When it comes to easy, classic hairstyles, there’s nothing quite as stunning and timeless as a head full of flowing, voluminous Hollywood style curls. It doesn't matter if you create loose spirals or tight ringlets, or if you have short hair or long hair — there’s more than one way to curl your mane to get the look.
Whether you opt for hot rollers or you prefer heat-free alternatives, gorgeous curls can be yours without a ton of fuss or an excess of products — it’s all about using the right hair rollers. Keep reading as we break down how to use five types of rollers to curl your hair, including how to use foam hair rollers, flexi rods, and velcro hair rollers to get the curls of your hair dreams.
Do I Put Rollers in Wet or Dry Hair?
Before we jump into these mini tutorials, we want to address a few questions you may have. As you’d imagine, techniques for each roller type will vary based on the rollers and the style you’re trying to achieve. But a general rule of thumb to keep in mind is never put rollers in soaking wet hair. There may be times when you’ll apply rollers to semi-damp tresses (for example, flexi rods) or your hair will feel a little wet from mousse or serum, but hair rollers are typically used on dry or slightly damp hair.
How Long Do You Leave Hair Rollers In?
The length of time you keep your rollers in will also depend on the type of rollers you’re using and the style you desire. You can leave rollers in overnight — especially soft rollers such as flexi rods and other foam rollers — if that will enhance your style and give you more voluminous curls with longer staying power, but it’s not always necessary. Hot rollers, for example, shouldn’t be left in your hair for too long. Since they use heat to create your curls, much like a curling iron, they get the job done faster, but heat of any kind can be damaging to your strands.
Are Rollers Better Than a Curling Iron?
For some beauties, rollers will always be their tool of choice for curls over a curling iron or wand. That being said, it’s totally about preference. If you’re someone who doesn’t have a ton of time to dedicate to applying and setting hair rollers and you want quick curls, a curling wand will be your best option. And that’s fine. As long as you’re using it properly and always prepping your strands with a heat protectant like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, which offers up to 450-degree heat protection without weighing down your hair.
If you choose rollers and find yourself asking, what size hair rollers should I use, take your desired ‘do into account. The same way you would choose your curling wand barrel based on how big or small, loose or tight you want your curls, you’ll choose your roller size the same way. Keep in mind, how big you section your hair will also have a major impact on your curls. Check out the tutorials below for additional guidance on how to make your dream curls reality using different types of hair rollers.
How to Use Flexi Hair Rollers
If you want to skip the burn, give your curling iron a week off (or two). Flexi rollers (also called flexi rods) will achieve some seriously stunning heat-free hairstyles. Here’s how to give this heat-free curling method a try.
Step 1. Wash and Prep Your Hair
You’ll want to start with fresh, clean strands. Begin by washing your hair with your favorite shampoo and conditioner. Towel-dry your hair, then gently brush through it with a wide-tooth comb. To prevent frizz, apply the L'Oreal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Leave-In Serum throughout your hair. Then, allow your hair to air dry until it’s slightly damp.
Step 2. Start Rolling
Before you start rolling, comb or brush through your hair to get rid of any knots and tangles. Take a small section of hair and place your flexi rod at the end. Slowly roll the rod up the section of hair until you get to the root, making sure your hair wraps around the roller smoothly and evenly. Bend the flexi roller into place until its secure. Continue sectioning, rolling, and bending until you have flexi rollers throughout your hair.
Step 3. Let It Set
If you want same day curls, put your curlers in during your morning routine and allow them to set throughout the day. If you need to speed it up, you can blow dry your flexi rollers to set your curls quickly. If you want overnight curls, put your rollers in at night and sleep on them. While this may not be the most comfortable option, you’ll be left with beautiful curls and no heat damage.
Wrap your head in a silk scarf or bonnet, or sleep with a silk pillowcase to avoid frizz and flyaways. Then, gently remove your flexi rod hair rollers one by one after they set. Use your fingers to tousle your hair and loosen your curls, and don’t forget to finish with hairspray. We love the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented for its lightweight mist and strong hold.
How to Use Hot Rollers
If you want more instantaneous results, hot hair rollers are the perfect option for you. Follow the steps below to curl away.
Step 1. Heat Your Rollers
Before you start curling, you want to heat your rollers to the appropriate temperature. While your hot hair rollers are heating up, prep your strands for heat styling by spritzing them with a heat protectant like the L'Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Sleek It Iron Straight Heatspray. Brush out any tangles or knots before moving on to the next step.
