The benefits of thermal tools are their ability to provide quick styling options by using heat (and sometimes minimal amounts of moisture via steam) to set curl into the hair. Once
the rollers have cooled completely, the curl is set. The hair can be set without the use of styling product for a soft natural feel. Because the tools can be used on the hair and left to cool on their own, you can place them
in the hair and continue your normal grooming routine: putting on make-up, getting dressed, etc. A little pre-planning means that the thermal tools can be used without significantly impacting the amount of time needed to get
On the down side, a common complaint of thermal tools is that the tools sometimes require an excessive amount of time to reach a useful temperature, and in some cases, the addition
tools needed to secure the rollers in place are easily lost or broken. In fact, the quality of a thermal tool “set” is often widely varied, as is its cost. Lastly, since some thermal tools suggest the use of hairspray and
other styling products in conjunction with their product, the tools can be prone to product build-up and can be very difficult to clean without damaging the padding or finish.
Wet Set Tools:
Cage Rollers are among the oldest design of roller and are called this because of their construction and appearance. They are hollow tubes of hard plastic formed by a thin,
rectangular mesh. The hair is wrapped around the tubes while it is wet so that it readily adheres to the plastic surface of the tubes. These tubes are accompanied by a second, partial tube with a larger “view window”
that is designed to clip over the inner tube, securing the hair that has been wound around the roller in place.
The best thing about these tools is that their plastic design is well-ventilated and allows for air to circulate more freely through the hair. This allows the hair to dry more
quickly, whether you opt to use a hair dryer or allow the hair to dry on its own. The tools are usually among the least expensive options, thanks to their simple construction, and their solid plastic composition makes
them a cinch to clean.
On the down side, the cage rollers need to be paired with their cap-tubes or they can become a pain to match up when being used, and the wrapping of the hair can take some practice,
particularly if you are trying to accomplish it without using additional styling product as an adhesive. The hard plastic can also become fragile as the tools get older, especially when frequently used under a hot hair
dryer. Finally, if the tools are overloaded with too much hair, the cap-tubes may not fit properly and can cause damage to the hair.
(Click to enlarge)
Another classic roller type is the magnetic roller, which seems like a misnomer since the rollers are made of molded plastic construction. The plastic is more flexible than the
glossy, resinous plastic of the cage rollers. The magnetic roller gets its name because the wet hair when wrapped onto the rollers tends to adhere “magnetically” to the rollers. Once wrapped with hair, the rollers are then
secured in place against the scalp using clips or bob pins.
Some of the best features of the magnetic rollers are the fact that they work really well without added styling product, as long as the hair is sufficiently damp. They also produce
very firm curls since they can usually be tightly wound and clipped into place. They are suited to use with heat drying and are very easily cleaned when they become soiled due to their all-plastic construction.