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How to Use Hot Rollers to Achieve Major Volume

March 17, 2021

3 Min read

You might assume that hot rollers went the way of the rotary phone—an obsolete but charming item that has been replaced with much more modern and convenient counterparts. But, for hot rollers, that simply isn’t true. The classic styling tool can actually deliver a range of modern styles, especially when it comes to pumping up the volume, which is why they’re currently having a moment. They even beat curling irons when it comes to giving hair lift and body.

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Hot Rollers vs. Curling Irons

“The difference is that hot rollers work for fullness and body,” says Eliut Rivera, owner of Eliut Salon in New York City. “It’s an easier way to eliminate frizz. Curling irons are more for a specific style and not necessarily for creating volume. Hot rollers are good for volume because you can put them  close to the scalp without burning yourself and since you leave hot rollers on for a longer period of time, it can create a long-lasting style.”

Another way that hot rollers win over curling irons is you won’t end up with tired arms, as you can multitask and do your makeup—or anything else—while they cool. Plus, hot rollers are also less damaging to your hair than a curling iron, since they use less heat. And because they deliver results that last longer, there’s a good chance you won’t have to refresh them every day. Plus, hot rollers leave locks shiny and smooth.

How to Use Hot Rollers

Make sure to begin with completely dry, clean hair, since any moisture or oil at the scalp will cause the rollers to sizzle and burn your hair. Apply a heat protectant spray to guard from any heat damage and make sure hair is detangled. “Starting at the crown and using your fingers, section hair in a rectangle about the width of the roller,” Rivera says. “On each section, place the roller underneath the section of hair and a few inches from the ends.” Avoid taking in too much hair at once, as it’ll make the curl fall flat.

For maximum volume, be mindful of the direction in which you apply the hot rollers. For extra lift, roll hair in the opposite direction it will fall. The length of the hair usually determines which size rollers you’ll use, as longer locks require a larger size, but in general the larger size roller you use the more volume you’ll achieve. A great tip for face-framing pieces is to roll the hair away and back to get the most natural look. Each roller set typically comes with crease-free pins or clips, so use them to fasten each section tightly and securely for the best results. 

“The biggest mistake is to remove the rollers too soon,” Rivera says. “You need to allow the rollers to get cold before you remove them. You can keep them in as long you want, as the longer you leave the rollers on, the longer the style will last.” After you’ve removed all of the hot rollers, use your fingers to gently break up the curls. “Using your fingers is the best way to style to prevent the hair from falling flat,” Rivera explains. “It’s preferable to spray strong hairspray for better results.” You’ll be left with major volume and body that will last for days.


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Celia Shatzman is a Brooklyn-based writer who has penned stories on topics ranging from beauty to fashion, travel, celebrities, entertainment and more. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, New York,, and NYLON, among others. When she’s not writing, Celia enjoys traveling, learning to play tennis, and playing with her rescue dog, Watson. Check out her site at and follow her on Instagram (@celiashatzman).

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  1. Thank you. This was very informative and I am going to purchase a set as I would like more volume in my hair.