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A History of Hair Curlers: When They Were Invented and How Far They’ve Come Today

Hair curlers are popular tools because of the versatility they provide. In fact, you can create a variety of looks using this tool. Plus, you can also use it to add volume to your tresses. Because of these perks, many women have used this styling tool since ancient times. To give you a better view, here is the evolution of hair curlers, beginning from the first hair roller to the modern-day hair curlers.

The First Hair Rollers

Hair curling methods began in 1500 B.C. During that time, the ancient Egyptians would wrap their hair around wooden sticks. Afterward, they will use the heat of the sun to set the curls.

Aside from the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks also used a hair curling tool known as the calamistrum. This tool is a hollow tube made of iron, and it is often warmed in wood ashes then used as rollers. Afterward, the ancient Greeks used beeswax to set the curls.

The evolution of hair curlers continued hundreds of years later. During the 19th century, hair rollers started to look like the rollers we use today. However, back then, the rollers were made with metal, and they were coated with leather and fabric to make them more comfortable. Typically, these rollers were used overnight. When the morning came, the luscious curls were revealed.

The Curling Iron

In 1872, a French hairstylist, namely Marcel Grateau, invented the curling iron. This hair styling tool was heated over a gas burner. As such, it was only used by professionals. Unfortunately, the temperature of this tool was hard to control. For this reason, using it would often result in singed hair, burns, and curls that wouldn’t set.

Electric Hair Rollers

After hundreds of years, the evolution of hair curlers continued. To be specific, electric hair rollers were invented by Soloman Harper in 1930. After a few years, Soloman Harper updated the design of his electric hair roller; however, it was only during the 1960s that this styling tool became popular.

Modern-Day Hair Rollers

1. Foam Rollers

Permed hair became popular in the 1980s. However, not all women can go to the salon, so an alternative was invented, which was the foam hair roller. Back then, women would use foam rollers and apply ammonia to their tresses to create larger than life curls, a popular 80’s statement.

2. Steam Hair Rollers

In 1923, Hugh and William Macdonald created a hair curling machine that was steam-powered. Afterward, steam became a popular choice for setting curls, especially during the 70s and 80s.

In 1984, Richard Caruso showed his plastic and foam rollers that were designed to improve the steam setting. Even today, a lot of women are still using this innovative tool to curl their hair.

3. No-Heat Hair Rollers

In the past few years, hair rollers have evolved so that they can take both heat and no-heat styling. Today, you can now use hair curlers with soft and foamy textures that will allow you to sleep comfortably while curling your strands. Despite these inventions, hair curlers are still evolving. At the same time, new designs are also being invented; thus, we can expect more innovative designs in the future.


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