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How to Use Hair Rollers | Step-by-Step Guide & Things to Consider

Rollers offer a simple way to create gorgeous curls without heat damage or other treatments and allow you to add volume and body to your hair. Learning how to use hair rollers is easy, and you can do it at home.

How to Use Hair Rollers: A Summary

Woman in red lip wearing a red dress in front of a pink wall wondering how to use hair rollers

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Hair rollers come in different sizes, so you have flexibility when styling your hair. Follow these steps to add body and curls to your hair:

  1. Choose Your Hair Rollers
  2. Get Your Hair Damp
  3. Divide Your Hair into Sections
  4. Start Rolling Your Hair
  5. Use Two Rollers for Each Section of Longer Hair
  6. Detangle Sections Before You Roll
  7. Roll from the End to the Root
  8. Add Styling Products as Needed
  9. Let Your Rollers Set
  10. Remove the Rollers and Brush Your Hair

How to Use Hair Rollers in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1. Choose Your Hair Rollers

The first thing you need to do is choose a set of hair rollers. You might already have rollers; if not, you should purchase a set of velcro rollers. They are available at any drug store or beauty supply store. If you’re feeling extra boujee, splurge on heated rollers.

The smaller sizes give you tighter curls, while the larger sizes are great for gentle curls. If you have short hair, you will want to use smaller rollers. With long hair, you have a lot of choices, from waves to tight curls.

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However, with short hair, you’re limited to smaller curls. If you want to create volume, you will need large rollers. Also consider using two rollers for strands that are particularly thick, especially if you have long hair.

You will find all different assortments of rollers, so be sure to select a pack with a variety of sizes if you have long hair. We suggest sticking with a set of smaller rollers if your hair is short.

Step 2. Get Your Hair Damp

When you’re ready to use your hair rollers, you want to have damp hair. Some people start by taking a shower and shampooing their hair, while others simply use a spray bottle to mist their hair. Make sure that you remove any excess water so that the hair is damp rather than soaking wet.

The damp hair will help you achieve more curl, while using rollers with dry hair will give you more of a wavy style. Some people also use a volumizing spray before they roll their hair. This helps to make the curls more pronounced.

Step 3. Divide Your Hair into Sections

This step is particularly important for people who have thick hair. If you try to roll a thick section of hair into your hair roller, you will have trouble. Split your hair into sections that are manageable.

Clip the extra hair back, and make as many sections as you need to keep each one small enough to have an impact. Each section should have a thin layer of hair across the roller.

Step 4. Start Rolling Your Hair

If you’re using velcro hair rollers, you won’t need to use clips or pins to hold them in place. If you find that the roller is coming loose, you’re using too much hair on it. Make sure that the amount of hair on your roller holds once you roll it up.

You’re able to create many different styles, depending on the size of the rollers. Some people use large rollers on the tops and small rollers on the bottom to create body with tight curls at the bottom, while others are looking for a more uniform look. Start at the bottom of the section of hair and roll it up towards your scalp.

Step 5. Use Two Rollers for Each Section of Longer Hair

People with long or thick hair may want to use two rollers in each section. Take the first roller and start halfway up the section. Then, roll it up. Take the lower half of the section and put it in a separate roller until it meets the first one.

If you have too much hair rolled on one roller, it often reduces the amount of curl you end up with. It also ends up tangling your hair, and sometimes the roller has difficulty staying in place. The best way to avoid these problems is to use two rollers on sections of long or thick hair.

Step 6. Detangle Sections Before You Roll

Before you roll a section, brush it out to make sure that it is free of tangles. Take the section of hair out of the clip, and pull it straight. Make sure that you pull it out straight so that you have no trouble running your brush through it until it is perfectly straight when you pull it. It shouldn’t have any tangles or knots when you finish.

Step 7. Roll from the End to the Root

It is important to remember to roll your hair from the end directly up towards your roots. Gently place the end of your hair on the roller and pull it tight as you roll it up. The curls should come out down and in from your scalp. Your rollers will grab the ends of the hair and hold it in place, so you shouldn’t need to use any clips or pins.

Step 8. Add Styling Products as Needed

Depending on your hair type, you may want to use styling products as you put your hair in rollers. For example, people with fine hair may want to use a volumizing hair spray to add extra volume and help the curls hold.

Once you place the end of the hair on the roller, spin it around once, pull it tight, and coat the section in the volumizing spray. If you have frizz control issues, use an anti-frizz serum on each section as you roll it.

This will help control any pieces of hair that don’t make it into the rollers and your hair will be more sleek when you finish. Use any styling products that you want to use when you roll your hair.

Read Next: Best Setting Sprays

Step 9. Let Your Rollers Set

Once you finish rolling all of your hair, it is time to let your rollers set. You need to leave it in a minimum of ten minutes, but keep in mind that the strength and durability of your curls will increase with more time.

If you have thick hair, you will want to leave them in longer, and if you have fine hair that doesn’t hold a curl easily, try to keep them in for at least thirty minutes. If your hair is still damp, be sure to blow it dry.

Keep the hair dryer on a low setting so that you gently dry your hair with the rollers on. Also add any finishing cream or anti-frizz spray while you let the rollers set.

Step 10. Remove the Rollers and Brush Your Hair

Once you’re ready to remove your rollers, make sure that you’re careful, as they will tangle easily. Slowly unroll them one at a time. Use one hand to hold your hair up near the roots, and slowly unwind the roller. Make sure that your hair doesn’t get stuck or tangled as you unroll it.

After you have removed all of the rollers, brush your hair out. Some people use a comb to bring the different sections together again, while other people use their fingers. When you have the look that you want, use hairspray to hold it in place.

Things to Consider

Image of a woman learning how to use hair rollers while pulling a strand of hair down to put into a roller

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It is always a good idea to understand what works and what doesn’t when rolling your hair. 

Things to Do

  • Start with damp hair
  • Divide your hair into small sections
  • Use different sized rollers
  • Use two rollers on long or thick sections of hair
  • Try your favorite styling products
  • Set your rollers as long as you want

Things Not to Do

  • Avoid putting too much hair on one roller
  • Don’t unroll your hair too quickly
  • Don’t roll from the top down
  • Avoid rolling your hair before you detangle it with a brush

So, How Do You Use Hair Rollers?

It isn’t difficult to use hair rollers, but it will take some time to achieve the best results. Make sure that you have an assortment of sizes unless you have short hair. Start with clean, damp hair and divide it into sections.

Then, carefully roll each section from the end of the hair to the roots. You don’t need to pin or clip the rollers, as they will hold on their own. Try using two rollers on sections that are thick or long.

After you let it set, be careful and move slowly as you unroll your hair. Combine the different sections with a comb or your fingers, and use hairspray to hold your style.

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