I don't claim to be a pin curl expert. With every pin curl set, I learn more about what not to do. It looks so simple but there is a science to it. There are so many ways that a simple pin curl set can go wrong but with lots of patience and practice, we can all have perfect pin curls.
My hair will not curl. That's just the way it is! My mom and sister both have beautiful, thick curly hair but I have perfect straight-as-spaghetti hair. The grass is always greener on the other side, right? It's been permed, curled with an iron, hot rollers, etc. So far, the only way to curl my hair has been through rag curls or pin curls.
Being in Missouri, the weather here is always VERY humid, which doesn't help the no-curl factor. Summers are as sticky as a rain forest and winters are wet and slushy. My tried and true method for stay-put curls are with pin curls!
This tutorial is a very basic how to pin curl. Nearly every vintage hairstyle that you see and fall in love with is done with a pin curl set. By rolling the curls in a certain direction and placing the in a certain spot on your head, you can get the same style. So, here's how its done....
1.You will need bobby pins or pin curl clips, a rat tail comb and setting lotion. Begin with wet hair. I like mine somewhere in between soaked and towel dried, if that makes sense! Part your hair however you like and put some setting lotion in. I use Lottabody, which can be found at any beauty supply store. Pin curls can also be done on completely dry hair but you will have a lose curl and it will take much longer to set.
2. To make a pin curl, section off a bit of hair, about 1 inch by one inch square. If your hair is thicker, you may want to try smaller sections. If it's thinner, try slightly larger sections.
3.) Make a loop at the end and wind it around your finger.
4.) Roll the hair all the way up to the top. Do not twist the hair or you will end up with a wonky curl. Use your finger tips to grasp the hair and roll it flat in a saucer shape, keeping the end inside the curl. If the end sticks out when you pin it, it will also turn out wonky. If you have problems getting the ends to stay in the curl, you can use end papers available at your local beauty supply store. You can also hold the hair up above your head and roll it down to the scalp. This will give more volume at the root.
5.) When the curl is in place at the scalp, pin it! Many people pin in an "X" shape but I tend to use only one pin. You can also use pin curl clips. If you plan on sleeping on your curls, I suggest pins instead of clips.
6.) Let your hair set for several hours. Make sure the hair is completely dry before removing the clips/pins. If you are sleeping on the set, tie a scarf around your hair to protect it while you sleep. For this set, I let my hair dry for 3 1/2 hours.
7.) Remove all clips and pins and gently unroll each curl. Using a boar bristle or plastic vented brush (depending on hair type and personal preference) brush out the pin curl set. This is the most important part of the process! As you brush, use your fingers to shape the curls. If you want thick, chunky curls, brush large chunks of hair. If you want tighter ringlets, brush each curl individually. Lisa Freemont Street says that if your hair is frizzy, use a boar bristle brush and brush the hair against your hand. Take your time brushing the pin curl set. Really work with the shape of the curl and mould it to your liking. As you brush, the hair will "lengthen" as the curl softens so, if you're going for that pin-up pageboy look, you will want to brush the back more than the sides and front.
8.) When it's all brushed out and you love it, finish off with hairspray!
For this pin curl set, I went for the Betty Draper/Grace Kelly soft, side parted curls. Want to learn how it's done? I'll have a tutorial for that style posted later this week!!
A Few Tips and Tricks (and what I learned from doing it the wrong way :)
*If your hair comes out and its still straight, you may have used too much hair or you may have not let it dry completely.
*If your hair is frizzy, you may have used too little hair or may not have brushed it out enough.
*If your hair looks like a clown wig, you may have rolled the hair too high on your head. Next time, roll the curls along the bottom of your scalp and leave the crown open.
*If your hair is crispy, you may have used too much setting lotion. Dilute the setting lotion with a bit more water and try again.
*For tight curls, use smaller sections, for larger curls or more of a wave, use bigger sections. Be careful, too big may not curl at all and too small will be frizzy.
* Plan how you want your style to look in the end. This way, you can decide which direction to roll your pin curls. If you want a pageboy, roll the curls under. If you want a flippy 60's do, roll it up. If you have problems with victory rolls, pin curl the hair (in the direction of the roll), let it set, then roll.
*For more volume at the root, use stand-up pin curls. Stand-up curls are achieved in the same fashion, just slide a pin or two in the curl so it stands up off the top of your scalp.
I'm sure that there are lots of pin curl experts out there. If you have any good tips, tricks or advice, please leave it in a comment below! I always need help with my pin curls!! :)