How I Do Rag Curls for Everyday Vintage Hair

by - 10:00

A while ago I was asked to provide a tutorial showing how I do my hair to get this look:

While I'll be the first to admit that I am pretty dreadful at doing my own hair, I have been able to figure out a way of getting my hair to look okay on an everyday basis. I set my hair using rag curls, and use basically the same method no matter which decade I am aiming for. Most days I just go for a general vintage look which isn't necessarily decade-specific, so it's not too important what the end result is like as long as it looks 'vintage'.

I tried a few times to produce a photo tutorial but the photos kept coming out looking like something from Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors, and then a friend requested a video tutorial instead. So here is a video tutorial on how I rag curl my hair :)

Additional Information
- The rags are made out of an old shirt of my dad's. Pretty much any scrap fabric will do, I think.
- I'm using mousse and setting lotion at the moment, but only because I have an old can of mousse which I want to use up, and I don't trust it to hold a curl by itself. Normally I would only use setting lotion.
- I do one row of curls if I'm being lazy (most of the time) and two rows of curls if I'm going somewhere nice or I want to produce a fluffy 1940s kind of look. Something like this:

Photo by Jeff Wharton

- I try to keep the ends of my hair tucked neatly around the rag to avoid any weird flicks or bumps
- How damp your hair is when you start, and how tight you make the rolls, probably depends on hair type. Try it out and see what works for you.
- Sometimes it doesn't work out entirely as planned. I try not to let it worry me; it's amazing what you can hide with some rolls, a French twist, plaits, a strategically placed hat, etc. 
- I am really bad at hairstyling. Truly terrible. If I can manage it, anyone can!


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  1. Thank you very much for this tutorial! I always use either very uncomfortable GDR-plastic-rollers or do pin curls. I will definitely give the rags a try, its looks very easy and I can imagine that it isn't too uncomfortable sleeping on them?
    But I still can't see me doing this every day, how long do you need to set it in the evening?
    love, ette

    1. It only takes about 10 minutes or so depending on how many curls I decide to do.
      It's pretty comfortable to sleep on mostly!

  2. I love your skirt ...
    Great outfit !

    Well, well done for the curls ;)

  3. thank you for the tutorial! i have actually been trying rag curls again over the last week, as my hair is getting longer and pin curls like to brush out of it... that and i've been getting in to a big, fluffy hair 60s vibe that big rag curls do perfect for. thanks so much for the tips!

  4. I've got really long hair and every time I've used rags it turns into a mess. I'm wondering after watching your video if I've rolled them too high for my length of hair. I think I'll give it another go!

    1. Let me know if you manage to sort it out! :) For myself I definitely wouldn't roll them any higher than level with my eyebrows (I usually aim for somewhere between the nape of my neck and top of ear/eyebrow height). Any higher than that and I will be getting into 80s perm territory!