How to Roller Set Natural Hair

Create a smooth roller set with the right technique.
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Roller sets remain one of the gentlest ways to style your hair with minimal heat. It may look easy when your stylist does it, but it can be frustrating to learn what to use when you want to do it on your own. But once you have all the tools on hand at home, it'll just take a little practice to master it. And with the right technique, just about anyone can get a professional quality look even when doing it on their own at home. These tips for roller setting will help you achieve a long-lasting set without having to pay a pro to do it for you.

Ahead, learn exactly how to roller set natural hair.

01 of 06

Begin With Damp Hair

Roller sets work best on freshly washed hair. After shampooing and conditioning, apply the styling product of your choice in sections. Don't do this with sopping wet hair because it'll take forever to dry. Instead, begin with damp hair. Spritz it with water while you roll if any sections begin to dry out.

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Be Generous With Your Products

This isn't the time to skimp on whatever setting products you use. Each section you roll should be coated from the roots, all the way to your ends. Whether it's a liquid setting lotion or mousse, apply it evenly to each section as you begin to work on it instead of an allover application at the beginning of your set. Look for setting agents with a moderate to strong amount of hold since the longevity of your finished hairstyle depends on the product you use when setting. Avoid using any oils until your hair is thoroughly set and dry.

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Detangle, Detangle, Detangle

Completely detangled hair will result in a smooth roller set. Any tangles you leave in will show up in the final style. Comb each section from the roots to the ends. This also helps to thoroughly distribute your setting agent. Once you get to the ends, try using a fine tooth comb to help work out any resistant tangles, but do this slowly. Wrap the detangled ends smoothly around the roller to start.

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Divide Hair Into Small Sections

Not only will large sections of rolled hair take longer to dry, but they're also less likely to stay completely smooth and straight. It's important to have enough rollers on hand so you can keep your sections small for a polished style. Try to work with areas no more than one inch across. Using the tail end of a rat-tail comb helps to create straight and even parts.

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Pull Your Hair Taut

A good roller set means hair is wrapped tautly around each roller. When you begin rolling from the ends, keep the section straight with a firm grip as you roll toward your scalp. Failing to keep your hair taut as you roll will result in a loose hold around the roller and less-than-straight results. As you roll each section, secure it at the root so that the roller stays in place.

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Dry Thoroughly

The importance of this step can't be emphasized enough. To get the best results from your roller set, you must wait until your hair is completely dry before removing the rollers. Taking them out with any sign of dampness puts your hair at risk for frizz and fallen curls.

If roller setting is your go-to styling method, consider investing in a hood or bonnet dryer since air drying can take a long time.

You may want to apply a heat protectant before sitting under the dryer to keep your hair protected from the heat; although this is indirect heat, a little extra protection helps to maintain your healthiest strands. When your hair is dry, remove the rollers and let your hair sit for several minutes before combing or doing any additional styling. Now's the time to apply small amounts of any serums or lightweight oils to finish off your look.

These tips not only work for magnetic rollers, but also for flexi rod sets. Don't be discouraged if your first couple of attempts fall flat. Continue practicing your technique and your roller setting skills will improve.

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