Hello there! Recently, while the girls and I were discussing blog post ideas, we fell on the subject of my hair parlor posts, and I realized that I had yet to write a post about how I style my freshly pin curled hair. So Charlotte and I got to work, and now I have a super easy to follow instruction guide (with some good humor to boot) to help you brave what appears to be a daunting world of vintage styled hair. Trust me, it’s anything but!
First things first. You’ll need:
- A wide toothed comb for brushing out,
- A fine toothed comb for finessing,
- (handiest of all) A hand held mirror so you can see what you’re doing in the back.
I will usually do a set of pin curls right before I “hit the hay”, covering them with a silky cap, and take them out mid morning the next day, depending on my schedule. On week days I will get in my exercise routine and run before I take them out (sweat doesn’t seem to bother the curls), tying a scarf or bandanna over them so I don’t look that peculiar while I’m out. Sundays I’ll take them out as soon as possible so I can be ready to go to Church.
Helpful tip: As practice has taught me, clean, damp hair vs dirty, damp hair doesn’t make a difference. The weather does. In the winter when it’s most dry I will set my hair when it is dirty so that I can keep the natural oils in to combat the dryness. In the summer however, it is so humid at times that I need all the weight of the oils stripped out to keep the spring in the curl longer, otherwise it just goes flat in a day. And for both dirty and clean, I will use our homemade flax seed hair gel on my damp strands to act as a setting lotion (most hair stylists use this kind of product to keep the curl in as long as possible) and a protectant (your hair will get damaged the more you pin curl, so if you have fine hair like me, put in some sort of product to keep your hair workable and smooth).
Step 1 / Fingers First
Goodness me! Is that my hair?!? Yep. Every time I take out my hair it really does look nothing short of clownish. Dad walked past me one time right as I was taking out the last bobby pin and made some comical remark about the springs flying off my head. I grinned sheepishly, quickly assuring him that it was only temporary. So before you become the laughingstock of your house, don’t be shy, take your fingers to the springs and start finger-combing them through, until you have a nice head of fluff. Oh wait, now you really look like a clown! Uh… moving on shall we?
Step 2 / Wide tooth comb
Next you’ll need to take your wide tooth comb, and begin brushing out the curls. Careful! Don’t be too vigorous. Patience is the key here. Also, you’ll notice that your pin curls will flip which ever way you hold the brush.
Flipped out method: If you want the ends flipped out (like mine), then stroke the comb down and out, at the same time, putting your other hand under the teeth of the come to push the ends up into the flip, away from your neck. I would suggest using this method if you have short layered hair, like I do.
Flipped under page-boy method: If you have short or medium length hair, without layers, you could still do a flip, or you could reverse the flip by combing under, so that the curl goes underneath, giving you a page-boy style (used quite often in the late 40s early 50s). To do this you will have to direct the curls with your free hand towards your neck, instead of away. And if you have long hair, with or without layers, you can simply comb through as if you were brushing your hair before bed. If it’s a frizzy mess, then make sure you do the next step.
You can also begin to sculpt the hair around your face with the wide tooth comb as a preliminary to the final sculpt you do at the end with the fine toothed styling comb. I like to push the hair back, hold that by pressing down on it with a finger from my free hand, and using the comb to brush the end of the curl making an “N-shaped” wave.
Step 3 / Fingers Again
After the brush out, your curls will begin to relax a bit, and you’ll notice they might look a little frizzy and overly fluffy. (Depending on your hair type it might not. If it looks just right at this point, skip this step and spray to hold). I don’t like the way mine looks after the first combing–it looks like I have a half of an afro. So, to calm it down, I run my fingers through to break down the fluff, allowing the curls to become soft and uniform. But I’m not quite done yet…
Step 4 / Fine Tooth Comb to Finish
Using the fine toothed comb, brush from your part all the way down until you reach the tops, and only the tops, of the curls. I only do this to smooth out the parts that were made from when I separated out my hair the night before into individual pin curls. This final combing will make your crown nice and shiny, and smooth. Lastly, you can finish sculpting the curls around your face. The outcome is up to you at this point. you could do a brushed under curl, a flipped-out curl, you could even brush it back into a wing right over your ears and the base of curls. This would give it a very 50s look. The curl under is reminiscent of the 50s as well, and that’s the style I chose to finish with for this post. Here’s a little 50s inspiration, and here’s some from the 40s.
This is the finished look that you have seen at various times on the blog. This is my favorite way to style my hair. I do like sponge rollers too, and I seem to have seasons where I will use exclusively pin curls, or exclusively sponge rollers. And by seasons I mean two to three weeks.
You may have wondered–”How often does Jessica pin curl her hair in a week?
Answer: The maximum is three times a week. Most of the time it is once or twice, but it depends on the week. If we have a singing gig I will definitely curl my hair for that and maybe again on another day. If I’m working outside a lot that week, I will probably curl it just for the day of the singing gig and enjoy the leftover curl for the next couple of days. The rest of the time I will either put it up in a roll, or wear it in a french braid. This saves my hair from being damaged too much, and I would recommend the same hair styling regime for anyone else who wishes to have vintage styled hair, especially if you have colored or bleached it.
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Love and blessings,
Jessica, the Eldest Sister & Singer