The 17 best hair rollers and how to use them

In large part due to TikTok, retro hair tools are making a comeback — one of which being the iconic hair rollers we’ve seen Hollywood stars getting ready with during the ’50s and later decades.

Why the revival? Well, they’re super easy to use and help achieve that natural-looking volume without the look of spaghetti noodle curls that, sometimes, even your curling iron can produce (though you can tame your locks with a detangling brush, but still).

To help create that luscious lift, we rounded up the 12 best hair rollers with notes on how to use them below. From heated ones to self-grip, if there’s a roll — there’s a way.

But before we get into it, if you’ve been into sprucing up your hair lately, check out our reviews on the best shampoos and conditioners for every hair type so you can step out of the shower with your best strands forward.

Goroanly Self-Grip Hair Rollers Set

Get a grip on your hair with the Goroanly Self-Grip Hair Rollers Set. For just $14, this 12-pack also comes with corresponding hair clips (color-coded, too, so you can easily flag and section off different areas of hair).

For best use, simply take a section of hair (1 inch, typically, though it can be 2 inches if your hair is thicker) and position the roller to the end of your hair. Use your fingers to roll the roller upward toward the base of your neck or root of your hair and secure it with a pin and some hairspray, if desired.

Conair Jumbo & Super Jumbo Ceramic Hot Rollers

Meet the hot rollers that our mothers, and their mothers before them, loved: the Conair Jumbo & Super Jumbo Ceramic Hot Rollers. It’s the voluminous way to achieve curls while being able to tend to your makeup application simultaneously (and for that, we love them).

With nearly 22,000 Amazon reviews, this set uses ceramic technology to aid in consistent and even heat transfer. You’ll never have to worry about the curl not lasting, either. If you’re used to your curling iron or wand and want to switch it up, this one’s your best bet. Plus, you can pair it with one of our expert-approved heat protectants.

Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers

OK, from personal experience, you need the Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers in your life. Not only are they affordably priced at less than $15, but they’re a heatless curl option that actually works, securing to your hair in the numerous sizes the set comes in. Dare we say they’re even one of the best Amazon beauty finds under $20.

Pro tip: secure the large roller for the front pieces of your hair while you blow-dry the rest. You’ll be amazed at the cascading, bombshell-like fall it produces when the rest of your hair is completely styled and dry.

Ivyu Hair Rollers for Long Hair

Pick up the latest TikTok sensation with the Ivyu Hair Rollers. Specifically, this travel-sized hair styler is ideal for long hair types and comes in various colors.

For best use, start with damp hair and fix the middle position of the curling roller with a hair clip at the top of your head. After, start braiding your hair from one side and wind it around the curling roller. Once your hair is braided, secure it at the ends with hair ties.

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Hot Rollers

Similar to the Conair option, the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Hot Rollers are one of our favorites, much ado to its well-varied roller sizes. Mixing oversized and tiny rollers on your hair (regardless of hair type) helps creates a more natural look, similar to how you’d rotate your curling wand upwards or downwards to achieve a similar result.

Moreover, this all-in-one curling system uses titanium ceramic rollers that add shine (thanks to its titanium counterpart) but are also gentle and help eliminate hotspots.

T3 Volumizing Luxe Hot Rollers

We love everything about T3, from its Airebrush Duo we reviewed to its Volume Round Brush ($35), which is the best ever. Thanks to their velvet exterior, these Volumizing Luxe Hot Rollers help make your hair softer than when you started.

To create a bomb blowout, follow the same procedure: start at the ends of your hair, work your way up and secure with a pin. Luckily, T3 has eight crease-free clips to hold each of its eight rollers firmly in place — along with a luxurious case for storage and travel.

Conair 20-Roller Compact Sette
Ulta Beauty

Speaking of travel, if you love the idea of using a bit of heat to allow your curls to hold and set, the Conair 20-Roller Compact Setter is one we deem a great value. Not only is it less than $30 and comes with 20 multi-style rollers (that leave your hair tangle-free, thanks to its tiny indentation marks on each roller), but the compact nature doesn’t take up much room on your bathroom counter or your checked luggage.

