Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roller Setting Natural Hair-What I Have Learned

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

Ponytail Roller Set on Natural Hair

Recently, I have tried my hand at roller setting my hair again and I absolutely love it.  This was a staple style for me when I was transitioning because it was a way to blend my roots with the straight ends.  I'm not a huge fan of sitting under the dryer though so I stopped doing it so often and only pulled the rollers out for special occasions.  Since I've been reviewing the whole flat iron thing I realized that using direct heat on my hair is actually doing more harm than good.  I can get smooth results with the rollers and save my hair the damage from straightening with heat.  
There was still one thing though.  Whenever I did a roller set it took forever in a day to get all of the rollers in and I would end up with puffy roots.  Well, there's a little cheat called the, "Ponytail Roller Set," where you use ponytail sections to smooth the roots.  I still sectioned my hair with the mohawk down the middle and two side sections.  So there were 4 ponytails down the middle and 3 on either side.  I used mini Ouchless bands which worked well because they slid out pretty easily.  Then I only had to use two large rollers per ponytail.  I was so happy that it took a lot less time to get all of the rollers in and even more so that I could actually comb through my roots.  That night I even did my very first successful Saran Wrap/Silk Wrap.  This is when you wrap the hair after the roller set to smooth it for a more straight look.  My results were so nice that I've decided, from now on, I'm going to use my rollers when I want to wear it straight.  I'm okay with using the flat iron on my roots every once in awhile but there really is no need to put that kind of stress on my ends each time.  Here are some pics of how it turned out.

Top View

Back and Side

Roots turned out smooth

The setting lotion I used

Results from the Saran Wrap/Silk Wrap



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