Rag Curls tutorial

7U6A6165Long time coming on this post, considering that I have been giving rag curls to anyone who will let me all Summer long. Now It is time for me to impart my tried and true
DIY rag curl technique to you all, in the simplest terms possible.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.35.54 PMThe thing that I really love about rag curls is that people have been doing them for centuries as a way to set straight hair in curls without curlers or heat or really anything but a comb and an old rag. They are easy to do and depending on how you do them, you can achieve anything from Greta Garbo to Veronica Lake to Lucille Ball looking curls without frying your hair.

They are also excellent for lazy-hair people and kids because all you have to do is throw em in your damp hair, sleep comfortably (Without big rollers or poke-y pins) and brush them out in the morning for curls that will literally last weeks if you want them to.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.24.31 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.25.17 PMA couple years back I made a video tutorial of rag curls on my daughter Marley, before I had experimented much with them. Marley has that kind of fine hair that ‘won’t hold a curl’ but by golly her hair will hold a rag curl. Here is more on why no-heat curls are so great for that slippery fine ‘won’t hold a curl’ hair. ( Here is a hint…..It is science!)

The other day, I went to the river with Nikki and my daughters for a day of swimming and a sleepover in her mountain cabin. That night, we drank wine and put curls in our river-damp hair. I rag curled mine, and she twist-bun curled hers (twist-bun tutorial coming soon!)

In the morning, I woke up with purple teeth and a head full of springy wild curls that I wore all day the next day. I even jumped in the river again, head fully under water. My hair dried and the curls were still in full effect. Not sure how that is possible but apparently in is.

Rag Curl Tutorial

rag curlsGet an old rag or towel and cut or tear it into strips length wise. They should be at least 3 inches wide and 9 inches long. You will need 6 of them.

Start by dampening your hair with a spray bottle, or let it dry half-way after wetting it fully. I recommend using a sea salt setting spray the give the hair some extra texture if you have curl-resistant hair…It will help you keep the curl even longer!

Part your hair down the center, all the way back. Take your comb and make a parting from the top of the head, straight down to behind one ear.

Comb all the hair in that first section straight down, and grip the ends tightly.

Take a rag and center it right over the ends of the hair. Begin rolling the ends around the rag, making sure to secure them down. The trick is to roll them around once, then roll right over them again so that they are rolled in tightly.

Keep rolling the hair around the rag until you can’t roll any farther. Now, take the ends of the rag and tie them together once to secure the curl. If you are having a hard time visualizing this, please check out this video. It shows you how to do the roll itself, but with a different sectioning pattern that will give you a different looking curl. So watch it just for the technique, but use the hair sectioning pattern from this tutorial;)

Now it is time to make your second curl. You will make another parting that is parallel to the first one, and it will bisect the rest of that half of the head. Basically, it will run from the top of the back of the head, straight down the side to the side of the nape of the neck. Repeat the curl in that section.

The leftover hair from the same side of the head in the back will make your third curl.

Repeat these sections and curls on the other side of the head.

Now, wrap your head gently in a silk head scarf to sleep in. This part is optional, but will help you sleep more comfortably and will help keep your curls smoother.

Now sleep soundly! I often read before bed to help slow down my monkey mind. Occasionally I take a Melatonin for bright and colorful dreams and a deep dark sleep. Mugwort peppermint tea is also great for good sleep and cool dreaming.brsh

When you wake up, brush out your curls with a boar bristle brush ( Mason Pearson is my favorite, it is my # 1 styling tool that I wouldn’t go anywhere without…..Completely worth the price for your brush BFF for life;)

You rag curls are likely to be really big and fuzzy……So go in their with a light smoothing oil like Shiny Dancer, and work it into your curls, gently twisting random ones to define them a bit.

I love to do a deep side part with these curls, because it gives them a very vintage look and makes me feel less clown-hair-ish, initially.

The clown hair will subside quickly, and your curls will relax into themselves throughout the day so REMEMBER……..If you feel way too curly at first, just be patient. Everything will work itself out.

By the end of the day, you will want your hair to stay this way forever.

To make it last, keep your curls dry, sleep with your silk scarf on, and then use some hair powder when your roots start feeling greasy after a couple’a days. That’s how ladies did it in the golden days.

How long can you make your rag curls last? I’d love to know! I challenge you to a whole week :)

BTW, Nikki J made the necklace shown in this tutorial, and my t-shirt is from Be The Fair.

xoxox, HTHG


Rag- curl sisters. Why your fine hair loves no-heat curls.

7U6A2286Hey babes. Here is Alix and Brette (more on her later!) . Two foxy fine haired babes, both long hairs, both low-maintenance, both ShamPHree. I told them that I wanted to give them rag curls, and Brette insisted that nothing made her fine hair hold a curl.

