Friday, April 1, 2016

Curling technique - rag curls

So, curling lots of long, fine hair is a challenge I'm sure you can imagine, and pin curling is an arm-busting work out. To curl my hair these days I need it to be fast and effective, and preferably not heat, which doesn't hold for very long due to the sheer weight of my hair and damages hair with repeated use. As it is, long hair is far more likely to be damaged at the ends which is why regular trims on long hair are important. Never try to grow your hair by not cutting it. Each split end will continue up the hair shaft the longer it is left, and will need to be removed anyway when you eventually do go for a cut! By regularly trimming split ends it stops the damage spreading further, allowing you to grow longer, healthier hair. But enough about that...

When it came to a solution, I revisted my childhood days of Physical Culture when my mother would curl my hair with a technique of course from my grandmother - rag curling! Called thus because you can use 'any old rag' to curl the hair. Rag-curling is suitable for most hair types, even straight like my grandmother's is, as it holds it tight and is comfortable to sleep in. So, no matter what your length of hair or type, you will probably find this great to try.



An old t-shirt to cut up
Setting spray or lotion
Spray bottle of water
Pin curl clips or bobby pins
A paddle brush
Rat tail brush
Pomade or gel (optional)
Hair spray (optional)
Hair net or scarf (optional)


Start with dry hair. Mine here was air dried from the shower and I skipped putting hair oil in, so it looks a little less shiny than usual, but I find the oil stops the hair curling as well.

I use strips of t-shirt material to rag curl with. I went to my local charity shop and bought the biggest t-shirt I could and then cut strips the width of the t-shirt and about three inches thick. Bonus, I took an ugly motifed t-shirt out of the world and made it useful ;) Any thinner and they will make too tight a curl. Start by taking a section of hair. These can be a few inches wide as the strip makes a tight curl. Spritz the section with setting lotion - I'm using Dita Margarita from The Leopard Lounge, but you can use your preferred product. You should also lightly spritz with water to help it set - just don't soak the hair completely!

Tie the strip in a knot at the end of the hair, maybe an inch or two off and start wrapping the end around the knot, then keeping the end tucked in, roll the strip up the hair, keeping it relatively tidy. Then tie the strip in a knot again to secure, keeping it as neat and close to the root as possible.

Continue around the head. I ended up with twelve rolls. For any that felt they might drop, (you'll see as you go what I mean here) I used a pin curl clip to secure the rag to my head.

Once they're all in, leave them several hours to let them dry. I recommend doing them of an evening and sleeping the night in them. They're t-shirt fabric so they're fairly comfortable!

The next day, take out each of the rags, carefully so as to not get any snags or tangles. You will be left with curls, yay!
Begin the brush out stage. I use a nice wide paddle brush, that is best for my hair. Some people prefer different types of brushes, so go with what works best on your hair. At first I give it a light brush just to get the curls unwound.

Part your hair where you desire and give it a brush on the smaller side.

On the wider side, lightly tease to get volume in the front waves if desired, and pin curl clip into place to let them set while you hair spray.

If your hair is still a little fluffy add a light styling agent like pomade or wax, depending again on what best suits your hair weight. Keep brushing, these curls should be strong and hold well.

Once you are happy, enjoy your waves, and untangle all your rags, ready for the next time!

A couple of notes:
  • While this gives a great tight curl on the ends, the longer the hair, the less likely to get a curl near the roots you are. Make sure to wind right to the base of your hair near the front to get a wave. I always add a little extra spritz of setting lotion once the curl is tied up to help the roots set in place.
  • For smaller, tighter curls, use more rags. I use thick sections for speed and more of a wave, but if you're going for a really tight curl definitely go for more rags and sections.  The more you use, the closer to ringlets you'll get!
  • Sleep with a hair net over the rags if you want added insurance the curl will hold as none will pull out in the night.
  • If your rags after a few uses feel unclean or sticky from the setting lotion they've been exposed to, pop them in a laundry bag and send them through the wash. This is easier than making new rags all the time!
Let me know if you give this a go, tag me on Instagram or send me an email at I'd love to see how it goes for you! Or let me know if you have any questions so I can clarify!

Love WTP x

1 comment:

Harlow Darling said...

This was a great tutorial, so easy to follow! I was pleased to find another curling solution that worked so well without damaging my already frazzled hair. I however did find myself get attacked by cats when I was sitting on the couch with the curlers in, so a headscarf is definetly a must :P

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