Curling adds more volume to straight, fine and limp hair, but the struggle of curling hair is real. Yes, there are several ways to curl your hair. But chemical treatments like perms are harsh on the hair. And by using heated curlers like curling irons, you risk exposing your hair to the damaging effects of heat. If you want curls without heat, one of the best ways to do it is using magnetic hair rollers.
This post contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
There are many different types of rollers. You can choose between heated rollers and no-heat rollers. For heatless curls, there are self-grip velcro rollers, brush rollers, perm rods, and foam rollers, to name a few. You can even use pins and rags to make curls, though you’ll often end up with curls that aren’t well-defined. If you’re looking for the mildest rollers to curl hair, go for magnetic hair hair rollers. They’re easy to use and inexpensive too.
But what is a magnetic hair roller? And how does it work?
Fun Fact: You should know that magnetic hair rollers are in no way magnetic. They are simply plastic rollers.
Magnetic hair rollers are hard plastic cylinders, with ventilation holes. You’ve most likely seen them when you visit the salon. They are called “magnetic” because wet hair sticks to the rollers. They are used for wrapping hair to get curls without needing a styling product.
Yes, you can still use a styling product to make it easier to wrap the hair around the rollers and to make your curls last. One other feature that separates magnetic rollers from other rollers is their rigid form which provides smoother and consistent curls.
Yes, magnetic rollers work, depending on how you use it. If you follow the right process while rolling your wet hair or dry hair, you can achieve stunning curls.
One great thing about magnetic rollers is that you can use it on any hair type and length, whether you have short hair, long hair, fine hair, black hair, curly hair or straight hair. To make magnetic rollers work for you, you need to consider your hair type and the curls you want.
You can choose the roller size to use based on the type of curls you want. Smaller rollers will create tight spirals while wider magnetic rollers can create larger curls.
Magnetic curlers come in X-Jumbo (1 ¾”), Jumbo (1 ½”), X-Large (1 1/8”), Large (7/8”), Medium (3/4”), and Small (1/2”) sizes. The medium and small sizes are great for smaller and tighter curls. They provide gorgeous compact waves, and give little volume at the root area.
While the large and X-large sizes will give you mid-sized waves and large romantic curls, with a bit more volume in the root area. Jumbo magnetic rollers are great if you want to have smooth, big , and voluminous waves.
Magnetic rollers snap into hair quickly and create curls without the damaging heat produced by curling irons and curlers. There are two different types of magnetic hair rollers: (1) regular magnetic hair rollers and (2) snap on magnetic rollers.
Wet or damp hair sticks to regular magnetic rollers. When using on dry hair, you will have to hold the roller with duck clips or large bobby pins.
One popular brand of magnetic hair rollers is the Diane Magnetic Roller Set. You can buy either the snap on magnetic hair rollers or the regular variety.
The snap on variety come with covers that “snap on” to secure the hair in place. You don’t need pins or clips. So, even while using it on dry hair, you only have to wrap your hair around the roller and secure it with the cap. The snap on cap also helps the hair to stay firmly in place to form into gorgeous curls.
Another plus for snap on rollers is that they are quite easy to use. The regular magnetic rollers are not as beginner-friendly; if you have trouble using the regular variety, try the snap on rollers. You should also know that each set of snap on magnetic rollers only comes in one size, whereas a set of regular magnetic rollers come in different sizes.
Hair rollers are most likely the only styling tool associated with both willowy models and grannies in long nightgowns and bunny slippers. But how do magnetic rollers fare in comparison to other types of hair rollers?
Velcro rollers are another styling tool for creating soft, pretty waves and curls that last for a long time and save your hair from the damaging effects of heat styling. These rollers have tiny hook-like appendages covering their exterior surface and do not require clips or heat as they curl hair ends and add lift to roots.
As they do not require clips, Velcro rollers are an excellent choice for hair that breaks easily and short hair. However, if your hair is thick or long, you might still need to use clips to secure the Velcro rollers in place. Plus, they are a faster way to add body and wave to hair.
Just like magnetic rollers, big Velcro rollers will give you big volume or waves, and small rollers will provide you with small, tight curls. However, unlike magnetic rollers which are mainly used for wet-setting, you can only use Velcro rollers on smooth and dry sections of hair.
With magnetic rollers, you start rolling your hair while it is still wet or damp. But it is not advised to use Velcro rollers while the hair is wet. You have to wait till the hair is at least 90% dry and damp to the touch before applying the Velcro rollers.
Also, the curl from Velcro rollers isn’t as long-lasting and firm as what obtains with a magnetic roller set. Plus, their surface isn’t as rigid, so the curls Velcro rollers produce are not as smooth.
Also known as hourglass rollers, tension rollers are a great styling tool that gives voluminous, beautiful, and fluffy curls. Like magnetic rollers, you can use them on damp hair. After washing your hair, you only need to detangle before applying the tension rollers.
Plus, tension rollers are fully vented, so you don’t have to spend as much time drying your hair. But, they do not offer the same curl smoothness that obtains with magnetic rollers.
You need the following items before you roll your hair: (1) rat-tail comb to section hair; (2) leave-in conditioner ; (3) hair oil; and (4) hair brush. If you are using the regular magnetic rollers, you will also need clips or bobby pins for holding the hair in place.
So, to use the rollers:
After this, you should dry your curls. If you are utterly averse to heat on your hair, then you should fully air-dry the hair before removing the rollers. But this can take several hours, and you might even need to leave the rollers in overnight. Therein lies the only drawback to magnetic curls––the need to wait for the hair to dry. Or you can decide to use a blow dryer if you don’t have time.
If you use a blow dryer, allow the hair to cool for about 20 minutes after it must have dried, then take out the rollers one after the other to reveal your gorgeous curls.
So, you see, there's nothing complicated in using magnetic rollers, and the curls you get from this can last for days, depending on your hair type. After this, you can style the hair as you desire. If you brush your hair, you’ll remove much of the curls and get loose, flowing waves.
If you want the hair to remain tight and neat, gently run your fingers through it, and then spray with hairspray to ensure that the curls last for a long time. If you want to get more hair volume, bend over and hang your head down. Shake your head gently a few times and lightly run your fingers through the curls to get bigger and bouncier hair.
If you have natural hair, also known as ethnic hair or black hair, you can also use magnetic rollers, following the same process. Remember to detangle your hair with your fingers after washing. And apply oil and shea butter to each hair section, focusing on the ends before you roll.
If you’ve been wondering how do magnetic hair rollers work?, hopefully by now, you understand how it works. Now you know that magnetic rollers are in no way magnetic. Rather, they are plastic rollers, which serve as a mild way of styling hair to get fabulous curls.