added volume, and tighter curls will do just that. You need to separate your hair into smaller sections, then use hair rollers with smaller shafts. You can easily curl thin and fine hair even without heat, so any of the non-heated options will do. But if you plan to use heated rollers, steam rollers will give you great results without damaging your delicate hair.

  • Thick Hair

    Thick hair is usually harder to manage, but this is why you should use larger rollers. The large size will allow you to wrap your thick hair with ease. You also want to avoid frizz, which usually shows up more with thick hair. To do this, it’s better to pick heated rollers, so that the curls set better and become more defined.

  • Short Hair

    Shorter hair is easier to manage because it’s more lightweight, so you don’t usually need the heated types. Smaller non-heated rollers work better, as they will give you ringlet-like curls that are fun and whimsical. You can also mix and match the sizes, to give your hair a unique texture, but jumbo rollers are out of the question because you won’t have enough hair to roll onto it!

  • Long Hair

    Extra large and jumbo rollers are the most useful for long hair because you will need to wrap the entire length of your hair in the roller. This is critical in getting the loose and wavy curls that you want, because if you leave some portions out it will definitely not look the same.

  • Frizzy Hair

    If your hair tends to be frizzy, then heated rollers will work best for you as they are made to eliminate unwanted frizz on hair. Before you curl your hair, it’s also best to ensure that you apply pre-curling products that can protect your hair and further prevent frizz.

  • Damaged Hair

    If your hair is too delicate or is already damaged, the last thing you want to happen is to damage it further. It’s better if you avoid heated rollers, as well as having to use accessories like clips. You’re better off with Velcro rollers of foam rollers because they are gentler on your hair compared to other options.

  • Smooth Hair

    Smooth hair is ideal on a normal day, but when you’re using curling products you need to be careful not to cause your hair to tangle up. This is why smooth hair will benefit most from Velcro rollers as they are the least likely among all the options to get tangled in your hair.

Other accessories needed

In using rollers, you usually need clips and pins to hold them in place. There are some rollers that are self-clipping and self-gripping (i.e. Velcro) so you don’t have to worry about added accessories. However, clips are still useful to hold other sections of your hair in place while you work on the other parts. There are also cases, especially when hair is thick and unmanageable, that clips and pins can really help you achieve what you want.

You will also need to have a good hair comb ready because a big part of curling your hair is combing them into separate sections. You also have to ensure that you have proper hair care and protection before styling, especially if you’re using heated curlers.

Sometimes you need to apply an effective setting product before curling in order to ensure the best results, and a smoothing cream or hair serum will help prevent frizz if you plan to use hair rollers on wet hair. Having a hairspray on hand (even a light one) can also help put your curls in place after removing the curlers.

Difference between hot rollers and curling iron

Like a curling iron, hot rollers make use of heat to give you those enviable curls. At first glance, using 1 curling iron might look less expensive, a lot less intimidating and definitely takes a lot less closet (or luggage) space compared to using several hot rollers, but looks can be deceiving. So what exactly is the difference between these two heating devices?

First, when using a curling iron, that device is all you have to curl your tresses. This means that with your curling iron, you need to heat and style smaller sections of your hair separately. While this is useful if you just want to curl one portion of your hair and go, it’s a very different case when you need to curl your entire head of hair. That would mean investing more time and always looking at the mirror to ensure that your curls are even and you didn’t miss on any section.

In contrast, with hot rollers you just need to put them in place and wait for them to set. But while waiting, you are free to do so many other things. You don’t have to worry about styling separate sections of your hair because the hot rollers will do that for you. Once you remove the curlers, you’re good to go.

Aside from ease and convenience of use, you’re also more prone to accidents with a curling iron. The heat is strong enough to burn your fingers when you’re not careful, and it tends to be more damaging to the hair. Hot rollers, on the other hand, are less damaging because the heat is not that strong. Most of them are also built to be safe for touch.

Lastly, hot rollers also tend to produce curls that last longer, and with no frizz at that. So if you need curls that last the whole day and night, you know what option to pick. A curling iron still produces curls of course, but this usually reverts to your original hair in a much shorter time.

How to use hair rollers

Contrary to what others think, using hair rollers need not be complicated. Ease of use is a priority for hair roller manufacturers, and once you get the hang of it, you can easily curl your hair as if it’s second nature. These are the main steps and principles you need to remember when using hair rollers:

1. Prepare your hair

Preparation is half the battle, and well-prepared hair will curl better. Wash your hair beforehand and after drying with a towel, apply the styling product of your choice onto damp hair. A wet set usually lasts longer, but this is not ideal if you plan to use heated rollers. With heated rollers, you need to make sure your hair is dry and has some setting product applied. If any heat is involved, though, you need to make sure your hair has heat protection. Using mousse will also help enhance your curls.

