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Curly Nikki

Natural Hair Roller Sets- Tips and Tricks

By January 27th, 202131 Comments

Natural Hair Roller Sets- Tips and Tricks
No, I’m not giving ’em… I’m looking for help! After seeing Trenell’s (and Mya’s) gorgeous results, I’m motivated to try a roller set. Plus, it’d make for one awesome bun! Twice now, I’ve went to Sallys, bought the necessary tools, washed my hair, put in ONE roller, and quit. It seems so daunting! In the comments section below please share the following;

– What type of rollers do you use? What size?

-How do you section?

-What products do you use for sleek, soft results?

-How long does the whole process take?


  • Anonymous says:

    How long do these roller sets last? And do u have to reroll at night?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been doing roller sets about two years. The results are awesome, the amount of time to do it is a lot. I guess welcome to +being a woman. I use blue green and huge red velcro rollers. My hair gets smoothing lotion on the ends and setting gell on my roots and hair shaft. I roll the large rollers very tight and roll them to my scalp where i add two strong metal clips to keep the hair stretched tight. I own a high heat salon belvedere hood dryer that i sit
    under under about three hours every day. I have to kind of shove my head in the dryer because the rollers are huge. I remove rollers and gently brush hair when done. Then i spray it to last. Three hours being baked reminds me that beauty is pain. I love the results. Be careful not to use heavy earrings because once all the hair is rolled i cant get my earrings out. With heavy metal earrings your going to burn your earlobes in several spots. My dryer is super hot. That works best for good results. Wendy

  • Anonymous says:

    1 x 52 = 52 Hrs/Yr
    52 x 30 = 1560 Hrs
    1560 Hrs / 168 Hrs/Wk = 9.3 Weeks Minimum sitting under the dryer in 30 years of rollersetting

  • scrappylove says:

    I've been roller setting my hair um more than 30 years! I use the grey ones and like the loose look. I can roll my hair in 15-20 minutes and usually sit under the dryer for 1-1.5 hrs. I usually collect things I want to read or go through my junk mail, or write out checks during this time- so double duty!

  • shamigreen says:

    I forgot to answer the last question about time. Rolling my head takes me about 45 minutes, sitting under the dryer takes an hour or 2 (depending on whether I use high or low heat), unrolling my hair & sealing my ends takes another 15 minutes.

    I usually just wrap it at night. But every 3rd day or so, I re-roll it (dry) & sleep in my rollers, to help it "remember" the original curls. This style lasts me 10-14 days (weather permitting).

  • RoseofSharron says:

    I love to do roller sets and curlformer sets! check out my process and products at

    I use red/purple rollers for a wet set and extra wide and long curlformers for a curly set.

  • SunshineOne says:

    Hey girl! I live by the "ponytail roller set" method. I started doing them back in 2006 after learning the method from here:

  • Jess says:

    I relied on roller-sets during my transition and I still wear my hair "straight" from time to time and roller setting is the only way for me to achieve volume and loose curls that hold for more than 1 day.
    I use pink & purple magnetic rollers that are 1.5"-2" in diameter (the metal clip kind, haven't found any that big with the plastic clamp included, although I think it would help smooth the root more).
    I follow a traditional route rolling a 3-inch wide section straight down the middle and then rolling the sides in 2 sections (one section in front of the ear and once section behind the ear on the left and right sides).
    Takes me about 20-25 mins to set and 45-60 mins to dry under hooded dryer (depending on how wet the hair is). My texture is 3C/4A around the perimeter and 4B in the center/crown. I try to roll the crown first because it gets dry and shrinks up fast :) (start at the crown, then go fwd and backward until the middle is all set.)
    Lately I've had the best results (smooth, shiny, full curls) using grease & water. I know, it's not PJ worthy, but it keeps the frizz tamed for a week (with all the other products I've used on my natural sets, my hair would poof within 2 days, when I was transitioning I could rely on setting lotion). I use a spray bottle with olive oil & water and I dab a little grease on my ends and roll (about a dime size emulsified/spread well, currently using Indian Hemp oil).

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with the curlformer comments. I've never had problems roller setting my hair on any type of roller, but the curlformer just provides a silkier set. The rollers allow me to get closer to the root. My hair is extremely dense and the magnetic roller set (including ponytail) just doesn't give me a silky set. I use curlformers with Kimmay's leave in along with a bit of Infusium 23 leave in. I use the extra long/extra wide curlformers as not to have a shirley temple look. At night I pin the curls with a bobby pin in somewhat of a pineapple. If i lose a bit of curl definition after a few days, I put a few large satin covered sponge rollers in at night.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the info. Breanna!

