Curlers and “rollers” have been around for decades, and now, rollers come in a variety of shapes, styles, and formats. From soft to hard plastic to self-grip, there’s no shortage of rollers available. The multi-sized packs can help you experiment more than you can with a standard curling iron, and there’s no need to experience excessive heat damage to your hair. Below, we’ve gathered together our favorite hair rollers to help you achieve bouncy, full, and beautiful curls—or even elegant waves. Read on to see them all, and let us help you choose which ones are best for you!
Buying Guide for Hair Rollers
Why buy hair rollers?
Hair rollers are a great alternative to traditional heat styling. They come in a range of sizes and can give you a wide option of styles. Rollers also offer a much longer curl and style than the traditional heated curling iron does. They’re somewhat gentler on hair and work on almost all hair types. Hair rollers can also help you save time—set the curls at night, sleep, and wake up to fresh curls!
What should you look for in hair rollers?
- Size: A good hair curler set is one that not only works well with your hair, but that will also give you the curl or look that you desire. Smaller rollers will give you tighter curls, while larger ones will provide a much flowier and larger curl appearance.
- Features: Foam rollers can be great to sleep in since they offer a little more comfort due to their plush feel. Heated rollers can give you a more voluminous look, although the curls might not stay as long as with traditional rollers.
- Security: Above all—make sure that the roller type you choose will stay in your hair long enough to set the curl you want, whether it be clips or Velcro. If the curler doesn’t stay put, you risk damaging or losing the curl.
Do rollers damage your hair?
The short answer is yes. Technically, anything that you put on your hair that stresses the strands damages it. When it comes to curls, the roller will do less damage than a curling iron since there’s less or no heat, but it should still be used as intended. Don’t yank or tug to get a roller out of your hair because this will obviously cause damage to both your hair and your scalp. Don’t wind your hair too tight around the roller, as this can also cause damage. Carefully follow the instructions on your rollers, and make sure you’re using good hair products. If you start with unhealthy hair, styling techniques can be even more damaging, and you probably won’t get very good curls.
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Our Picks for the Best Hair Rollers
Blulu Multicolor Self-Grip Hair Rollers
Multiple sizes grip your hair with ease and provide various styles.
Pros: These rollers are great for someone who’s just getting started with rollers or who wants to be able to easily change their curls’ look and style day-to-day. The rollers include 36 self-grip rollers (of various colors) that will allow you to achieve anything from waves to retro curls, or even shape your bangs and ponytails. They can be used on either dry or wet hair, or with a blow-dryer for a faster curl. They’re great for curling your hair or, thanks to the duckbill clips, for holding your hair up and away from your face while applying makeup.
Cons: The rollers’ “self-grip” texture might get tangled in your hair if you’re not careful while rolling and unrolling. The self-grip might also be difficult to sleep in and can come loose, leaving you with only part of your hair curled (or none of it if they all come loose). The self-grip feature generally only works the best in thick or long hair, especially with the larger rollers (Although they could be used to add volume, the curl might not hold.). This can be mitigated with the duckbill clips. Still, someone with short, fine hair will probably not be able to actively use the entire set.
Bottom Line: These are great hair rollers for both curling and holding your hair out of the way while doing your makeup. They come in a variety of styles and colors, and can easily be used with a blow-dryer and on both wet or dry hair to give you different curl styles. The self-grip helps them to easily stay put in your hair once placed, and the large pack size allows for curl customization.
Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Hot Rollers
Create natural-looking, high-shine, long-lasting curls with these rollers.
Pros: These ceramic rollers are designed to heat quickly and evenly in only a little over a minute! They can give you a natural-looking and high-shine curl. They’re jumbo-sized for that voluminous and flowing look without the hassle of using a curling iron, but with the heat to make your gorgeous curls long-lasting. There are two different sizes to help you get each piece of hair curled just right as well as 12 clips to help hold the curlers in place. You can roll your hair to keep your hair out of your face as you do your makeup, and then unroll a gorgeous, bouncy hairdo to finish your look.
Cons: Unlike traditional rollers, these still apply heat to your hair. While it’s less damaging than a curling iron, it’s still heat that can cause breakage. The larger size won’t produce quite the voluminous look for short hair that it does for long hair (and it may be virtually useless for very short hair). The heated roller can sometimes be difficult to handle. The clips might take up a lot of room on a vanity or in a drawer (as if we don’t already have enough to store), and the rollers won’t stay in your hair without the clips.
