There is a very specific way to set up the rods and curlers for a proper perm. If the correct rolling method is not followed, the perm may not turn out properly, and the hair may lose its hold and become limp much more quickly than a correctly performed perm.
When wrapping the side hair -- the hair around the ear and profile view -- you must curl the hair around the rod in a downward motion. Start by holding the rod at the ends of the hair, on the inside (so the rod is between the neck or ear and the actual hair). Curl the tips of the hair around the the back of the rod, then begin to roll the hair so the rod is curling in a downwards motion. Doing this will curl the hair up back around the rod, which will make it tight once the rod reaches the root.
Back of Head
The hair at the back of the head is rolled onto the roller the exact same way as the hair to the sides. Place the rod between the hair and the person's body and curl the tips of the hair around the rod to give you some leverage. Roll the rod downward (if facing the rod, you would be rolling the rod towardsyourself). Continue doing this until all of the hair has been rolled up.
Top and Front of Hair
When rolling and curling the hair on the top and front of the head, you will need to roll the hair toward the front of the face. This means roll the hair in a downward motion towards the person's face.
As long as you set the rollers correctly, you don't have to roll them in any specific order. In fact, a "chaotic" rolling method may actually lead to a more natural look than a precisely organized curl that comes in rows and columns. You may want to experiment to see what style you like the best.