Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pin Curls, as Promised

Hey gals, 

Sorry I didn't get to post this sooner, I made a last minute decision to come visit my mom for the weekend so I got distracted.
Here is my attempt to successfully explain how I set my pin curls. I drew a couple of diagrams which I hope will help. 

Keep in mind my hair is VERY thick so I have to separate it a LOT to get workable curls. 

Okay, to start you will need a TON of bobby pins (or pin curl clips, if you've got them.) Some people complain that bobby pins create creases in their hair, but I have never had that experience. I am pro-bobby, all the way.

Because I set my hair when it is dry I strongly recommend using a setting lotion. I use Lottabody "Classic" and it always works really well. No cruchy-ness, not weird smell, just a really strong hold of the curl. I partially credit my ability to not need to constantly re-set my hair to this product, partially to good genetics... just saying.

Oh about the dry hair thing. Yeah, so I have tried setting my hair wet, dry, and damp. Doing it when it is dry has always worked out the best for me. Wet NEVER dries all the way. And both wet and damp turns out super frizzy. I guess when it's dry I can smooth the shorter/frizzier hairs down more easily and effectively. I don't really know how it works, I just know it does.

And of course you need a hair brush. combs tend to get stuck in my tangles, so I stick with a plastic bristle brush.

Now for the curls:
 I begin by separating my hair at the bottom layer. When gathered (as if to make a ponytail) this section is 2 inches in circumference, so it is the thinest layer. I like to make these curls the smallest.

and then I begin to curl this layer, as shown on diagram (none of this pictures of this part of the process turned out, sorry!)
To curl I divide the section in a vertical half. On each side I create three curls going towards my face. I have done my pin curls rolled UNDER rather than flat (as these are,) but they are much more uncomfortable to sleep on.

Once the two bottom layers are done it will look like this, more or less.
(only one side is done, here)

Next, I separate the front section from the remaining loose hair.
Then I curl all but that section, included the back (not pictured)

To curl the front section I start at the back of the gathered hair. I make a 1.5"x3" section.
That is curled forward on the side I part my hair on, so in this case it lays more to the right.
The next section is separated to be about the same thickness, but I divide it in two, width-wise. The right side goes forward to the right and the left section goes forward and lays more centered.
The next section is separated to be about the same thickness, but I divide it in two, width-wise. The right side goes forward to the right and the left section goes forward and lays more centered.

The very front row I roll under and pin more to the left. I find that this helps add lift to that area when I brush my hair out.

Now just tie up a turban that will stay in through the night (if you're sleeping on it, which I do) or so that you look less silly while doing errands.

The morning after....

This is sort of what you should expect after removing all of the pins. These curls look a little loose because I have a bad habit of throwing my head around to enjoy the bouncy-ness of my curls...
And then you brush it... and look like a mad man.

Don't worry too much, a good 20-30 minutes of brushing will help.
Eventually the curls will take shape, but you'll still look goofy until you style it.

All the styling you really should have to do is craftily brushing your hair into the positions you want it in.

I sometimes end up pinning back the front bits so that I can actually see, but not today. 

And this is what you should get.
After a couple of days I reset the front part and a few days after that I wash, dry and repeat.

Setting takes about 30-45 minutes and brushing takes another half an hour (just to be safe)

Reading over this, I realized I really need to get some better shots of the process, but I sadly have not received my tripod back from Mississippi so that's sort of impossible.

I apologize if I left anything pertinent out of this post, if you notice anything please let me know so I can address it.

I hope this helps those of you who have been struggling to successfully set your hair.

Happy hair-doing,


  1. I swear my hair ends up looking almost exactly like yours when I pin curl it, but I do almost everything differently! Of course, people at salons always like to talk about how "weird" my hair is. Oh, well!

    Love your robe--it's so pretty! You're making me feel like a total slouch because I'm wearing a t-shirt, leggings and one of my husband's sweaters. Don't tell anyone! ;-)

  2. So glad you were straight honest with the time it takes you! Other 'blog pin curlers' always brag how quickly they're done - both with curling and combing.
    Having long thick hair I'm pretty much like you, although lately I've been combing my curls one by one, it reduces the frizz quite a bit.
    You look lovely with that nightwear, so elegant :)
    I'm a non-blogger who stops by every day, you're one of my top 3 favourite blogs.

  3. Your hair looks lovely!

    And it's always interesting to see how pin curls needs to be done differently depending on hair type. And for the brushing out too, I think that is another thing that varies a lot depending on hair type. A brush out fo rme takes 15 minutes at the very most, but my hair is not as thick as yours.

  4. I'd love to see how you do yours Lauren!

    Zaida, that is so sweet of you! Emily and I are always pleased when we can suck people into the blogosphere, as so many wonderful blogs did us before we finally decided to start one up. Thanks for sticking with us!

    Isis, I agree. Emily and I do such different sets to get the same-ish style. I can make it speedier when I need to, but it gets verrrry poofy when I do that, so I like to take my time.

  5. Your hair is the best pin curl set I have seen!! Gorgeous!!!
    I have med to thick, 3" below my shoulder hair. I tried pin curls just on the one side. It did not turn out great. I got the crimps, fuzzy ends and uneven curls. I tried brushing but it was not the look I was going for. I wonder if pin curling is better suited for shorter hair?

    1. It would depend on how short we're talking here. I would say "ideal" length for pin curls would be about the length you described, just because you have enough length to get a good, solid curl and not have it a) fall flat due to weight (as is the case sometimes with very long hair) or b) remain so curled and short that you look more like a poodle (Okay, maybe that's just my experience with having shorter [~chin to shoulder-length] hair.)
      As for the fuzziness and crimps, did you use a product? Was your hair maybe too damp or damaged in general? My curls were often uneven as well, but for me having a strong set and lots of brushing at least helped create some uniformity.