Here it is, Bloggy friends, the “How to Curl Your Hair with Rags” post.
There is a multitude of “how to” videos on you tube, but they all miss something that I think makes a huge difference to your result. But I’m jumping ahead.
First decide if you want tight ringlets, or loose, soft curls that will drop into a wave. If you want softer curls, use large sections of hair in each rag, and a larger rag (socks are great for soft curls). Tighter curls need smaller sections and a thinner rag.
Here’s a comparison on the Chicklette’s hair: socks above, chux below. Keep in mind that her hair is thick, straight, and past her waist in length. In both pictures, it is straight out of the rags, with nothing done to it yet. You can separate the curls to get a fluffier look, and in time, both will relax to a looser curl than they show here.
Decide if you want sausage curls, or spirals. See (directly) above how some of the Chicklette’s hair is in long sausage curls the same as Miss 13 in the first colour photo in this post? The sausage curls are NOT twisted while wound. The thinner, more open looking curls that look like springs in amongst the Chicklette’s hair were twisted while winding. You can choose to have all of one sort, or in the case above where I was putting her hair up, I chose a mix.
Timing is everything. Truly, don’t believe all those people who say to damp your hair and leave it overnight, or a few hours. If you take the rags out while your hair has so much as a lick of moisture left in it – the curls will drop out before you can say, “Now, wasn’t that a waste of time?” And what’s more, if you want those curls to last all day and night for your big event, you want to have them damp to start. So.. you can either sit under a dryer, or use a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment to boost the drying process, or do it sufficiently early for them to dry naturally.
If you have very hard to hold hair, if it doesn’t normally stay in when you use hot rollers, or your hair is very long, you may want to start with clean, DRY hair, and use a pump hairspray to damp each curl as you wind it, or have almost dry hair and add plenty of mousse or setting lotion.
First collect your medium. You can use Chux cut into pieces about the size of a handkerchief. Or you can use a bunch of handkerchiefs (just visit Gran and clean out her draw). Or you can use socks (the thin sort), or strips of paper bag, or cut up sheets, towels, t-shirts, stockings, or …. I’m sure you can probably think of something else to add to the list.
You will need also:
a fine tooth comb
setting agent (gel, hairspray, mousse, etc)
clips to keep hair out of the way while winding
What are end papers, I hear you ask? Well. Let me tell you, folks. They are the part everyone leaves out that I think makes the huge difference to your results. Here’s what they look like.
The difference is that the ends won’t crumple up. Let me show you what I saw over and over when watching the video responses to the how to curl your hair tutorials on you tube.
See this curl below?
See how the end is all crumpled?
It should look like this:
See how the end sits in a circle, with no fish-hook effect? That’s what you’re aiming for. One or two little fish hooks can be remedied with a curling iron, but to have them all over is a disaster too monstrous to contemplate.
Once you’ve decided what kind of curl you’re aiming for, and you have all your equipment ready to hand, it’s time to begin!
Section off the top of the hair and clip it out of the way. If you start from the top, you will have to delve under the already tied hair to get your sections, and that will get old in a hurry. Apply your styling agent, or if it’s dry, remember to spray each section with hairspray as you go. Use a towel to protect the back of the neck (because all that hairspray is going to feel terrible on the skin, not to mention the possibility of it causing a reaction: so for little children, it is better to use a mousse that you can control the application of better, and avoid the scalp.)
Starting at the bottom, take a section of hair, hairspray the entire length of it if it’s dry, and apply an end paper.
Fold it toward you as shown in the next image or when you wind the hair up, it will constrain it too fiercely.
Wind it on the rolled rag the same way you would a conventional roller.
Wind so the hair doesn’t overlap: it will take longer to dry if you pile it on top of itself; it will mean a smaller curl at the bottom and looser toward the head; and the curl may come out wonky if you slip first one way, then the other way, when winding.
So.. avoid that calamity and wind it each loop of hair sitting next to the last one you wound on the rag. At this stage, twist the rag a few times if you prefer a spiral curl, then keep winding.
When it’s all wound, tie a knot.
That’s how happens.
Keep going all over…
When it is time to remove the rags, unwind them: don’t pull at them. Leave them as they come out, or separate them for a fluffier look. The image below was taken at 11am, and contrasted with the image taken at 9:30pm, will give an indication of how much the curls will relax.
If you have to take them out some time before your event, buy a hairnet from the chemist, and gently collect the curls up in it. Remove just before you arrive. Miss 13 remained in the glamorous state below for hours while travelling, to preserve the curl.
The result will depend on how much product you used on the hair, how small your sections were when winding, what size rags you used, how long and heavy your hair is… there are many variables. The image below, taken ten hours after the rags were out, shows how much the curls had relaxed in that time.
If you have an important event, it is worth having a trial run of setting your hair to see how long it takes to dry, how long the curls last, and if what you’re doing achieves the result you are after. It will also tell you if it is worth having bags under your eyes. Because I have it on good authority (thank you Fee), that it is a special kind of torture to sleep in them. I haven’t done so myself, having hair that curls all by its lonesome, but when I mentioned Fee’s comment to my own children (who have all worn them to bed on several occasions) they confirmed it is, indeed, remarkably uncomfortable.
Happy hair curling, folks! :D