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Curly Nikki

(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting

By January 27th, 202155 Comments

(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting
Hola Chicas!

I came… I saw… I concluded that it *must* get better with practice.

Yesterday I wandered into Beauty World on a whim, and an hour later, re-emerged with 20 magnetic rollers (jumbo and extra large), Fantasia IC’s Styling Foam, and the courage to revisit roller setting. I had read your tips, memorized AOL’s BV’s instructions, and had a massive bottle of Shiraz on deck. I was ready… or so I thought.

After putting Boogie down for a nap, I hopped in the shower, co-washed, and gently finger detangled. I rinsed clean and added a teeny bit of Jessicurl’s Too Shea to my ends and stepped out. I was feeling confident- not excited about the work ahead- but determined to see it through.

I proceeded to the sink in all my nakey glory… I don’t know about y’all, but when styling sopping wet hair, it’s just easier. I always start off with a towel, but then it falls, and it’s too warm and steamy in the bathroom for clothes… so yeah, I style in the nude, which is one of the reasons I don’t make Youtube vids. Anyway, I applied Watermelon Seed Oil all over, and made two parts down the middle of my head (think mohawk). I secured the sides in large bantu knots, and started with the middle. I detangled the front most section with my Denman paddle, added a little styling foam, and for the next 30 minutes proceeded to put in the first roller. Frustration isn’t even the word. I re-wet that section probably 3 times… dropped the roller on the floor twice, and completely re-tangled my hair. It was a mess. Gia woke up, crying… wailing, so I had to drop everything and soothe her. But just before I was totally defeated, I managed to get all of the hair on the roller and secure it. SCORE!

I thought, ‘it’s all down hill from here, right?’ Wrong. It took nearly two hours to get all of the rollers in, and there were still stray hairs, frizz, and bunched sections. I learned that I still needed to secure the magnetic rollers (which had clasps) with clips, that I of course, didn’t have. So I made due with bobby pins. My roots were visible and very wavy and poofy. But alas, I was finished, and for some reason, felt… sexy? I guess I was channeling Beyonce… ‘you must not know ’bout me,’ feeling vintage chic… like Lucille Ball, like I needed one of those cigarette holders… and a powder puff… and a perfume bottle with one of those squeeze bulbs.

(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting
Hubby, who is now used to my hair shenanigans, didn’t say a word. He just smiled as I walked around the house, and minded his business.

I pulled out my old, dusty ION brand bonnet dryer and sat under it for all of 15 minutes. I can’t think of anything I hate more than the oppressive heat of a bonnet dryer, save for Basketball Wives’ Royce’s fashion sense. I headed for bed, with plans to allow my hair to air-dry overnight. The discomfort I experienced from those damn rollers… there aren’t even words. I was up by 1 am, taking them down. My hair was mostly dry, but the roots at the top were pretty damp. I pulled all of the hair up into a high bun… one big bantu knot, tied on a scarf, and went back to bed.

(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting
Around 9 am, I took my hair down, shook it out, and felt, well, luke warm about the results. It wasn’t silky, it wasn’t fluffy… it was lost in some awkward in-between state. But it was soft and felt moisturized. It reminded me of a CurlFormer set (slightly less silky), or my attempts at the Curly Fro.

(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting
As I was fluffing, hubby came in the bathroom with a smirk on his face. He said,’ooh, I’m feeling your Little Richie… WOOOO!’ I laughed, and had to agree.

(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting
Concluding thoughts… hmmm… I may incorporate roller sets into my GOC bunning routine, if I can learn to roll much more efficiently. My bun today is effortlessly big (which I love), and sleek. Also, if you remember, I rocked CurlFormer set buns for 3 months (2 years ago), and definitely retained some length.

(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting(Mis)Adventures in Roller Setting(Mis)Adventures in Roller SettingI’ll let you know how it goes next time… which if all goes well, won’t be for 2 or 3 weeks!

Later Gators,


  • hunnybun says:

    your rollerset looks a lot like mine just without the length

  • Lexie says:

    lol setting definitely takes looooads of practice. used to take me all day, now it's 20 minutes MAX. my roommate in college still thinks it's funny though

  • azureDizzle says:

    I think you're hair looked cute. If you really want your roller set to last you have to make sure it is completely dry. And you might want to make sure that you make smaller sections with your rollers. I use either Paul Mitchell Styling Foam or Lotta Body for my roller sets. I also sit under the dryer till my hair is completely dry. I know rollers are uncomfortable to sleep in so if your hair is dry you can take out the rollers and then go to sleep. Then in the morning i just roll my fingers through my hair, kind of style and go. The set will last me 4 days or so before i think it looks to wild.

