How to Roller Wrap Hair Without Setting Lotion

low angle view of a mother putting curlers in her daughter's hair

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Although using setting lotion can enhance your set, it’s by no means essential for a successful roller wrap set. Setting lotions are used to enhance hair by adding curl hold or stiffness, which helps the set last longer if the hair is very fine, long or both. Some contain ingredients used to help smooth curly, frizzy hair and add shine. But if you're looking for softer hair with more volume and movement, you do not need to use setting lotion.

The Rollerset Key

Roller wrapping has an advantage over blow-drying because it creates more body and maximizes your hair's volume, and water is the real key to roller wrapping your hair without setting lotion. In fact, most setting lotion solutions are made up of mainly water. When your hair is wet, is has the most elasticity or ability to be molded, stretched and shaped, so think in terms of the water as being your actual “setting lotion.” Drying your hair under heat is the other requirement for a roller set.

Items Needed

To be properly prepared for roller wrapping you will need a spray bottle filled with water; about 24 rollers; clips or large bobby pins; a rattail, fine-toothed comb for easily parting and detangling hair sections; and butterfly clips for keeping hair sections neat and damp. To achieve a curlier style, use small to medium roller size according to your hair length. To achieve a style that adds more volume and fullness than curl, use the maximum size roller for your hair length; you should only be able to roll your hair one to three full revolutions around the roller.

Tips For Success

To get the best results roller-wrapping hair without setting lotion, make sure each section is equally wet. If you start in front, by the time you reach the back of your head, your hair may be air-dried. Spray each section of hair with water as you go, then use the rattail comb to smooth, detangle and then wrap the hair neatly onto the roller. Connect the clip or pins to the roller at the base of scalp to keep the roller firmly in place. As you set your hair, keep in mind that thinner sections are easier to control, and dry faster and more evenly. Good technique and consistency are key.

Heated Vs. Air Drying

Sitting under a heated hood dryer gives your hair steady air flow and, combined with the tension of the wrapped hair on the rollers, produces a smoother, firmer set. A rollerset can be air-dried but it will take considerably longer to dry and may result in frizzy hair. After your hair feels dry to the touch, let the curls cool, then remove all of the rollers and style as desired.