10 Tips for Styling Short Hair with Hot Rollers

Styling short hair with hot tools is tricky if you have not got the hang of it. Due to its short length, it is very difficult to style with a curling iron or flat iron.

Featured Image of Tips for Styling Short Hair With Hot Rollers

There is always a risk of burning the nape of your neck if you are not too careful.  Short hair is also more vulnerable to breakage than long hair. This, however, does not mean that attractive styles are not possible with short hair.

Thankfully, hot rollers can be used with all types of hair regardless of density and length. For short hair particularly, they open up vistas of charming hairstyles. It is easier and faster to style short hair with hot rollers if you follow a few tricks to optimize the process. These rules of thumb are elaborated below:

1. Choose the Right Roller Size

Small hot rollers are perfect for achieving tight curls, whereas large hot rollers are ideal for achieving loose waves. Tight curls are preferable because they add volume to short hair. Large hot rollers will fit comfortably in hair that extends to the shoulders. But, small and medium hot rollers are better for shorter hair. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and choose the roller size suited to the length of your hair and the style you desire.

Hot Roller Sizes - V2 Feb

2. Keep Your Styling Products and Accessories Ready

For styling short hair with hot rollers, you will need:

  • thermal protection serum or argan oil spray for heat protection
  • anti-frizz serum or spray for frizz control
  • strong-hold setting spray for making the style last longer
  • moisturizing mousse for hydrating exceptionally dry hair
  • texturizing spray for building texture in fine hair
  • hot roller clips or claw clips for securing the rollers close to your scalp
  • teasing comb or brush for teasing each section of hair

Do not proceed with hot rollers if any of these products or accessories is absent. It is essential that you do it the right way or not do it at all for the sake of preserving your hair in good shape.

3. Pass Over the Conditioner

Conditioner makes the hair too smooth for it to hold on to the hot rollers long enough. This problem is more acute in short hair than it is in long hair. Therefore, if you cleanse your hair or simply wet it, skip the conditioner altogether. Either air dry or blow dry your hair and set the rollers in after applying a heat protectant.

Skip Conditioner

4. Detangle Your Hair First

Do not be deceived into thinking that short hair is tangle-free. Short hair has its fair share of knots. Release the knots before you set in the hot rollers otherwise, you will end up with a bird’s nest rather than an elegant style.

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5. Use Plastic Claw Clips Instead of Metal Ones

Metal hot roller clips or claw clips create unwanted creases in your hair. This problem is more acute in short hair than in long hair. Therefore, opt for plastic claw clips or hot roller clips to avoid the creases which will ruin the style. Avoid bobby pins for the same reason.

Plastic Claw Clips

6. Tease Every Section of Your Hair

This is an important step for short hair. It helps to add volume to hair that tends to look slightly shorter or flatter after using hot rollers or any hot tool for that matter. Part your hair into as many sections as the style requires and tease each section at the roots before setting in the hot rollers. Be careful not to tug at the teasing otherwise, you will undo the volume that was created by the teasing.

7. Roll Each Section of Hair From the Middle

Start rolling each section of your hair from the center, making sure to roll in the ends of your hair and then proceeding right up to the scalp. This technique will not only give you a nice curl but will also prevent tangles and avoid over-heating the ends of your hair.

Rolling Each Hair Section From the Middle

8. Part Your Hair Into Sections of 1 Inch

Although there is nothing to stop you from creating sections wider than 1 inch, it is better not to exceed this width. Smaller sections will help you achieve tighter and more defined curls which are recommended for short hair. On average, short hair can be sectioned into 3 rows with 3-4 rollers in each row.

9. Set the Rollers From Top to Bottom

To curb frizz and knots in short hair, it is advisable to start putting the rollers from the top of your head and proceed back to the nape of your neck. First, take a 2-inch section of your hair from the front of your crown. Then, create 2-3 more sections along that row until you reach the nape of the neck. This pattern is called the Mohawk due to its striking resemblance to the traditional Red Indian headdress by the same name.

Using Hot Rollers From Top to Bottom

10. Do Not Brush or Comb Your Hair Once the Rollers Are Off

If you brush or comb your hair soon after removing the rollers, the curls will collapse and the style will be ruined. Spray on some strong-hold hairspray while the rollers are on and after taking them off. This will ensure that the style lasts many hours at a stretch.


It is normal for short hair to appear even shorter after it has been styled. So, do not be dismayed to see this once the rollers come off. For short hair that is very difficult to curl, use the hot rollers on hair that has been washed the day before. If you have varying roller sizes, only heat the ones you will use. Make sure you have enough claw clips especially since short hair requires multiple hot rollers at a time.

Always make sure you choose the right roller size, use the correct styling products, keep your styling accessories handy, and use plastic clips instead of metal ones. Also, omit the conditioner if you style your hair on wash day, and detangle your hair before setting the hot rollers in your hair. Part your hair into 1-inch sections, tease them at the roots, and roll them from the middle. Remember to set the rollers from the top to the bottom of your head, and avoid brushing your hair after you take them off.

If you follow these styling guidelines, you can rest assured that your hot rollers will give your short hair a long-lasting style.


  1. Hi there,

    My hair is short and it is quite fine. And that’s why I always crave for gorgeous volume in my tresses because otherwise, they look so lackluster and flat. My only go-to hairstyle for volume in my short tresses is various curls and waves. However, my curls never stayed in place for a long time.

    When my husband sent me the link to this article, I was amazed to read the tips and tried them on my tresses to a T. To my pleasant surprise, the curls now hold better and also look amazing.

    Thank you very much for coming up with this piece of writing.

    Nice work!

    Keep it up!

    1. Dear Lenora,

      Thank you very much for your sweet praising words. We are overwhelmed with your feedback.

      Please keep sharing your experience with us.

  2. Hello girls,

    I have to say that the teasing method before putting on the heated rollers is really effective. Teasing all my short hair not only created a bit of volume but at the same time, it also made the curls looked well in person.

    However, I follow an extra step and I would like to share it with you all. After I remove the rollers, I spritz on some strong hold hairspray on my hair so that the curls stay for a long time and never fall flat.

    You can also try it on your short tresses and feel the difference yourself.

    1. Dear Rachel,

      Thank you very much for sharing your experience and a little tip with us. We are sure that our readers will find it extremely useful.

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