7U6A2301I grabbed an old scarf and cut it into long 3 inch strips and challenged their hairs to a curl-off. Put the rags in their damp hair at sundown, scarfed em, and then brushed em out in the morning. Their hairs stayed curled all day, starting out like Veronica Lake and ending like a 1970’s wave-curl at the end of the day. 7U6A21587U6A21617U6A21277U6A21757U6A21807U6A21997U6A2237

Chemistry Lesson

If you have fine hair, no-heat curls are the way to go. Curls set with water are chemically guaranteed to last. The hydrogen bonds inside the hair gets broken with water and rebuild when the hair is dry. These bonds will last until the hair gets wet again, therefore creating a lasting and damage-free curl on any hair type. It’s science! DO it!

By the way….There exists a Vintage Hairstyling Bible for which I find massive inspiration and here it is.

Full rag curl tutorial coming soon, I promise!

How to make a perfect 1960’s beehive.

jronMy pal Jules was headed to Rick Steve’s Mad Men themed holiday party which happened to fall on the day of her 30th birthday. She works for Rick, and I’m glad of it, because she is the best damn travel guide there is. And I know, because she took me on my first abroad travel trip when we were both 19, covering ground from the craggy Scottish highlands to the swankest of Greek Islands to the throbbing pulse of Istanbul.

She asked me if I would do her hair for the party, and I said “yep”

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.09.34 AMScreen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.08.20 AM

For inspiration, because I am kinda tired of hearing about Mad Men hair, I used the Ronnette’s beehives as inspiration. Check it out. Nedra, Estelle, and Veronica (AKA Ronnie Specter) Of the Ronette’s had some bangin’, buzzin’ beehives.

IF you haven’t heard the Ronnette’s, check out this song and listen to it while you give yourself a beehive.

First beehive rule of thumb…..Practice up on your Tight ‘n right back combing to get your hair as high as the heavens. As Reagan of HDOF blog says,”back-combing is practically the high heels of hair”
You will need a large barrel curling iron (or a pin-curl set!), several large and small bobby pins, a rat-tail comb, and hairspray.

Here is how to get a fabulous 1960’s beehive.

hivw1. Start by working through dry hair in small sections with a large barrel curling iron. Let the curls cool and set while you mix a cocktail.

2. Work through the entire crown of the head, back-combing small sections of hair Tight ‘n Right! Keep back-combing with a ratting comb until the hair as high as the heavens.

3. Once the base or “rat” has been created, take sections from the front of the base and smooth them back over the top of the rat. Do this with all the hair around the hairline, leaving out one curl in the front. This will be your accent curl;)

4. Gather the ends of the rat and the smoothed sections in the back, and twist it together against the back of the head. Use a large bobby or two to secure the twist.

5. Smooth the sides back and pin them into the twist.

6. Arrange the ends of the twist nicely into pinned curls.

7. Take a section of hair from directly behind each ear and pin them under your twist in the back, this will narrow the hairstyle, which really gives it that 1960’s dod-wop look instead of that 1960’s country look.

8. Pin a couple more curls below your twist.

9. Arrange your front accent curl on one side, and pin it discreetly to your head on one side.

Spray the shit out of all of it.

Now, ladies, please be careful when lighting your Lucky Strikes tonight and BE SURE to stay away from open flames.


DIY Hair Friday. 4 Holiday ready 1940’s inspired hairstyles.

avaToday my loves, you get a 4 in 1. 4 vintage inspired hairstyles to get you through the Season. The first is simple classic Victory rolls. Then comes the Half-Up Bump ‘n Roll. Then, then the Ava Gardner. Then, The Full-On Veronica.

These styles are great for a holiday party, so practice up on your 1940’s easy pin-curl set and put this hairstyle and a couple of bobbies and a comb in your back pocket and whip it out in a pinch:)

Last year I gave you Lazy Girls Victory rolls. Today, I give you Victory rolls with a bit more power behind them. This is like your intermediate vintage hairstyle, a bit better than lazy and not your perfect polished perfection. Great for a quick-style but with a bit more planning and staying power;)

Victory rolls can be done on hair that is basically jaw length and longer, so it is a great on for shorter and medium haired girls. Here is how to do it.


Victory Rolls

rollsStart with your 1940’s pin-curl set.

1. Divide the front section off on one side, from the top of the head to behind the ear.

2. Comb the section hair up and back.

3. Wrap the section around the back of the thumb all the way down to the ends.

4. Gently remove the curl from the thumb and lay it flat against the head.

5. Stick a pin down the inside ridge of the curl, securing it too the head.

6. Shape pull up on the outside ridge to shape the roll, so that it is vertical. Add more pins discreetly as needed. Smooth the front of the roll carefully with a comb.

