I've had several requests for a hair tutorial, especially in the last month- so here you go!
I started doing this hairstyle about 3 years ago, and it's been such a good fit for me that it's remained my constant go-to style ever since. ;-)
Now, I would describe myself as being "hair challenged". Lots of people scoff at that, since I always have my hair "done", but I tend to find 1 style and stick with it for years on end. (hence 3 years and counting with this one....) I wanted a style that was flattering on me (I prefer fuller styles) and something that worked nicely with lots of different hat styles, since I wear hats on a daily basis.
I read up a bit on vintage hair, but the end result was that I just got really overwhelmed and felt out of my depth. :-/ Well, I still DO feel out of my depth with most vintage hairstyles! This style was my half-way compromise, but I think it still turned out good enough to be acceptable. :-) One book that has helped ENORMOUSLY with my understanding of curls and how to manipulate them is Lauren Rennell's "Vintage Hairstyling". I know everyone talks about this book, but it really is great! :-) The sample styles are nice, but the great information in the front really helped me understand all the concepts and better be able to manipulate and predict my hair.
I'm qualifying this style as "easy", because I think it is. :-) It's had its fair share of learning curves, but it was something that I could achieve with some level of success from the start. Also, it is very time-efficient. It takes no more than 5 minutes at night, and is styled in less than 10 in the morning!
This style is very adaptable, and is really comprised of 2 parts- the front hair and the back roll. I change the front around occasionally to add a wee bit of variety. ;-)
This tutorial is for the specific style I did on my New Wardrobe Staple, Friends and Relations, Black Eyelet Dress, and Lemon Dress posts. Other 1950s posts on the blog have been slight variations on this theme.
· Disclaimer! This is NOT a good tutorial for a "proper" pin curl set. I am very sloppy with the way I set my curls, and they will not work well for wearing down. This short-cut is great for getting the right volume and waves near the hairline though, which is all I'm concerned about! :-) ·
Just as an FYI- my hair is mid-back length, no layers, very fine, very straight, and a bit on the thin side. I typically have a hard time getting my hair to hold a curl.
I've done this hairstyle on lots of differing lengths of hair- it works on the more-period-appropriate shoulder-length hair, but I've successfully done this style even on mid-thigh length hair!
Start with dry hair. First, part the hair on the side, then section off the front portion from ear to ear.
Braid or clip up the rest so that it's out of the way.
On the smaller side, I divide the hair into 2 sections- top and bottom.
Each portion gets sprayed with setting lotion- enough to make it a bit damp for the first 8".
· I use the store-brand setting lotion at Sally Beauty. I didn't find a difference between that and the name brand for this style, so I go with the cheaper option. ;-) ·
Wrap the strand of hair around your fingers (1 or 2, depending on how tight you want your curls) starting 4-6" from the scalp.
Then continue rolling the hair up to the scalp, being careful not to twist it.
Secure with 2 bobby pins in an X. Both of these curls with be rolled away and up from the hairline.
On the larger side, separate the hair into 2 portions- the center top and the side.
Divide the center top portion into 2- front and back.
Curl the front section away from the face.
When pinning, force a "ridge" near the part. We'll reinforce that later while styling the hair, but I find it helps if I give the hair a "head start".
Curl the back section to mimic the front.
Divide the side portion into 2 sections and curl those away and up from the face.
The point of pin curling the hair is to convince it to do the style you want the next day. Some hair (like mine ;-)) takes more persuading! It helps to envision your final style- make sure the way you are curling your hair will help it naturally go there the next morning! :-)
Let dry overnight. Or, if you're in a rush you could blow dry the style on a low setting, but I never do that.
Once they are dry, take out the pins and brush the curls. I don't have a particular method for brushing out, and I use a boar bristle brush- personal preference! The goal is to get the "crunchiness" out and smooth the hair into a uniform shape.
The smaller side is easy- just curl the hair around 2 fingers about 4" away from the scalp, then roll into a small victory roll. (if you're having a hard time keeping all the hair in place while rolling it, try hairspraying the whole length before you start so that it has some "grip" to it)
Secure with bobby pins as inconspicuously as possible.
On the other side, separate off the hair approximately where your pincurling was and start brushing the hair into one continuous wave.
Start wrapping the hair around 1 finger....
... And form the hair into a victory roll. You want to keep some "slack" on it near the scalp, so don't pull it back tight.
Pin in place. I also use 4 bobby pins on the "inside" crossing in an X. (2 come from the top and 2 come up from the bottom) If it needs help (or even if it doesn't), form a wave near the part with a ridge clip.
Giving a final helping hand with ridge and wave clips has been a lifesaver for me! I hairspray the entire style and leave them in for 15 minutes or so as I'm finishing up getting ready. I take them out as the final step, and the hair holds the rest of the day! Yay!! :-)
There you go- the front is complete! This does take a while to get the hang of, but it's second nature after a while. :-)
For the roll in the back, I use a hair rat. Yes, a real one. I didn't really want to post this part of the tutorial because I know that really creeps some people out. But there you go. Now you know the truth. ;-) If you're creeped out, feel free to skip on to the next pictures!
I know there are a few different options for non-hair rats, but I haven't used them. I think a natural hair rat is great because you can make it any size you want, it's an exact color match (so it's not as noticeable if it peeks out), and well, it's free. ;-) Granted, it means you need to keep a LOT of your hair from your brush before getting started. I got a running start with an unexplained hair loss years ago (I guess this was a silver lining to that? :-/), but I make a habit of cleaning my brush every day and putting the hair in a ziplock bag, no matter how small the amount.
In theory, you might be able to use the hair from a haircut, but I've never had the need to use mine yet. (And yes, that does mean that I save all of my cut hair in bags, too. :-P Great. Now I just sound weird. I promise! This is like the weirdest thing I do!!) I am hesitant to use it since it is so slippery! I would have to somehow mat it up before it would work, whereas the brush hair is already matted perfectly and locks into place quickly and without any mess.
So at any rate, I take however much hair I feel like and put it in a fine hair net (the 50 cent kind from Sally Beauty) and wrap it tightly.
To start the roll, gather all your hair in your hands and hold the roll in front of the hair. Slowly drag the rat down to 4" or so from the bottom and wrap the ends around the rat. Roll the rat and hair up to the scalp. (On long hair, this gets increasingly more difficult, especially on yourself!) Once it's by the scalp, start smoothing the hair, tucking all the flyaways in and smoothing it evenly all along the roll. I do this about 10 times, so expect to do it even more at first! ;-)
Start pinning it in place starting with the center. Cross 2 bobby pins in an X, catching both the scalp hair and the roll.
Then pin the ends. These take some fiddling to arrange pleasingly, but just keep smoothing! It gets easier with practice. :-) Finally, pin the sections between the center and sides. For this rat, I pin a total of 5 places. When I had a longer one, I pinned it in 7 places.
Finish off with hairspray- and there you go! A very versatile, simple style that can be adjusted for the
1940s and 50s!
I realize this tutorial was rather long-winded, so thanks for bearing with me! :-)
Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and I'd love to see your results!!
· Photos by my Ever-Amazing Photographer, Kathryn :-) ·