  • Lorian says:

    Ummmm…I just tried to go to a professional to get a roller set…and let's just say it looked like I was channeling James Brown. Horrendous. Discouraging. Frustrating. I just have make peace with the fact that my hair wants to remain curly and nothing else. Embrace it, wipe the tears of hope for a new style away, and fall back in love with my curly journey. Thanks for the post Nikki. Your hair looked beautiful and, pass or fail, it inspired me to try something new.

  • Anonymous says:

    Looking at your hair it looks like my first roller set. I used a rather thin setting foam and had frizzy results. I recommend trying the Kera Care foam. It has done wonders for my roller sets and definitely investing in some clips. But the more you do the roller sets the easier it gets….trust me I wore them for 3 months straight and Kera Care has enough kick to make your curls last weeks. Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikk, i honestly thought your hair looked soooooo
    pretty. It had luscious looking curls and you've got so much hair that it looked full to me. Girl,
    you had me rollin' although you are totally "keepin it real". Thanks for sharing your feeling on how it looked but that was a pretty roller set.
    Allnatural1 (A.K.A. Michelle in TX)

  • Anonymous says:

    FIRE rollerset nik!

  • Olivia's Mommy says:

    Girl, you are trippin! Your roller set turned out FIERCE!!!! πŸ™‚

  • Kathleen says:

    Maybe it's just me but I think it looks beautiful!! πŸ™‚

  • Unknown says:

    The rollerset looked VERY good to be taken down partially dry. And, I think you parted your hair in sections that were too big. I find that the key to getting a rollerset to dry in a reasonable amount of time, you should part it a little thinner. Also, use a lighter oil if you need to use an oil at all. Heavy oils, butters and creams add greatly to rollerset drying time.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh wait a minute Curlynikki I see a lady that has about your texture of hair yotuber "ChakaKhanian" who just posted her quick and easy rollerset 3/14/11. I hope this will help you keep up the adventures of rollersetting because your hair still came out pretty.

    Here's the link

  • Breanna says:

    I found this video on fellow youtuber page "Lexiwiththecurls" under her 1st roller set hair video and thought hers looked. But she did an wrap towards the end of her hair but it still looked good.

  • Luscious Mahogany says:


    I'm with some of the other ladies, I thought your hair came out nice. I'm a stylist always doing roller sets on little old ladies, so a few tips: you did great by sectioning your hair, but you should use end papers to secure your ends that will ensure all the hair gets wrapped around the roller, use a rattail comb to help with smoothing the part your going to roll (the rattail comb also helps with creating the tension so the your roots are more smooth if that's a problem) and use more rollers in your sections this will decrease your drying time because you will have less hair on each roller. I hope this helps but I thought you did a pretty good job and it came out nicely!!

  • Breanna says:

    I think the hair came out looking good with the rollerset after you had done them. I would have done the bun only if the hairstyle had come out butt ugly lol…. It's nice and thick and kinda has that Tracee E. Ross aka "Joan from Girlfriends" look to it. If you had kept it in the hair much longer, that bad boy would be dropping just right from the heat and still would have been looking good. But keep up the adventure and hopefully you will like the next rollerset. πŸ™‚

    Hum I didn't even realize that you could order the curlformers online until I saw someone else mention that they had got theirs from the website directly. I went to sally's and it's so expensive for just 8 pieces at $12.99 like wtf. Hum I wish I had seen these when I originally started my hair and as it has gotten longer, because this will definitely help with the straightening look and curly effect. Esp. since I wouldn't have to put as much heat on the hair with this process.

  • Melodee A says:

    LOL LOL LOL! All of you are hilarious! Styling in the buff? Never crossed my mind!

    Nikki, I'm glad that you did this post! I did a roller set and I was looking straight crazy when I took them down because I have little to NO patience when it comes to sitting under a hot a$$ dryer… so needless to say my hair was not completely dry!

    I will take some pointers like using mesh rollers instead of magnetic and not putting any oil on it until after it's dry…

    Thanks Nikki and ladies I don't know what I would do without this blog!

  • Anonymous says:


    I too thought the set came out nice! Remember, placement of the clip to get the roots straight is key. Also, as said before, the hair has to be dry and remember to comb the hair in the opposite direction of the way you're going to roll the hair out…that will allow you to clip the roller to your actual hair underneath to get a tighter set. I hope this makes sense. You should try the extra wide/extra long curlformers next and compare results. Just a thought. BTW, I style in the nude too πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    Loved this article and your experience sounds similar to mine!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    Thank you ladies!!! You guys are the bestest πŸ™‚ and know how to make a girl feel good. The style was okay, but can I say that I'm loving this bun!!!

