Curling Your Hair: Pin Curls & Rag Curls Made Easy
Curling Your Hair: Pin Curls
& Rag Curls Made Easy
Valentine (Intro by Karen Shelton) - Copyright - All Rights Reserved
Revised Publication Date: 12/15/10


One of our favorite Hair Boutique visitors has done it again. Valentine has written another really great article for your reading pleasure.

Her latest article is on pin curls and rag curls. Valentine explained to me that she was inspired to write this article after she read someone's post on Hair Talk asking for a way to keep their hair untangled and get curls. Valentine explained that "pin and rag curls really do prevent bed head, tangles, keep your neck nice and cool as well as add body and curl (well, curl as long as it's not too humid)".

She reported that she "personally has been doing the pin curls as well as getting wavy hair by putting it up in a twist while damp". Valentine also reported that "they both work well and help to keep my hair in really good condition as this doesn't hurt the hair".

We have taken the liberty to include photos of Valentine in curlers as well as in a "combed out" do that was created by Fabius, the Virtual Coiffure.

He has done a wonderful job of giving Valentine the perfect look for her article on curling your hair. Unfortunately we don't have a photo of Valentine in rag curlers, but you get the idea. Thanks Fabius. We appreciate it.

Val01.jpg (5348 bytes)Val02.jpg (5895 bytes)


Ever wonder about how to prevent bedtime tangles? Wish you could have wavy or curly hair without risking any damage to your hair? And keep a nice cool neck for sleeping in the bargain? Well, you can have all of these things at the same time thanks to a fairly old hair practice called rag or pin curls. I learned about how to do this from my mother many years ago, and have personally done my hair this way every summer. It works really well, is easy to do and is very gentle to the hair.

Preparation Work

If you'd like to make rag curls, which are softer and even gentler on the hair than pin curls, you will need to make a good sized stock of rag strips to prepare. These strips are very inexpensive to make, as I suggest old sheets as the perfect material to use. They are usually very lint free, usually cotton, are very soft and durable and wash very well!

I cut or rip the sheets to make 6" long by 1" wide strips of rags. This leaves you plenty of rag left to tie with no matter how large a section of hair you are rolling up. This might be the best option for very long and very thick hair. I have a supply of 40-50 of these strips handy at all times.

It is safe to say that persons with hair to the middle of their back and shorter can still easily use the pin method, which is a bit quicker to do. If you choose to do pin curls, please invest in a new box of bobby pins with well-coated plastic tips. When bobby pins get old, the plastic coated tips starts to separate from the pin and will start to grab your hair and can possibly rip or tear the hair. For those who prefer them, hair pins will work well although you will need to use more of them.

Now You're Ready

In the evening, before you go to bed, wash and condition your hair as you usually would. Finger pick the tangles out of your hair and allow your hair to air dry to an almost complete dryness. The dampness/dryness ratio will depend upon how thick/long your hair is. If your hair dries very slowly, please make sure that your hair is almost completely dry before proceeding. If you do not have time or do not need to wash your hair, just dampening it slightly with a mister or wet comb should do the trick.

Then start sectioning off your hair into small sections. This may be in only one inch sections or a bit more or less, again depending upon the thickness and length of your hair. Roll the section around your finger (for pin curls) or around a strip of rag. This may take a bit more practice to do with rag curls; getting the hair to stay wrapped around the rag.

You will know that the section is too large for pin curls if you cannot easily secure the curl with 1-2 bobby pins or 3 hair pins. For rag curls, you can generally make the sections as large or small as you wish as long as your strip of rag is long enough to accommodate it.

Roll the section of hair up to your scalp (tightness and diameter of roll determining your curl factor) and secure the section with pins (coated bobby or hair pins) or by tying off the rag strip with a nice bow.

Now you're ready for a good night's rest! When you awaken in the morning and you are ready to style your hair, take it down out of the pins or rags. Your hair will be free of tangles and should have taken a very nice curl. Your hair will also feel very soft; I've noticed this every time that I've done my hair up in pin curls. The pins won't leave any marks in the hair, nor will the rags. Style as needed.

You may have fun experimenting with how tight you roll your curls up. I can get my straight hair into a huge mass of curls just below my shoulders, from my straight mid-back length and it keeps very nicely. However, keep in mind, humidity does play a factor in how long you keep your curls. If it is very humid and you spend any time outside, you may lose quite a bit of curl.

However, you will not lose the overall body in your hair. It will not go completely flat, so far as I have personally experienced. I find that pretty amazing! On the days that I am not sure of the humidity, I bring a nice barrette with just in case I need to clip my hair back due to a loss of curl.

However, if you prefer body and waves over curls, you can still pin or rag curl your hair, but do so very loosely. But an even easier way to get that body is to roll your hair up in a tight bun/twist or two (or more) and pin up on the top/back of your head while slightly damp. This works very well. Just make sure not to make your bun/twist too high up front on your head, or you'll notice a crease in the front of your hair when you take it down in the morning!

There are also, currently on the market, foam rollers that you can duplicate the basic effects of a rag curl with. I recently saw them in the Harriet Carter mail catalog. They would, theoretically, also be very gentle to the hair, although quite a bit more bulky to sleep on!

As you can see, these clever curls are easy-to-do and can be very convenient towards preventing tangling and a sweaty neck in the summertime. Give it a try some weekend for something fun and a bit different to do!

Happy Hair Days to You All!

Valentine :o)

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Original Publication Date:  1997 - Revised Publication Date:  12/15/10

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