When it comes to hair trends, we’ve been experiencing a lot of nostalgia over the past few months. Between chunky, face-framing highlights and ‘90s hairstyles, there are tons of old-school trends on our radar. One of the biggest throwbacks right now? Hair rollers! For those who have used hair rollers before (or saw your mom or grandma using them back in the ‘80s), you already know that this vintage styling tool is a great option for achieving bouncy curls, waves, or blowouts.
With so many hair rollers available that all serve a different purpose, it has resulted in a heated (pun intended) debate about whether hot rollers or velcro rollers are the better styling alternative. We’re here to answer all your burning questions about hot rollers vs. velcro rollers and help you decide which one you need to achieve your hairstyling goals.
Should you use hot rollers or velcro rollers?
Before you decide which type of hair roller to try, think about the result you’re trying to achieve. Hot rollers perform similarly to a curling iron or wand, creating voluminous, long-lasting ringlets with a smooth, shiny finish. Velcro rollers, on the other hand, primarily create volume. If you want to achieve a salon-style blowout at home with way less heat, velcro rollers are a better choice for you.
How to Use Hot Rollers
Choose your size.
Before you get started using hot rollers, it’s important to note that size matters. When you use a regular curling iron, the bigger the barrel, the looser the curl—and the same applies to hot rollers. Pro tip: Mix and match hot roller sizes if you want different-sized ringlets. This will create more dimension and natural-looking movement throughout your mane.
Apply a heat protectant.
A heat protectant is to hair what sunscreen is to the skin—you shouldn’t expose either part of your body to high temps without them! Before you start styling, be sure to apply a lightweight thermal protectant like Biolage Professional’s Thermal Active Heat Proectant Spray throughout your hair to help minimize heat damage.
Plan to wear your bouncy hairdo for a few days? Consider opting for a heat protectant like Kérastase Couture Styling L’Incroyable Blowdry Hair Lotion. The formula is reactivated by heat, meaning you won’t have to layer on any additional products every time you touch up your curls.
Divide hair and start rolling.
Divide your hair into sections. The sections should be about the same size as the rollers you use. Hold one of the sections straight up and place the roller underneath the hair a few inches from the ends. Wrap your ends under the roller, then continue rolling the rest of your hair. Secure the roller with a clip.
Set the top sections of your hair first and work your way down. This allows the rollers at your crown to stay in the longest and create long-lasting volume. Pro tip: Always set the rollers up and away from your face. This will help create more volume and lift.
Set your style.
Once you’ve finished each section, let the rollers sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the rollers, comb through the hair gently, and lock in your look with a few spritzes of hairspray like Pureology Style + Protect Soft Finish Hairspray. Rather than leaving your mane crunchy and stiff post-spritz, this formula provides a flexible, non-drying hold that can brush out at the end of the night.
Can you sleep with hot rollers in your hair?
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t sleep with hot rollers in your hair. The first is that hot rollers only retain heat for about 15 minutes; once they’ve cooled down, there’s really no advantage in keeping them in your hair after they’ve done their job. After that short time is up, the rollers have already reached their full potential.
Another reason you shouldn’t hit the hay with hot rollers (besides being seriously uncomfortable!) is that they can significantly harm the hair. We already know that tossing and turning on our pillowcase can rough up hair’s cuticle and cause damage, so imagine adding hot rollers on top of that? The last things we want to end up with come morning are a tangled mess of locks and preventable breakage.
Can hot rollers cause hair loss?
Many of us break out the hot rollers sparingly for special occasions, so it’s unlikely they will cause hair loss. That said, the risk is not entirely off the table. Daily use of hot rollers can cause traction alopecia, a patchy hair loss caused by repeated or excessive tugging of the hair follicles. This can happen due to the tension and weight created by clipping hot rollers so closely to our scalp.
While it may sound scary, this form of hair loss is preventable. We recommend limiting your use of hot rollers, tight hairstyles, and other styling tools that can put unnecessary stress on strands. If you’re already dealing with the condition, reach out to a board-certified dermatologist or trichologist, who can help recommend products and treatments to soothe areas of hair loss.
Are hot rollers better than a curling iron?
Hair comes in so many different types and textures, so we’d be remiss to say whether or not hot rollers are better than any other styling tools out there. The answer depends on your curl preference and what type of heat works best for your specific hair. Those with thick or curly hair may find that the curling irons help their tresses better hold onto the barrel’s shape, while others with fine or thin hair may have better luck with hot rollers.
Curling irons tend to have higher heat settings, which can severely damage strands. On the other hand, hot rollers only emit a limited amount of heat, but strands can get caught in the rollers, resulting in breakage and split ends.
Your skill level will also play a role in deciding your chosen method. A curling wand or iron is typically easier to use, while rollers require a dexterous hand and a lot of patience!
Looking to learn more about how to use velcro rollers? In the video below, celebrity hairstylist Bradley Leake breaks down everything you need to know to achieve a voluminous blowout using Basic B Beauty Velcro Rollers.
How to Use Velcro Rollers
Prep hair with a volumizer.
Before you begin styling, prep slightly damp hair with a volumizing product like Pureology’s Style + Protect Instant Levitation Mist. This formula elevates hair with 24 hours of weightless volume and provides heat protection if you decide to blow-dry your rollers instead of air-drying them. You should also add a dime-sized amount of hair mousse like L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Volume Envy Extra Mousse to the ends of your hair for volume and strong hold.
Enhance hair with a curling iron (optional).
If you’re starting with day two or day three hair that’s already dry, use a curling iron to help form the curl before wrapping it around a velcro roller. Be sure to spritz on a heat protectant, as mentioned above!
Roll in small sections.
Work in sections that are smaller than the size of your roller. Starting with one section at a time, hold it straight up and place the roller underneath the hair a few inches from the ends. Then, wrap your ends under the roller and continue rolling the rest of your hair away from your face. Apply tension as you roll to achieve the best results. Secure the roller with a clip or bobby pins. Now, wait for your hair to air dry completely or use a blow dryer to speed up the process before taking the rollers out.
Set your curls.
Complete your look with a few spritzes of a texturizing spray like Matrix Vavoom Extra Full Freezing Spray to give your hairstyle workability, buildable hold, and shine. The formula also works as a dry shampoo to extend the life of your curls and even has you covered against frizz, UV rays, and humidity.
Can I use velcro rollers on wet hair?
Velcro rollers are best on damp hair since locks will best retain and take on the curly shape of a velcro roller as it dries. Sopping wet hair is unlikely to latch on to the roller (and it would take forever to dry!), but damp hair has just enough moisture left in it to give you a head of full, bouncy curls once the rollers are removed.
Do velcro rollers cause frizz?
The tiny flexible hooks characteristic of velcro can easily get tangled in your hair, so it’s essential to go slow and take your time when removing them once hair is fully dry. Arming yourself with a frizz-fighting shampoo and conditioner is your first defense against flyaways. Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Shampoo + Conditioner moisturizes, detangles, smooths, and adds softness and shine to hair to keep it from snagging.
Still see frizz cropping up? Warm a bit of a paste like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Nendo Definer Matte Clay between your fingertips and lightly tap or pinch down those areas of unruly hair.
Can you use velcro rollers overnight?
Much like bedtime hot rollers are a no-no, so are velcro. If your goal is to wake up with an effortless heatless wave, we advise checking out our guide on the heat-free techniques that are trending now.
Now that you know all about hot rollers vs. velcro rollers, you can decide which styling tool is best for your routine.
Interested in more salon-grade products that will help you achieve your hair roller dreams? Hair.com has you covered!
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Good hair day by @linsonhair