  • Anonymous says:

    1. Curlformers. extra wide/wide & long
    2. Just grab a decent amount based on the texture & density. My crown usually gets the bulk of the curlformers.
    3. leave in a little bit of herbal essence conditioner + EO
    4. I use about 30 of them. It takes about 45 minutes to put them in & then 5 minutes to style as you take them out
    5. Maintenance: Pineapple + Satin Bonnet

    But if the statement above is true. I guess this info wasn't very helpful to you at all. But curlformers yields the BEST "roller-set" results for me & its so easy.

  • skillsgill says:


    Didn't you use to use Curlformers and then gave them away?!?! That's a rhetorical question. LOL.


  • Anonymous says:

    I wish folks would have given their hair type and texture as it's important to the outcome and longevity of a rollerset. Any 4bs with dense hair roller setting?

  • Tamerri Zamaih says:

    Hi I do ponytail rollersets. You can see my process here:

    It gets easier with practice

    Good Luck!

  • LovelyB says:

    I'm agree with anonymous (2:48pm)
    CURLFORMERS are the way to go! I have never been able to do my own roller set ( even when I was relaxed :O ). Curlformers are different to put in but you'll get the hang of it by the end of doing your entire head. And their design allows for quick drying time with silky curls.

    Before doing anything to my hair I always prep by sectioning hair into four and applying my version of Kimmaytube's leave in (KCKT, aloe vera juice, EVOO, EVCO).

    What size?
    I bought the long & wide kit (buying the kit is a way better deal than buying individually) but I think I'd prefer to have the long & narrow so my curls would hang longer.

    How do you section? / What products do you use?
    two sections in the front and one in the back. I start in the back (combining the two back sections) I go across either left to right or right to left. I separate the piece I am going to form and completely wet it with diluted lotta body lotion (to make my curls last longer, although I have set them before with only my leave in) and detangle — slip the curlformer on and done.

    How long does it take?
    My hair is a little longer than shoulder length with layers everywhere and pretty thick. It takes me about 45minutes to do my entire head.
    Drying time depends on heat vs no heat. One of the things I love about curlformers is I still get just as good of a set air drying as I would've if I had a hooded dryer and it's better for my hair. I normally do them late night and take them out in the morning (they are a little awkward to sleep in though)

    Overall — CURLFORMERS — you always get the perfect set and uniform curls guaranteed.

  • shamigreen says:

    First I wash, condition & towel dry my hair. Then I divide it into about 6 sections. I start in the back & work my way to the front, adding product & rolling as I go. I lightly spray Tresemme Thermal Spray and use a quarter-sized dollop of Macadamia straightening balm (by The Body Shop) on each section. For my setting lotion I use diluted African Pride Leave-in Conditioner (50/50 water to conditioner ratio in a generic spray bottle).

    I roll my hair in the direction I want my curl to fall. And the only defined part I make is the one in the front (@ my hairline). Don't put too much hair on a roller, or your hair will take a longer time to dry. My roller sections are about 2 inches wide & maybe a 3/4 inch deep. My hair is slightly past my shoulders, fine & mostly 3c. The size of your sections will depend on the size of your rollers or rods & the thickness & texture of your hair. I use the old school magnetic rollers (with the cage). I typically use 1 inch diameters (pink), although occasionally I go bigger or smaller for variety. I use metal clips to secure loose rollers.

    After I sit under the dryer for an hour or 2, I take it down & seal w/ coconut oil/shea butter. I wrap my hair, tie it down & go to sleep. This helps hide my roller parts. In the morning I set it free & have a bushy, bossy curly fro. But if you want more defined (less frizzy) curls, skip the wrapping.

    FYI: You can also use this style (on larger rollers) to stretch out your hair before straightening it.

  • shamigreen says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Breanna says:

    I used the Olive Oil setting foam lotion on my hair, and then puton the green medium magnetic clip ons in my hair. I sat under the hair dryer, for about 35 to 40 minutes, and then decided to let it airdry for the rest of the night with the rollers in the hair. I guess I should have stayed under the dryer because, when I woke up in the morning those bad boys were still effing wet ): …… So my next try will be to leave them in under the dryer for at least 2hours like I used to at the hair salon.

