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The Best Hair Rollers for Styling

Kaitlyn Neese
Written by Ashley Neese

Hair rollers are as popular with runway models backstage as they are with our grandmas who like to create voluminous hairdos. Even better, some of the top hair rollers of 2024 are not only healthier for your hair than intense heat treatments, but they’re incredibly versatile and work for all hair types. Of course, it can be difficult to find a good hair roller set amongst the wide variety available online. Whether you want big bounces or subtle waves, we’ve researched and reviewed the right rollers for any style. The leader on this list is Drybar’s High Tops Self-Grip Hair Rollers thanks to their variety of sizes and the easy-to-use velcro design. And there are four other great hair roller options on this list, so keep reading to learn more!

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Hair Rollers: A Buyer's Guide

You know the style you want to add volume and body to your locks, but after looking for hair rollers you realize they come in a vast range of shapes and sizes. So how exactly do you match the right rollers to the look? Should they be long, short, thick, thin, smooth, fuzzy, plastic, foam, or fabric? Should they be hot or not? We’re here to help you find the perfect rollers to create awesome curls and wonderful waves.

Hair Rollers Explained

Hair rollers, or hair curlers, are small tubes commonly made of plastic, foam, or ceramic. They are hollow or solid and come in different thicknesses and lengths. Small sections of hair are wrapped around a roller and fixed in place. Your hair can be damp or dry depending on the curling method you are using — some people leave their hair damp to dry naturally while others use a hair dryer. Once curls are set, the rollers are removed and your new look is ready to be styled.

Alternatively, hot curlers or hot hair rollers can be used. These are heated before rolling them into dry hair. Once the curlers are removed, use hairspray to keep the curls in place.

Hair rollers are used to create a range of different looks. You can create large, long waves, get more defined coils, turn out a permed look, style your bangs, enhance a bouncy bob, and even straighten curly hair.

Hair Roller Types

Hot Rollers

Hot rollers are a great time-efficient way to style curls. These curlers are heated before rolling them into your hair and usually come in an electric-powered box, where they are heated and work in a similar way to a curling iron. Once rolled and set in place they are left to cool in the hair, allowing curls to form and set exactly as they were molded. Unlike curling irons, hot rollers can be set fairly close to the roots. This provides volume and curls that can last all day.

Styling tip:

To get big volume on finer hair, use medium to small rollers. Small rollers set tighter curls, but they can be brushed out when cooled for a softer, wind-swept style.

Plastic Rollers

Plastic hair rollers usually have small ventilation holes, allowing hair to dry and set faster. Since they don’t require heat, they’re a great option for people with over-processed or damaged hair who want to minimize heat styling. You can, however, use a hair dryer to speed up the process if desired since it is very time-consuming.

When using plastic curlers, your hair should still be slightly damp. Working a little mousse through your hair from root to tip before rolling will prevent your hair from slipping out of the rollers. It also helps keep the curls in place. Once in place, blow a hair dryer over the curlers for about two minutes on high heat. Cover the curlers with a hair net and leave them in for a few hours (or, even better, overnight). Remember, your hair must be completely dry before removing the rollers. Finish off your look by using your fingers to lightly brush through and loosen the curls. You can also use a light mist of hairspray if desired to keep your style in place.

Styling tip:

If you are using plastic rollers on naturally curly or textured hair, the strands need to be rolled flat against the roller to dry properly and hold the desired shape.

Velcro Rollers

The tiny bristles on velcro rollers act almost like a round brush to create airy, voluminous, loose curls once removed. They are also effective for smaller tight curls depending on the size of the roller. You don't really need clips or pins to hold the curlers in place since the velcro does that for you. Velcro rollers are a great option for longer hair that needs a soft style with a long-lasting hold.

Styling tip:

When using Velcro curlers, section your hair around the same size as the curler and keep the tension taut.

Hourglass Rollers

Also called tension rollers or cylinder rollers, hourglass curlers are great for long or dense hair. They look very much like plastic hair rollers except that, instead of having a straight cylinder shape, they have an hourglass shape with wider edges and a slightly narrower center. The shape helps hair to stay in place and prevents the sections closest to the edges from slipping off. It also assists with providing better air circulation and the right amount of tension.