    Next time I'll sit under the dryer for longer, and I suppose, use more rollers. ugh. I'll probably use less oil and see if it's lighter.

    I smoothed the bun with my hands, watermelon seed oil, and a boar bristle brush… just a few swipes. I keep a scarf on it when I'm in the house.

    And I definitely wouldn't describe my hair as 3b… it does hang when wet, but look at my roots… my hair is very wavy (more than curly)and I would say I'm a 4a (in the back and top), 3c (in the front and sides).

    Glad I'm not the only nude styler πŸ˜€ hahaha!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'd recommend mesh rollers too and end papers…the mesh rollers are easier to sleep in and the end papers will make your ends set well and smooth down. I can't remember not having a set. My mom has used them forever and I got my first set when I was about 12 (we all had natural hair).
    If you spend time under the dryer, the air can circulate better with the mesh rollers too, but I've always hated sitting under there, and to the person who asked, no it isn't damaging, it's just hot and boring, and the hair is a bit fluffier and softer if it air dries, although if you have thick and long hair, it will still be damp after 12 hours.
    I had no idea that using hair rollers was such foreign territory for black women. All of the women in my family use them, and I was taught how to roll my hair too. After a while, you can do it without looking, even with really long hair. I always used to get my bag of rollers and do it while watching TV.
    I also found that letting my hair air dry a bit yielded really good results too, b/c my hair takes forever to dry. Use a spray bottle if things get too dry.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello Nikki,

    First off, I think your hair looks amazing all the time!
    But, what I personally noticed with curly hair is that mesh rollers with the metal springs, provide the best result. Mesh spring rollers create better tension with the hair , which creates a bouncier curl, and straighter roots and ends…
    Both, Annie and Diane brands are good to try.. The best versions are sold in Paris, but difficult to order.
    My favorite feature about the mesh spring rollers: Hair dries in half the time…
    For salon results:
    * wrap with a paddle brush and then wrap with some Plastic wrap, and back under the dryer for 10min… your hair will look super shiny and straight.. practice makes perfect πŸ™‚


  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki and anyone else, your hair and edges look pretty straight and it hangs when wet. Are you a 3B? I'm a 4B and ain't nothing straight on my head nor does my hair hang after I get out of the shower, even after applying conditioner and brushing or combing. Just wondering.

  • Levone says:

    I think your set turned out cute! I've done the ponytail rollerset (4a/b hair) and it turned out decent, would probably be able to perfect it if I did it more. You should defintely try that. My go to for rollersets are the curlformers…I invested in ALL of the sizes because I get guaranteed smooth results everytime.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it looks good too!! One thing I would suggest is not to be scared of using more rollers! Especially in that middle part of the hawk. I also roll backwards, so that the hair is actually laying against the head (think toilet paper on the roll – sometimes the paper hangs over the front? that's how you just rolled, but in this case you should roll it backwards, bc that helps flatten the roots out).

    And as much as you might hate it. THe dryer is critical! at least an hour. πŸ™‚

    I use Jane Carter wrap and roll, a light leave in conditioner under that. But no oils until after its dry. I've been thinking about trying a little bit of oil on the roots tho.

    WIll have to take pics next time I do it and share them!


  • Fuzzypuff says:

    Um….I thought you LIKED big hair? I dunno. Maybe it's the pictures and we can't see what you saw, but for your first rollerset, it looked nice. The style suited you well.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi CurlyNikki! Did you use anything to pull out your Baby-hurrs lol when you did your bun. And did you put anything on it to bun it or just used your 10 digits as always?


  • Anonymous says:

    I'm 9:32 AM…

    I just wanted to add that even though the set wasn't "perfect", I think that it looks very big and glamorous. I will join the masses and say that you shouldn't have bunned it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have achieved a good rollerset using magnetic rollers on my natural hair (mainly 4a with some 3c and 4b, far from coarse, but not super fine either). The key is smaller sections. Like maybe you should have doubled (or more) the amount of rollers you used.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hylarious! Thanks for making my morning. It looks good though!

  • Dionne says:

    Maybe I cannot see something that you can but I think your hair looks GREAT!

