Friday, February 21, 2014

Rag Curls, My Version

I don’t consider most posts on this blog to be exclusively girly. Men need hair care too.

This post is extra girly. 

My hair is naturally wavy and I like my waves. But 1) I like to wear my hair differently sometimes and 2) I have this fantasy of waking up, shaking out my curls and being done with it (and having it look good to boot). Especially when I have someplace to be in the morning and I don’t want to be bothered with wet hair or the unpredictability of sleeping on styled hair.

My hair is a little short for this, it touches the tops of my shoulders in back. Longer hair is more fun to rag curl because you get more revolutions of the curl. And my hair is fine-medium and fluffy and flyaway so it doesn’t have a lot of weight. It tends to get dented if I’m not careful of how I tie the rags. If you have heavier hair, you may like this method even better.

This method is better for straight to wavy to loosely curly hair. It is not great for stretching very curly hair because the curl is not supported by a solid or semisolid center. These rag curls create big, shiny, low-frizz curls that are reasonably comfortable to sleep on. You don’t need to brush this set excessively like with pin curls, saving your hair that trauma. That’s the goal – finger styling or wide-tooth comb only. But if you want to comb the curls into smooth waves, you can. Just use a large curl form or the ends will be too springy.

There are some setting rules to know to create the shape you’re after. You can create a smooth crown or a lifted crown. Big, loopy, wavy curls or bouncy smaller ones.

You won’t get the precision of a pin curl or roller set – which is why I often pin curl the front and rag curl the back. You will get a tumble of luscious curls.

This method makes very bouncy curls on the end with some wave and volume above.

Before you start:
You want some leave-in conditioner in your hair to help the curls be shiny and soft. If your hair frizzes readily like mine, the leave-in adds some weight to hold that frizz down.

If you use styling products for hold, use a light mousse or a lighter hold setting gel or lotion. Crunchy gel will do you no good. A water-set is extremely durable on its own, but if it's humid outside or your hair needs all the help it can get to hold a curl - use a styling product.

Start with slightly damp hair so it won't take forever to dry. If your hair dents easily, start with dry hair and mist the section with water right before you roll it up - but avoid misting the hair where you'll tie the rag so it doesn't dent as much.

Rags: Strips of fabric: Polyester-cotton woven fabric, old t-shirts (again, poly-cotton is easiest to tie and untie). A silky fabric is nice too, but if it's quite slippery you may need a more complicated knot. Cut strips to approximately 8 to 9 inches (20-23 cm). Width can vary.

A Curl Form: Something to help you form smooth, round curls with non-frizzy ends
Smaller curls: ½ to ¾ inch roller (1.25 to 2 cm), a mascara tube
Medium, loose curls: 1 inch (2.5 cm) roller, using small-ish sections of hair
Big loose wavy curls: 1 inch (2.5 cm) using larger sections of hair 
1 ½ inch (3.8 cm) or greater smooth cylinder such as a small bottle

Small spray bottle – to keep hair uniformly wet for uniform results.

Comb – to smooth sections before rolling

Curl form (I'm using a roller, you can use a mascara tube or any smooth cylinder) and rag strip.

This is how you hold the rag on the curl form for rolling.

I wrap the hair over the curl form, then roll under. You can also roll upwards.

All rolled up, make sure the rag ends up close to your head. If it is on the wrong side, slide it around to the back. The crown isn't curled in this version - it is left smooth. 
For an even smoother top with long hair, roll the curls no higher than your ears.

Tie the rag above the curl form.

Slide the curl form out and you have a neat, round curl.

To assure smooth ends, comb through the hair and hold curl form close to the ends of the hair.
Smooth the ends over the curl form with your thumb and hold there. When you begin to roll, make sure the ends do not shift to the side or get bent under. They must stay smoothly against the curl form.

For volume instead of a smooth crown (and to avoid dents), pull the hair from the crown - the top of the front and the top few curls in back - up instead of down.
Roll and tie.

You must allow your hair to dry completely before unrolling the rags. Not even a hint of moisture can remain.
If you want to sleep in this, cover it all with a silky scarf to reduce shifting and frizz.
On this day, I pulled the crown area up towards the ceiling and slept on the curls. If your hair is longer, you will have more waves + curls on the ends. No styling products.

This is how my hair turned out rolling the curls without pulling any of the hair up towards the ceiling. I left the rags in for a few hours. No styling products.

Now here's a handy little chart to help you adjust the rag curl to suit your needs - mix and match. If the air is at all humid, you need some styling products or you're wasting your time.

1 comment:

  1. These look fabulous! I’m going to try when my hair gets longer :)