Rollers—perhaps the only beauty product associated with both willowy models backstage and grannies in bunny slippers and Barcaloungers—are suddenly the hair tool of the moment. And there are as many different types as there are cool looks to create with them. Here, the definitive guide.
BY LEXI NOVAKLEXNOVAK
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015
There’s one thing runway shows, photo shoots, red carpets, and film sets all have in common (besides unusually gorgeous people and jaw-dropping fashion): the humble Velcro roller. They add lift to roots (large sizes) and curl to ends (smaller diameters) without requiring any heat or clips, since they’re self-gripping. Use them on dry, smooth sections of hair, and prep each with hair spray before rolling under and toward the scalp (horizontally) for about 15 minutes to lock in the style.
We like: Annie Self-Gripping Rollers
So let’s say you can’t be bothered curling your hair while you’re awake. Then foam rollers are your friends. The outer clip holds the roller in place while you toss and turn, and the soft, spongy body smushes against your head without wrecking your beauty sleep. Hairstylists recommend using them on slightly damp hair, positioning them horizontally and rolling under from ends to roots, and then hitting the pillow. In the morning, just unravel them and finger-rake through your hair for soft curls. You can also brush them out for fuller, less defined texture.
We like: RickyCare Classic Foam Rollers
Extra-Large Foam Rollers
Extra-large foam rollers are ideal for preserving a blowout. Section your hair into six to eight large pieces, and wrap each around a sponge before bed. It protects the style and keeps the cuticle from fuzzing overnight.
We like: Etude House Strawberry Sponge Rollers
If ringlets are your goal, flexi rods will get you there. The mini pool noodles bend into any shape, which keeps them anchored in place without pins or clips (or creases). When the rod diameter is larger than your natural spiral pattern, they’re great for stretching out a tight curl, says hairstylist Anthony Dickey. He also recommends flexi rods to add definition to kinky curly textures. Start with dry hair that’s been prepped with curl cream, gel, or mousse. Section off one- or two-inch pieces and roll vertically from end to root. Depending on the thickness and coarseness of your hair, drying could take a while, so pick up a blow-dryer and blast away. Then take out the rods and finger-rake the curls to break them apart.
We like: Goody Spiral It Out Flexible Rod Rollers
“Steam rollers are definitely my favorite,” says Dickey. “They provide a gentle, safe type of heat styling, and you can get a variety of waves and curl patterns.” If you start them at the ends of your hair and roll up toward the scalp, you’ll get more curl, and if you place them a few inches from the roots and then wrap the hair around the cylinder, you’ll get more body. With either technique, wait about 20 minutes for the rollers to cool, then unravel and rake through your hair to get what hairstylist Matt Fugate calls “soft, bouncy, I-just-want-to-touch-my-hair curls.”
We like: Caruso Professional Ionic Steam Setter
Hot Rollers, Varied Sizes
Are you the type of person who loses her s@*t waiting five seconds to skip an ad on YouTube? Then hot rollers are your speed. “They’re instant heat, instant set, instant style,” Fugate says. Kits that contain a variety of sizes create a curly, voluminous look—think big, buoyant, glamorous, and done. Portion off the central Mohawk area of your hair, divide it into pieces, and wrap each around a medium or large roller, winding away from your face. Secure it with a clip. Then set the sides and back of your hair by wrapping the rollers under from the ends up. Only use the smallest rollers where your hair is the longest to keep the curls from getting too tight, says Fugate.
We like: Hot Tools Professional Ionic Hairsetter With 20 Flocked Rollers
Hot Rollers, Jumbo
Jumbo hot rollers are as classic Veronica Lake as it gets. “The effect is the complete opposite of beachy hair,” says Fugate. We’re talking one glassy sheet of hair all moving the same way—that fluid, feminine Pantene-ad vibe, he says. To get it, create a deep side part (your hair has to be straight to start), and roll sections of hair under, toward your head, from ends to roots. Once the rollers have cooled (give them 15 to 20 minutes), gently unravel and brush through hair. If you want allover body and movement, set the rollers in the same pattern described in the previous slide. The jumbo diameter will create looser waves.
We like: T3 Voluminous Hot Rollers
Lazy people: Here’s another roller made just for you. “I absolutely love pillow-soft rollers,” Fugate says. “You can sleep in them. You can wrap your hair wherever you want—in the middle for Gisele waves, roots to end for body, just at the ends for a cool straight-to-curly look. You have so much creative freedom. They’re the best $8 you will spend on your hair.”
We like: Conair Pillow Soft Rollers
This type of fabric hair ribbon is the love child of a crochet set and a curler. Here’s how it works: Feed the hook through the center of the ribbon, latch a section of damp hair near the root, and pull it through the ribbon. Repeat until your entire head is curled. Wait until hair is completely dry, gently pull out the ribbons, and voilà, corkscrew curls.
We like: Curlformers
Peco Hair Rollers
Since the ’50s, they’ve been called Spoolies or button curlers. In Japan, they’re called Peco Rollers. And in the blogosphere, they’re sometimes referred to as nipple curlers. Whatever the name, these odd pink caps can create loose curls (wrapped just near the ends) or defined spirals (wrapped from roots to tips) in dry hair. The silicone material can also stand up to a quick blast from a blow-dyer if you want to really set those curls.
We like: Dahoo Peco Roll or Spoolies
The supersmall diameter of many cold-wave perm rods makes them ideal for creating defined spirals in short and medium-length hair, particularly if you have some texture naturally. Similar to flexi rods, start with dry hair that’s been prepped with curl cream. Section off a piece, mist it with water, and wrap it around the rod from ends to roots. Secure it by snapping the elastic into one end of the rod. Repeat until all your hair is wound up, and let it set until fully dry (trust us, you’ll want to use a blow-dryer unless you have all night), then rake out the curls. “They’re also great on the ends of protective styles like twist-outs and braid-outs, where the ends aren’t usually styled,” says Dickey.