Today I decided I wanted to write further about the differences in curls you get with different types of curling/rolling methods. A lot of this can be confusing, especially to those who are new to the vintage lifestyle, so I am here to sort it all out for you!
I use hot rollers more often than not, especially after having had my shoulder surgery and recovering from it. These tend to give more of a looser wave, and can look great for a sexy ’40s or ’50s look. However, there is a drawback – as with any heated curlers, the curls have a tendency to “fall” after a few hours. Now, if you use a thermal styler spray it can help to hold your curl more (as well as protect your hair – frizzy crazy hair is never sexy!), as well as using hair spray. Make sure your rollers cool completely before taking them out!
These are great for an authentic wet/cold set. I have a lot of hair, so I’ve found I need a bunch of them in order to be able to get the look I need. You will need a settling lotion like Lottabody to help set and hold your curls. This method tends to make for easier curl forming with a brush or your hands. They are also good for sleeping in as well. The only thing I don’t like about them is they tend to give me too small of a curl, like a ringlet, and I don’t intend on looking like Shirley Temple!
Curling irons can set the same way as hot rollers, but they offer more versatility in the shape of your curls. What I like to do is to curl with the iron first, roll like a traditional pin curl in whatever shape and diameter you like, and to pin it with double prong pin curl clips. Let them cool, spray lightly with a hair spray, and wait for them to cool. If you are feeling a little impatient or are strained for time, go out in the cool weather or use a hair dryer on a cool setting to close the shaft of your hair faster and make your hair set sooner.
I am excited about this method. I have not tried it yet, but I am working on my own handmade set of pillow rollers for my hair. Like I had said before, with foam rollers I tend to get tiny ringlet curls, which is not my most desirable look, so I am making larger diameter pillow rollers for my hair. They are used in the same way as foam rollers, also with a setting lotion. They are much better to sleep in, and often don’t leave dents in your hair like foam rollers can. It can take a little bit longer to have your hair dry as the rollers are not as porous as foam rollers are. I will be doing a post about my first set with my handmade rollers after I am done with them (I am making about 20 rollers), and if I feel like they are sufficient enough and give me what look I am after, I may make more of them to sell in my Etsy store. Stay tuned!
Pin curls offer the most authentic vintage look, but can be daunting for most newbies. There are all sorts of different ways to shape the curl, the axis to put it on, directions of the curl – oh my! I have found Lauren Rennell’s “Vintage Hairstyling” book to offer a good explanation of how to use pin curls. I use double prong pin curl clips to set my pin curls, but you can also use bobby pins that are crossed in an “x” shape to hold the curl as well. This is also a wet set, so use a setting lotion to help hold your curl. I would not recommend sleeping with a pin curl set – ouch! Use this setting method during the day, and you can really go vintage housewife and wear a nice scarf to cover your set as you go about your daily routine. I would recommend trying pin curls after you have done some research on how to set them, as doing a set in a haphazard way will result in your curls not turning out like Marilyn’s!
So that’s about it, ladies! There are tons of different ways to try and curl your hair, but you may need to experiment to see which methods work best for you. I am also waiting on a curling system called “Magic Leverag”, which s a cheaper version of the popular Curlformers, and I want to see how this works for doing a vintage set. It seems so easy to do a wet set, so I am hoping it works out like I hope! I will post my review after I try it, as well as with my handmade rollers.
What have you found that works for getting a decent vintage set?