Hot Rollers Are Making a Comeback—Here are 5 Expert-Approved Sets to Shop Now

These old-school hair tools impart lasting volume and big, bouncy curls.

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Woman wearing hot rollers
Photo: Getty Images

As the saying goes, there's nothing new under the sun—and that is certainly true for hot rollers. They have been used for decades to boost volume and create glamorous curls, but like many "old-school" beauty trends, TikTok has given them a resurgence. There are a myriad of reasons why hot rollers have made a comeback, and one of them is versatility. Whitney Eaddy, a celebrity hairstylist and the founder of Juices & Botanics, explains that these styling tools are suitable for virtually all hair types, textures, and patterns. "It's really about finding the right roller that best suits your hair," Eaddy notes. StyleSeat hairstylist Kamara Brown agrees and adds that preparing your strands—before introducing rollers into the mix—will ultimately lead to the best result. Ahead, we explain exactly how to use hot rollers and share several expert-approved sets you can purchase right now.

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How to Use Hot Rollers

According to Eaddy, it's best to begin with a smooth, blown-out base; those with textured hair or tighter waves or curls, on the other hand, should get strands into a straightened state. From there, part your hair exactly how you're going to wear it. "This makes it so much easier to achieve your desired style without moving the hot rollers," she says. Brown adds that it's more difficult to create a part once you add heat to hair—so be sure to do this first.

Next, apply a heat-protective serum or spray. "Like with any other hot tool, it is easy to experience damage with hot rollers," Eaddy explains. Then, it's time to roll up your strands. Grab a roller and, holding it vertically (doing so results in soft, loose curls, notes Eaddy), roll your hair in the direction you want your waves to fall. Your desired result should inform their placement: The looser the curl, the higher up you'll need to position the rollers.

How to Set Your Curls

It's critical to let the hot rollers sit for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing the pieces to fully cool while they are in your hair sets that wave in place. Before you finish with a hairspray, Eaddy suggests pinning the curls with single-prong clips if your hair is still a touch warm post-roller removal. This will further set the look and lead to a longer-lasting style. Now that you know how to use hot rollers, you're likely interested in a brand-new set (the one from your teens probably isn't up to the task). Ahead, we asked Eaddy and Brown to share the best hot rollers on the market—discover their picks below, and you'll quickly realize that today's models have made major strides.

InfinitiPRO By Conair Jumbo Ionic Roller Set

hot rollers on solid background
Courtesy of Ulta Beauty

Those with thicker strands should turn to the InfinitiPRO By Conair Jumbo Ionic Roller Set, shares Eaddy; the oversized rollers size hold more hair in place.

T3 Voluminzing Hot Rollers Luxe

hot rollers on solid background
Courtesy of Amazon

"This T3 set is probably the most luxurious one on the market," says Eaddy. Made with the brand's HeatCore technology, the base distributes heat evenly via two temperature settings (opt for the lower one if your hair is fine—it's gentler on your scalp). The set comes with eight rollers in two sizes; each one has cool grips, so you don't have to worry about burning your fingers as you place them in your hair.

Conair Xtreme Big Curls Hairsetter

hot rollers on solid background
Courtesy of Ulta Beauty

If you're looking for looser curls, try the Conair Xtreme Big Curls Hairsetter. "This set creates big curls and waves and smooth volume using soft ceramic-flocked rollers and gentle heat," Eaddy says.

BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Hot Rollers

hot rollers on solid background

According to Eaddy, the BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Hot Rollers work well on fine hair. And with six rollers in three different sizes (that's 18 pieces total!), you'll be able to create a myriad of looks. Best of all, each roller has a velvet finish, which ultimately adds volume to finer strands, she explains.

Conair 20-Roller Compact Setter

hot rollers on solid background
Courtesy of Amazon

This set boasts 20 rollers and clocks in under $20, making it the ultimate budget option. Brown particularly enjoys this model because the rollers come with coordinating rods, and everything can be organized into a convenient carrying case. You also get three different roller sizes—small, medium, and large—which create a mix of curl patterns. Without a doubt, this is the best value set out there.

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