Which hair roller is best?
There’s just something about beautiful bouncy curls and soft flowing waves that make them the perfect hairstyle for both everyday and special occasions. Wielding a curling iron can be tricky, though, which is why hair rollers are often a much better option for adding body and volume to your hair.
Hair rollers are available in heated and unheated models and come in a range of sizes. You should choose the right type to work with your hair texture and length to ensure you wind up with the right curls. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use set of hair rollers from a trusted brand, the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Professional Ionic Hairsetter is the top choice.
What to know before you buy hair rollers
Hair rollers are available in several different types and styles.
Heated hair rollers are the most popular option and come with a heated case or platform that heats the individual curlers. Wind your hair around the warm rollers, then secure each one in place with a hair clip or pin. The rollers evenly distribute heat across the surface of your hair to form symmetrical curls. Depending on your hair’s length and thickness, it usually takes about an hour to curl your entire head with heated rollers.
Heat-free hair rollers are an effective alternative to heated rollers if you prefer not to risk heat damage to your hair. However, you must typically wear the rollers overnight to see results. Heat-free rollers are usually made of soft, lightweight plastic or foam so they’re more comfortable to wear while sleeping. The surface of the rollers is textured with hooks and loops, silicone nubs or plastic teeth that help them hold onto your hair. You still need to use hair clips or pins to keep them in place overnight, though.
Rod and ribbons have become the most popular type of heat-free rollers on the market. They have flexible wire inside them, so they can secure themselves in your hair without any clips or pins. You only have to wind your hair around the rod, roll it up to your head and bend the ends over to secure them. These rollers are usually the most comfortable and easiest for traveling.
Before you purchase a set of hair rollers, you should understand how they’re used to make sure you’re comfortable with the process.
Hair rollers should be used on slightly damp hair. Dry hair doesn’t curl as easily as damp, while hair that’s soaking wet requires too much time to dry in the rollers. You’ll want to spritz your dry hair lightly with water before using the rollers. Dampening your hair ensures not only better curls, but also has the added benefit of smoothing frizz.
Next, you have to section your hair carefully. It should be parted evenly so your finished curls fall naturally. If you wind random sections of hair around the rollers, you usually end up with lopsided, irregular curls. Separate your hair into straight, manageable sections with a comb. You may find it easier to divide all of your hair into sections and use clips to keep them divided before you start rolling it.
What to look for in quality hair rollers
Most heated and heat-free rollers measure between 2 and 3 inches in length. Curling rods are usually longer, falling between 4 and 8 inches in length, allowing you to easily fold and twist to secure them.
While there’s a fairly standard length for hair rollers, there can be significant variation in their diameter. Most fall between 1-3 inches, but jumbo hair rollers can have a diameter of 4 inches or greater. Smaller rollers create tight ringlet curls, while larger rollers produce looser, wave-like curls.
Some hair roller sets contain rollers that are all the same size, but others include a variety of rollers in up to four different sizes. If you prefer a specific size roller, though, you probably won’t get enough in a single set to curl all of your hair. In that case, you may need to buy multiple sets to have all the curlers you need.
Plastic is generally the most common material for both heated and heat-free hair rollers. Heated sets feature heat-resistant plastic that doesn’t warp or melt when it gets hot. Heat-free rollers are typically made of lower-quality plastic and are not heat resistant.
Some higher-end heated hair rollers are made with ceramic or titanium because these materials heat quickly and retain heat for long periods. The ceramic or titanium is typically covered with velvet to protect your hair from heat damage. You must take extra care when removing them from the case or platform because they often have exposed areas that get hot enough to burn your fingers.
You can also find many heat-free rollers made of foam. Foam is a soft, lightweight, flexible material that works especially well for rollers you’ll sleep in.
How much you can expect to spend on hair rollers
Hair rollers usually cost $5-$80. For simple, heat-free twist and foam rollers, you’ll typically pay $5-$10 for a set. Basic heated hair roller sets, including those designed for travel, generally range from $10-$40, but you’ll spend $40-$80 for a set of high-end hair rollers with ceramic or titanium.
Hair roller FAQ
Do hair rollers damage the hair?
A. Heat can dry out your hair and cause breakage, so heated hair rollers can sometimes damage your hair. A heat protectant product can help prevent damage if you apply it before using the rollers.
If you are concerned about damaging your hair, it’s best to stick to heat-free rollers. These rollers only cause breakage if you wrap your hair around them too tightly.
How long do hair rollers have to set?
A. The amount of time you have to leave your rollers in depends on your hair’s length, thickness and texture. Short and/or fine hair sets faster than long, thick, coarse hair.
If you’re using heated rollers, you’ll need to leave them in for a shorter period than heat-free rollers, which typically have to set overnight. Follow the instructions that come with your rollers regarding the amount of setting time and experiment to see what works best for your hair.
What are the best hair rollers to buy?
Top hair rollers
What you need to know: Made by a well-respected brand in the haircare field, this easy-to-use set of hair rollers is reliable and features high-quality materials for picture-perfect curls.
What you’ll love: It includes 30 rollers in four different sizes. The rollers feature nano titanium ceramic for more effective heating. It comes with 15 butterfly clips to secure the rollers too.
What you should consider: Some buyers found that the curlers don’t get hot enough for defined curls.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top hair rollers for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly set of rollers is from a trusted haircare brand and doesn’t use any heat that might damage your hair.
What you’ll love: It includes 48 rollers in various sizes. It works extremely well for vintage looks. The rollers work well on wet or dry hair. The foam design makes the rollers comfortable to sleep in.
What you should consider: The rollers don’t work as well on thick or long hair because they may not snap shut completely.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These rollers use molecular steam technology to curl your hair, so they’re gentle and provide long-lasting curls.
What you’ll love: The steam infused into the foam rollers is extremely gentle and works on all hair types. The rollers create curls that can last for days. They’re highly effective for boosting volume, even for fine hair.
What you should consider: The rollers work best on dry hair. The foam is somewhat soft.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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