2. Divide into sections and roll them up

Once your hair is ready, you can divide them into sections and hold those sections in place with some clips. The general rule of thumb is that your sections shouldn’t be wider than whatever type of roller you’re using. In terms of thickness, they should just be about 2 inches.

Smaller sections with smaller rollers will give you tighter curls, and the larger the sections (and the rollers) are, the looser your curls will be. You have to remember to roll towards the scalp, from the tips all the way to the roots. Depending on what style you want to achieve, you can experiment on hair roller sizes.

3. Allow hair to set

Setting your hair is a critical step to curling it, and you won’t achieve the curls you want if you forget (or rush) this step. You can go old-fashioned and leave the curlers overnight or just put on the rollers early and go about with the rest of your activities while allowing it to set.

Alternatively, you can also use a hair dryer to lock those curls in place much quicker. If you’ve done a wet set, you can’t remove the rollers until your hair is completely dry. If you’re using hot rollers, on the other hand, you have to wait until your hair has cooled completely.

4. Remove the hair rollers

Remove the rollers one at a time, moving away from your face. If you have a lot of sections, remove the rollers that are at the bottom first, so as to avoid tangling when you remove the rollers in the upper sections.

5. Style and finish

As soon as all the rollers are removed, use your fingers to style your hair as you wish. A good hairspray will keep your hair in place.

Using Hair Rollers For Short Hair

When curling short hair, the principles and steps are the same. You just need to make sure that when you divide your hair, you’re dividing it into smaller sections (about an inch) because this will give you tighter, volume-adding curls. The hair width should not exceed the width of your hair roller. Begin at the front and then work on your crown, moving from the top to each side.

Different ways to use hot rollers

Hot rollers are a bit trickier because there’s heat involved. There are different materials and technologies used in hot rollers, so it’s important to look at the manual and see how to heat your rollers (this is usually just a button that you click) before rolling them onto your hair.

With hot rollers, the curls last longer and depending on what you want to achieve in the end, these are the different ways of styling:

  • Bouncy and Loose Waves

    Plug in the largest rollers in your set to heat them beforehand, then rub mousse onto your hair. Separate your hair into three sections (middle, right, and left) and hold in place using clips. Work with the middle section first. Roll your hair in place starting from the area closest to your forehead, then work downwards until you finish the entire section all the way to your nape. Use more hot rollers to work on the other sections, then set hair with a hold spray, waiting for the hot rollers to cool completely. When you remove the rollers and pins, gently brush your hair to style it, using your fingers or a brush.

  • Tight Ringlets

    Hot rollers can also be used to produce ringlet-style curls, but for this, you need the smallest rollers in your set. Heat your rollers and prepare your hair by applying hairspray. Divide your hair into three main sections again, but to achieve ringlets you have to make sure that you use the hot rollers and roll your hair vertically instead of horizontally. Smaller vertical sections with smaller hot rollers will give you the hairstyle you desire. When you’re done, put some more hairspray and make sure that you don’t brush our hair (even with your fingers) as this will cause your precious ringlets to break apart.

  • Big and Voluminous

    If volume is what you’re after, you can forget the uniformity and just mix and match the sizes of your rollers. With different-sized rollers, you can create volume and a lot body. It’s also good to alternate the number of hot rollers you’re using in each layer that you’ve separated and prepared. This will add more texture to your overall look and leave you with hair that looks sophisticated but effortless.

  • Sleek Waves

    Curly hair doesn’t always have to look messy, and hot rollers are perfect to give you sleek, smooth, and very well-defined curls. First, begin with a deep side part instead of a center part. Working from the tips to the mid-shaft, use large rollers that can wrap about 3 inches of your hair upwards. Allow the hot rollers to set your hair and after removing them, the key is to use a paddle brush (you can spray a little bit of hairspray in the brush beforehand). Using the paddle brush, loosen your curls and style it the way you want.

  • Retro 1950s Chic

    Vintage hair can also be achieved with hot rollers, and all you need to do is do a side part, then starting at the top, do vertical rolls starting with the hair closest to the part. The rollers will look like it’s almost at a 90-degree angle to your head, and you need to repeat this with the other sections.

    For a vintage look, you need to use smaller rollers as they will give you tighter, retro curls. Remove the rollers and brush them out. The unique thing about this look is the defined curls in your crown (or your bangs if you have any), and you can style this the way you want, even adding a bow for added effect and to complete the retro vibe.

Hopefully after reading this guide, you are now ready to buy your own set of hair rollers and use them exactly as you want.