How Long to Keep Heat Rollers in Hair?

by Kimberly Johnson

If it seems like you need to grow a third arm to juggle all the tasks in your morning routine, hot rollers may just be the answer you need. These time-saving beauty tools can style your hair while you’re busy taking care of more important things. While there is an optimal length of time to leave the rollers in, your hair won't be damaged if you get busy mastering your mascara and forget about them.

Plug in your hot rollers and wait until they heat up. Some rollers have a light that comes on when they're ready, while others change to a different color when properly heated. Starting with fully heated rollers for curls with longer staying power.

Apply a very light layer of hairspray over your hair, and then brush through it to remove all tangles. If desired, you can apply a dime-size amount of mousse or gel instead of hairspray. Wait until your hair is perfectly dry before proceeding.

Divide your hair into three sections -- one on top and one on either side of your head. Clip each section together using a hair clip.

Gather a 1-inch wide section of hair from the top section and place a hot roller at the end of it. Roll the roller toward the back of your head to your scalp, and secure it to your head using a hair clip. Roll the rest of the hair on top of your head in 1-inch sections.

Roll each of the side sections of hair using the same method used for the top portion, except roll the roller downward.

Wait for 10 minutes, and then remove the clip from one of the rollers. Unroll the hair from it gently to determine if you like the level of curl. If not, quickly reroll the hair on the roller and repin it.

Wait another five minutes and feel the rollers to ensure they are completely cool to the touch. If they remain warm, wait a little longer. Rollers can take as long as 20 minutes to cool completely.

Pull the clip out of each roller and unroll the hair from each one.

Arrange each of the curls using your fingers until you are happy with the style.

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Items you will need

  • Hairspray
  • Brush
  • Mousse or gel, optional
  • Hair clips


  • Spray a light application of hairspray over your curls to set them in place all day.
  • The longer your hair is, the longer it will take the hot rollers to cool down.
  • For added volume, roll the side sections upward instead of downward.


  • Do not brush your hair after removing the hot rollers. This destroys the curl and will create a frizzy appearance.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images