Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wanna know how I was able to reduce my rollersetting breakage?

You guys may remember but, not too long ago, I decided to take my journey to the next level with regards to my hair's length. Nothing would make me happier than to have low-mid back length hair. I understand, though, that I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage. Unlike others who are focused on gaining and retaining a length, I am a self-professed non-protective styler. Everyone knows that ever since the days of Wanakee, the general rule of thumb regarding healthy hair is to protect the ends from the elements.

Since I don't consistently hide my hair, I have to overcompensate with an intense weekly wash and set ritual. While my wash routine does wonders to re-create the moisture/strength balance in my hair, there are also aspects of my routine that frustrate the heck out of me. The most concerning step for me is the roller set. While I love rollersetting and the wonderful results that comes with it, I'm not at all happy with the amount of hair I lose during the process. Sometimes after a rollersetting session, I'm puzzled at the size of the ball of hair staring at me.

So this week I took some time to sit back and contemplate what I was doing wrong with regards to my roller setting practice. Better yet, I really wanted to find a better way to complete the process without experiencing as many casualties as I had in the past.

I'm happy to say to you that I've made a slight modification to my rollersetting routine the other day and the results were a huge improvement! This past week I lost 1/5 the amount of hair I normally do during the roller set and all I did was make a slight modification. So let me share with you my secret.....

For as long as I can remember, my rollersetting routine has been as follows:
1. Step out of the shower
2. Apply creamy leave-in
3. Take a section of hair.
4. Spray water/leave-in on section
5. Comb section with wide-tooth comb
6. Comb section with small tooth (if needed).
7. Roll hair
8. Repeat steps 3-7

Last week, however, things were different because I was reminded of one of the golden rules of healthy tresses:

"hair when wet can lose up to 50% of its strength."

What I realized was that I was manipulating my hair the most when it was the weakest. Once I made this realization, I immediately knew something had to change. There was no way I could continue to put my hair through such a tramatic process week after week. One thing you should know is that I have a hard time producing a decent result when air drying so that was not an option. What I decided to do instead was to shift the steps of my process to look like this:

1. Step out of the shower.
2. Apply creamy leave-in
3. Allow hair to begin to air dry under silk scarf
4. Remove scarf when hair is 70% dry.
5. Take small section of hair.
6. Comb section with wide tooth comb
7. Apply water/leave-in (to moisten the already detangled section so it can lay smooth against the roller).
8. Roll section
9. Repeat steps 5-8

So if you look at the two variations of my routine closely, you'll notice that I allow the drying process to occur before I start the heavy manipulation. For me, hair that is slightly damp is so much easier to detangle than hair that is soaking wet. By only making that small change in my routine, I was able to cut down the time it takes me to rollerset. Not too mention that I was all smiles when I checked out the amount of hair lost during the process. My sligthly damp hair withstood the combing so much easier than my hair soaking wet. I've only used this process once but I can't imagine going back to trying to detangle soaking wet's just to risky.

This slight changed produced a pretty dramatic change for me. I can imagine the thickness and length I'll preserve if I am able to continue this trend of only losing a small amount of hair each wash. I thought I'd share this little tip in case any one else is battling with excessive breakage during the roller set.

Thanks for listening.

  1. Did your rollerset come out as good as always with this method...?

  2. Great question Anonymous. Actually yes. I made sure to still create the smoothness against the roller which is one of the keys to a successful roller set. I still rolled wet hair, I just didn't detangle wet hair.

  3. good suggestion, I started air drying my hair the day before my roller sets about a month ago and I did notice a difference.

  4. I'm fascinated...I'm so trying this when I rollerset this weekend, because I lose a lot of hair when I set too. It makes perfect sense! Did you tie down your edges with the scarf and leave the rest out to dry?

  5. @ Tiffanita-I only left the ends out for a little bit. Maybe 20 minutes or so, then I used the scarf to help keep the hair from frizzing. I tied my entire head with the scarf because my hair doesn't do so well with loose airdrying.

  6. Thank you for this tip! I roller set my hair after every wash. I'm very interested in retaining more hair.

  7. Nice blog! I have natural hair and I find detangling (or styling) damp hair to be better as well. I get less breakage manipulating damp hair.

  8. Great tip. Have you ever experienced breakage after your hair was dry and you combed through your curls to style? If yes, does this process help to minimize breakage on the finished end of the process?

  9. HI Candra,
    Now what I do when I remove the rollers is moisturize and seal each individual section. This really helps curb breakage.