One of the best ways to add volume to lackluster hair is with curls. They look good on almost anyone and provide lift in a way that doesn’t risk looking fake, like extensions or volumizing sprays. Many volumizing products can make hair look crunchy or even thinner if used incorrectly, and don’t work well on truly thin hair. They do tend to work better when your hair is- you guessed it- curly.
To use curling tools and thickening products together successfully, remember these key tips:
Don’t pile on too many products. This will weigh down curls and make hair look flat.
Use some salt spray, mousse or hair spray before setting your hot rollers.
Try adding a little volumizing powder to roots once your rollers are set to extend the life of your curls.
The following hot roller sets give you the best value for your money. However, they’re also some of the best for fine or thinning hair.
Also see: 10 BEST TRAVEL HOT ROLLERS
The 10 Best Hot Rollers for Fine and Thinning Hair
These hot rollers are great because the heating element is inside the rollers. They aren’t likely to burn your fingers, even if you bump the tray while styling your hair. The internal heating element also helps the roller stay hot longer, so even hair that usually resists curling can keep its shape. Despite this internal heating element, the rollers aren’t any heavier than traditional rollers.
Included with the set are the rollers, the heating tray, and butterfly-style clips to hold the rollers on tightly. For best success, the clips need to face upward, which can be tricky while keeping the hair tightly wrapped around the rollers.
The set also comes with a travel case. While the case organizes everything nicely, it is not heat resistant, so be sure all parts of the set are cool before you pack it. As the rollers should cool before you remove them from your hair, this isn’t likely a concern.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but larger rollers are actually often better for thin hair. Curling hair into rolls or ringlets can create separation at the roots that emphasizes thinning rather than masking it. Instead, using large-diameter rollers to create waves or volume can improve hair’s appearance at the roots and body.
These rollers heat in just a few minutes, but do not get as hot as some other sets. If you are looking for waves and volume, then the temperature limit will work in your favor. The lower temperature will also cool faster, allowing you to get out of the door faster in the morning.
The rollers have heat indicator lights on the top of each one so you know as soon as they are ready to use. It also comes with a soft-sided travel case, and although it is a larger sized set, it does travel well for longer trips or trips where you may have some excess space for packing.
This set is a good compromise between the large 20-roller sets and the smaller travel-sized sets. It still offers an assortment of small, medium and large rollers, and the rollers and heating tray come in a soft case that can be used for travelling or just be taken to the gym.
This set heats up faster than others, and it is ready to use after just two minutes. The rollers are grooved in a spiral so they can better hold hair and more evenly heat hair without the risk of hot spots or damage. While they are plastic, they have a metal core that holds heat well. The all-plastic rollers can be tricky to use, though, as even the ends heat to some degree.
One fun aspect of the Conair roller set is that it can be ordered in either pink or zebra print color options. The cases can be ordered in different colors, too, and the accompanying clips are easy to replace if need by.
Hot Sticks are a cool alternative to traditional rollers, although there is a learning curve when you first get them. Unlike most hot rollers, these are flexible, lengthy rods that you wrap hair around and then twist to hold in place. This malleable design lets you create many different types of wave, curl and volume so you can find the perfect style for yourself.
These can be difficult to use in very short hair, because the hair is secured by the curl itself and not by an additional clip or pin. However, the amount of contact surface area that heats makes them easy to use in thin hair. They create a great deal of volume.
The sticks secure themselves by sliding one end into a loop on the other end. They’re easy to remove, but can snag hair if not removed carefully. Because there is no clip or pin, though, they are faster to use than traditional rollers.
One of the largest sets, the Remington Conditioning rollers come with 20 rollers. These are an assortment of three sizes: ¾”, 1”, and 1 ¼”. If your fine hair suffers a lot of breakage, or is layered into several different lengths, the variety of sizes will better increase your hair volume and ensure you can roll every piece.
While the rollers do not have a heat element inside each one, they are filled with a thermal wax that can hold heat for an extended amount of time. This means the rollers deliver a continuous amount of heat while your hair is setting. The spindles of the tray that heat the rollers do get very hot, though, and can burn if you’re not careful. The velvet-covered body of each roller also gets very hot, so cautious handling is necessary.
These hot rollers are secured in your hair with a traditional spindle-style pin. They are called “J pins” by Remington, and decrease the risk of creasing. They are color coded so you can easily match them to the correct size of roller.
Remington calls these conditioning rollers because they reduce frizz. Ionization reduces static as the hair sets. Velvet similarly prevents static cling. With these two features combined, the need for hairspray is reduced or even eliminated.
