Setting Wet Hair in Rollers

Jodie Michalak
hair in rollers

Setting wet hair in rollers is the best way to ensure curls that last hours, if not days depending on the finished style. Whether you're attending a formal function such as your high school or prom and need a style that lasts, or have decided on an easier to wear everyday style that requires less daily maintenance, wet set curls are a fabulous option.

About Setting Wet Hair in Rollers

At one time, setting hair with rollers was reserved just for your grandmother. Today, many elderly women still rely on this vintage hair styling technique for body and curl that lasts between infrequent shampoos. Now, with curly hair back in vogue, this technique can offer a modern and long lasting style, no matter what age. To set hair properly, you'll the need the right tools for the job. Gather the following implements for setting wet hair in rollers:

  • Rat tail comb
  • Various size rollers
  • Setting lotion, gel or mousse
  • Hair spray
  • Metal clippies to hold rollers in place
  • Hair dryer or hair bonnet

How to Create Curls

To get a salon perfect wet roller set you'll first need to analyze where you want the hair to go. Do you want your style to fall on or off your face? Do you want the curl to be mostly on the bottom with it smoother around your face? Successful roller placement is key to a successful outcome.

There are three types of roller placement positions:

  • On base: On base setting provides even curl from scalp to ends. Hair is held directly out at a 90 degree angle and the section of the hair should be the same size as the roller to create on base positioning.
  • Off base: Off base settings provided relaxed and flat at the scalp curl. To create off base waves, the roller will be at the bottom of your section. Your section can be many times larger than the roller depending on how smooth you want the hair closest to the scalp.
  • Over directed: Over directed positioning gives the hair the most volume. If you want sexy waves, over direct the roller past the base of the section. Sections should be two to three times the size of the roller and combed forward. The roller will end up at the front of your section when secured.

Types of Curl

The size and type of roller used will determine the amount of curl. There are three main types of rollers used. The most common today are Velcro rollers, which generally come in all sizes and do not require clips. Sponge rollers can still be found at speciality stores and are a good option for soft styling or for sleeping overnight with a wet set. Plastic rollers offer the most curl, but are the trickiest to use. The perforated rods ensure heat penetrates to the shaft locking in curl for days. Plastic rollers are commonly used professionally for wet sets.

A smaller rod and a firmer roller will produce a tighter curl, while a larger rod, perhaps in a sponge base, will produce soft, jumbo touchable waves that do not require clips to hold hair in place. Choosing the correct roller and material will ensure you have the curls you desire.

How to Set

To set hair properly, make sure it is clean and conditioned, and then apply a generous amount of gel, mousse or setting lotion to provide hold. Determine your desired results and section hair with your rat tail comb. With the narrow end or pick of your comb, section hair in sections no wider than the roller being used. Whether or not you want your rolls over-directed, on or off base will determine the depth of your section. Once hair is sectioned and rolled, you may need to use a metal clippie to help secure it.

To lock in waves after the set, sit under a dryer if possible or use a bonnet which attaches to your blow dryer to apply heat. Hair should be thoroughly dry and left to cool before rollers are removed. Depending on the length and thickness of the hair, waiting may vary from a half hour to hours at a time.

Removing Rollers

Once rollers are removed, you can brush through or simply shake the curls loose with your fingers for sexy style. If you back comb to create a full base with lots of body, make sure you comb the top layer over the blended sections to smooth out any frizziness. No matter what direction you go with your style, ensure your curls last all day by applying a generous application of hair spray.

Setting Wet Hair in Rollers