Bottom Line: If you have longer hair, these jumbo rollers can give you voluminous and bouncy curls without much effort. They’re great for styling in the morning and can help hold your hair out of your face while you do your makeup, all while styling your hair! However, they won’t be useful for short hair and have to be fastened in your hair with clips. The shiny, bouncy curls produced will last longer than those created with many other rollers on the market.
Tifara Beauty Hair Rollers
These rollers can be used on almost all hair lengths without causing damage.
Pros: These 42-piece hair rollers are a great stay-put alternative to Velcro (thus, causing less damage to your hair). Designed to be 7 inches long with 6-inch thicknesses, they’re great for various hair types and work on both wet or dry hair. These rollers are also heat-friendly, as they can even be used in combination with a blow-dryer for “instant” curls. They’re also comfortable for sleeping thanks to their soft and lightweight design, and they’re able to easily be molded into almost any design.
Cons: The larger rollers bend less than the other sizes, making them a little more difficult to situate into the hair. These rollers, while great for most hair lengths, aren’t as reliable on finer hair and might not stay in place or produce curls. There’s no additional way to secure them in your hair, so they can fall out while you’re sleeping. There’s also a limited number of each size, so folks with thicker hair might need to use multiple sizes to achieve a certain look, which means understanding the correct way to wrap your hair to make it look symmetrical.
Bottom Line: These rollers are a great and softer alternative to Velcro rollers. They have multiple sizes and work on nearly all hair lengths, even if they don’t work as well on fine hair. They’re flexible to help hold the rollers in your hair and achieve different curl styles. These rollers are a great choice for people who appreciate the look of overnight curls.
Aimin Hair Overnight Hair Rollers
Lightweight, portable, and easy-to-use curlers for varying ages.
Pros: Easy to use and soft, these rollers are great for almost all ages, from kids to teenagers to adults! They’re comfy and easily pliable, making for an undisturbed night’s sleep while your hair curls for the next day. The rollers are compatible with a little bit of hairspray before rolling and can produce both spiral ringlet curls or loose body and beach waves. They’re great for both short and long hair and can easily be washed in water.
Cons: If you don’t wrap your hair just the right way, it might result in uneven, mix-matched curls, or even frizz. The hair rollers might not stay in place as well as some other rollers on the market because there’s nothing that comes with them to secure them better in the hair. The soft, spongy material might also mean that not every curl has the same appearance, and people with finer hair might have to wrap their locks tighter than usual. The curlers only come in one size.
Bottom Line: The rollers are great for most people who are looking to add some style into their hair-do, but they have to be used just right to yield the desired results. There’s only one size of rollers, but hair can be wrapped in different ways to help produce different curls. They are compatible with almost all hair lengths, are soft for comfortable sleeping, and have a convenient travel case so that they can easily be taken with you.
Conair Foam Rollers
A large set of different-sized foam rollers with plastic clips to keep your hair in place.
Pros: These rollers are ideal for most hair types and textures, and can easily be applied to both wet and dry hair. They’re designed to be not only easy on your hair, but also, to be comfortable to sleep in. There are additional plastic clips attached to each one to help hold them in place once rolled. The clips slide out for even easier removal the next morning. The different sizes mean cute, tight curls or lots of extra body and bounce.
Cons: If you have thicker hair, you might want to consider purchasing two packs of the curlers because, while there’s a large number of rollers, there’s a limited amount of each size. To get the right look, you would have to either mix and match sizes or buy two packs. If not wound properly, your hair might also get caught in the plastic clip, requiring a painful removal that could cause extra hair damage. The clips might also be difficult for some people to close and open, especially for people with conditions such as arthritis.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a comfortable foam roller that will stay put in your hair, these are a great option! The plastic clips help the rollers stay put throughout the night, and the foam means extra comfort while sleeping. They’re great for both wet or dry hair and almost all hair types and textures. While someone with thicker hair might have to purchase two cases to achieve their desired look, there are 48 rollers with four different sizes to deliver a look that’s all your own.
Hair rollers are a great alternative to curling irons—but you’ve probably already figured that out by now! They can help you achieve an almost effortless curl or wave and are ideal for both tightly curling your hair (think Shirley Temple), loosening already naturally curly hair, or just adding some volume while you sleep. The rollers typically create curls that are shiny without frizz and offer less damage, meaning that you’ll get more body. The other great thing about rollers is that if you give them a try one night, the worst that can happen is that you have to wash out some curls (which you can typically achieve just by wetting your hair). They’re even great for beginners who want curly hair but don’t want to mess with a hot curling iron, which means they’re also great for kids!