How To Get The Best Roller Set On Natural Hair

By | October 16, 2017
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What Is A Roller Set

A roller set is when you roll your hair on rollers made for this purpose. These rollers are usually smooth, cylindrical, magnetic rollers. To achieve the best roller set on natural hair, the state of the hair is important – whether the hair is wet or dry. However, to get the best roller set, you need to begin with a freshly cleansed head of hair and make sure that it is dripping wet!

I found this video on YouTube to give you an idea of a roller set. In the video the Youtuber uses metal clips to secure her rollers, I prefer the silicon coated pins as they won’t pull too much on the hair. This is your choice, of course.


How To Do The Best Roller Set

To achieve this goal, you need a few basic items:

  • Magnetic rollers (of various sizes – depending on the styling, i.e. if you want a curly look or a smooth sleek look)
  • A pack of roller hairpins – you can get magnetic rollers with covers if you feel a bit clumsy using the hairpins
  • A rattail comb
  • A Denman brush
  • A spray bottle filled with water or your favorite setting lotion
  • A light gel – I like to use homemade flax seed gel(see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a small bowl
  • Patience

Let’s begin!


You need to prepare your hair by cleansing it first with your favorite hair cleanser followed by a conditioner or if your time permits, a deep conditioning process. The deep conditioning process helps to make your hair softer and more pliable.


Fill a bowl with warm water or fill the bathroom sink with some warm water. You will need this to keep the magnetic rollers you plan to use wet. Somehow. Using wet rollers helps to smooth the hair better to the roller and reduces the friction between your hand and the roller.


how to do the best roller set on natural hair

Section your hair into two halves from ear to ear. Detangle hair with the Denman brush and then pin up the back or front, whichever you decide to work on first.


how to do the best roller set on natural hairhow to do the best roller set on natural hair

Using the rattail comb, part the hair in smaller sections as you can. Simply determine the roller size and go accordingly. The key to the best roller set is to ensure that the section is not too thick (should be less than an inch in width) and that the hair is as wet as you can make it, hence the rollers in the water prior to using. Comb through with the rattail comb (to make sure it is tangle-free) and then take a tiny drop of gel between your fingers and smooth along the ends of the hair. You can also smooth along the length of the hair, but do not be too ‘heavy-handed”. Too much gel can make the hair-drying process take a little longer than needed and might even result in stiff, dry hair.


The next key to a great roller set is the ‘rolling ‘of the hair. You have to gently stretch the hair as you roll. Once you apply the gel to the ends of the hair, lay the ends flat against the roller, gently stretch the hair as you roll towards the direction of the root. Also, roll the hair at an upward angle to get a smooth finish. It will take some practice but it will be well worth the effort. Once all the hair is comfortably on the roller, pin with a roller pin either near the root or on the base of the root between the scalp and the roller.

NOTE: If the hair is falling off the roller on the sides, then you need to make a smaller section. The ideal scenario is to have all the hair on the roller leaving some roller visible on both ends.


Always roller set your hair in the direction of your finished style. If you want a side sweep effect, then roll the hair in that direction. If you try to ‘re-direct’ the hair once it’s dry, this could cause more frizz. Once the hair is FULLY dry – you can air dry (most of the day or for at least 6 hours) or by using indirect heat from a hooded hair dryer on a low or medium setting. Rub a little coconut oil on the tips of your finger and then gently undo the curl from the magnetic rollers.

Once all the rollers are removed, now it’s time to style your hair. You can:

  • Finger curl your hair – gently separate the curls into smaller sections
  • Do a silk wrap – using the Denman brush, gently brush the curls around the shape of the head and secure with bobby pins, then wrap the head with saran wrap and then go back under the hooded dryer for another 10-15 minutes to further set the hair.
  • Comb out the curls gently to add more volume to the hair

You can even be more creative by using hair accessories to ‘dress up’ the hair a little more.



Benefits Of A Roller Set

There are a few benefits to be gained from doing a roller set on natural hair than the obvious – using less heat.

  • Your hair will thank you for it
  • It is not harsh on your hair
  • The heat factor is reduced up to 50 %
  • There is a smoothness to the hair vs just blow-drying
  • You can profit from having more styling options for natural hair

Products To Help Perfect The Best Roller Set On Natural Hair

While it is important to use as little products as possible so there will be no product buildup on your hair, using a hair styling product with roller setting can prove advantageous. My favorite setting lotion is my homemade flax seed gel. I am able to regulate the consistency and add whatever I like to the mixture. When using flax seed gel, I have noticed that there is not much ‘crunch’ to the hair once it has dried.

Here is the recipe for my homemade flax seed gel:

how to do the best roller set on natural hair

Flax Seed Gel Recipe

2-3 tablespoons flax seed s

8-12 ozs water

Essential oil of your choice ( a few drops)

1 tablespoon coconut oil


Bring the water to a boil. Add all ingredients together except the essential oil. Let the mixture simmer until it gets frothy in the pot. Reduce flame and allow to gently bubble/simmer for a few minutes more. Strain the mixture through a strainer or muslin cloth.

Once done, add the essential oil. Your gel is now ready to use. You can adjust the consistency by adding more water before adding the essential oils. The runnier the mix, the better to use as a setting lotion. A heavier consistency is using it as a ‘heavy-duty’ gel. You can sore the remainder in an airtight jar in your refrigerator for about two weeks. After this time, the mixture might become oxygenated and spoil. SO, make only as much as you will need.

You can also use Eco Styler Gel. Read more about it here.



My Final Thoughts


As a curly hair girl, I love knowing that I can have flexible styling options. I do a roller set when I have time. I usually make my own hair products and love making the flax seed gel/setting lotion. It does not make my hair stiff and dry, but rather shiny.

I also use the largest circumference of the magnetic hair rollers so that I can have voluminous hair when I finger comb it after drying. And when I roller set, it is usually followed up with a saran wrap to further ensure smoothness.

Yes, being a natural hair girl gives you so many styling options that I simply love!

What has been your experience doing a roller set? I would love to hear your feedback.


michelle lake author

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