Velcro Rollers Are Back: Here's a Step-by-Step Guide to Using These Viral Volume Boosters

Learn how to curl and clip your way to a bouncier blowout.

woman with velcro rollers in hair
Photo: Getty Images / Aleksandar Boceski / EyeEm

If there's one thing that viral social media fads have taught us, it's that the best beauty methods are often pulled straight from the past. A perfect example? Velcro roller are back in a big way, courtesy of experts and influencers alike who have demonstrated these volume boosters' efficacy on TikTok and Instagram. Use these tools correctly, and you'll have bouncy, voluminous curls without much effort—but, of course, you already knew that.

Why Velcro Rollers Are Trending

According to Cassie Siskovic, the national artistic director for Alfaparf Milano Professional USA, velcro rollers are one of the easiest ways to achieve a long-lasting, salon-quality blowout. And while they were popular from the '50s to the '90s, TikTok has inspired new generations to test their limits.

It's no wonder that rollers are making waves again: "Because of the texture of the velcro, they lock in easily and create a brushable finish," says Siskovic. "They also allow your hair to cool after heat application, resulting in a longer-lasting style."

How to Prep Your Hair for Velcro Rollers

As you work through your evening skin care routine, you know it's essential to wash, exfoliate, and moisturize. The same is true when you get ready to style your hair—steps matter. Hairstylist Yvey Valcin explains that before you use velcro rollers, you should prep strands with products that provide moisture and flexibility so that the hair responds well and holds a curl. He recommends beginning with freshly-washed, damp strands and sticking to the following method.

  1. Add moisture to your hair with the leave-in product of your choice: try a hair oil if your strands are thick and coarse or leave-in conditioner if they are finer.
  2. Apply a formula that makes hair pliable and flexible, like a mousse or texture spray. According to Valcin, this will help you better manipulate your hair.
  3. Finish with a hair spray suited to hold the style you're hoping to achieve. For a tighter curl, a medium-hold hair spray is your best bet; for looser waves or bounce, reach for a light-hold iteration.

What to Look for in a Velcro Roller Set

A quick Google search will produce plenty of velcro roller options, all at various price points. However, what's most important when you're shopping for a set is that you consider the length of your hair and desired curl size, says Jonn Rhamani, a stylist at the Salon YOSHIKO at Bergdorf Goodman. "A smaller roller will give you a tighter curl, while a larger one will give you a looser, bouncier curl," he says. As a general rule of thumb, your hair should be able to easily wrap around the velcro rollers two to three times.

While the technique we outline below doesn't require roller clips (often called alligator clips), some experts like using them to hold each piece in place after it is placed in the hair. If your velcro rollers don't come with pins—they're often small metal pieces, like these—consider stocking up on a separate set and use them as needed.

How to Use Velcro Rollers

Ready to test your velcro roller skills? Here Valcin explains a simple step-by-step technique that will help you achieve beautiful, bouncy curls.

  1. Prep your hair using the methods above.
  2. Dry your hair until it's about 90 percent dry (it should be slightly damp to the touch), and then smooth with a round or flat brush.
  3. Begin with a rectangular section on the top of your head all the way down to the nape area. Use clips—Valcin recommends butterfly iterations—to hold the section in place.
  4. Separate remaining hair into 4 to 8 vertical partings on either side of your head; depending on your head size and the length of your hair, you may need more or less. Clip up all the side sections and return to the section mentioned in step 3.
  5. Place rollers on the top section all the way to the nape using horizontal partings between each.
  6. Move onto the other sections, starting from the back of the head. Valcin suggests placing the rollers, again using horizontal partings, starting from the nape area on the right side; work your way up and repeat on the left side. Once you finish placing rollers around your entire head, apply a medium-hold hair spray.
  7. Let the rollers sit between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on whether you want volume, waves, or curls. The longer they are in, the tighter the curls will become.
  8. After the allotted time is up, remove the rollers one at a time.
  9. Once all the rollers are out, use a flat brush or a wide tooth comb to smooth strands. Valcin prefers the former because it provides a smoother finish. Don't be afraid to brush strands, he says, since the curl memory, courtesy of the rollers, should remain intact.
  10. To finish, place the hair into your desired style and apply hair spray.

Pro tip: Remember that practice makes perfect—so, if it takes you a few trials to get the hang of this method, don't fret. Not only are you learning a new technique, but you're also getting to know your hair, too. "As you practice more, you'll be able to be more versatile and creative with the placements of the rollers and create different curl patterns," Valcin says.

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