Roll With It

There are different rollers for all types of curl and wave, as well as for adding body and lift. To help sort out what to use and when, here are our suggestions for achieving the desired amount of bend, wave or volume.

 In General

Before discussing the types of rollers, let’s visit a few roller basics…

  • The roller size will determine how much curl, bend, wave or volume you will get. Just keep in mind, the smaller the roller, the tighter the curl. The length of your hair and the size of the section will also come into play. The longer or thicker your hair is, or the thicker the section of hair being curled, the looser the curl will be.

  • Wrap the section of hair tightly and securely around the roller, as tension creates a good curl.

  • When using rollers, section the hair off so it’s easier to work. If you have very thick hair, divide into a lot of smaller sections to get a better result.

  • Curl sections that are no wider than the roller. The section should also not be more than two inches in thickness.

  • For dry-sets, start with day-old hair for a better hold.  

  • Avoid using a heavy conditioner if your hair does not take curl well, as it will make your strands too soft or even too flat.

  • Adding volumizing products or even a working spray before curling will help to add "grip" to your strands.

  • When using hair rollers with clips, place tissue in between the clip and your hair to help avoid dents.  

  • To avoid tangles, when taking your rollers out, always remove the rollers from the bottom of your hair first and then move to the top sections.

  • If you find that your curls drop soon after styling, for extra hold lightly mist hairspray over your locks once the rollers are in place. 

Types of Rollers for Dry Sets

Velcro Rollers

Velcro rollers help to create big, voluminous hair and are ideal for naturally straight or smooth strands, as they are less likely to get tangled in your hair. They are best for adding body and lift from the root.

To use, start with a thermal spray applied all over on damp hair and blow dry in sections. Take smaller sections of dry hair and roll up each section quickly, before it cools, continuing until you’ve curled your entire head. Let cool at least 15 minutes and then unroll to reveal soft bends and maximum fullness.

Hot Rollers

Hot rollers can help achieve bouncy curls and defined waves. You can create totally different looks depending on the size of the rollers and how you roll your hair.

A set of hot rollers usually comes with various roller sizes. If you’re looking to get big, sexy waves, opt for the larger rollers, and use the smaller for a tighter set of waves. You can also mix and match to create volume by placing the larger rollers at the crown of your head. Just keep in mind that the length of your hair will also determine the roller size you should choose: shorter hair, smaller rollers; longer hair, larger rollers, and so forth.

To use hot rollers, prep strands with a thermal protectant and section hair off to make it easier to manage. Mist sections of completely dry hair with working spray, roll up onto the curlers, and clip in place. To get the best finish when using hot rollers, wrap your hair smoothly and tightly around the roller. Repeat this method all over your head and secure with the clips provided with your hot roller kit. If you have self-grip rollers, just leave them in place. Add more working spray all over to help set the curl. Allow the rollers to cool completely for about 30 minutes before you remove them and style as desired.

Steam Rollers

Steam rollers are very similar to hot rollers with the added benefit of using steam to help set curls. Steam can give hair a really strong set so curls will last even longer. The only difference compared to hot rollers is how the rollers are heated. Instead of having a container that heats the rollers, you heat one at a time for just a few seconds over a steamer. Next you roll your hair up in sections and let cool in the same way as hot rollers. Once cool, unroll starting at the bottom and style then as desired.

Types of Rollers for Wet Sets

Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are best for defined ringlets or barrel curls without using any heat. Just roll your slightly damp hair in small sections from the ends to the roots and use the attached clip to hold it in place. Continue with all sections until your entire head is curled. In the morning, or after setting under a hood dryer, undo the rollers and style your hair as desired. 

Plastic Mesh 

Plastic rollers help create smooth curls when doing a wet set. The open mesh design also allows hair to dry quicker. Use on sections of damp strands, allow to air dry completely or set under a hood dryer, unroll and style as desired.

Flexi Rollers

Flexi rollers, which are also known as flexi rods, can be used for creating spiral ringlets without using any heat. Simply prep your hair with curl-enhancing gel, foam or setting lotion and then wrap sections around each rod. Bend and twist rods to secure into place. Once your hair is completely dry, unroll the flexi rollers to unleash the coils.

Pillow Rollers

Similar to the flexi-rods, these soft rollers allow you to roll sections up and twist the ends to secure in place. Because they are soft and lightweight, sleeping with rollers in is much more comfortable. Wrap hair like you would with flexi rods, bend and twist the ends to secure. Allow haor to dry completely, likely overnight, unroll and style as desired.

Cold Wave Rods

For those who do not like the potential thermal damage a heated curler, iron or straightener may create, the cold wave rod is the ideal alternative. The rods come in a wide variety of sizes for different curl sizes.

How to Wet Set

A wet set is a method of curling your hair by applying rollers when your hair is damp and allowing the hair to dry with the rollers in it. The result is a hairstyle that retains its curl and is easily undone with your next shampoo. Unlike a perm, this technique causes little to no hair damage because there are no chemicals used in the process.

Use these steps for setting wet hair:

Start with clean and conditioned strands and then apply a generous amount of gel, mousse or setting lotion to provide hold. With the narrow end of a rat tail or pick of your comb, section hair no wider than the roller being used. Whether or not you want your rolls over-directed, on or off base will determine the depth of your section. Once hair is sectioned and rolled, you may need to use a metal clip to help secure it.

To lock in curls and waves, set hair by sitting under a hood dryer if possible or use a bonnet that attaches to your blow dryer to apply heat. You can also air dry, just make sure that your hair is completely dry, and if heat is used, completely cooled before rollers are removed and hair is styled as desired.