This roller set is smaller than the others because it is a travel set. It comes with five rollers, each 1 ½”. While it won’t curl an entire head of hair, it is great for giving fine hair volume and conserving space when on a trip. You can do this by setting larger pieces for a longer time, or by curling the top layers and finger-combing them through for a wavy look.
While these are called “Instant Rollers,” they take up to ten minutes to heat, depending on the temperature you need to curl your hair. Most people find that 3-5 minutes is adequate if they are only curling top pieces and not large sections of hair.
The set includes butterfly clips to hold the rollers in place and a plastic travel case. The base, which heats the rollers, cools quickly, so the set is ready to pack and go as soon as you have removed the cooled rollers from your hair.
This is a high-quality traditional hot-roller set. The clips, rollers, and heating elements all fit into one case. A drawback is the size and weight of the case- almost five pounds- so they are bulky and don’t travel well. They can also take up a lot of space on your counter or in your bathroom. However, this isn’t a bad tradeoff for the value of the set.
There are small, medium and large rollers in this set. For those with thin hair, the ten rollers of different sizes is plenty, where twenty might be overkill. One perk of this set is that if you find one size works best for you, the base allows you to replace every roller with whatever size you like. The flocking on the rolls also decreases frizz and snagging, which in turn reduces breakage.
Unfortunately, while curls and waves add volume to thin or fine hair, the heat used to do so can create damage that worsens the problem long-term. If heat tends to make your hair more brittle, dry, and split-end prone, you can still get curls without the heat. It just takes a little more planning.
To use these rollers, you need to separate the hair into sections and roll it up, then tie the ends of the roller together so it stays closed. Once you have done this, leave the rollers in overnight so they can set. Rolling hair while it is damp from the shower, or after misting it with a setting spray or salt spray, will increase the longevity of the curls.
These curlers create a natural look. However, they can’t be used to create volume without curls, unlike other hot rollers.
Best Steam Rollers Set for Fine Hair
Some prefer steam rollers to get their hair set. The difference between steam rollers and hot rollers is that steam rollers use moisture to set your hair, so it tends to look more glossy and shiny - leaving it moisturized and conditioned.
The effects of steam rollers also tend to last longer, they are ideal for adding volume to short, fine hair and they are safe to use on human hair, synthetic hair, extensions, and wigs. One drawback is that you have to heat each roller individually as you go.
The Caruso SalonPro is my #1 pick for the best steam rollers set for fine hair!
Unlike other hot rollers, these use steam to heat a foam core on the roller, which then heats your hair. The hair sets as it re-dries around the roller. Although the foam can get a little hot, these are a good choice if you have a difficult time wrapping hair tightly around rollers for uniform curls. Even loosely wrapped hair can set successfully with these.
If you prefer not to use high temperatures to set your hair, or your hair suffers a lot of breakage, then steam curling is a wise choice because it does little damage. It isn’t likely to burn your hair in the process, so it can be safely used day after day.
The foam on these rollers does wear out more quickly than metal or ceramic rollers. However, the steam rolling system is cheaper than other high-quality ceramic or metal systems, and replacement rolls are relatively inexpensive.
The Best Hot Roller Set for Short Fine Hair
If you have both short and fine hair, I recommend the BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Professional. The short and medium rollers in the set are perfect for smoothing out short fine hair and giving it volume!
This is another large set like the Remington curlers. It also contains 20 rollers in three sizes: ¾”, 1”, and 1 ¼”. The curlers are somewhat longer, though, and so can hold more hair per roller. This is a great set if your hair is very fine but still full. It allows you to increase the quantity of hair in close contact with the heating element.
The rollers are covered in velvet, and the heating element is made of titanium. They heat quickly, and the heat lasts up to an hour to ensure curls are fully set. One perk of this set is that the large rollers can be used on thinning hair to create volume without making actual curls.
One drawback to these hot rollers is the lack of an auto-off safety feature. If forgotten while on, there have been some instances of the tray melting rollers. You could use a separate safety timer to plug the curling set into, or you could be certain you turn them off each day.
What to Look For When Buying Hot Rollers
Hot Rollers can be useful for creating many styles, especially if you have thinning or fine hair you’d like to improve. The important things to look for when buying hot rollers are all about safety and quality.
Make sure the roller set has as many rollers as you need.
Get a set with a roller size that suits you- smaller sizes work better on shorter hair, or can be used to create tighter curls, while larger rollers create waves or simply add volume.
Decide whether you want a travelling set or not.
Get a set that gets hot enough for your hair to keep the curl without burning. If you aren’t sure what this is, choose a set with variable temperature.
Choose a model with safety features. These include cool spots by which to touch the hot rollers, as well as auto-off features and temperature checks.With a good set of hot rollers, your hair can look just as great as always
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