Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hair Tutorial: Get Curly Hair Using an Old Pillowcase


If there's one thing I've gathered from my girlfriends when it comes to hair, it's that you always want what you don't have.  This rule of thumb also generally applies to boob size too, but that's a post for another day.  Being one who falls squarely in the category of naturally wavy hair (in the ugly, frizzy way), I've always lusted after big, bouncy, bodacious curls.  Funnily enough, my husband also lusts after big, bouncy and bodacious, but we're not talking about curls (wokka wokka).

Since I was little I've been obsessed with curls.  I even managed to somehow talk my mom into taking me to get a perm when I was in elementary school, and whenever we had one of those biography projects where you dress up like a famous person and speak in famous-person-first person to your class, I always picked Shirley Temple just so my mom had no excuse not to put my hair in ringlets using this pillowcase method.

My mom is the only one of Grandmother's three daughters (there are also three boys) who didn't have super curly hair, and this pillowcase technique is how Grandmother curled my mom's hair as a girl.  Maybe it's old fashioned to still do it this way what with all the options available, but I like carrying on such a simple tradition.  And it's free. Jackpot.

A note on how to do this technique - just like with a curling iron, the smaller the sections of hair, the tighter the curl, and the tighter you wrap your hair, the tighter the curl.  When my mom used to do Shirley Temple ringlets, she'd divide my hair into at least fifteen sections.  In the photo above I did four sections, wrapping fairly tightly.  I probably would have done better with five - one on each side, one for the bottom section in the back, and two for the top section of the back.  Remind me next time, would you?

What You'll Need:
- a few uninterrupted hours to walk around looking like a mop (I just do it at night before I go to bed)
- scissors
- pillow case
- damp hair (if your hair dries quickly, keep a misting water bottle on hand to re-wet as needed.  Also, if your hair doesn't hold curl well, you may need drier hair.  A holding product may be recommended.  I didn't use anything, but next time I'll use a little anti-frizz spray to keep things smoother)














P.s. Thanks to my husband for taking the pictures and not making (too much) fun of me.

34 comments:

  1. Wow, how awesome!!!
    I definitely want to try this, my boyfriend will probably think I'm a total weirdo but I loved the finished look!!
    Thanks for such awesome inspiration! :)

    angela - the lovely cup

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    1. haha, yes try it, but be ready for some funny looks. this is the only way ive ever curled my hair where i feel like i can actually pretend for a day that its natural. its pretty cool!

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  2. That is amazing! Do you think it would work with really straight hair, too?

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  3. It totally works on straight hair too, just barely dampen your hair, and maybe run a lightweight holding product through your hair before you wrap if you have some on hand! Good luck, let me know how it goes! :)

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  4. I am 53 and when I was a little girl and had long hair these were called rag curls, there were so many of us 7 children that we never had enough rollers to go around and they were comfortable to sleep in.

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    1. oh how lovely! thanks so much for sharing! I love hearing stories from my mom about her childhood as the oldest girl of six kids. Her siblings still call her "Nan", as in "nanny", since she was always keeping her little siblings out of trouble. I would kill for a photo of her as a kid with "rag curls" in!

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  5. I used to do this when I was a kid! it's such a great way to curl your hair. It also works especially well if you hair is ever-so-slightly damp when wrapping, so it will dry curled and the curls will stay even longer!

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  6. does the curls change your hair color, the how to pics and the after pics dont look like the same hair? just curious

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    1. hi, nope, doesn't change your hair color. its because the "before" photos were taken at night, and the "after" photos were taken the next day in full sun. :)

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  7. My mom used to do this all the time to my hair when I was little! This sure brings back memories!

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  8. This also works really well for those of us with crazy curly hair that want to get some sort of control! :)

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    1. yes...it will sound nuts to some that someone with curly hair would need to curl their hair again, but i had a friend in HS named Sarah (who coincidentally had her first child, a girl, this week), who had the curliest hair ever. She was a cheerleader, and when they had competitions she would have to re-curl her hair so it looked the same as the rest of the straight-haired girls on the squad. :)

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  9. I often do this in a simpler way - all rhe preparation is the same, after that - take a pair of kneesocks - part off the crown, vrap it tightly around the sock on top of your head, and tie a knot - do the same for the parting in the back of your head (you could part it in two if you wanted) and tie the knot around the one on top - and sleep sweetly - in the morning you will have soft bouncy curls - the thicker the sock, the bigger and softer the curl. with a tubesock it will allmost seem like you've ad a professional blowout ;)

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    1. Hold the phone....that sounds great! now i just have to get my hands on a pair of kneesocks!

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  10. I have a tutorial with pictures of the sock version on my blog http://aujus1969.blogspot.com it is called the Sock Bun. I did it with my daughter who is naturally curly and tends to frizz and my niece who has stick straight hair that we have never been able to get to hold curl for more than about 5 min. They both slept in their "buns" and then wore their curly hair all the next day! My niece still had waves on day two and my daughter was still curly when she got in the shower the next night! We do it all the time now and are even planning to use it for my Sister's wedding next week!

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  12. I have layered hair with an overall length of past my shoulders with layers as short as about seven inches. Any suggestions for my type of hair cut that would help curl the top, shorter portions as well as the bottom, longer portions? Also, Im going more for beach waves as opposed to ringlets. Thanks! (:

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    1. Hi cat! Have you ever tried a tapered curling wand?

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  13. You have a husband? But you look 17-18 years old!

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    1. i'm going to assume that you're trying to divert my attention with flattery so that you can steal my wallet. :) nope, definitely not a teenager...more like a thirties-ager. thank you for the sweet compliment. For the rest of the day I shall think of myself as a teen mom.

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  14. Will the pillow case twists untwist during the night while I'm sleeping? If so - how do I stop it? And thanks! Your curls look fantastic!

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    1. nope! if you wrap and tie them securely, they will stay put. every so often one will slide down a bit, but it has no impact on the curl. good luck!

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  15. My grandma used to do my hair like this when i was younger. You have inspired me and i am going to give it ago : )

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    1. That's so sweet. Don't you love when you're reminded of small things like that? :)

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  16. I'm "wrapped" right now! Can't wait to see my curls...thanks from Italy!

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    1. That's wonderful! Send a picture and sweet dreams!

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  17. ive heard of sock curls and fabric curls but this one looks like the best:) and thanks for making it easy to understand, i always get frustrated when i couldnt understand what the instructions said.
    -Renee,13, USA

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    1. Good luck! It's pretty easy to do. The hardest part is sleeping with something on your head :)

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  18. Hi, just a quick question. Would I be able to use an 100% polyester pillow case, rather than the (I'm assuming) cotton pillow case? I'm going to a concert, which the choir to which I belong to and I are going to be singing, so I would like nice hair! Thanks!!!
    Keely

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    1. Hi! I'm not certain. I've always used cotton to help absorb the remaining water in my hair, which I'm not certain polyester would do. Give it a try, or maybe try cutting an old tshirt into long strips instead. Break a leg at your concert!

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  19. My mom curled my hair on rags when I was about 5.That was a very long time ago! Anyway, we called it banana curls.

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  21. hey I tried this but it didn't work. I have shoulder length thick hair. after I tried it my hair was wavy but I didn't get the curls I wanted. does the type of linen I use affect the curl??and how am I supposed to get curls like yours?????

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