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Why My Attempt at a Roller Set Was a Complete Fail

Avatar • Jan 23, 2015

Yesterday in the afternooon I solicited prayers for my latest undertaking — a perm rod set with the big, brown jumbo rollers.

Y’all might have thought I was just joshing around, but I seriously needed my prayer warriors to surround me on this one. If you’ve been following me on the blog, Instagram, Facebook,YouTube, and Pinterest, then you know that I don’t dabble too deeply into styling my natural hair. I experimented much more with styles during my transition, because my hair wasn’t wash and go ready. But as soon as these curls began to pop…that’s all she wrote.

I’m sure many of you guys are bored with my endless quest for curl definers, and I’ll admit that sometimes I get tired of them too. So after I posed the question on social media asking whether to do perm rods, Cu lformers, or a braid-out, I tallied the responses: perm rods came in first, followed by Curlformers, and then a braid-out. Even though my perm rod set was a total fail, I am determined to move forward with different styles.

So, what went wrong?

Everything.

See? Everything.

I studied numerous YouTube tutorials, and I even did a pre-test the night before rolling a section of hair with ApHogee foam versus a curl definer. I chose the curl definer, because the results seemed more frizz-free. I forged ahead with the following line up:

1. Cowashing with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. This has become my in-between shampoo staple. It cleanses, it detangles, it tingles, it is low-key my everything.

2. Deep conditioning with Ouidad Melt-Down Recovery Extreme Repair mask (review coming soon — definitely a request of y’alls)

3. I skipped the mud rinse, and went straight in to my leave-in and styler of choice: LRC Shake & Go and Hello Curly Curl Stimulator. I selected Shake & Go for lightweight, 3 in 1 shine, moisture, and heat protection. I selected Hello Curly Curl Stimulator because it packs mega hold, and because I saw a few tutorials use curl definer instead of wrapping foam. Shoutout to @kayelaine on IG for also recommending wash and go products. I think this combo might have worked in my favor if I didn’t.

4. Apply product to my hair like there was no tomorrow. I sprayed LRC all over my head, but didn’t overdo it. Where I went super extra mega ham was with the Hello Curly — I like, applied that stuff in sections like there was no tomorrow. The sad part is, in the back of my mind I knew better. I know how potent Hello Curly Curl Stimulator is, yet I forged ahead with reckless abandon. I literally applied one or two pumps per section of hair for each roller.

5. Struggle like hell to roll my hair. Between the oversaturated slip of the gel and the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing, it was incredibly difficult to get my hair on the roller, keep it on the roller, and fasten it taut against my scalp. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had it on right and then as soon as I let go, the roller unrolled halfway down my hair. I almost quit, I really did. But I forged ahead for y’all.

6. After struggling with rollers for about an hour, I sat under my hooded dryer for an hour to begin the drying process. I honestly got nervous under there. I could literally hear some of the elastic bands snapping from the rollers. I’m not sure if it was their cheap construction (ahem, Annie brand) that cause them to surrender under the hooded heat, or the slip of the gel rendered their construction useless. The only thing that quasi held it together under there was my net.7. Where I likely ran into even more problems was the fact that I could only be under the dryer for an hour. I had to get cooking, so I spent the next 3 hours cleaning up and air drying. By about 6:45 I had had enough of the rollers and refused to let my boyfriend, Samuel walk through the door seeing me look like somebody’s Auntie Wanda. So I took the rollers out, laughed at how terrible my hair looked, pinned the front back, and acted like I meant to do it.

By the end of the night, I had about 15 different jokes for how terrible my hair looked. I was trying to reconcile the fact that it was shinier than a new penny, crunchier than a Cool Ranch Dorito, and yet sticky. It was wavy, straight, and curly at the same time. It looked horrible — and there was absolutely no redeeming quality or justification for how my hair looked such a mess after 5 hours of work and drying.

