The first several times I tried to do a roller set it came out terrible.
I tried the mohawk style, tried parting down the middle, tried starting from the back; I tried ev-er-y-thing.
Finally, it kicked in. Growing up in the dominican salon is an educational experience if you have curly, wavy, kinky, coarse hair. I recall hearing a few girls complain about the stylist not rolling their hair “the right way.”
“Marisol is alright, but she likes to put my rollers in all sloppy! Look at how crooked they are!”
I used to think to myself, what difference does it make if your rollers aren’t perfectly spaced or lined up? When you pull out your rolos your hair is going to be silky and soft, right?
That’s when I started to have an out of body experience (ok, I’m adding fluff, but the lightbulb really did come on, so work with me for a minute.)
I had been spending time trying to make my parts straight and contorting my arms in ways that were not natural, even for a yoga enthusiast. Where the rollers were placed or whether or not I rolled them up, or down was irrelevant.
The crucial part was getting those ends smoothed out over the rollers. After all, they are called “rolos magneticos,” magnetic rollers. The ends of the hair are supposed to stick to the rollers. Once I recognized that, I started to change my roller process from beginning to end.
I always do the same thing, regardless of hair style and cut. I start in the middle of my forehead and imagine that mohawk of rollers going back towards the nape of my neck. I part about an inch and a half on each side, so the row is about 2.5 inches all the way down, from front to back.
After putting my product in, I begin to section my hair. Without clipping the hair on top, I detangle the two side sections and then clip them both up, to ensure that my hair doesn’t dry out too quickly and to ensure that I don’t accidentally pull more hair up in a roller than I intend to have. I do anything necessary to cut down on rolling time.
Pulling my mohawk back, I start with small sections. My first section is about 2 inches from the hairline. Usually, the stylists roll that one forward, but I have found that if I roll the entire mohawk back, towards the nape, my rollers stay more uniform and tight.
I have about 3 rollers on top, just to the point where I’m reaching the back of my head, then one right on top and about 3 more going down the back of the head.
On the sides, I work one at a time. I let one side section down and then sub-divide again, so I have two sides. I start at about the crown (below the roller that’s already in place) and section down to about my ear. I pin the front section back up and start with the back row.
The side rows I work from top to bottom. However, this is where I deviate from the salons. Although, I can actually roll my hair under, it’s harder and the roots are always thick. I have learned that rolling upwards keeps my entire length smooth and prevents my roots from bunching up.
I usually place about 3 or 4 rollers in that row and then work on the front row with 2 or 3 rolos. I repeat this process on the other side.
Always keep a little spray bottle with water handy. It’s not necessary to have your hair sopping wet, but you want your ends to be wet enough to grip the rollers. If you notice that your ends are frizzing up, just spritz the ends of your hair as you work each section.
Practice smoothing your hair around the rollers. This is critical, as this is what keeps your ends straight. Even if your roots are a little fuzzy, passing the blower over will fix it, but I try to limit the amount of heat I use. According to my mother and aunts, they never really sat under the dryer when they were girls. They would put “rolos” in and go about their daily chores, then they would do a doobie when they pulled the rollers out.
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come out the way you want it the first few times…ok, maybe the first few months. It’s just a matter of practicing and remembering that if your ends are straight and your hair is completely dry, you can still do a doobie to smooth out the hair.