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8 Tips for a Perfect Roller Set

• Dec 28, 2013

by Michelle of Curly in Colorado

Roller setting any hair type is a tricky business.  Still, you can achieve smooth results using rollers on natural hair.  Once you get the technique down you can get salon quality hair at home.

Here are some things I’ve learned about roller setting my natural hair.

1. Taking the hair down while it’s still damp (not completely dry) will result in frizz.
I have done this so many times so I know this to be true.  Sometimes the frizziness actually adds to the style though if your going for a bigger look.  However if it’s sleek and smooth you want, you gotta leave the rollers in until completely dry.

2. For bouncy hair use as little product as possible. 
I use a good leave in, maybe a dime size of heat protectant and then just water to re-wet each section when I want a soft, bouncy set.  Setting lotion is also an option if I want more hold and is usually not too heavy.

3. Using oils may extend the drying time
I learned this one the hard way one night after rolling my hair while it still had some oils in it from my deep conditioning treatment.  I sat under the dryer for 2 hours and it still wasn’t dry!  I ended up having to sleep on the rollers until morning…ouch!

5. Use a good leave-in conditioner
Since natural hair has so much texture I’ve found that smoothing each section with the rat tail comb or Denman Brush is much easier when I apply a good leave-in.  My favorites are Garnier Fructis and Kinky Curly Knot Today because they give lots of slip.

6. Stick with rollers that are the right size for your hair length
Using rollers that are too large for your length can make rolling the hair more awkward.

7. Don’t put too much hair on the roller.
If the parted section is wider than the roller, the hair may slip off of the roller from the sides leaving some puffy strands.  Also, putting too much hair on to one roller can result in longer drying times and semi-smooth results.

8. Ponytail Roller set = smooth roots
If I’m going for a curly look I don’t even worry about the roots.  It’s when I want a more straight look where the smoother roots come in handy.  You can always whip out the flat iron for this but using ponytail holders to smooth the roots works too.  There are plenty of discussions online and YouTube videos on this technique.

My hair after a Ponytail Roller Set and Silk Wrap

Ladies, what tips do you have for a perfect roller set?

Michelle of Curly in Colorado has been natural for about 4 1/2 years; transitioned for 9 months. She enjoys sharing her hair journey with others via her Youtube channel,

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8 years ago

Can you show which direction (and how to section the hair) we should roll our hair in? Should we use end papers? Should the hair be damp or dry before we roll it? Every time I’ve tried to roll my hair it’s been a mess.

8 years ago
Reply to  Em

I like to use end papers if I’m using perm rods but for magnetic rollers (pictured above) I just make sure the hair is wet enough to attach to the roller. My hair sets best when wet. Visit my channel, mitchellzee, on youtube to watch how I do it.

8 years ago
Reply to  Em

Hi Em, Watch this video to see how to section the hair and what direction to roll it in ONLY. (You do not need her products. For the Diana Ross stretched curls stop there, if you want it to be straight I suggest doing the doobie wrap over night but you don’t need shrink wrap just use bobbie pins and a scarf to hold it in place. Personally I would NOT flat iron after!) Soaking wet hair is easiest to smooth over the curler. You’ll probably need a spray bottle to wet the back a little bit since it will start… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
8 years ago
Reply to  Em

I think having hair that is slightly damp is a good idea. I would recommend rolling the hair UPWARDS, because it takes a shorter time than rolling it inside/downwards. Plus, I think the curls look better that way anyway. End papers are good for perm rods.

8 years ago

i am not sure wet hair is good idea, but it depends on different ppl. Because the last time I did it, it turned out a mess. Then I remember some vblog or blog online said that wet hair from twist out braid or curler can cause frizz because it was supposed to be dry itself before do it. Imagine you with frizz hair while wet hair and you attach to curlers then it get air dried and it is supposed look smooth/bouncy. Instead frizzy curl pattern come back looking really messy as if it is wash n go… slight damp… Read more »

8 years ago

Thanks,this is very helpful.


[…] Culled from Blackgirllonghair […]

8 years ago

Guess working with rollers isn’t as easy as it seems! It’s all about doing the right technique. Thanks for clarifying this for us!


[…] 8 Tips for a Perfect Roller Set | Black Girl with Long Hair Michelle of Curly in Colorado Roller setting any hair type is a tricky business. Still, you can achieve smooth results using rollers on natural hair. […]

7 years ago

I’m going to the salon to get my hair in a roller set but brushing it and wrapping it up to have st
straight hair i hate rolling my hair up every night . I rather just wear straight hair . To moisturize every night I’ll use oil and water spray spray some in my hands rub it through each section and then seal with coconut oil .

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