Is It Time To Try Hot Rollers? Here’s How To Master The Viral TikTok Beauty Trend In A Modern Way

There are so many ways to curl your hair, and thankfully, not all of them require a curling iron. If you've been on TikTok lately, you've seen that hot rollers are making a comeback for creating bouncy curls.

By Hannah Leah3 min read
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Look Studio/Shutterstock

There are a bunch of fashion and beauty trends that have reemerged recently after a several-year hiatus. Just look at the middle part, heavy layers, claw clips, and flare jeans. As a hairstylist, it’s shocking to see some of these come back. I’ve even been cutting a surprising number of mullets over the last couple of years!

When it comes to creating curls, not everyone has the easiest time using a curling iron. And while I always tell clients practice makes perfect, it’s still sometimes a challenge. Enter TikTok and it's seemingly endless supply of trending products and hacks. The latest to hit the platform? Hot rollers. This method of hair curling isn’t new, it’s just been redesigned and has become popular again. And for those who struggle with an iron, it's a great option to try. 

The Origins of Hot Rollers

Curling hair is nothing new. Ancient Egyptians would wrap their hair around wooden sticks and use the heat from the sun to set their curls. Romans used a heated iron rod called a calamistrum to wrap their hair around to create a curl. Fast forward to 1872 when French hairstylist Marcel Grateau invented the curling iron. During this time, the tool was heated over a gas burner before use, and it was only used by professionals. Because it was so hard to control the temperature of the iron, hair would get often singed, and the curls wouldn’t always set well. 

Public Domain
Public Domain
Curling iron patent, 1905. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1930, Solomon Harper created the first thermostatic controlled hair curler. He also invented the first thermal iron and heated combs. It wasn't until close to the 1960s that these tools gained popularity. Over the years, different types of curlers have been attempted, such as steam rollers, foam rollers, and no-heat rollers. And in the 1980s, perms exploded in popularity.

How To Prep Your Hair for Hot Rollers 

Though hot rollers seem simple enough, there is still a technique that can help you make the most of your curls. The type of hair you have can also make a difference with how the curls turn out. Keep in mind the length and texture of your hair before curling. 

Those who have long hair can safely use larger rollers, because there is plenty of hair to work with. But if you have short hair, you will need smaller ones. With that being said, remember that the smaller the roller, the tighter the curl. But a huge roller will barely (if at all) curl short hair. 

Different textures of hair might require certain types of prepping before using the rollers. If you have textured, curly hair, you might need to smooth it out before attempting the hot rollers. Otherwise, your hair will be frizzy and poofy. You may have to flat iron the hair prior to curling. If you have thin, fine hair, then you could benefit from some products that give texture or volume before using rollers. If your hair tends to fall flat quickly, you will definitely need product to help hold it. 

Techniques for Hot Rolling

Most women want a bouncy, large curl, blowout look when using hot rollers. So for this result you will need the bigger rollers. Prep the hair first with whatever products you need. Then brush out your hair before using the rollers. If you have knots in your hair prior to using them, the curl won’t be as nice. 

Professionals will typically start with a single panel of rollers on the top of the head, then two side panels, and lastly two rows down the back. This gives you a guide for where to place the rollers. Make sure you’re curling the hair away from your face. Bringing them forward will create a pretty, but different type of curl, with a more “old Hollywood” style.

After taking a section of hair and rolling it back onto the rod, you will clip it to your head. Most roller sets come with clips for this purpose. On the bottom section of your hair, you can take the rollers up rather than sideways. This will give it more of a curl. 

Before you remove the rollers, make sure you give your hair enough time to set and let the rollers cool off a bit. Twirl the rollers out of your hair rather than simply pulling them. Give the hair a good spray and loosen the curls just enough so they're not ringlets anymore. 

Hot Roller Recommendations

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Look at the size of the rollers before purchasing to make sure they’re the right fit for your hair. A roller set with clips would be even more useful, but you can purchase clips separately if yours doesn't come with them. If you aren’t sure what set of hot rollers would work for you, here are a few to consider. 

Closing Thoughts 

Hot rollers might be the perfect tool for you if you want another way to curl your hair. It still takes a little practice to get it just the way want, but it might be an easier option than using a curling iron. Before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful, bouncy set of curls.

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