    Oh I just wanted to let you ladies that are in the New York City Area, some info that I saw on "Freeworshipfreewors" . Also for more info you can go to:

    Their having a "Respect The Kink" Meetup
    When: Saturday, July 23rd
    Time: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    Where: The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center (aka The Audubon Ballroom) 3940 Broadway New York, NY 10032

    Directions: Take the “A”, “C” or “1” train to 168th Street & Broadway and walk to 165th Street.

    Parking: The venue is located across the Street from New York Presbyterian Hospital McKinney Car Park is located at 165th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue

  • Annie L. says:

    I own various short, perm rod sizes and NEVER got past one either! I'm impatient, succumb to distraction and a bit lazy about these things. But I've resigned myself to the fact that like two-strand twists which I HATED to do at first, you must keep practicing until the time and work becomes second nature – which is a real bitch, Lol!

  • Anonymous says:

    This is what I use it is helpful and suggests using the old school rollers which GASP worked

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been doing rollers sets on my hair from the days that I was relaxed. I would do them for myself each week. I use the same process with my now natural hair.

    What type of rollers do you use? What size?
    I use gray and/or purple magnetic rollers (not the kind with clamps but that you use the metal clips with). The key to roller sets on natural hair to the pull the hair taut so it’s straight and keeping taut while rolling until you get to the scalp and clip.

    How do you section?
    I usually do vertical rows starting in the front and going down to the base of the head, sectioning across.

    What products do you use for sleek, soft results?
    Since my hair is fine I never use any oils, pomades, or grease because it would weigh down my hair and it would look greasy after a day. I like using a light leave-in conditioner like KCKT or KeraCare Natural Textures. Then I’ll use 2-3 pumps of Jane Carter Wrap & Roll.

    How long does the whole process take?
    I usually take me about an hour to roll, but as I mentioned I’ve been roller sets for years on my hair so I kinda have it down now. It usually takes about an hour under to the dryer…you want to make sure the hair is completely dry.

    Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    I use curlformers extra long and wide. Make sure your hair is sopping wet. There is a learning curve but the results are great and uniform. My hair takes forever to dry with magnetic rollers but the curlformers make my drying time 45minutes to an hour. The extra long and wide curlformers yield results similar to a roller set. You can opt to straighten(flat iron/pressing comb), wear it out, or pin up for an updo and the roots come out some much straighter than a roller sets. It took me about 4times using the curlformers before I got it right. Wet hair, fully detangled, pulling up instead of down with the hook.

  • Naturally Nita says:

    Well, I don't have the length that you do, but I did a perm rod set on my 4 inch TWA. I used grey and yellow perm rods and Jane Carter's Wrap & Roll for my setting lotion. I didn't do perfect sections but I did roll in the direction I wanted my curls to fall. It took me an hour to roll and 40 mins under the dryer. Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    First let me say that I have mid back length locs. They hold a lot of water and can take days to air dry, or hours under the dryer.
    I use flexi rods, pipe cleaners or bantu knots to curl my hair, depending on how I want it to look and how much time I am willing to dedicate. I wash with black soap, condition with TJ's conditioner or a EVOO/Coconut oil hot oil treatment. Finish with Jane C's nourish and Shine.
    But the one trick that saves me a ton of time is after towel drying my hair, I squeeze my locs with the Absorber, which is a chamois-type towel made to dry your car or boat, but it works for hair too. It's lint free and will cut your drying time in half because it pulls so much water out of your hair. It about $10 at the usual suspect chain stores.

  • bonni says:

    I do a ponytail rollerset.

    types of rollers: I use magnetic rollers. The purple and yellow ones. I use the clamps and add pins to keep it taut.

    Section: I have about 8-9 sections with 2-3 rollers on each ponytail.

    Products: I use heat protectant and a watery leave in (fermodyl 619/aphogee leave-in). To re-wet I just spray plain water. I am sure that there are better product choices.

    How long:
    About an hour to roll. I have a Pibbs so about 30 minutes to dry.

  • Tonya J says:

    Girl, you sound EXACTLY like me. Well, not exactly, I put in like 3 rollers before quitting.:~)

    Along with the wonderful tips above, what really help me is DETERMINATION. Before I even start I build myself up for it, I tell myself I'm not stopping until I've rolled every stand of hair and if negative thoughts come along the was (and they do) I just reinforce what I said to myself before.
    It is work but the results are definitely worth it.

