I used to think hot rollers were a vintage (read: outdated) styling tool. Something my grandmother used. With a seemingly infinite array of wands, irons, and other high-tech hair innovations, what could rollers give me that my existing arsenal didn’t? The answer, it turns out, is instant volume—a lot of it—and ultimate convenience. You can have perfect curls in as little as five minutes.
Celebrity hair stylist David Lopez, who works with Ashley Graham and Hailey Baldwin, is a big fan of using hot rollers—T3’s Volumizing Hot Rollers Luxe in particular. “With hot rollers, I have greater control of style longevity and bounce of the hair. It’s also extremely gentle on the hair, so it’s great if you’re worried about hair damage: color- treated hair, over-processed hair, etc.,” he says. “Although they are extremely gentle, you still get a big result!” Ahead, read more from Lopez about hot roller techniques, then shop top-rated roller sets.
How long should you keep in hot rollers to avoid damaging hair?
“You can’t leave hot rollers in long enough to damage your hair. In terms of heat damage, it’s fool-proof,” Lopez says. “It takes an average of 12 minutes to cool down, although I have seen results after 5 minutes. For style longevity, leave in the hair for about 15 minutes to get the style retention you’re looking for.”
How do you prep your hair for hot rollers?
Rough drying your hair to start is key, Lopez suggests. “I like to use the T3 Cura Luxe on low speed and high heat while rough drying in order to keep the elasticity of the hair,” he says. “Once dry, prep the hair with a medium styling mousse. The heat from the rollers will activate this mousse and give the look a stronger memory. Finally, before I wrap each section around the hot rollers, I spray with hairspray and brush through.” His go-to duo includes Kenra’s Medium Hold Mousse and IGK’s Intern Flexible hairspray.
Can all hair types use hot rollers?
“Yes! Although for curly and natural hair types, you want to smooth hair first and then use the hot rollers,” Lopez insists. “The hot rollers won’t straighten or completely smooth out naturally curly hair.”
Any other tips you have for using hot rollers?
“Sometimes I wrap the hair around the rollers like I would an iron because it can give you more of a loose wave look,” Lopez says. “If you have long hair, pick up a 1-inch roller and wrap a section around the roller like a curling iron and clip it vertically. Once cool, release the roller and you will achieve a long, loose curl.”
T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers Luxe
Lopez is a fan of these rollers because “the velvet flocking doesn’t tug or pull on the hair and also seals in incredible shine.”
BaBylissPro Nano Titanium 20 Roller Hairsetter
With 20 rollers in a set, even folks with thick hair will be able to cover a full head in these easy-to-use rollers. They come in small, medium, and large-sized barrels so you can vary the sizes of your curls and look more natural.
Xtreme Big Curls Hairsetter
If you’re looking for a voluminous, slightly wavy look, go for jumbo rollers. The barrel is 1.5″ thick, so it’ll yield a ton of body in a flash.
Conair Compact Hairsetter
If you’re looking to try out hot rollers but don’t know what size and aren’t committed to the lifestyle, grab this compact variety pack. In this set you get eight medium (3/4 inch), six large (1 inch), and six jumbo (1 1/4 inch) rollers that won’t take up too much space in your bathroom.
Remington Pro Hair Setter with Thermaluxe Advanced Thermal Technology
It only takes five minutes to see results from this hot roller set. Because lower heat is distributed evenly over a longer period of time, you’re really locking in a style, so it will last for days.
Revlon Perfect Heat Curls To Go Travel Hair Setter
These travel-friendly rollers diminish frizz instantly. Pack them with you on your next trip (hopefully soon!) for easy, quick styling.
Caruso Professional Molecular 30-Piece Multiple Size Steam Hair Setter
This unique system uses steam to heat rollers individually. Wait for a roller to steam up, take it to a section of hair, clip it, and repeat all over your head. It’s quick and, most importantly, damage-free.
Calista Tools Hot Wavers Heated Hair Rollers
These no-fuss rollers will get you bouncy, shiny, classic curls. They also come with a travel case so you never have to worry about a bad hair day on the road.