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10 Hot Rollers for the Curls of Your Dreams

This is how we roll.

best hot rollers
Franco Rubartelli

Like so many things, the proverbial mother knows best. In my case, my mother really did know best. She spent most mornings in the '80s eschewing the blow dryer in favor of a snappy hot roller set. When her makeup was done, she'd carefully pluck out her rollers, run her hands through her hair, and walk out the door. Looking back, roller sets sound fussy but were actually about as low-effort as it gets.

What kind of hot roller should you use?

As Pureology Artistic Director Jamie Wiley sees it, this low-effort, high-reward method is perfect for 2021, in large part because of the tool's versatility. "Hot rollers create different results depending on the length, texture and density of your hair," she says. If your hair is short, you can expect volume and lift in lieu of tight coils. For naturally curly strands, you'll appreciate the quick way hot rollers can redefine your curl pattern. And for those of us with lank, middle-of-the-road hair, Wiley says hot rollers are a great blowout alternative: "Just use six to eight jumbo hot rollers in large sections to style and dry."

How do you use hot rollers, anyway?

A few notes on the basics: Smaller rollers yield smaller curls, and the longer you leave them in, the tighter the hold you'll get. Aim to roll away from your face, and if the set you choose doesn't come with wide butterfly clips, treat yourself. It makes the installation process a whole lot easier. Hot rollers can also be drying, so consider a thermal spray like Pureology’s Style + Protect Levitation Mist before you get started.

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The Cadillac of Rollers
Volumizing Hot Rollers
T3 Micro amazon.com

Why drive a Civic when you could roll up in a Benz? (See what I did there?) These velvety wonders have it all: A wide circumference for maximum body, cool edges for easy handling, snag-free velvet flocking, and a steady and strong heating element.

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Best For Travel
Conair Instant Heat Compact Hot Rollers
Conair walmart.com

Traveling somewhere fancy?  This set of rollers from Conair allows you to take voluminous hair with you on the go. It includes 10 rollers that come in three varying lengths and heat up in only 90 seconds. 

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Most Consistent Heat
Nano Titanium Roller Hairsetter
BaBylissPRO amazon.com

No, this set was not an extra in the film adaptation of Hairspray. What looks rather old-school actually represents effective, modern technology, here in the form of gentle infrared heat emanating from 20 velvety flocked rollers. No hot spots, all the volume and curl. 

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Best If You're In A Hurry
Pro Hair Setter
Remington target.com

The curlers in this set from Remington promises to set up your curls in five minutes, so they're a great option if you're running late. Dual heating technology radiates heat from both the inside and the outside of the rollers. 

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Best for a Lot of Hair
Xtreme Instant Heat Jumbo And Super Jumbo Hot Rollers
Conair walmart.com

Despite their jumbo size, these rollers from Conair heat up in only 85 seconds. They come in two lengths—1.75" and a 1.5"—so your hair will hold its bounce and shine throughout the day (and night!) 

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Best Compact Set
20-Roller Compact Setter
Conair ulta.com

Are you working with a teeny tiny bathroom? Then this set of 20 rollers from Conair is the way to go. It contains large, medium and small-sized rollers and retails for just under $20. 

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Best Smart Technology
Medium Ceramic Rollers
CHI amazon.com

In two to three minutes flat, these velvet-trimmed rollers—which come in three handy sizes, and with magnetized, creaseless clips—heat up. You'll know they're ready when you hear a click and see a red indictor light. Once they're rolled to your liking, the curlers stay steadily warm for up to 15 minutes.  

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Most Versatile
Ceramic Flocked Hot Roller Set
Conair amazon.com

A whopping 12 heat settings—most have either "on" or "off"—means that you can dial in the temperature that works for your texture, length and desired end result. Extra points for ceramic construction and an ionic port system, both of which work to minimize both frizz and damage. 

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Best for Travel
Compact Ceramic Worldwide Voltage Hair Setter
Remington amazon.com
$14.96 (17% off)

Most of us crave the drama of a roller set hairstyle not on an average Tuesday night—although that's great, too—but out for cocktails when on vacation, or for your best friend's rehearsal dinner. This soft, compact carrying case doubles as the device that heats the rollers, making them easy to stash and dash.

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Best Steam Rollers
Molecular Steam Hairsetter
Caruso amazon.com

Fill the basin with water and insert one of 30 foam rollers into the carafe; within a seconds, you've got a piping hot curler ready to go. While you are heating each rod individually, there's something quick and satisfying about the process. Roll into your hair, snap on the included shields, and let bouncy strands be your destiny.

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