    I hope you make it! :~)

  • Leslie says:

    What type of rollers do you use? What size?
    — Blue flexi rods (blue, 1/2" x 10") and end papers. They take a bit of practice, but it is worth it.

    How do you section? What products do you use for sleek, soft results?
    — I set on slightly damp hair (if I have washed it, I wrap in a tee for 20 minutes or so).
    — I start in the crown and section with my fingers (think a section about the size you would have when using a curling iron back in the day). Apply Giovanni Direct Leave-In and Styling Foam (although I omit the styling foam now because I like a softer hold). Smooth the section with a fine-tooth comb, fold an end paper over the end and roll away.

    How long does the whole process take?
    — It seriously takes me about 30-40 minutes, and I have a lot of chin-length hair. I am dry by morning, when I remove the rods, coat my hands with a dime-sized amount of jojoba and finger separate. I re-roll at least every other night after lightly spritzing hair with water (no more product except repeating the jojoba oil step each morning). Lasts two weeks.

  • NoelleArtemis says:

    I just discovered roller sets and I love them!

    I start by co-washing my hair and rinsing. I don't dry my hair. I then section into 5 sections. One section goes down the middle of my head like a mohawk and then I have 2 sections in the back and 2 sections in the front.

    I apply a bit of coconut oil and some leave in conditioner to each section and roll. Right now I use a combination of the pink and green magnetic rollers like this:,default,pd.html?cm_vc=SEARCH

    If my hair starts to dry and it hasn't been rolled, I sprtiz with water. Drying usually takes me 2 hours but I sit under the dryer for an hour, do something around the house, and then come back and sit for the last hour.

  • Bitty Boss says:

    What type of rollers do you use? What size?
    I use the magnetic clamp-on rollers. They hold my hair more taut than just using magnetic rollers with pins or clips. I use a mixture of 1" to 3" rollers for a curly look.

    -How do you section?
    I section my hair into 4 sections and then I randomly section each roller after that. I find that I have too much hair to do the mohawk formation. For me, it is just faster to do it this way.

    -What products do you use for sleek, soft results?
    If I am drying the set with heat, I use a leave-in with cones, Silicon Mix Leave-In. If I am air drying the set, I use Darcy's botanicals Transitioning creme. They both leave my hair soft, shiny, and smooth.

    -How long does the whole process take?
    Oh gosh…it used to take 3 hours. Thank God that I reduced that time to 2 hours (30-45 min to roll, 1.25 to 1.5 hours to dry with heat). My air-dried sets take at least a half a day to a whole day to dry. The softness factor is worth the result with air-drying though.

  • Tiffany G. says:

    I love roller sets on natural hair. I personally do flexirod sets. I use different size rollers. I don't remember the sizes but the colors I use are blue, gray, purple, orange and red. I usually use the bigger rollers when I'm feeling lazy. I've found that using diluted lottabody setting lotion works best for me. Sometimes, I use aloe vera gel or any other gel in the process.Making sure that I pull the rollers taut helps to ensure that the roots come out straight.

    I start my process by clarifying my hair. Then, I deep condition for maybe 30 minutes. Afterwards, I section my hair into 4 sections: two in the back and two in the front. Sometimes, I create more sections or do not section at all. From here, I spray on the diluted lottabody mixture to the hair and put in the rollers. It takes about an hour to set the hair and maybe 2 hours under a soft bonnet hair dryer to dry. As a college student, this process fits perfectly into my schedule. Hope this helps some ladies. I would post pictures if I knew how to.

  • Bree says:

    Alright stay with me because it can be a lot of work.
    Type of roller:

    I use the red or purple flexi rods. They get my roots very tight and uniform with the rest of the curl.


    If I want Traci Ross hair, I don't section I just grab and roll from bottom to top. If I want clear spiral curls. I section into four sections and roll from bottom to top.


    I wash and dc as normal. I use SMOOTH N SHINE THERAPY SLEEK RESULTS SILKENER for the silkiest sets. I comb it through as I section and then I add a dab of lottabody to help set before I roll. (You will get a tiny bit of foamy lather)


    The first few times putting the rollers in will take up to an hour or so depending on length. The real challenge for me is sitting under the dryer for 3 – 4 hours. The key to a roller set is for it to completely dry under the hooded dryer.

    Those are my tips good luck! Follow me on twitter @embraceurcrazy

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