Please Note: I am affraid without a video camera and not being very good at describing things that this post may end up being more confusing than helpful. Please look at the videos I have linked to first. They really do a much better job at explaining how to pincurl. But some have asked how *I* do my hair so that’s why I have included my bad photos and terrible explanations.
The thing I love most about pin curling is rolling out of bed in the morning and having Lauren Bacall hair. I know I am very lucky…my hair holds a set very well. So once a week I wash my hair (yup that’s all), do a pin curl set (which now with practice only takes 10 minutes), leave it overnight to dry and then I have beautiful hair! Well not quite that simple but below I am going to share my “secrets” for healthy and gorgeous hair as well as some goodies from my books! Grab yourself a cup of tea before you start…this one is going to be LOOOOONG! (that’s what she said).
Miss Fairchild first thing in the morning, thanks pin curls!
I first tried pin curling a few years ago and gave up in a huff because it wasn’t perfect and I was too tired to keep my arms above my head for long. I watched ALL the videos so I will advise reading (and watching) as much as you can before starting and to not let yourself get too discouraged. It is something that takes practice, but the results are well worth it. I am going to give you a very basic “setting pattern” that I use, but really when you get started you don’t have to be too precise. You will be surprised at how nice they look even without a pattern.
But before we get to that let’s start with hair health. My hair is naturally wavy, very thick, slightly coarse and can be quite frizzy. I only wash my hair about once a week – even when I have been running a few times a week. I don’t use a lot of products on my hair. It really has taken me all of my 31 years to find what works for me. If you want beautiful hair you need to do the same. Try out some different things and see what works for you. You should also remember that like our skin, hair health starts on the inside. With that in mind the “glowing green smoothie” recipe found HERE will also help your hair as well as your skin.
“Did you know that the hair is something like the skin? The same life-giving elements that help make beautiful skin also help make beautiful hair. So see to it that you remain vibrantly healthy. Watch your diet, get plenty of fresh air and sleep, and don’t give in to depressing blue moods”
– Glorify Yourself by Eleanore King
One of the things that I personally feel keeps my hair in tip top shape is regular hot oil treatments. I really feel the difference in my hair texture and lustre. I also make my own using a mixture of virgin organic coconut oil and organic virgin olive oil. Apparently those two oils are the few that can actually penetrate the hair shaft, rather than just coating the hair. I just mix about half and half in an old jam jar. It is really too easy. You can follow these instructions from Eleanore King’s book Glorify Yourself:
HOT OIL TREATMENT
“The care if the scalp must be considered as part of your complexion program, for the scalp, like the skin on your face and body, can only be fed by the bloodstream. It is elementary knowledge that massage stimulates hair growth that thorough brushing twice daily is important even for a health scalp. If you can bring a warm rush of blood to the scalp, increased circulation will normalise an excessively dry, flay or oily condition.
A hot oil treatment, the best method of stimulating scalp circulation, can be taken at home. Simply warm to body temperature a small amount of hair oil, olive oil or baby oil and, parting the hair off at one-half inch intervals, apply the oil to the scalp with a cotton pledget. Then take the fine end of your comb and comb the length of your hair from scalp to ends to ensure even distribution. Dip a bath towel in hot, steaming water, wring it out and wrap it around your head allowing it to remain until tepid. Apply the hot towel four times. Then shampoo in the usual way.
After the oil treatment your head should be soaped and lathered thoroughly at least three times to remove all oil. Massage briskly and use warm water. Rinse in clear tepid water four times.”
I will admit I don’t use a hot towel. I just tend to leave it overnight and wash it out in the morning. I have also seen some recommendations of heating with a hair dryer (on low – you don’t want to actually fry your hair) for about 5 minutes to speed up the process. Either way when you are done you will need to wash it out properly or your hair will get pretty greasy pretty quickly. I don’t bother washing three times, instead I just use a small squeeze of shampoo and a little bicarb soda. Bicarb will help cut through the grease. Then I follow up with my usual hair shampoo and apple cider vinegar rinse.
After doing some research I made the decision to switch to a more natural shampoo last year. I tried just bicarb for the “no poo” method, but it just didn’t do it for me. I wanted a shampoo and conditioner filled with more natural products and that didn’t contain sulfates or parabens. I ended up finding the Puretopia range in my local Priceline and haven’t looked back. I use the “Shine & Gloss Strengthening & Style Enhancing” Shampoo and conditioner. For awhile I tried mixing my hair oil mix 50/50 with shampoo (The oil shampoo method was popular with stars like Carole Lombard, Veronica Lake & Rita Hayworth) for washing which I had read about extensively on the Long Hair Community Forum HERE, but again that didn’t work so well for me. So now I just shampoo and condition and then after I rinse out my conditioner I do a second rinse with diluted organic apple cider vinegar. I leave the vinegar on for a few minutes before rinsing out with more water (as cold as I can stand).
This little routine gives me ridiculously shiny hair and I LOVE it.
Ok now we have sorted out how I look after my hair lets move on to the fun part – STYLING!
