How to Use Sponge Rollers to Make Cheer Curls for a Ponytail

Cheer curls add style and bounce to any routine.
Cheer curls add style and bounce to any routine. (Image: cheer learder with pom poms image by Photoeyes from

The mother of every cheerleader knows what cheer curls are. They are perfect, springy and as hard as concrete. Any girl's hair can be perfectly curled for a cheerleading competition; the trick is to start early. The purpose of cheer curls is to establish uniformity among the team and get the hair off the shoulders, but there's a specialness to it as well, a long-standing tradition. The girls wear their sponge rollers proudly, like a badge of honor.

Things You'll Need

  • Small sponge rollers (the number depends on hair length and thickness)
  • Extra hold hair spray or gel
  • Comb
  • Curler cover (large scarf or chignon cover)

Start two to three days before competition. Slick soaking wet hair into a tight ponytail high on the crown of the head. Put decorative hair band over elastic band before curling hair.

Starting at the bottom of the ponytail, separate a thin strand of hair. Roll curler tightly from the bottom, spraying each section of hair as you roll. When you reach the hairband, snap the roller shut.

Repeat step two until all the hair is rolled. Re-wet hair strands as necessary.

Hairspray the entire head and cover the rollers with a scarf or chignon. Do not remove rollers until competition day.

Remove the rollers, starting at the bottom. Smooth and repair hair that has come loose as necessary with hairspray and bobby pins.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many squads arrange rolling parties to be sure the curls are done properly.
  • The roller's hands will become sticky from the hairspray during the process. Wear thin gloves or work near a sink to relieve discomfort.
  • Chignon covers are easy and fun to make in team colors. Cut circles about 2 inches bigger than a dinner plate, turn the edge under and hem all around, leaving a space to thread ribbons. Use the hem like a casing to thread ribbons through and pull tight to make a bun cover. Sequined fabric in a primary team color with contrasting ribbons looks and works great, and the edges of sequined fabric do not ravel.
  • Many squads remove curlers while they wait for their turn in the competition lineup. Pack a bag for removed curlers; they are reusable.
  • For girls with very short hair, curled falls are available in nearly every hair color.
  • Some cheer competitions do not allow bobby pins. Check the competition rules.
  • Hair should be wet, but not freshly washed before curling. Wash hair a day or two before sponge rolling for better hold.

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