7. Repeat on the other side.

8. Check the backs of the rolls and pin them discreetly, up the roll from the bottom if needed.

9. Make sure your rolls are balanced. Manipulate them until they look the same on both sides.

The Half-Up Bump ‘n Roll.halfup

This one starts with the 1940’s Pin-curl set.

1. Take the bang section gently back comb the base. Smooth the front and roll the ends back.

2. Pin the curl on one side.

3. Now take the whole top section of the head, leaving out the sides. Back comb using a boar bristle brush.

4. Smooth the front of the section, and take the ends all together and twist them.

5. Now pin the twist to the back of the head with a large vertical bobby going upwards into the twist.

6. Take a side section and twist it back.

7. Pin the twist into your large vertical bobby.

8. Repeat on the other side.

9. Now take ends of all 3 twists, twist them together and pin them into a bun to cover all your bobbies!

The Ava Gardner

retroThis one also starts with the 1940’s pin-curl set. A more in depth look at rolling bangs can be seen here.

1. Section off the bang section.

2. In horizontal sub sections, work through the bangs, back combing with a comb or boar bristle brush.

3. Smooth the section from the back. Now, roll the bangs forwards.

4. Roll all the way to the scalp. Hold the curl against the head. Now pin the inside of the roll to the base from both sides. The bobbies should grab each other in the middle of the curl.

5. Pull the edges of the roll out a bit to shape and balance it.

6. Section off both sides of the hair. Grab the back section as if you were going to ponytail it.

7. Using your thumb as a roller, roll the ends of the back section upwards to the base of the head.

8. Hold the roll against the head and carefully remove your thumb. Use several large bobbies to pin the inside of the roll to the base of the head from either side, making sure that your bobbies grab each other on the inside of the roll for stability. Use as many as you need till the roll feels secure. Now pull gently at the outside edges of the roll to shape and widen it.

9. Make a pin curl with each side section and pin to the outside of the roll to finish the look.

The Full-Un Veronica

vintStart with your 1940’s Pin-curl set.

1. Take the back section and comb it smooth.

2.Roll it under while directing it to one side, so that it spreads across the forehead.

3. Pin the flat curl discreetly on the side.

4. Take a section on the side from the top of the head to behind the ear. Roll it back into a high pin curl.

5. Pin it like a victory roll on one side.

6. Take the other side section and over-direct it. Wrap the ends of it around your thumb to form another curl.

7. Pin it on the opposite side, nestled next to your second curl.

8. Make sure all 3 curls are secure with pins through their centers and under the base so that they are discreet. Add more pins if needed.

9. Check yourself out, you retro babe.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am, if you will.



DIY hair Friday! Valley of the Dolls bun.

7U6A3453_2Hi all. I shot this adorable woman and tutorial this Summer and got a bit backed up on my editorial calender. This is the amazing Liz Suman rocking the Audrey Hepburn/Valley of the Dolls bun. Check out this interview with Liz Suman ( Liz Lashes), where you will have a chance to find out why I love her and why she is a OG. (Original Gangsta.)

7U6A3426_2Anyhow, this Summer, her and I and my 2 year old Jekyll/Hyde demon angel daughter Selah hung out on my back deck and played dress up and hair and watched kitty cat videos and took pictures.  Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 10.08.18 AMThe inspiration for this hairstyle was a little bit Audrey Hepburn and a little bit Valley of the Dolls.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 10.09.08 AMThis bun is a great modern spin off of a very classy 1960’s hairstyle that is charming and whimsical and can either say ‘classy lady about town’ or ‘drunken pill crazed fanatic’ and many things in between! That is why I love this bun.

If your hair is medium length, you are perfect for this hairstyle. Longer hair works too, and shorter hair can work if your hair is shoulder length or longer…….If so, get a hair rat to boost the volume in your bun;)


Valley of the Dolls bun

audryTo get this look, start by putting all the hair in a high, tight ponytail. If you have bangs, be sure to leave them down because the look great with this ‘do. After the hair is secured, divide it into 2 sections…..one large one, and a smaller one on one side. The larges section is goint to be your bun. The small one will be your braid. Back-comb your bun section.

Now take your bun section and roll it backwards down to the base and pin it into place. For a smooth and polished bun, use this technique. For a bigger textured and more lived-in looking bun, try this method.

Now, loosely braid your smaller section, and secure the end with an elastic. Pull the braid apart to widen it, and then wrap it gently around the front of the base of the bun and tuck the ends under the bun. Pin the braid discreetly into place.

Arrange your bangs and lady parts, and add a pretty little comb or barrette to finish the look.

Your mantra this weekend can be ‘You have to climb Mt. Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls.’

xoxo, HTHG

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