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!

The Head wrap. A vintage styling protective smooth-out trick.

smoothHi my friends. It has been a minute since I have had a chance to put together a styling video for you all! Here is one from the vault, a little trick I like to call the Head Wrap. I learned this one in beauty school. It was used often as a protective way of keeping chemically relaxed hair straight and smooth without the use of heat.

In school,I got laughed at for wrapping my own white-girl hair. It was my first experience of ‘Hmmmmmm. I guess that our races are still divided by our lack of understanding of each other’s hair. I’m still working on trying to bridge that gap.

smoooothThe Head-wrap is a great trick to use if you are wearing your curly hair straight or want just a general smoothing. You can see by my before and after, my hair is naturally pretty rough. It refuses to be straight. But the Head wrap calms my wild hair into smooth and shiny waves.

Here is how it works……By brushing the hair tightly around the head with a boar bristle brush, you use the round smoothness of your head as a large roller for your hair. Scarf it and go to bed, and you will wake up with beautifully straight-ish hair that behaves and falls perfectly.

In order to make it work, you need a bit of practice, a good brush, and 2nd or 3rd day hair. ShamPHree hair will do this beautifully.


Guest-post! No-heat styling tricks.

Tips and Tricks Of No-Heat Styling


Who doesn’t want to have great looking hair? After all, your hair is kind of like your crown, so-to-speak.

When it comes to creating hairstyles, tools that require heat are often used in order to create great look. If you are using those damaging tools, make sure you are at least use some type of heat protections spray or cream to help prevent further damage.

However, if you are super busy, or you just don’t want to subject your hair to the damaging effects of heat, you might be thinking that your hair will just have to look lackluster. Well, truth be told, you don’t have to use heat in order to create a fantastic looking hairstyle. Here are some simple styles that don’t require hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons or any other type of heating element to create – and the end results are pretty fabulous.

Beach Waves

The salt water does wonders for creating a carefree, tousled look. Well, you don’t have to visit the beach in order to achieve those subtle, yet stylish waves, and you don’t need to use any heat to create them, either.


To create this look, simply fill a spray bottle with warm water, 2 tablespoons of table salt and about ¼ cup of conditioner. Spray the mixture over clean, dry hair and then scrunch it. The salt will create the same effect that the salt water creates, and the conditioner will prevent your hair from drying out.


A Sock Bun

Create a voluminous bun with yes, a sock. To achieve this look, you’ll need to cut off the toes of a clean sock. Roll the remainder of the sock so that it looks like a donut. Next, pull your hair up into a ponytail, it can be either high or low, depending on the look you wish to achieve. Position the sock donut around the ponytail and pull it down to the end. Next, roll the sock down along the ponytail, pulling your hair into it as you go. Tuck the hair into the sock. When you reach the base of the ponytail, position the sock so that it is sitting around the hair tie. Wrap another hair tie around the bun to secure it in place, and use bobby pins to tuck in any stray pieces. Voila! In minutes, you have a super sized, super stylish bun, and all it takes is a sock. Here is a video of the Sock Bun, and here are 5 ways to sass up your sock bun even more;)


A Pony Twist


Give this staple hairstyle an updated look by adding in some twists. Smooth your hair down and pull out a small section on either side of your head. Twist each section, starting at the top of your head and working your way down to the bottom of your head. Secure the twists using bobby pins. Pull your hair, including the ends of the twisted portions, into a low pony. That’s all it takes to create an updated look for this traditional, go-to style.


Crimped Up


You can give your hair a crimped look without heat, and believe it or not, it’s easier to do it using this technique than it is using a crimping iron. All you have to do is wet your hair and then put it into a French braid. Allow your hair to dry completely (doing this before you go to bed is ideal, as your hair will have plenty of time to dry while you sleep). Once dry, undo the braid, loosen your hair and spray a little product in it.

You don’t have to use heat in order to achieve a fantastic look for your hair. These styles are super easy to achieve and they will save your hair from the damage heat can cause; a win-win situation.


Gwen Lewis is a freelance writer who lives in Southern California. She loves to write about beauty and fashion and is published on many sites. In her free time she loves staying active and baking with friends.

Easy 1940’s pin-curl set

40setHi babes! I regret that I haven’t followed up with any pin-curl posts practically since Grandma Suzi-s pin-curls! I did a little short hair pin-curl inspiration with doo-rag mama last year, which seems like forever ago. In the meantime, though, I pin curl my hair quite often for different results and different reasons. Mostly, I pin-curl to polish up my wild main when I want prettier and bouncier curls than I have naturally. I pin em at night on damp hair (Not wet!) for great no-heat styling in the morning.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.22.08 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.21.43 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.20.55 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.22.29 PMBefore you read further, and if you are a vintage hairstyling officianato, please read this post for my philosophy on the matter. To put it bluntly, I am a mom to 2 young children and a ‘wife’ who runs a business and works part time and does many other things as well and I don’t spend a lot of time perfecting and polishing things, namely, my own hair. my specialty is making complicated-is hair related things easy-ish so that when I share them with you they seem do-able.

Today, I bring you an easy pin-curl set specifically for 1940’s styling. Following this post will be several vintage inspired 1940’s tribute hairstyles made easy so that you don’t have to fuss with too many details. I don’t use any styling products for these styles, just bobby pins, large and small. As always with vintage styling, you need both sizes.

For those of you who don’t know, the 1940’s and the 1970’s are absolutely my favorite hair eras.

About a year ago I guess it was, I discovered the hair rat ( a great 1940’s hair styling tool) and it changed my life and my whole attitude towards hair. It made me think, If we can do this, we can do anything. So between the hair rat, pin-curls, and back combing, we are well on our way through easy vintage styling at HTHG.

And with that, here is your secret weapon pin-curl set to get your hair in perfect shape for 40’s styling. You will need large and small bobbies.

*It is important to note that pin curls are best done on damp hair. I like to mist my dry hair with water and put my curls in the morning or early afternoon, then go about my day with them in and take them out in the evening before I style my hair in a lovely style that I will wear for a couple hours while I make dinner and putting my kids to bed and then drinking a bit of wine in my pajamas on my back porch, pretending I’m entertaining company with a lovely dress on.

Also, all the curls in this tutorial are rolled in the same direction…..under and back. This is the key:) If you need more flat-curl clarification, check out this video.

Easy 1940’s pin-curl set!

40's set1. Begin by dividing the hair in half, down the center of the head. Make a vertical parting to section off the bang section on one side. If you have bangs, curl the section back against the head and pin it into place with a small pin ( here is an in-depth look at making and pinning a flat curl:) . If you don’t have bangs, an easy way to create a longer pin curl is to twist the section of hair around finger, then gently remove the curl from the finger and hold it against the head. (as seen in figure 2)

2. Make another vertical parting 2 inches or so behind the first. Roll  all the hair back into a flat curl in this section.

3. Pin your second curl into place. Use a larger pin if needed.

4. Make a 3rd vertical parting a couple inches behind the second one. Roll the hair back into a flat curl, and pin it into place.

5. Take the remaining hair in the back from the first side. Roll it back into a flat curl and pin it into place.

6. There should be 4 flat curls on one side of the head, all rolled back.

7. Repeat step one on the second side.

8. Repeat steps 2-5 on the second side.

9. You should have 4 flat curls on each sides, all rolled backwards.

Once these babies are dry, take em out an marvel. You can brush them out, or let em be free. This is your first step towards easy but slightly better than lazy-girls vintage styling:)

Stay tuned for more inspired vintage hairstyles coming soon to get you through the holiday season of parties and shenanigans.

xo, HTHG



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