I came to the conclusion that my hair looked like a heat damaged version of itself, circa early 2012.
No, this picture isn’t from 2012. It’s from last night.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross for this mess, so I made it my mission to forget about the fiasco by re-washing my hair and settling back into my old faithful wash and go. So here we are on Saturday, with the messness of last night slowly becoming a distant memory. I’ll surely re-do the set eventually (with less product and more time under the dryer), but for now, my curls are popping something serious with this combination of As I Am Leave-In Conditioner and Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls (I caved at Sally’s because I wanted the free diffuser.…and I don’t even diffuse):
Have you ever completely, totally, and utterly FAILED at a style that everyone does with ease? Share your experience below so I don’t feel so bad!
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About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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Amber Banks
Amber Banks
5 years ago

*Jesus didn’t die on the cross for this mess* I died laughing at this XD

Christina Patrice
5 years ago
Reply to  Amber Banks

Lol! Just sharing my exact thoughts!

del
del
5 years ago

Too funny! I would never be brave enough to post my hair fails, so thanks for having the courage. In general, I don’t have patience for styles that take a lot of time, unless there’s a big reward — I’ll spend several hours styling braids, knowing I can leave them in for a couple of weeks. But roller sets stump me every time. I don’t even try anymore. I always mess up because I HATE sitting under the dryer. And I can’t sleep in rollers, rods, etc. — I love my sleep too much to be that uncomfortable. Last time… Read more »

Christina Patrice
5 years ago
Reply to  del

Thank you!!! I gotta share the failure points, because a lot of people think natural hair is a highlight reel 🙂

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago

Omgoodness, lmbo this reminds me of myself 9 years ago when I went to the salon for a texturizer. My stylist swore he knew what he was doing and sent me on my way looking like a mash-up of Michael Jackson’a hair throughout history. I had a jheri curl/afro/relaxer. My mom politely walked me back in there and demanded he fix it, she refused to pay for a hot mess…these hair fails are hilarious

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago
Reply to  cryssi

… Sent me on my way looking like a mash-up of Michael Jackson’a hair throughout history. I had a jheri curl/afro/relaxer.” Hahahahahahahahahaha :-D!!!!!

Tonia682
Tonia682
5 years ago
Reply to  cryssi

Not a Michael Jackson mash up.….bwaahaa…too funny!

cryssi
cryssi
5 years ago
Reply to  Tonia682

I looked some brand of a hot mess, and he had the nerve to try to tell my mom that’s how it’s supposed to look

Christina Patrice
5 years ago
Reply to  cryssi

Lmao!!!!

Brittany
5 years ago

I tried my first roller set today. It wasn’t perfect (like at the salon), but I’m still in the twa phase, so I can get away with coily-not-quite-curled looks. But I honestly don’t know if it’s because I let my hair air dry or because I suck at rolling that I didn’t get nice, smooth defined curls. *sigh* #TheStruggle

Cygnet
Cygnet
5 years ago

I recall the time ti tried to use weave hair to do braid extensions. There were three things wrong with this, and I just told you the first one. The second: It was silky, large-bore curls. The third: They were red-brown. Not blonde, not strawberry-blonde. Red-brown. I’m a gold-haired albino. The worst part was that I’d stayed up for most of a night trying to fix it, and had gotten very little sleep. And now, minutes before getting picked up for church, I’m still cutting the track threads, removing bits of hair, and plaiting them into my hair. I ended… Read more »

Adía
Adía
5 years ago
Reply to  Cygnet

that’s hilarious!

Tonia682
Tonia682
5 years ago

Anytime and evertime I do Bantu knots my hair comes out wonky! I finally got the good sense to stop trying this style.

Cryss504
Cryss504
5 years ago

Dog gone Bantu knots AND twistouts (unless it’s on stretched hair) if not and my hair is wet? It just ends up looking like a smaller flatter thinner version of my regular wash n go. I’ve given up y’all. I just can’t ????

