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What is a Sponge Roller?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

A sponge roller is a small hairstyling tool used to curl the hair. It consists of a soft, hollow cylinder around which the hair is wrapped, and a plastic clip which holds the wrapped hair in place. The sponge roller has both advantages and disadvantages compared to other hair curling tools. It is highly affordable and, if used properly, can give the hair a tight, long-lasting curl. On the other hand, this type of roller can be somewhat difficult to use and can cause discomfort to the user.

Most sponge rollers are made up of a hollow foam cylinder of around four inches (10.16 cm) in length and half an inch (1.27 cm) to two inches (5.08 cm) in diameter. Larger diameter rollers result in bigger curls. A plastic shaft runs through the roller’s hollow center and is joined by a movable hinge to another plastic piece which frames the roller. At the other end of the frame is a clasp in which the shaft is locked once the hair has been wrapped around the roller.

Sponge rollers can give hair tight, long-lasting curls.
Sponge rollers can give hair tight, long-lasting curls.

To put in this type of roller, begin with damp hair. Starting at the crown of the head, gather a half-inch (1.27 cm) section of hair. Unlock the roller’s plastic clasp and, starting at the tip of the hair, wind the strands around the foam cylinder until the sponge roller reaches the scalp. Fasten the clasp so the roller is held in place, and then repeat until all hair has been rolled. The rollers should be left in for at least three hours, but leaving them in longer will result in tighter curls.

The sponge roller has two notable advantages. Firstly, compared to other home curling tools, it is highly affordable. It is often sold at drugstores and beauty supply shops as part of a multipack, which generally costs just a fraction of the price of electric rollers or a curling iron. In addition, when used properly, the sponge roller can give the hair a tight curl that lasts for the entire day.

There are also some disadvantages to the sponge roller, however. It can be difficult to use on oneself, particularly on those sections of the hair that are not easily seen in a mirror. Furthermore, the long period needed for sponge rollers to work effectively means that they must often be worn overnight. This can cause extreme discomfort and even sleeplessness in the user.

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Discussion Comments


I've always preferred sponge rollers over other kinds. They're kind of old fashioned I suppose, but I do like that they stay in my hair and they don't damage it. I tried these velcro rollers and I thought I was going to have to cut them out of my hair! They wouldn't turn loose! It was awful. They stayed put all right, but getting them out was a nightmare.

So, I'm back to using my old lady sponge rollers. They work just fine, they're cheap and they don't tear up my hair. What more can you ask from a hairstyling tool?


Sponge rollers really aren't difficult to use, and they're not as uncomfortable as hot rollers, to me. If you have fine, thin hair like I do, they also stay in the hair better. Hot rollers eventually just fall out of my hair because it's so fine it can't stand their weight.

I've never been in the group who could sleep in sponge curlers, although I have known girls who did. They said you just have to get used to it. I never could do it.

Sponge rollers do a good job and I don't mind using them if I have the time to put them in and wait for my hair to dry. Sometimes I'll use a hair dryer to speed the process along, but i don't like to use a dryer unless I have to. My hair is a little too fragile to do it much.

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    • Sponge rollers can give hair tight, long-lasting curls.
      By: xjrshimada
      Sponge rollers can give hair tight, long-lasting curls.