Steam Rollers

Steam hair rollers offer a gentle heat curling method that is effective and less damaging than high-heat treatments. You can also use them to create different curl types. When rolling the curlers up from the hair tips towards your scalp you’ll get a curl. On the other hand, placing them a few inches from the roots and then wrapping your hair around the tube creates more body. Regardless of the technique you use, give the rollers at least 20 minutes to set and cool before removing them.

Flexi Rods

As their name suggests, flexi rods are long flexible rods that can bend into any shape. This means that once your hair is wrapped around the rod, it can be twisted to anchor it in place without pins or clips. Although they do come in different thicknesses, they are generally on the thinner side compared to other hair roller types. They are ideal for defining tighter curls and, if your natural curl is smaller than the rod diameter, they’re a good way to stretch out or lengthen tight curls as well.

When using flexi rods, you'll want to start with hair that is already 90% dry. Apply mousse or curl cream to prep your hair and then roll 1 to 2-inch pieces from tip to root before securing it at the top. Drying time will vary depending on your hair texture and thickness. To speed up the process you can blow dry over your head carefully in an upside-down direction (this will also add volume). Make sure to always use heat protectant spray where possible. And once your hair is completely dry, remove the rods and finger-rake through the curls to loosen them up.

Foam Rollers

If you sleep with rollers in, foam hair rollers are a fantastic option. They have a softer cylinder, which is more comfortable overnight. You can avoid pulling them at night by keeping them slightly looser around the hairline or wrapping them in a scarf or bonnet.

These curler types are ideal for creating waves or a natural-looking full and fluffy style. They do, however, come in different sizes and can be used in wet or dry hair.

Styling tip:

You can avoid pulling them at night by keeping them slightly looser around the hairline or wrapping them in a scarf or bonnet.


"Spoolies" are made from heat-resistant silicone, which means your hair’s natural oils stay intact and you can speed up the curling process with a hairdryer. Since they have a dome cap underneath that keeps you hair in place, letting your hair dry naturally or leaving the rollers on overnight is a good option.

These little accessories don’t look quite like regular hair curlers and are great for various hairstyles from large vintage curls to ultra-springy coils. To use them, you wrap small sections of hair around the stem of the Spoolie from the tip of the hair up towards your scalp. When you get to the top, simply flip over the cap to form a dome that perfectly holds your hair in place.

Styling tip:

Applying a setting mousse or lotion before rolling will help define the curls and prevent frizz.

Pillow Rollers

A pillow roller is a thick, easily bendable wire covered in a soft fabric. This means the fabric holds a long, firm, straight shape but can be bent in any way. To use these curlers, wrap your hair around the fabric from tip to root, as you would with other rollers. When you get to the top, fold the edges to secure the hair in place against your head. Repeat this with small sections of hair. Wrap your head in a scarf or hair net and leave them in for a few hours or overnight.

If your hair is not 100% dry once you remove the pillow rollers, use a hair dryer diffuser to finish off the drying process before you start breaking up the curls with your fingers. For loose vintage curls, brush through your hair and style with a large paddle brush.

Pillow rollers are one of the most comfortable types to sleep in since they are soft and don’t require any pins or clips. They are also very gentle on your hair and don’t cause breakage or frizz. These rollers can be used with dry or slightly damp hair, and since they are flat, they’re easy to pack for traveling.

How To Choose the Right Hair Roller Size

The size roller you use will make a significant difference in the type of curl you get. Smaller curlers yield tight curls while medium curlers are the right choice for mermaid waves and extra lift. Meanwhile, very large rollers are great for volume and cause your hair ends to curl inward or outward (depending on the direction you roll) instead of creating defined waves. Keep in mind that, to use large curlers, you need shoulder-length or longer hair.

Hot curlers can be used on most hair types, but we don’t recommend using them if you have very fine hair that is prone to break.

