Are Rollers Bad For Your Hair?

Are rollers bad for your hair

Last weekend I walked around town with a friend of mine, like we do almost every weekend. Just to get some exercise in and enjoy the weather (for the people who want to know, no I don’t find raining to be “bad weather”). Now what we saw next made us laugh because we don’t see it that often!

We saw an old person walking her dog with rollers in her hair! Now for you, this might be normal but for us, it was something we don’t see often. After laughing a bit about it I asked my friend: Aren’t rollers bad for your hair? And she couldn’t give me a straight answer… So, as I do so often, I went searching for the answer and *drum rolls* I found it! Not only that I found answers to other questions related to hair rollers that I think are helpful for you!

So, are rollers bad for your hair? This depends on the kind of rollers that you use and how you use them. The thing is that all rollers put your hair under tension and this can be damaging to your hair. This can cause breakage from the hair shaft or even the root. But you can avoid those issues by nothing wrapping your hair around it too tight.

Now I know that this answer is a bit vague but I don’t mean it that way. It truly depends on how you use it and what the condition is for your hair. To clarify this a bit I wrote the section below.

How to use rollers so that they are not damaging to your hair

First, let me tell you what the problem is with tension (cause that is what it is all about). All types of rollers that we are going to discuss in this article put tension on your hair. You can’t have it any other way. But the problem with tension is the fact that it can be very damaging to your hair. If your hair is already fragile it can even cause breakage if your rollers are wound too tightly around your hair.

Now if you use rollers regularly you should watch out for something that is called: traction alopecia. What this simply means is hair loss caused by tight hairstyles. Now rollers might not be a “hairstyle” but they are in your hair very tight for a longer time. This can even lead to permanent hair loss. Now I don’t want to scare you, but this is just the case and you need to know about it.

But what to do to avoid these problems?

To avoid these problems you can literally try to not wrap your hair around the rollers too tightly. And also, you can make sure that you aren’t using them daily. 

So don’t sleep with rollers in your hair! Even if you bought them and are designed for wearing well sleeping. You might get good results and don’t see any bad signs in the beginning… But if you use it longer you just increase the chance of hair loss. And I think I speak for all of us when I say that that is now what you want.

Now let us dive a little bit deeper into the sorts of rollers and curlers you can buy. Not all of them are bad for your hair, right?

Are hot rollers bad for your hair?

Now I think it is safe to say that hot rollers are not as damaging to your hair than let us say curling tongs. This is because the temperature of curling tongs is much higher than the temperature of hot rollers. 

Now a possible benefit of using hot rollers is that the waves you create with them last longer than they would do when they were made with a curling iron. This is easy to explain why. The hot irons that are in your hair, also cool down when they are in your hair and so they are “set” in the way that you want them.

Now because heat is still involved when you use hot rollers, your hair can get dry easily. That is why you need to take good care of your hair! Give it all the attention it needs to enjoy the beautiful creation you made with the hot rollers. But also, let it stay healthy!

Are curlers bad for your hair?

Just now we looked ate hot rollers, but what about curlers? Are they bad for your hair?

The problem I find with flat irons or curlers is the fact that they reach a higher temperature. This means that there is more moisturize absorbed from the hair and therefore it becomes drier. Now, this normally wouldn’t be such a problem but the thing is that your hair can become extremely dry and dull after you use it long term.

If you want to give curlers a try instead of rollers, I advise you to apply a heat protection spray that locks in the water in the hair cuticle. This allows the hair to stay hydrated and healthy.

This is also the case with hot rollers. That is what I mean by taking care of your hair :).

One last thing I want to say about this is that curlers can also help if you have long hair. They distribute the heat better on long length than rollers do.

Are sponge rollers bad for your hair?

Now, this is something I can get behind! Sponge rollers, in my opinion, are awesome because they are gentle for your hair! You put these kinds of rollers in when your hair is still damp. Then, when your hair dries, the curl will set and your hair will look fabulous!

Now you might find it amazing and want to try it immediately, but wait there are some things you have to think about. Now, you can let the hair dry naturally (without using heat) but this can take up a lot of your time. To fix that, you can go over your damp hair with a blow-drier. You might think: yeah okay, but then I still apply heat to my hair? That’s true… But a brief blow of heat wind the blow-drier isn’t nearly as harmful to your har than hot rollers or curlers.

If you want to use sponge rollers without applying heat you can. and you can do it in two ways:

  1. you can just let it sit and dry up the natural way
  2. You can put in the sponge rollers on dry hair. Although the effect might be a little less and not as long-lasting, you have the best chance of having healthy hair.

To the people who want to apply no heat and are also still a little skeptical about using them I say try the sponge rollers that are covered in satin.

What about velcro and foam rollers, are they bad?

Let’s start with velcro rollers. Yes, the first thing that popped into my head was: “yeah that sounds amazing and easy to use!” And they are. You don’t need clips to let them stay in your hair and they do not require that much heat. Just a simple blow with a blow-drier will do the trick just as with sponge rollers.

But, the fact that there are so good at grabbing your hair is also the thing why they are not so good for your hair. You can imagine how they are nearly impossible to get out of your hair and this can cause terrible breakage! 

I personally think it is not doable to get them out of your hair without pulling some hairs out of your hair.

So if you already have fine or damaged hair you need to stay away from them! You do not, and I repeat, do not want to have to resort to scissors to get them out of your hair.

What about foam rollers?

You might have guessed it already but foam rollers aren’t the best for your hair. Not that you can’t use them, you can! Try to be careful with them. The useful thing about foam rollers is the fact that they work for a wide variety of hair types and are one of the more comfortable options.

The soft and spongy body of these foam rollers protects your head from the outer clips that hold the foam rollers in place. Now I think these types of rollers are great if you want to achieve a more fluffy look instead of almost full curls. It is best to rolling them in on dry hair and rolling them in various directions. This way you get the “not-so-uniform” look that you have full-on natural curls. 

But as I said before you have to be careful. Don’t roll them in too tight and don’t sleep with them (even though some people say you can). But if you really want to, do keep an eye on the amount of tension you put on your hair. You don’t want it to break!

What about steam rollers? can they damage your hair?

This might be a good solution if you want to protect your hair.

Steam rollers work a little different than standard heated rollers (although they both use heat) The difference is the fact that you put the steam rollers over a steam vent for a brief amount of time before you place them in your hair. This way they are warm but not as warm as heated rollers would be and this is better for your hair. 


The thing with rollers is that they, to some extent, are always a bit bad for your hair. Now, this does not have to be a problem if you take good care of it. But still, you have to think about it. But I also want to emphasize that they can be a great styling tool. You can make all kinds of curls and fluffy looks with them. Roll them any way you want in your hair and create just the look you want. Just remember to use a heat protection spray on your hair if you’re going to use curlers and this can even be the case with heated rollers. Also, take good care of your hair in general (think about the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair and such things). Then I think you can create awesome looks and still have healthy hair :)!

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