Before you start practising I highly recommend watching a few videos first and doing some reading on pin curl theory. Boring I know, but if you can understand how they work you will be able to learn how to create your own setting patterns. If you can get your hands on it I highly recommend Laren Rennell’s Book “Vintage Hairstyling” HERE which has TONNES of information on pincurling, as well as lots of information on other curing techniques. My favourite videos to help understand pincurling are below…
Lisa Freemont Street’s Channel is filled with vintage hairstyle and make up tutorials. So much amazing information there. But the best ones to start with are
Guide to Pincurling Technique Part 1
Guide to Pincurling Part 2 – The Brush Out
NOTE: Do not skip the brush out video. The brush out is so important…but if you don’t watch it you are likely to freak out when you start brushing and your hair poofs out like crazy (pictures are included below of what my hair looks like before I brush it properly).
To get more into pincurling theory I love these two videos by Aja and the no longer updated Vivid Make Up Channel…
Now you have brushed up on what pincurling is and how others do it lets get started. First you will need to grab a few supplies. This is what I use, but really to get started you can just use a comb and bobby pins. An optional addition is a thick mascara or lipstick tube (or dolly peg) if you are having trouble forming the curl – you can wrap around a tube, roll and then slide off and pin to head.
My pincurling supplies – spray bottle with water, brush, tail comb, double pronged pincurl clips, bobby pins, sectioning clips and setting lotion
The setting pattern I have been using is a Laren Bacall one that I found on the Lisa Freemont Street Blog HERE (which also featured a few other celebrity setting patterns. This setting pattern is really basic and easy and that’s why I choose to share it with you. Don’t worry if you don’t understand yet…I will walk you through it.
Lauren Bacall Setting Pattern
Start off with damp hair (I personally always do wet sets). If your hair dries out, just spray some water on it as you go.
Step 1 – Damp hair
Step 2 – Part your hair on whatever side you like and make a creepy smile for the camera
Step 3 – Section your hair into four parts. The small part side (continue your part all the way down to the nape of your neck), the bangs/fringe area, the large part side to your ears and finally the back of the hair at the long part side.
Now that you have your hair in your sections you are going to start with the bang area. The pin curl setting pattern shows two rows of 4 standing pin curls. (please watch videos to see how to do a standing pin curl). I personally only do two rows of two as I can’t be bothered measuring out my bangs into 4 sections. So really just do what you can to make the bang section all standing up and all going backwards – meaning you are rolling the hair away from the face and then pining the roll while it is still upright.
Next up I do the smaller part side. These are flat pincurls (meaning the sit flat against the head as opposed to our standing pincurls in our bang area) that are all rolled toward the face. The setting pattern shows two rows all around, but again, just do what you can. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
NOTE: Smaller sections/curls will make tighter curls, Larger sections/curls will make looser waves. So while two rows is perfect on my hair it may be too loose on yours… keep experimenting.
After I have rolled the small part side I move on to the front of the large part side. Again rolling toward the face using two rows.
Finally I roll the back of the large part side in the same direction as the front of the large part side. I know this sounds confusing…so here are some pictures.
Standing pin curls rolled away from face, flat pin curls rolled toward face
Small part side showing the part continues all the way to the neck. Flat pin curls rolled toward face.
Back of hair showing the small part side pincurls rolling toward the left side of the face and the large part side rolling toward the right side of the face.
Then wrap your head in a scarf (or a shower cap will do in a pinch) and let them dry (this is when I would go to sleep)
Some other things to note:
- If using setting lotion, lightly mist the whole hair and then each section you are rolling as needed. Not too much though or your hair will be super crunchy.
- When pining your hair you can either use pin curl clips or bobby pins. I use a combination of both. I use pin curl clips for my standing pin curls and bobby pins for the rest (usually I put two bobby pins in each curl in an x shape). You can use pin curl clips on your whole head and they are much easier….but I personally can’t sleep on them so I use bobby pins. My bang area doesn’t get slept on so that’s why I use clips there.
- Practice, practice, practice. You will not be perfect the very first time. It took me almost a year to really get the hang of it.
- A basic setting pattern like this is awesome, but really at first just try doing the pin curls anyway you can.
Now on to the brush out….
As well as your brush and comb you will need some hairspray and pomade/bryl creem (hand or face moisturiser will so in a pinch)
Step 1 – gently take out all of your clips and bobby pins and run your fingers through your hair to break up the ringlets
Step 2 – Start brushing….but DO NOT FREAK OUT when your hair starts to look like this. Keep calm and carry on brushing.
If you have watched the brush out video you will be able to see how to form the curls into waves against your hands. At this point you may want to use a very little bit of pomade (or I use bryl creem which is in the mens styling section of your super market/pharmacy) to help smooth the curls together and get rid of some of the frizz.
Step 3 – Lightly spray with hair spray and then instagram your amazing hair!
So that is how I do my basic set. If you have any questions please, please let me know. Pincurling does get easier and I want you all to have fabulous hair.
BUT if pincurls seem just too hard, or you have to have your hair ready in 2-3 hours (instead of over night) my back up plan is my 70’s Carmen Hot Rollers and my favourite two hot roller set videos are below…
Tashlentines 1940s Hair for Low Maintenance Girls
Super Kawaii Mama’s Simple 50s Hot Roller Set
After all of that I will leave you with some words from John Robert Powers’ book ” Secrets of Poise, Personality and Model Beauty”…
“We know that beautiful hair can give an otherwise plain jane an illusion of great beauty. Figure faults and imperfect facial features can be counterbalanced with the right hair styles. Years can be subtracted from a woman’s age by a flattering coiffure. And – most important of all – a well styled, flattering head of hair adds immeasurably to a woman’s self-confidence.”
Miss Fairchild xoxo