Reviewing the Best Hair Rollers of 2024


Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Hair Rollers


  • Includes two roller sizes
  • Gives body to thin hair
  • Works with damp or dry hair
  • Easy to insert and remove


  • Longer hair will require two sets

The first — and my favorite — option on this list is the Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Hair Rollers. This set of six rollers, which are ideal for all hair types, includes two roller sizes. They’re very easy to use due to the velcro design. This means you don’t need any annoying clips to secure them in place. Plus, they’re easy to remove and help you create volume.

If you apply the rollers while your hair is still warm from a blowout, your curls can set in as quickly as 15 minutes (or when completely cooled). Simply comb through a small section of hair to remove any tangles. Then, starting from the bottom tips, roll your hair around the rollers towards the scalp. Let the curls set for 10 to 15 minutes. Using Drybar setting products or hairspray works most effectively with these curlers to help you get a long-lasting set and amazing volume. We’ve put these hair rollers at the top of our list because of their versatility, ease of use, and overall quality.


Remington Ionic Conditioning Hair Rollers


  • Rollers heat evenly
  • Includes J-clips for setting
  • Provides long-lasting curls
  • Variety of sizes


  • No auto shut-off

Remington’s Ionic Conditioning Hair Rollers is a heated curler set that uses wax core rollers to make gorgeous, shiny curls. The ionic conditioning technology reduces frizz, allows longer heat retention, and produces volume. Its helpful ready indicator light comes on when the rollers are ready to use and the rollers also have cool touch edges to make them easy to handle as you roll up your strands.

I love that the curlers have a velvety exterior for easy rolling and removal without damaging your hair. And each of the 20 rollers is color-coded in three different sizes. This makes it easy to customize your look with a variety of curl sizes. As the cherry on top, J-clips are also included to help you securely hold the rollers in place without causing any creasing.


xnicx Flexi Rod Hair Rollers


  • Smooth exterior prevents tangling
  • No heat or pins needed
  • Easy to pack for traveling
  • Includes 47 rollers


  • Long setting time

The xnicx Flexi Rod Hair Rollers are all you’ll ever need for healthy, heatless curls. Once your hair has been rolled, you can can simply twist or bend these unique, spongy rods to hold them in place. I was especially impressed to find that this set includes a whopping 47 rods in seven different color-coded sizes. This variety allows you to use them for any hair length or curl size — from beach waves to tighter ringlets.

Since these rods are spongy, they’re more comfortable to sleep in than plastic rollers. They can also be used in wet or dry hair.  Applying them to wet hair will give you tighter springy coils and using them in dry hair will result in looser curls. Remember, don’t remove them unless your hair is completely dry. Ideally, they should be left in for at least three hours, if not overnight.


Conair Ceramic 1.5-Inch Hot Hair Rollers


  • Sets in 10 to 20 minutes
  • Indicator light on the heating chamber
  • Volume enhancing effect
  • Travel-friendly design


  • Only includes five rollers

These 1.5-inch ceramic hot hair rollers from Conair heat up in just two minutes and are ideal for creating lots of volume and big, beachy waves. The set of five large hair rollers is designed with a flocked velvety surface for tangle-free heat protection. And the stay-cool end rings make it easy to handle the curlers while they’re still hot.

To help you set the rollers perfectly in place, this set also includes five easy-to-use claw-style clips. And, with dual voltage and a 5-foot power cord, you can take your volume-boosting curling set anywhere when you travel. I personally like that you can create different looks depending on how long you leave these hair rollers on. 20 minutes is perfect for volume and tighter waves, while 10 minutes will give you enviable blowout waves. 


mollensiuer Double-Layer Bangs Hair Rollers


  • No pins needed
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Perfect for setting bangs
  • Easy to secure


  • Only two rollers included

If styling your bangs is all you want to do, the mollensiuer Double-Layer Bangs Hair Rollers are the perfect pair for you. This set of two large rollers is self-securing but also comes with a case that wraps around each roller to hold it in place. These nylon plastic hair rollers are the ultimate no-fuss fringe fix and can be used with all hair types. Of course, you can utilize them for the ends of your hair if you wish as well. 