Christina Patrice
5 years ago
Reply to  Cryss504

Don’t feel bad, that’s how my twist-outs look. That’s why I stopped trying lol

naturallytee
naturallytee
5 years ago

not to brag put my perm rod sets are always perfect I use Jane carter solution foam sit under the dryer I would never use a curl definer you don’t want to define your natural curls you want your hai to form into the curl of the roller

Christina Patrice
5 years ago
Reply to  naturallytee

Thank you! A lot of people recommend the Jane Carter foam, but I used the curl definer because I watched a few tutorials that used similar botanical gels with great results.

tolu
tolu
5 years ago

Finger coils!! Everybody says they’e so easy…but they never stay firm. By the time i move on to the next coil, the former one just keeps expanding till it just looks like i did nothing to it. I really don’t know what to do and what not to do. I’ve tried on damp and wet hair. Same horrible results. Any help? For stats, i have fine 4c short hair

Kate Azu
Kate Azu
5 years ago
Reply to  tolu

I am really good at finger coils actually. I did them and they lasted for 2–3 weeks then I did a coil out and it was really cute.

Tips: I washed my hair with a clarifying shampoo, then followed up with a conditioner with a lot of slip, I use eco styler gel and smooth and shine gel (I prefer smooth and shine– cheaper too and no flakes). I section my hair (like you do twists), I spray DIY leave-in and put on oil. Make sure your hair is soft, use toothpaste amount of gel for each row. Samirah Gilli

ladydulayne
ladydulayne
5 years ago

I have not been able to do a good roller set since I have been natural. I think its because my hair is not smooth enough. Still trying to find a way.

Rikki
Rikki
5 years ago

lol. i can tell you you have made me feel a little better with my flexi rod disaster! i was just as excited and confident getting the ‘highly talked about’ flexi rods, spent so much time trying to create the perfect set and use the perfect products (curl lala and cantu leave in) and it was such a fail i really wanted to just cry. i hated my hair that night. it looked very similar to your result. Am glad you pushed through though.

Christina Patrice
5 years ago
Reply to  Rikki

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. I want to be more versatile in styling, but the end result just doesn’t justify the amount of time spent.

Fatty
Fatty
5 years ago

Twist outs are a fail whenever I untwist and then try to further separate the sections. I end up with a frizzy mess. If I just untwist and leave it, then its ok. But that’s not the look I want.

Christina Patrice
5 years ago
Reply to  Fatty

Twist outs are a no go for me too. Don’t feel bad!

lo raine
lo raine
5 years ago

First of all that was hilarious curlfrannn!
Next time use a setting lotion, Lottabody is the bomb. Try a mix of roller sizes too. The teal are my favorite size. Also pay attention to how big your sections of hair are when placing them on the rollers. Check out my hair page on IG @my_giftncurse for a looksy. Practice makes perfect, try again and show us :).

Cocokitten
Cocokitten
5 years ago

LOOL…i’m sorry this happened to you. I’m relaxed and even I don’t want to do a roller set. I always thought, “why would natural hair women roller set their hair? I would go natural just to NOT set my hair”. More power to you though. At least you tried.

saranghaekpop
5 years ago

I tried a roller set today to attempt to stretch my roots to ease my transition, but it was a complete and utter fail I had smooth relaxed ends and puffy roots that didn’t even look like I had stretched my hair. I was so annoyed, but I’ll try again when I have more patience.

Tasha
Tasha
5 years ago

I tried a roller set and it was a success! I washed my hair, then used Shea Moisture JBCO leave in, aloe vera gel, avocado oil and cantu coconut curl cream. Results were great.
Unfortunately the maintenance part is what gets me. Im so lazy I don’t even want to roll it or pin curl it.lol

Gene-Leigh
Gene-Leigh
5 years ago

I’m done on “Jesus didn’t die on the cross for this mess” ???? Love your hair though, thank you for what you do!

Jasmine
Jasmine
5 years ago

Jesus didn’t die on the cross for this mess” LMFAOO!

aliciatee
aliciatee
5 years ago

I’m attempting to do my first at home roller set today ans if it comes out close to yours, I’ll consider it a success!! Haha I’m also stylisically challenged so who knows how this is going down. Thanks for the tips on product.…less is more. Imma try JC Wrap and Roll. I may also incorporate the ponytail method and just roll the ends. If I fail, I’ll rock a bun or curly ponytail until my next appt.

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