Providing volume, curl, movement and body, these old school gems are a styling staple. Spotted in Fashion Week kit bags as well as airport lounges(!), here are the best ways to use them and the best ones we've tried

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Rollers - they’re probably the most underutilised styling tool in our artilleries. I know I’m certainly guilty of not using them to their full potential. And, despite being seen as a little old-fashioned, they’re still as valuable as ever for adding volume, movement and shape to a range of different hair types - in fact, top hair stylist Kerry Warn  (who’s been responsible for countless famous catwalk looks over the years) told us during a shoot that we did with him that he always carries a set in his kit bag at all times. That’s reason enough to give our curling tong some time off.

Backstage secrets aside though, they’re also making their mark on a very different type of runway too. The team’s spotted more and more women sporting a full head of rollers at (wait for it) airports of all places. Surprising, yes, but now I think about it, it makes perfect sense. What better time to set your curls than when you’re stuck on a plane for a few hours? They could be onto something here...

Rollers come in all types of shapes and sizes these days and, while the choice is amazing, it does make picking the right one for your needs tricky. A good starting point? “Decide if you need root volume or more movement,” recommends Craig Taylor, Creative Director at Hari’s . As for your roller size, generally speaking, the slimmer the roller, the tighter the curl. Heated ones are likely to give you a more long-lasting result. “The rule often with thicker or longer hair is to use a smaller roller as the hair will drop quicker, but this needs tweaking if you want a gentler movement,” explains Craig.

From velcro to heated ones, volume to waves, here’s how to pick the right type for the look you’re after - and the rollers I really rate too.

For volume

“The best roller for volume is a large velcro roller,” recommends Craig. Great for adding lift to limp roots, they’re also self-gripping for ease of use too. Simply roll under and leave for a minimum of 15 minutes (overnight if you can for best results) and prep sections with hairspray or volumising mousse  to help your style stay in place. There are also heat-activated alternatives available, designed to work in synergy with your hairdryer to provide greater hold than traditional types.“Make sure the roller sits on its section with no drag [i.e. gaps between the roller and scalp], so it lifts as many of the hairs straight up from the head as possible,” says Craig. “This will create maximum volume.”

Try: Denman Thermoceramic Rollers , £3.25, on towel-dried hair for a root pick-me-up that’s activated by your hairdryer, or Tresemme’s Volume Boost Heated Roller Set , £20, on dry hair for body from root to tip.

MORE: The best hair volumising products

For tight curls

Smaller sized rollers are your friends here for a more defined and structured curl. If you’d prefer to go heat-free, opt for a bendy roller or perm rod (which also has the advantage of not needing clips to keep them in place). However, if your hair has a habit of flattening out in a matter of minutes, and you’ve got a little less time on your hands, choose a heated roller instead.

Try: Sleeping in Babyliss Flexi Rollers, £7.15 (from Boots) for smooth curls in the morning or for more a corkscrew effect, try Boots Perm Rods , £3. Each pack contains three different sizes ranging from small to medium and large to suit a range of different hair lengths and they’re also self-clipping so they won’t budge during the night. Craig also recommends using them under a hood dryer if you’ve just washed your hair.

As far as heated rollers go, I love Babyliss’ Thermo-Ceramic Rollers , £35. Not only do they feature a variety of different sizes, but they create crisp, smooth curls in around 20 minutes and they have a great ‘Cool tip’ feature that makes them surprisingly easy to handle.

For loose curls and waves

Heated and bendy rollers are great here too. For a less ‘done’ finish, Craig recommends not rolling them up too close to the root and setting them on a more vertical angle. Also try rolling sections of the hair in different directions for a more natural finish and brush your curls through after they’ve cooled to make them less tight.

Try: Boots Bendy Rollers , £4.50, using wider sections of hair than you would for tighter curls, or Remington Proluxe Heated Rollers , £45, a set of 20 small and medium sized rollers that provide bouncy waves in around 10 minutes (depending on which of the three temperature settings you’ve chosen). They also heat up exceptionally speedily too - anywhere between 90 seconds to a few minutes. They can be a little hot to handle at times though, so ensure to let them cool down a little first before you start rolling up.

Read more: The hair styling mistakes the pros want you to know

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Which rollers do you rate? Let us know in the comments section below.