    Question, where do you get your headbands? I love to wear my hair in big fluffy buns like yours but I can never seem to find the perfect headband, they are always either too big or too small (usually the latter), and I'm afraid that with continued use my hair may start to break. -___- No bueno. So please, do tell! Lol

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank You ..Nikki !!! You Made my day with all the funny side note !!! I think the hair looks great… You have to set realistic goals for these things !!! They take forever and a day to dry and if you want silky , fluffy you need heat !!! The only time I had a air dryed set that came out great was under the sun on vacation in the islands !!! Anyways … I'm writting a letter to the gret hair goddess and asking her you grant you one full day of pampering for making me smile today !!! You are amazing… Thank you for keeping me sain!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    what more do you want from your roller-set?! I think the results look great. I don't see what your husband is talking about "….Little Richie" ?? I know I'm a bit young…but I thought he had a jerri-curl?
    -But i read the comment march 16 @ 5:10 pm and it's sound like you used too much product and yeah that can really messsss things up. So I totally see why you bunned. I hate to bun. I wore a bun far too long to be bunning right now. Anyway, I've recently learned for myself when it comes to product, Sometimes Less is Best. Water & EO is way more important.

  • babyu21 says:

    It def takes time and practice to get rollersets just right. My tips to a perfect set are to make sure your hair is soaking wet when rolling, use a rat tooth comb to make sure my hair is straight when rolling and pulling my hair taught as I roll. I rollerset my hair twice a week most of the time so I learn to find ways to occupy my time under the dryer.

    While in school I read my papers/books
    Now I do my nails, play on the net, or read your blog.

  • Barbara Naturally Speaking says:

    Hey Nikki your hair hair looked fabulous after the rollerset. I know what you mean when you say that it'll be a few weeks before you do it again. I so want to roller set my hair, but just the thought of rolling and the time it takes to sit under the dryer bothers me, but if I get results like yours it would be worth it. It really looked good in the set! Your bun is cute too.

    Barbara of

  • Anonymous says:

    Uh Nikki you need glasses or contacts (lol) because this looks fanatabulous. And for a first time sheesh. Yeah I also find it convenient to style sans clothes, just kind of liberating. Anyway love the results and thanks for sharing. Has anyone with "4 a / 4b" (hate these descrips, but you know what I mean) tried this?

  • Anonymous says:

    I thank God for natural hair. This is the way he made me and I'm proud to embrace it

  • Jeannette says:

    Curlynikki….I thought I was the only person who styled my hair in the nude! LOL It's your hair and if you don't like the way it turned out, I understand. Practice makes perfect. Continue to rollerset styling and you will get the results that you are happy with.

  • purplgirl48 says:

    Both the rollerset and the bun are beautiful. Keep trying Nik. Don't give up.

  • LBell says:

    I agree that ponytail rollersetting might work better for you, esp. with your texture. Also, yes, hair has to be COMPLETELY dry when the rollers are taken out. I too hated sitting under a dryer but that was the only real way I could guarantee that my rollerset would look good. It's been a while since my hair's been long enough for a rollerset but I'd definitely do them again in the future. Keep an open mind!

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow I can't believe you did all that work and then just put your hair in a bun. It looked gorgeous, full and shiny. Girl you make me sick! LOL. My hair was looking a mess today and you were looking good and put your hair back in a bun.

  • Anonymous says:

    I liked it, your hair looked good to me. I'm gonna try it.

  • keisha says:

    Aww, it's beautiful and full and fluffy and GAWGEOUS! Look at like this, you tried and this is the most important part and you already know practice makes perfect! Don't be defeated! Just try, try, and try again!!

  • Doc says:

    hi there curlynikki,
    i had a quick question- did you find the rollers more uncomfortable than flexirods?

  • CayceShea says:

    Girl with all that hair flying which ways and sopping wet…butt naked styling is the way to go! As for the results of the roller set it's amazing how you can think your hair looks one way and someone else might feel another because I think it looks FABULOUS!!! Let my failed roller set look like that and I would be good to go!!!

  • skillsgill says:

    First off Nik, what are you talking about it not being big and fluffy??? It looks so full, fluffy and shiny to me!

    Second, I'm really thinking of trying to use my Curlformers for the first time on Friday! How would you compare "installing" Curlformers to magnetic rollers? I used to roller set my hair all of the time when I was relaxed and in college. That was almost 20 years ago though=(. I think this will be a (mis)adventure for me too. I'm kind of dreading it because I haven't rolled my own hair in almost two decades and, from the research I've done, Curlformers are tricky to learn how to use at first. But, I've had the dang things for 6 months and the box has never been opened! I hope I have enough too! That would suck to have most of my hair set and then run out of rollers!

