How To: Barrel Roll Hair Tutorial

Nicola Lombardi

Retro loving plus size girl, I love experimenting with my red hair, embracing the thighs of life, trying to perfect the perfect brow and being continuously torn between wanting to be a real life mermaid or a Disney villain...choices.

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I love my hair. Some might find this really vain or a bit superficial, but so what? A lot of my confidence comes from my hair. I love having it dyed, cut and styled, and I love creating styles myself that make me feel a bit different. Hair that brightens up Monday mornings and makes you feel that little bit extra when you need it. It’s my self care and whilst I don’t claim to be an expert at hair, or anything close to that, I just enjoy trying out fun styles and seeing what it can do.

My go-to hair style is a barrel roll. I always get lovely compliments on it and people really don’t believe me when I say it really is just dry shampoo, a lot of teasing and enough hair spray to also cover your laptop in a nice thick film… which I never do…. well, maybe sometimes!

So, here is a picture tutorial on how I achieve my barrel roll, once you’re confident it really takes no time at all. I’ve now got this down to just a few minutes and I’m out the door for work! So let’s get started…


Barrel Roll Hair Tutorial


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    1. It’s best to do this with hair that’s not been washed for at least a day. However, I still do it on hair wash days just make sure you have some dry shampoo handy as it really helps with the teasing and bulks it out a bit. Along with this you’ll also need a teasing comb/brush, bobby pins and some hairspray.
    2. Take a good chunk of the front section of your hair and spray with dry shampoo. You don’t actually need too much despite my picture making it look like I’ve dipped myself in talcum powder (you can also get dry shampoo in a darker shade if you’re worried about this).
    3. Grab that comb and start teasing! Take small sections at a time and tease down a few inches on each section. You should soon start to look like you’ve electrocuted yourself, but you know, still cute though.
    4. Then you need to start brushing it out to smooth it over. Do this quite gently and eventually you’ll see it keeps all the lovely volume but starts to look sleek and you’ll get a nice shine bouncing off of your hair.
    5. Now the hair spray comes out for the first time. I give the brushed section a big spray and gently brush it again to give it some hold and smooth out any fly-aways.
    6. Hand rolling time! Some people use curlers which you can of course do, no shame here, I’m just used to shaping the roll by hand. With the volume you’ve now created it should shape quite nicely. I usually pull the teased section up into a point, slightly to the side, and form a small circle with the end of the hair before rolling it down towards my forehead, keeping it slightly to the side. You can also pull the hair section down and roll upwards into a circle for a different shape.


Barrel Roll Hair Tutorial


  1. Now grab some bobby pins as you’ll need to secure your masterpiece.
  2. I usually secure it initially with one really obvious pin. The idea is to not have the pins showing, however mine often do show as you really don’t need to be perfect! Once I have my initial pin secured I use a few more that are more hidden to keep my creation held down in place before removing the first pin.
  3. You’ll find that you might end up re-rolling and re-pinning it a few times until you’re happy with it’s position. I love the roll when you can see defined sections of hair inside, makes me think of a Mr. Whippy.
  4. Now get your hairspray and spray liberally all over, then pat down the fly-aways. I try to avoid brushing any more at this point as it just pulls it out of position and I’ll then have to start again.
  5. Now sit back and marvel at how high and fabulous your hair is!


There may seem like a lot of steps but you really do end up managing to churn out a barrel roll with your eyes closed. Be sure to tag us if you try this out, we would love to see some of your own creations!


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