To create beautifully curved bans, roll them in damp or dry hair, with or without applying heat from a hairdryer. You can pretty much use whatever method you want to get the exact shaping you want. And after reading through customer reviews, I discovered that customers love how much easier these rollers make styling their bangs, whether they're traditional straight-across bangs or trendy curtain bangs. 


Amzpus Foam Sponge Hair Rollers


  • Enough rollers for a full head
  • No heat required
  • Built-in securing clips
  • Comfortable to sleep in


  • Only one size per set

This set of 36 foam Amzpus Foam Sponge Hair Rollers can be used with damp or dry hair. The curlers have clips attached to them, which can be fastened or loosened to hold or release them. These rollers are ideal to use in different hair types to create waves, retro rolls, or bouncy bangs.

They’re also available in a variety of different sizes and come in black and pink colors. And since they are softer than plastic hair rollers, they won’t damage your hair and are much more comfortable to leave in overnight. If you're someone who struggles to sleep with other kinds of hair rollers, I think this could be a great alternative. 

People Also Ask

  • Q: Should I brush my hair after removing hair rollers?

    A:For most curl styles, you should not brush your hair after removing the curlers. Instead, use your fingers to rake through the curls lightly and separate them. There are, however, some looser curl styles (like beach or vintage waves) that require brushing after the rollers have been removed. This will generally elongate the curls and create a lot of volume. If you brush your hair, ensure that it's dry and cooled down. Brushing your hair before it has cooled or dried completely will straighten out most of the curls you’re trying to create. If your hair is still slightly damp, use a hair dryer diffuser to dry the curls fully.

  • Q: Can hair rollers reduce frizz?

    A:Hair rollers can help reduce frizz by smoothing the hair cuticle and creating a more uniform texture. When used properly, rollers can also help seal moisture into the hair, reducing frizz caused by dryness. But, it's important to start with smooth, detangled hair and avoid over-drying with heat, as this can exacerbate frizz. And using a smoothing serum or anti-frizz product before rolling can enhance the frizz-reducing benefits.

  • Q: How tight should my hair curlers be?

    A:Don’t wrap your hair so tightly that it is painful or causes uncomfortable pulling at the scalp. There should be minimal tension while trying to get the roller as close to your head as possible. Rolling too tightly can cause damage if done often.

  • Q: How much hair should I use per roller?

    A:This will depend on the type of style you are creating. Using a 1-inch section of hair is usually a good starting point. If you are using velcro rollers, they should be able to hold themselves up without pins. If the rollers start loosening, there is too much hair around the roller. For a blowout look, you can usually get away with using more hair since the rollers are much larger.

  • Q: Why do my curls fall flat so quickly?

    A:There can be several reasons your hair doesn’t hold the intended style or volume for very long after curling it. Your hair should be completely, 100% dry when removing the rollers. If you aren’t sure, use a hair dryer or hairdryer diffuser for a few seconds to get rid of any dampness. Once you remove the rollers, brushing your hair instead of just using your fingers to separate the curls can cause them to become elongated. Another reason your curls might not be holding is that you’re using too much or too little hair product or your hair is too clean. Not sectioning your hair in small enough pieces will also affect the set.

  • Q: What size hair rollers should I use for loose curls?

    A:Opt for larger rollers (1.5 inches or more) for loose curls. Wrap sections of hair around the rollers and leave them in until hair is fully cooled for a soft, natural look.

  • Q: Do hair rollers work well on shorter hair?

    A:Yes, smaller rollers are ideal for shorter hair. You can roll sections of hair tightly to create volume and texture, and use pins to secure if needed.

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Kaitlyn Neese

By Ashley Neese

Hi, I'm Ashley Neese and I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.  I'm passionate about all things beauty, fashion, and wellness — specifically skin care, makeup, and natural health. I love writing about things that help people feel like their best selves, whether it's finding their perfect lip color or a supplement to alleviate anxiety. In my free time, I am usually reading a romantic comedy or playing with my two dogs.

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