I think I was 12 when I first roller set my hair. My mom said I was slow since in the Dominican Republic every woman is born with a set of rollers in her hand. Hee hee. You get the gist. In my opinion, there is no better way to have body and fullness to hair.
Not everyone knows how to roller set and so this is my guide for those in training.
Please note that no matter what explanation and pointers I give you, none can be the same as if you watched someone do it to your own hair. You'll understand why later.
Roller Setting 101
1. I strongly recommend that one visits a Spanish beauty salon and ask them to do a setting. I am sorry, I am biased and must recommend a Dominican beautician. Since our hair is very similar to African-American hair it will not be a foreign consistency for them to handle.
2. The first thing you will need are the rollers.
There are different kinds out there. Yes, they are all different. To set like a pro, avoid the following:
Rollers with spikes to aid in "holding the hair on" they hold and hold and NEVER let go. Is that a SNAP I hear?
Rollers with foam -- Let's try to understand this concept...foam, water, heat..ok
Rollers that have little gadgets to press on, slide on, or snap on to hold the hair
Rollers that deal with steam -- if your hair is NON porous...this is for you. As much as my hair loves moisture -- it is NOT friendly with steam.
3. The length of your hair will determine the size of your rollers. Pay attention to what the beautician uses. Ask her to let you outline the base of the roller so you can purchase the right size. DO NOT assume that a smaller roller will give you more and better curl. This is only true to a realistic extent. If your hair is 8" long and you get a .5" wide roller...you are going to be hating life. I have 7.5" long hair and I use a 1 to 1.25" wide set of rollers.
Also remember that your hair is different lengths and so you will be needing different sizes. Don't skimp out on buying all one size. You will not be pleased if you do.
Going to a professional first lets you see what it is that he/she is using for the varying lengths. Purchasing sizes will become 2nd nature to you once your hair starts to grow and you get better at the setting.
4. Next you'll need the utensil to hold the rollers down.
Get the professional clips. They are silver in color and have rounded edges. There are two kinds. The kind that seems to tuck in and the kind that looks like a butterfly with sharp edges. The latter is the cheaper kind. The latter is also the most annoying kind to have sticking out in tight spots. Avoid these whenever possible.
5. Wash, condition, and apply whatever rinse you use. If you apply anything to the ends, do so now while your hair is wet. This aids in trapping moisture. I apply little amounts of shea butter to my ends at this time. I also use a final rinse which has a small amount of oil in it and so I don't add anything else to the body of my hair.
6. I do not wrap a single portion of my head. I do all over roller setting. All my rollers are rolled back to give my hair body.
Begin at the front of your head and with a rat tail comb part your hair in two sections that will fit on the length of the roller.Measure against the roller to make sure that you will not have hair sticking out the sides. If you do make the section a little smaller. If you leave these hairs out they will be the ones to ruin your set since they will not dry taught and instead either frizz or do some crazy thing.
7. Comb the section of hair forward and hold it tight with your fingers. You should be stretching the hair but not pulling it. Press the ends against the roller. Your ends should be wet but not soaked. At first your hair may begin to dry out because you are moving slowly, simply moisten the ends and continue. It is imperative that the ends are slicked against the roller. This is what avoids frizzy uncontrollable ends. Do not think that the heat will straighten them out if you don't...it will not happen.
Practice makes perfect and you may even want to try doing this with dry hair until you can master it. A visit to the stylist will not hurt since then you can see what he or she does to your ends.
8. Roll the hair onto the roller keeping it taught (VERY IMPORTANT) and tightly wound. Don't slack because it will show when it's dry. Make sure it is neat and tidy until you get to your scalp. Now, take one of the clips and carfully slide it at one end of the roller. This will partially secure the roller. Take another clip and do the same to the other side. THERE! Your first roller is set. Your ends (which you smoothed when you started) are pressed and held in place. Do this procedure all around. Always rolling back.
9. When you are done place a hair net on your rollers and either allow to air dry naturally or sit under the dryer - under medium to medium cool heat for about 30-45 min. All depends on your hair's length.
Illustrations of my instructions ....don't laugh at the drawings. Hee hee