    Hmmm, maybe I'll go to Sally's and get some extras … just in case. I have to return the three bottles of GVP Conditioning Balm I got anyway. Planning a henna gloss on Friday too … mmm, maybe I should do that Thursday night now that I think about it! I bought three bottles because I thought it was buy two, get one free. It wasn't … only GVP stylers. Anyway, got home and have 2 bottles under the sink. *smh*

    Okay, sorry for the ramble. Really enjoyed your recounting of your adventures in roller setting. And really, truly? You hair looks beautiful as always!!


  • BreukelensFinest says:

    i actually love the results! a head full of luscious curls with no heat? sounds perfect to me!

  • Marcia says:

    Hey! We seem to have similar hair and I am a long time rollersetter (that is not a real word I know). First, I too style in the nude. I used to try and put clothes on but getting my tanks and tees all wet and drippy was not the biz.

    It took a while to perfect the rollerset but two things are KEY.

    1. I use minimal product. No oils, no serums. Best results to date are with Jane Carter Leave-in Revitalizer spray and Jane Carter Wrap and Roller as the styler. Rewetting with water. Less is more. In the past I (or stylist) have used more than a leave-in the results have been a fail
    2. The hair has to dry all the way. If I have the day to be at home then I will sit under the dryer for a teeny bit of time (I HATE HATE the dryer) and then air dry. Once in a while I will take my hand dryer and wave it over my head. Regardless the hair has to be dry all the way. If not the results are a fail.

    BTW I like the curly big fro that was your rollerset. Beautiful hair!

  • Anonymous says:

    A few things:

    First: only luke warm!? Really?? I agree with the others, I love it!!! It looks super fly.

    Second: I'm nervous…am I missing something about the bonnet dryer? Should I not be using this?? Tell me more.

    And lastly: lol, to styling in the nude. This maybe TMI, but I also start off with a towel. And then of course it falls several hundred times, in which case I finally get sick of readjusting it and let it be. And then, (and here's where I differ a little), my mind gets clogged with thoughts of how I’m aiding in sinking my ta-tas to the ground by not having a bra on. And trust me, I don’t need no help in that department, so I hurry to throw on a sports bra and p.j’s and continue styling. A head full of hair and a double d cup is not a good combo when it comes to leaving the girls exposed and my extra drawn out styling time. πŸ™‚ thanks for the post


  • Tamika says:

    I love this look! This is almost exactly how my hair looked after rollersetting.

  • Anonymous says:

    lauging out loud! Nikki you are too much! I style butt naked too πŸ˜€ Your hair looks great even though you don't seem to think so. Hope all is well with Gia.


  • LolasCurls says:

    Poor Nikki! I have not even tried rollerset again since the last debacle. (I had like 4 rollers on my head after oh, 3-4 hours!)
    Anyway, practice will make perfect! Who knows? I might follow your lead and try this one day soon! (Palpitations as I type warn me that "no, you're not"!) Sad how rollers scare me so much!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Nikki!! Love the site it has helped me tremendously!
    You should try ponytail roller setting your hair next time. It saves me time and gives me even better results than the normal roller setting process. You can youtube ponytaill roller sets.

  • Ms. Cee C says:

    Thank you for telling us of your roller set adventures!!

    And I love your sense of humor! "I can't think of anything I hate more than the oppressive heat of a bonnet dryer, save for Basketball Wives' Royce's fashion sense." LOL!! But, oh-so-true!

    "…so yeah, I style in the nude, one of the reasons I don't make YouTube videos." LOL! That would be a mess.

    Personally, I do kinda like that pic right before you bunned it. But, I can understand hating that in between stage of not straight and not fluffy. That would get to me too.

  • Sunshinecurls says:

    I totally agree with Kenya! I think it looks great! Especially the last pictures before your bun pictures! It looks full, like a Doobie!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    I guess it's the inbetween thing that bothers me. It's not straight… but it's not fluffy (like my twist-outs). It's like a slightly greasy press and curl after the humidity hits it.

    Hubby was disappointed that I bunned it and didn't wear it out, he blames my insecurity on his 'Little Richie' comment. But for real, my Curlformer sets looked just like this, and I always pulled them back, or up. I think I'd like this style if my hair was denser… I don't know. But it makes for a killer bun!

  • Kenya says:

    I don't agree with what you are seeing. I actually think that your hair looked pretty and healthy. Sometimes others see things a bit differently.

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