By Terez Howard

When you think of a roller set, did you imagine that your natural hair could hold beautiful, smooth curls?  I didn’t.  I thought my super shrinkage-prone, coily hair would never smooth out.  Boy, was I wrong!  Our hair holds curls just like any other, if not better, with a proper roller set.

Armed with a hooded dryer, setting lotion, a wide tooth comb and hair rollers, your natural hair can easily be on its way to a smooth roller set.

Question 1: How do you get smooth, roller set curls with natural hair?

Answer: Detangle hair thoroughly. Use a wide tooth comb to detangle your hair. Any knots will show up in your curls and look horrible. So, take the time to remove all knots. If necessary, put the wide tooth comb down and use your fingers to gently detangle your hair.

Question 2: What products do you use to roller set natural hair?

Answer: Setting lotion is a favorite among many natural ladies.  I personally liked to use a pomade.  Be careful to use pomade sparingly because too much will make the hair feel greasy.

Clear gel also makes for very smooth curls.  You also have to get the right balance with gel because too much will make your natural hair feel crunchy and too little won’t produce results.

No matter which product you use, I recommend putting it on in sections and as you go along.  So, you section out a portion of hair for a roller or two, place the product on the hair and roll.

If you have locs, you won’t need to use any product at all.  Just mist your hair with water.

Question 3: Can you air dry natural hair in rollers?

Answer: Of course.  I’ve done it, and it works.  With the right products, my hair looked very smooth.  I have to warn you that it works best on short natural hair.  The more hair you have, the more hair that must be wrapped around a roller, thus meaning the more time it will take the compressed hair to dry.

If you don’t want to air dry for days, invest in a good hooded dryer.  Sitting under one for at least an hour will speed up the process.

Just be sure your hair is completely dry before you remove any rollers.  If you take your rollers out prematurely, your roller set will be ruined, and your curls will look puffy.

Question 4: What type of rollers should you use to roller set natural hair?

Answer: That depends on the type of curls that you want.  If you want tight curls or if you have short natural hair, I recommend that you roller set your hair with perm rods, which are very inexpensive.  If you use perm rods, you must use end papers because the little teeth on the rods will pull your hair out.

If you want bigger curls, I recommend roller setting with magnetic rollers, which come in a variety of sizes.  Magnetic rollers, also inexpensive, do the best job of smoothing natural hair from root to tip.

Other naturals prefer flexi rods; however, I could not get smooth roots with these rods.

Curlformers, which are quite expensive, produce lovely, smooth curls. When I used them, my ends looked raggedy. So be sure your natural hair is trimmed well before using these.

Question 5: What type of pattern do the rollers need to be in?  

Answer: When you roller set natural hair, the position the rollers go in is the way the hair will stay since you only lightly finger comb the hair after the rollers come out.  The traditional positioning is the mohawk look, meaning a row of roller go straight down the middle of the head and the side rollers are placed parallel with the floor.

If you want spirals, place all your rollers in longways.

If you want a curly fro, a personal favorite, put the rollers in any direction you want.  Just be careful to grab the same amount of hair for each section.  If you don’t, your curls will be several different shapes and sizes.

Question 6: How do you avoid puffy roots?

Answer: Roll the hair all the way to the roots.  Magnetic rollers and Curlformers are the best rollers to use to avoid puffy roots.  The plastic covering that goes over the top of magnetic rollers grabs at the roots, and Curlformers are designed to squeeze at the roots.

Some start a two strand twist or palm roll before beginning a roller set to avoid puffy roots.

Related Posts: