Wednesday, 4 May 2011

how I... curl my hair – rag curls

rag hair v

Well, here it is, as promised: a guide to how I curl my hair. Until recently I pin curled it, but now it has grown too long for that. Sleeping with those hard little coils up against my head was not exactly working, and anyway it made for a loose curl that didn't last as long as they used to on me. Boo.

So, now I have moved to rag curling! Honestly, I am not just using the olde methods for the sake of it, I swear. If 15 minutes with a curling iron in the morning worked for me, or half an hour with some hot rollers made curls that lasted more than half and hour, I'd be happy to use what the modern world has to offer. But, alas, I am yet to find anything new that will work on my hair. I have lots (and lots and lots) of dead straight baby fine hair that weighs a ton and is as slippery as an eel – silky it may be (at least for 3 minutes after brushing; and plain old limp, if left alone, by day two), but it really takes some work to curl it.

I only started rag curling a couple of weeks ago. I really didn't think it was going to work, but I was amazed at the bouncy, silky and long-lasting curls it gave me. And this is without any product! I find that I get two good days of curls out of this, and a third day of waves if I haven't washed my hair again by then, although I usually have.

rag hair t

So, let's begin. To do this, I use 14 strips of cotton – the rags – about 10 inches long and an inch or two wide. I cut an old dress (and by old, I don't mean vintage, don't freak out!) up for these. (I have also lightened a lot of the photos to show hair detail; not easy to do with dark hair!)

rag hair a

After washing my hair, I let it dry off naturally/blow dry it (depending on the weather, and time of night – this bit take me ages) until it is just slightly damp; practically dry. I learnt the hard way when pin curling that if it is too wet, my hair won't dry over night, and I would undo the pin curl to reveal a floppy string of straight, wet hair. Disappointing and hard to fix up. Don't suffer like I did. Learn from my mistakes.

rag hair d

Divide your hair into 14 (or however many strips you use, which may be slightly more or less) sections, and wrap them around the cotton strip. This is, thankfully, easier than it sounds, and I find my hair stays wrapped without too much hassle.

rag hair c

Wrap the section of hair from an inch or two from the bottom (to get things started), wrap the tips around the rag, and then wrap upwards to where you want the curls to start from. I like to curl the lower, say, two thirds of my hair, so I stop around ear height. Make sure the ends stay well tucked in, and wrapped, too.

rag hair f

When you have finished wrapping, tie the strip in a single knot.

rag hair e

Do this to all of your hair. When you have finished, look at yourself in the mirror and laugh. Better still, find someone to show your ridiculous rag head to, so they can point and laugh.

Now take your rag heady self to bed, go to sleep, and dream about the bouncy locks that will be yours come morning.

rag hair i

And this is what mine look like when I take out the rags, before any brushing.

rag hair g

I have found that unlike with pin curls, which were a lot frizzier when I took them out in the morning, these curls are much silkier, but almost as tight. I can brush them together (ie like brushing my hair normally) or I can brush out each individual curl, as with pin curls.

rag hair k

To do this, wrap the curl around your hand/wrist/arm, depending on hair length, and brush it around, to keep the strands together in the curl. Hmm. I don't know how much sense that made. There are some great tutorials on brushing out on youtube; try Lisa Freemont Street's. It's really easy, and makes a big difference to the end result, although less so with rag curls.

And that's it!

rag hair l

I will wear my curled hair with my turban, with or without the brooch, though with different clothes and make up (and perhaps not always such a serious face)...

rag hair m

And I will wear my scarves pirate style with the curls, too. I thought that pirate style (arr, etc) could do with a shoulder parrot. Babycat does not make a very good shoulder pet...

rag hair n

... but she is very nice and fluffy. And grumpy, sometimes, too, clearly. She did not care to go on my shoulder. I don't blame her.

rag hair o

These curls will also make good updos...

rag hair p

... in which I can put my little birds, as well as flowers, brooches, random trinkets and baubles... all sorts. When it comes to hair, the bigger the better, I say.

rag hair r

And I also like to just wear the curls loose.

Ta da! Let me know how you go if you use this. And send in some pictures, too! I would love to put them up on here! I hope you liked my first tutorial. I will be doing more! x

58 comments:

Nessbow said...

I'm totally with you about using ye olde curling methods. I find that hot rollers and curling wands don't do much for my hair, which is rather thick and waist-length. I have been pin-curling my hair for a year now, and I love the results. You've inspired me to give rag-curling a try now. I was always skeptical about it, but now that I've seen the results, I'm keen to have a go.

Vintage Hippo said...

:D This is my favorite tutorial of all time! SOO fun!

Hannah said...

Your hair looks gorgeous and I love the turban. I still find rags hard to do always end up having loose ends that do not curl x

Harlow Darling said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I'm going to try it tonight and see how it goes, the idea makes me think of the girls in Little Women :)
I've tried pin curls (way too frizzy), rollers (uncomfortable to sleep in), and curling irons (don't last long without TONS of spray) so I can't wait to see how it goes!

Lots of love
Harlow
xoxox

Teer Wayde said...

I'm way to excited to see that there is another person out there that still rag curls like me! I've been doing it ever since i had hair long enough!

Always stunning honey x

Esz said...

I wish I could grow my hair that long! I didn't know yours was really fine too. It makes the curls fall out really quickly normally doesn't it?

I've not had much luck with my curling attempts. And the short hair. But when I've used a curling iron it falls out within a few hours. Bah!

Dial V for Vintage said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I am definitely going to try this myself, it looks so pretty!

blubbblubb said...

So pretty!

Pink Penguin said...

Thanks for such a fabulous tutorial, I have been looking into curling methods lately and this one looks great! Do you think it only works on longer length hair? Mine is to my shoulders. xxx

Blithely Unaware said...

ooOOOooo they look so beautiful!!!!

I wish my hair didn't drop so quickly and could hold a curl... unfortunately it won't even with a whole can of professional hair spray :(

Miss Tallulah Porkchop said...

LOVE the bird in the nest (hair). I do that woth those little yellow chicks at Easter time. :)

stopline said...

super cool! ;)

stopline said...

super cool ;)

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

Nice tutorial!
Interesting that you do it when your hair is dry!
Will definitely try this one!

Annuschka said...

i love your hair.
have too much and too thick hair for curl:)

oh,henry! said...

oh, the turbans are amazing!!!

Jo said...

The results are beautiful - I can't wait to try it! And I simply adore the look with the turban! <3

x
www.lostinthehaze.com

Juliet Winter said...

Didn't realise how long your hair actually is!! I love it. I can't wait until mine grows.

Very clever curling. I think I might have to try it.

- Juju xxx

StrangeBird said...

I'm so happy you did this tutorial! I'm always admiring your lovely style!

oh,henry! said...

those turbans are amazing!

aline said...

can't wait to try this. like yours, my hair withstands all modern methods of curlig...

Sher said...

Babycat on your shoulder is priceless! And you have the prettiest hair:)

xx

tillysfrillys said...

That looks awesome, thanks for the tutorial, I will absolutely try using rags to curl my hair next time! I have a lot of long hair too and have just been pin curling and I'm lucky if that lasts a day, especially up here in the Brisbane humidity! It's so disappointing when you've done great up-style at the front and the back hair looks not so good! Thanks again for the tip. Yfogour blog is lovely x

VaiyaRosa said...

Oh wow! This is really pretty. I'm going to try this out too!
Thanks for sharing :-)

Anonymous said...

<3 you

Rosalinda Tjioe said...

Love your hair, very retro! Great hair tutorial!

xx
http://rosalindatj.blogspot.com

meelusha said...

thanks a lot for the tip sweetie, I am most def trying this out soon, as getting these type of curls is a real pain for me with a hair iron.

congrats on the first tutorial :)
we want mooore!

xoxo,
meelusha

Kelly-marie said...

Such a great post! I have very long and thick hair and have all the same problems as you've had. Recently I have been putting my hair in heated rollers in the morning, which works just fine until about lunch time when all the curls are gone! So tonight I will be rag rolling away and fingers crossed my hair ends up as gorgeous as yours. Thanks for sharing x

transmission repair Vaughan said...

hey!
I thought that only in my family girls know this way to make curly hair:D

FoofandFaff said...

Ooh glad to see an actual tutorial on this - I curl my hair this way and it sometimes comes out a bit frizzy so never sure if I'm doing it right! I'm with you tho, no other method will curl my hair :)

Rianna said...

I love this! I was about to say 'what is that divine fluffy thing you're holding up to your shoulder?' then I saw it was an animal! A live one! Hahaha! xx

Kelly said...

My mum used to do this to my hair when I was little ... brings back such lovely memories.

elegantlyacademic.blospot.com

Annuschka said...

ha! I tried to do this today and came out perfectly curls :))) thanks for advice ;)

SoapyMermaid said...

you are stylish even when curling your hair :D I love the little "pioupiou" in your hair.

Pexina said...

Amazing! ;)

june said...

This's exactly the same way I used to curl my hair when they were longer. Great result!
Ciao,
June

LeSimple said...

beautiful hair and nice blog :)
visit also mine, if you want :)
xx

lesimple.sk

Pandora said...

I'm deffinetly trying this! I've got the same problem with hot rollers and curling iron myself. The curls go straight out after a couple of hours. Thank you for the tip :)

Rosy said...

Wow! You have beautiful hair and I love when you curl it. Love the bird detail!

gilda_zarco said...

Wow I'd never have guessed rag curls, they look so shiny and healthy. I'll definitely be giving them a go. x

angie.a said...

I'm going to try this too! My hair is much shorter, but I love to pin curl it. I am just an incredibly light sleeper (and a wee bit claustrophobic. I know that sounds crazy, but having hair that can't "escape" the pins/rags might be enough to keep me awake.) you have such a lovely sense of style, and a beautiful blog. Love babycat shots too!

Cup Of Kitten Tea said...

Iused to do rag curls in my hair when i was younger! I have naturally curly hair but sadly it looks like an eighties perm so i am always trying old school methods to obtain a better curl, Im with you on heat methods. they drop too fast! will blog and link once i've ragged it up this week! xxx

Sleekit said...

Damn girl, you have good hair!

Sleekit x

Rosina Lee said...

Great tutorial! I just gave it a try now,and found it easier to roll after a few practice rolls, I added a little pomade to tuck my layers around the fabric. I also used a long nose clip to hold the hair roll while I tied the knot with both hands ( I'm a little unco)

XX Rosina Lee

Helen said...

Oh my gosh thank you for this! I have ridiculously straight hair, whenever I try and curl it with GHD's or whatever, it just falls out and I'm left with my normal hair- just full of hairspray :( I really must try this and hopefully it will work as well!!

Brittney said...

so super helpful. i'm totally trying this...my hair is particularly frizzalicious with certain curling methods, so i'm interested to see if this works. thanks!
-brittney
http://adayinlifetoo.blogspot.com (my daily outfit blog; come on by if you'd like)

Andi B. Goode said...

Ooh, I've been meaning to try rag curls for ages! I wonder if I'd look like Shirley Temple with my shorter do, though. ;]
-Andi x

Heidi said...

Your hair looks stunning, I can't resist trying this myself now!

Shell said...

i've seen this method before, i have to try it, soon. im currently using a wand curling iron, and i love it!

Valeria said...

Thank you for this tutorial! My hairis just as you discribe yours, and i've been searching for a method to make curls that work in an opdo. The picture with the bird really inspires me.
-Valeria

Rebecca Jane said...

Fantastic tutorial! I am excited to try this!

LadyGoddess said...

FINALLY a good rag curl tutorial! I'm doing this tonight! Thank you SO much. You also look very pretty with them :)

Kir said...

Hmm, I've been pincurling for about a year now, but I've always wanted to try rag curling. Maybe I'll give it a go tonight!
Your hair looks lovely. :)

Vivian De Violet said...

Thanks for this post :) Ive been using pin curls for ages and it was so ucomfortable to sleep in them, so I totally understand you. I couldnt find anywhere good description of rag curling and I finally did - here :)

Anonymous said...

Ur hair looks lovely! Gonna try it tonight

Pretty Polly said...

Hi Esme! We totally love all of your hair styles in your blog posts. Using strips of old tights/stockings works really well to create natural, beautiful curls. We love your step by step blog article on how to curl your hair so much we've pinned it to our PrettyPollyLegs Pinterest boards! Hope you don't mind :)

Vicky at
Pretty Polly

Anonymous said...

This works great on my hear and lasts for DAYS! By day 3 its a little loose and limpy but looks great tied in a low ponytail.
:)

Karito Martinez said...

Hi, i didn't know that.. I use the Karmin curling wand on my super long, straight hair and my curls actually stay put all day! :)

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