Stack of purple, yellow, and pink velcro hair rollers next to hair clips and hair comb

If you really want your show-stopping curls to hold without heat, consider the velcro self-holding hair rollers. You’d be amazed at how secure these are, especially when no heat, pins or clips are needed. Plus, you can use these on damp or dry hair — making them one of the most versatile (and affordable) options on this list.

First, prep your hair with hairspray and work each piece of hair with a roller from end to root. Then, wait about 15 to 20 minutes to remove the rollers from your hair and voilá!

Remington Pro Hair Setter with Thermaluxe

The Remington Pro Hair Setter with Thermaluxe takes us back to the early days of beauty YouTube videos where nearly every guru had this set (including us, as avid watchers). Impressively, it can create a perfect curl in five minutes — in other words, sign us up.

The set heats up in just 90 seconds, too, which is indicated by a bright LED light that’ll flash when it’s ready. Producing healthy curls (thanks to its ceramic make) and packaged in a space-saving design, it’s easy to use and 100% worth the buy.

Tifara Beauty Salon Heatless Hair Curlers

Meet the heatless hair curler that’s responsible for a little over 40,000 Amazon reviews. The Tifara Beauty Salon Heatless Hair Curlers are just $15 right now, too, and you’re getting a ton of soft curling rods to play around with.

This 42-piece set comes in an incredible array of sizes to cater to every hair type. Even better, their foam-like texture makes them comfortable and safe to sleep in, so you can wake up with incredible volume.

Conair Instant Heat Compact Hair Rollers

You already know we love our hair roller sets and any bundle with an accompanying travel case. Whether on a weekend trip or off to a weeks-long Europe vacation, the Conair Instant Heat Compact Hair Rollers are an excellent find for under $30.

This 12-pack of different sizes heats up quickly and evenly in just 85 seconds and gives your hair a natural bounce and shine. Plus, you’ll never lose a roller as each one gets tucked in its own spot inside the included soft case.

Alimririam 100-Piece Perm Rods Set

If you have textured hair (curly, coily, and everything in between) but still want to experiment with a heatless hair roller option, we have the set for you. The Alimririam 100-Piece Perm Rods Set is a hidden gem on Amazon for its vented design (which helps any styling product better disperse throughout your locks) and incredible size variety.

And, we can’t emphasize it enough: it’s a godsend for hard-to-manage and hard-to-style hair alike.

Red steam rollers next to black and gray machine

If you don’t want to apply a lot of heat to your luscious locks, then it’s about to get real steamy with this pick — pun totally intended. This set of 30 requires you to pre-steam each roller before applying it to your hair. You’ll avoid burnt locks and instead be met with some bouncy curls. For anyone with long hair, it’s recommended you use two rollers as one.

Pink satin heatless roller next to product box

The answer is yes, there are aesthetically pleasing hair rollers out there, and Kitsch is the living proof. Made from a strand-friendly satin material, just braid you locks around the curler and go to sleep. It’s truly that simple. Plus, it comes with some matching scrunchies you can add to your hair accessories arsenal.

Package of multicolored foam hair rollers

We consider this one of the OG hair rollers, they’re self-gripping, heatless and the cushy foam material won’t have you tossing and turning at night. Thanks to the heatless design you can save yourself from applying tons of heat-saving sprays and creams beforehand. Instead, you’ll awaken with gorgeous curls (or waves, if so desired).

Pink bag with multicolored ribbon hair curlers

These ribbon hair curlers are ready to give you a spiral curled do that will, honestly, look like you just stepped out of the salon. It comes with clockwise and counterclockwise spirals so you can mix up your curls for a more natural appearance. Simply apply them to small sections of damp, freshly washed hair (tip: add some curl cream for better hold), fall asleep, and voila, gorgeous curls — minus the curling rod.

Model with curly hair next to blue, hot pink, black, and light pink polka dot hair rollers

Like the name suggests, these pillow hair rollers are soft and cushy while provide beautiful curls — minus the frizzy hair or heat damage as a result. All that’s required of you is to roll and tie each cloth piece around your damp strands, fall asleep and let the rollers do the work.

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