Heated rollers can be powerful styling tools that can give you various easy hairstyles when used properly. When used carelessly or too often, they can damage your hair with heat or tension, leaving you frazzled with fried fibers atop your scalp. Like other hair products and accessories, you should make sure that you use heated rollers occasionally when you need their effects for a specific look or ‘do and not every day.
Are heated rollers good for your hair? From a pure hair health perspective, they’re not good — but the risk of long term damage can be offset by careful use, and they can give your hair some much needed pep. With some care and moderation, hot rollers can be one of the most valuable tools you use to style your hair at home.
Are Heated Rollers Better than Curling Irons?
Heat is the number one enemy of hair. While both hot rollers and curling irons use heat to force your hair into a bouncier shape, hot rollers do so over more time with less heat. This means that hot rollers cause less heat damage to your hair with each use.
There is a downside, however. When using hot rollers, you have to be careful not to twist your hair too tightly. Too much tension on the roots can cause your hair to break and fall out prematurely. This can be almost as bad as heat damage, if not worse, so be careful and make sure that you’re not straining your hair too much when you wrap it around the rollers.
While curling irons or curling wands require at least one hand to avoid burning your scalp, hot rollers leave your hands free when placed properly. This gives you the freedom to go about your business as your hair sets. For those of us with busy schedules, this can be a godsend, allowing us to catch up on email or work — or it can be a great way to spend some quiet time with a book or a personal project. Either way, I find hot rollers are much more convenient to use than curling irons.
How to Avoid Damaging Your Hair with Heated Rollers
There are a number of steps that you can take to reduce the likelihood that your hot rollers will do more harm than good to your hairstyle.
First, try to make sure that your hair is dry before you put in your rollers. While rollers work best in freshly washed hair, you DON’T want to use them when your hair is wet. Heating water caught in your hair can cause bubbles to form and burst in and around your hair strands. Think of them as little itty bitty bombs trying to destroy your ‘do. Thoroughly towel dry your hair and use a blower on low heat before you insert your rollers.
Second, consider applying product to protect your hair from the heat. While the idea of applying a layer of substance to your hair to protect it from the tool you’re about to use never really made sense to me, many people swear by heat protectant. Heat is one of the most damaging things you can apply to your hair. Having an extra layer of protection can help to extend your hair’s beautiful life.
Finally, be careful when you use your rollers. Make sure that you use them with the lowest useful amount of heat. Try not to wrap them too tightly — avoid straining your hair or putting too much pressure on your roots. Don’t use your rollers too often, either — consider a more permanent solution if you’re looking for bounce and volume every day.
Keep frequency of use in mind when selecting a set of rollers to purchase. More expensive sets often hold their curls much better than cheaper ones, even if they use more heat. This can allow you to use your rollers less to get the same effect, causing less heat damage and keeping your hair healthier.
Should I Use Heated Rollers At All, Then?
When you need a quick boost of volume and pep in your hair, heated rollers are there for you. While frequent or careless use can lead to long term hair damage, using them sparingly to spice up your ‘do is better and safer than doing the same thing with a curling iron. Best of all, modern hot rollers heat up in minutes and give you an excuse to spend some quality time with yourself. With your hands free, you can relax and catch up on a good book or get something else you’ve been meaning to do out of the way.