Women have used curlers to style their hair for centuries. Today, curly hair is still popular, whether it is worn in tight curls or loose waves. Although the technology for hair curlers has changed over the years, the process of curling hair by wrapping the hair around the curler is still the same.


The popularity of curling hair dates back to Egyptian times, when women would wear curly-haired wigs. Upper-class Roman women would also wear their hair in tight curls, often using an early form of a curling iron, heated by an oven, to create a ringlet effect. Curls were popularized again in the 18th century with the emergence of coiffed, elaborately curled, powdered wigs. In the 20th century, soft curls and waves became popular in the 1940s and remain popular today.


Hair curling is a process in which straight hair is wrapped around a rod or roller. The function of a hair curler is, as the name suggests, to curl hair. Additionally, depending on the type of hair curler used, the tool can also smooth the hair follicle and help create body in the hair.


There is a variety of heated and nonheated hair curlers on the market today. Typically, nonheated rollers use steam to set curls. Magnetic rollers can be used to set wet hair, while Velcro rollers don’t need to be pinned in place and are usually used to set dry hair. Rags have also been used as rollers: The user wraps her hair around small pieces of material and wears the rag curlers overnight. Hot rollers can be used instead of nonheated rollers and are generally quicker. In addition to rollers, curling irons can also be used. Depending on the effect the user wishes to create, curling irons come in thinner and wider barrels.


The type of hair curler you use depends on the type of style you want. A skinny curling rod will create tight curls. Shirley Temple-style ringlets can be created with a thin-barreled curling tong or by using rag curlers. Smooth, loose waves are created by using a wide-barreled curler or curling iron.


Some people think that by using hair curlers they may be ruining their hair, particularly with heated rollers and curling irons. However, with new technology, that is becoming less and less the case these days. Ceramic curling irons have a nonstick surface that allows for even heating, meaning that hair will not burn in certain spots.