Step 2. Roll Your Hair
Gather a one-inch section of hair and place the roller at the end. Roll the hot roller toward your scalp, winding the hair around it in the process. Make sure to hold the roller by the edges to avoid burning yourself. Secure the roller in place with a pin. Continue to make one-inch sections and place hot rollers throughout your hair. Repeat until the rest of your hair is rolled up.
Editor’s tip: No one is tethered to one-inch sections of hair, it’s a general recommendation. You can use larger or smaller sections depending on how tight or loose you want your curls.
Step 3. Set Your Curls
Give your curls time to form. The time will vary depending on your hair’s thickness and texture but be sure to pay close attention not to overheat your hair. Once your rollers have set, wait until the rollers have cooled before removing them. After gently removing the clips and rollers, run your fingers through your hair for a softer look, then finish with a spritz of the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray.
How to Use Velcro Hair Rollers
Velcro rollers are heat free and one of the most classic types of hair roller you can use. Here’s how.
Step 1. Prep Your Strands
Wash your hair, then allow it to air dry until slightly damp. Brush out any tangles or knots. To prevent frizz, apply the L'Oreal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum throughout your hair.
Step 2. Roll Your Hair
Gather a one-inch section of hair, place the roller at the end, then roll it toward your scalp. The trick is to put the right amount of hair on each roller. If the roller feels loose, you likely have too much hair wrapped around it, making it difficult for the velcro to stay put. Continue placing the velcro hair rollers throughout your hair until you’ve covered your entire mane (or the desired area).
Step 3. Use A Volume Spray
Once your rollers are in place, spritz the L'Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Weather Control Hairspray on your roots and hair to add a boost of volume to your look and give your curls time to set. After a few hours, remove your velcro rollers, tousle your strands, and spritz your hair with hairspray to add the final touches of shine and hold to your voluminous curls.
How to Use Foam Hair Rollers
Foam rollers are some of the easiest heat-free curlers to use and you can sleep with them. Some will wonder if velcro or foam rollers are better but it just depends on whether you’re curling your hair in the daytime or leaving them overnight. If you want overnight curls opt for foam hair rollers as velcro curlers are bulky and hard, and uncomfortable to lean on. Here’s how to use foam hair rollers for polished curls.
Step 1. Choose Your Roller Size
The size and shape of your curl will be determined by the size of the foam hair roller you choose so this is not a step to skip or overlook. If you have a desired curl style, choose wisely.
Step 2. Section and Roll Your Hair
Section your hair into pieces based on how loose or tight you want your curls — larger sections will create loose curls. Start rolling your hair from the tip to the root, avoiding bumps and dents. Use the clasp on the hair roller to keep them neatly in place and continue all over your head.
Step 3. Finish With Serum or OilFinish with an oil or serum like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Midnight Color Care Serum to combat frizzy ends and add shine. When you remove your hair rollers in the morning, use your fingers or a hair pick to loosen your curls and give your roots some lift.
How to Use Heatless Spiral Curlers
Spiral curl formers may be some of the hardest hair rollers to use because they require a styling hook, they work best on long hair and there’s a bit of a learning curve when using them for the first time. The good news is, once you get used to applying them, you can achieve beautiful, bouncy curls of different sizes. Here’s how to make them work for your hair.
Step 1. Start With Clean Hair
As always, start off your look with clean hair. If you're dealing with dry or dehydrated hair, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Conditioner to give your hair a boot of moisture and bounce.
Step 2. Add Leave-In Conditioner and Install Your Curlers
Create small sections in your hair and add a moisturizing treatment like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Leave-in Conditioner. Then grab your section of hair by the root (be careful not to apply too much tension), place the styling hook around it, and pull your hair through the curl former. Continue throughout your head until it’s complete. If your spiral curlers don’t take shape immediately, pull them straight and then let go until they coil.
Step 3. Air Dry and Set Your Curls
Let your hair air dry for several hours or put on a silk bonnet and go to bed. Once you’re ready, remove the spiral curlers by pulling each one straight and sliding it off your hair. Your hair should spiral in the direction you curled it. Use your fingers to loosen the curls and add hairspray to set your look.
Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Tiara Nero, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier
Discover more tips & tricks
Keep your skin happy
Shop Featured Hair Care products