Perm with Setting Rollers

Large rollers to perm hair
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: Hi, can you use large rollers, not perm rods but large setting rollers when perming someone's hair, if you absolutely don't want curls but just a little bend to your hair?
And if you can do this, can you use the little metal clips to hold the roller like when you're setting someone's hair?

A: Sure. In fact, many salons offer "specialty perms" that feature the use of unusual wrapping tools to give unique wave and texture patterns to the hair.
I've known salons that use everything from frozen juice cans (empty and washed clean, of course) to aluminum foil that has been molded into the desired shape. The ends are bent over to secure the tool like the old cloth-covered, foam rollers with the wire through the middle.
Just remember that in order to get a good "set" you want the hair wrapped tautly about the tool. A loose wrap means a loose curl, and in the case of large (or unusual) tools, you may find little to no results with a poorly wrapped perm.
As for the use of the metal clips, they should be fine for a single use if they are new. Many new clips come with a coating that helps keep them from rusting too quickly. It is best to look for plastic versions of the clips if you can find them. The problems that can crop up are these: the clips (if old and beginning to tarnish or oxidize) can stain the hair as the neutralizer especially comes in contact with the rusting metal.
Second, with some clips that pinch hard, you run the risk of setting crimps in the hair permanently at the points where the clips pinch the hair to the roller. Try to set the roller just slightly off-base, so that you can seat the clip against the scalp without disturbing too much of the hair in the process. This helps to keep any "kinks" created at scalp level, and out of view.
See also:
Perm rods
Roller styling techniques
Can I use sponge rollers for an at home perm?
Can magnetic rolls be used to roll the hair for the perm?