The 7 Best Hot Rollers
This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in February of 2015. Hot rollers create styles faster than their standard, non-heated counterparts, plus they can give you curls that last all day, without unhealthy frizz or annoying flyaways. Check out our selection of the best sets available for any type of hair, whether it’s long, short, thick, or thin. Some come with convenient, compact travel pouches so you can achieve your favorite looks while on the go. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 18, 2021:
Sadly, one of our favorite sets for waves, the Conair Big Curls, is no longer available. Neither was our top travel kit from Revlon, so we've removed both. Instead, consider the high-end BaBylissPRO Nano for big curls and pronounced waves, and the Remington H1015 if you're on the go. The Conair Infiniti Pro is still our top premium choice, thanks to the multiple heat settings and essentially unmatched reliability.
January 30, 2020:
Whether you want tight ringlets or relaxed beach waves, a set of hot rollers can make for a nice alternative to a curling iron – and once you get proficient with them, they can actually save you time when compared with other styling tools. Just leave them in for around 15 minutes while they work their magic. A tip or two: Once you’ve washed your hair, dry it and prep it with some styling mousse, which will help the curls to take hold. Once you’ve removed the rollers, no need to comb your hair unless you want to relax your new curls. Running your fingers through your tresses may be enough to do the trick by providing a smooth, polished look.
The T3 Micro Premium come recommended by celebrity stylists, who praise the velvet flocking, which doesn’t tug on the hair, while it also helps to produce a beautiful shine. These rollers feature both ceramic and aluminum components for even heat transfer. You can choose from two temperature settings on the base and, no matter how hot you like them, you never have to worry too much if you accidentally left them plugged in, thanks to their one-hour automatic shutoff safety feature. One caveat: Many users are not satisfied with the included clips, which are on the flimsy end, so you might want to invest in another set that are made of sturdier plastic or metal. They do come with a handy storage tote and are backed by a generous two-year warranty.
The newly added Remington Ionic comes with a colorful, smartly designed case, so they’ll look great on your bathroom vanity, and won’t take up too much space, either. Included are three sizes, which are color coded, so it’s easy to know which one you’re picking up. (Many others actually don’t feature the color coding, which users often find tedious.) The ends of these stay cool to the touch – and they come with a handy readiness indicator light – so you won’t end up burning yourself when picking them up or guessing whether they’re fully heated and ready to go.
For another set from the same manufacturer – but with quite a different design – check out the Remington Pro Setter, which feature a vertically oriented case, which can come in handy when you have a small bathroom countertop. Each clip stores wrapped around a corresponding roller. When you’re ready to pick up the next one, just slide it upwards and out. The ceramic build of these curlers ensures quick heating and quick styling, and the results have been known to last for days for users who don’t require daily shampooing.
If you don’t want a set that will dry out your hair, check out the innovative Caruso Steam Setter. The way it works is you fill the reservoir with water, then place each curler individually onto the base just before rolling your hair around it, and the steam both adds waves to your hair and locks in moisture when you blow dry your head.
Leaving the list today are the Conair Instant Heat Travel, Campbell Mcauley Ionic, and Calista Tools Ion, all of which are unavailable at this time.
How Hot Rollers Work
Hot rollers are a hair styling tool that helps the user achieve curls, ranging from tight ones to loose, beach-wave type tresses.
Hot rollers are a hair styling tool that helps the user achieve curls, ranging from tight ones to loose, beach-wave type tresses. Regular rollers that don't utilize heat usually require you to use hair spray or another holding product on your hair once it's in the tool, leaving it with that crunchy texture in the end. Hot rollers get the shape you want through heat, just like a flat iron or a curling iron does, meaning you don't need to apply tons of sticky product.
If you don't have time to do your hair one chunk at a time with an iron, hot rollers are a life saver because they'll style your locks all at once. They also leave your hands free so you can focus on other things like painting your nails or doing your makeup. Essentially, they remove that imprisoned feeling we all get when we're chained to the bathroom wall via the curling iron electric cord. Hot rollers are also safer to work with and won't burn your fingers as much as an iron would, as they are made from materials like ceramic and tourmaline.
Hot rollers come in different sizes, based on how loose or tight you want your curls to be. There are also both soft and hard rollers available; the soft ones are more comfortable to sleep in if you want to set your look overnight, but they will deliver a more tousled look than the hard ones. No matter the model you buy, they all sit in an electric tray that has heating elements and plugs into an electric outlet. Once the rollers are hot, you wrap segments of your of hair around each one, and leave them in until the tools are completely cool - that's when you know your look is ready.
How To Get The Hollywood Look
Hot curlers can give you sexy bed head, dramatic, old Hollywood glamor waves, playful ringlets, and beachy kinks. You just have to know how to use them. One secret is using a variety of sizes, starting with larger rollers on the top of your head and moving into smaller rollers as you get towards the bottom of your hair. The reason you do this is that the smaller the tool, the longer the curls will stay in. You probably don't want intense curls up by your forehead, so you use the wider rollers up there. Putting the smaller ones down by your shoulders will give you romantic ringlets that frame your face.
You don't want much oil - whether it's your scalp's natural oil or a moisturizer you apply - on your locks, or they won't hold the rollers well.
For the relaxed, beachy look that several celebrities are known for, roll the rollers vertically instead of horizontally. This will naturally turn the curls back and away from your face, which some women prefer as opposed to having hair falling over their line of sight. If you don't want a look that's overly-done and calculated, alternate the number of curlers you use per section so your locks fall to slightly different lengths.
Your hair will take to the tool better if it's freshly washed and dried. You don't want much oil - whether it's your scalp's natural oil or a moisturizer you apply - on your locks, or they won't hold the rollers well. If you don't like to wash your hair every day but want to use the rollers daily, you can always use a dry shampoo.
The History Of The Hot Roller
Hot rollers are a culmination of several devices humans have been using for centuries to curl their hair. Ancient Egyptians didn't curl their own hair but they wore curled wigs. As far back as the 17th century, women would heat up a rod in the oven and then use it in almost the same we way use curling irons today. Women around the world also wore powdered wigs in the 18th century that were usually adorned with curls.
Velcro rollers were also quite popular in the 1980s and 1990s, but some states consider them unsanitary and don’t allow hair salons to carry them.
The 20th century saw the creation of the first heated rollers. The original variety was ribbed or spiked to better grip the hair, but they could be a hassle to remove and if you pulled them the wrong way you would get a tangle. These were heated on hot pins but took a very long time to heat up, which was not only a nuisance but also a danger since you don't want extra hot items sitting around your house for an hour as this can become a fire hazard.
A man named Solomon Harper filed the first patent for hot rollers, so he is considered the inventor. In 1946 Solomon put his name on what were called thermostatic controlled hair curlers. It wasn't until much later in 1971 that Panasonic put out the first pair of hot rollers that were ready for the consumer market. They were released in Japan, before making their way to Europe and the United States. One of the most popular brands called Carmen put out a set that cost about half a week's average wage at the time. Velcro rollers were also quite popular in the 1980s and 1990s, but some states consider them unsanitary and don’t allow hair salons to carry them.