Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Vintage Hair Diary - Part 3: My first EVER wet set

Well my friends, I did it. I am no longer a hair setting virgin! :) It was an interesting experience with a rather steep learning curve, and I'm not quite sure if I got the results I was expecting, but hey I'm sure these things get better with experience, right? So here we go, the story of my first ever wet set.

Here follows some slightly bizarre pictures of me in my dressing gown. I really need to draw the line when it comes to what I share with you people! heehee...

Rollers from the front

So my wet set started with an evening shower before dividing up my hair into sections, spraying each with a little bit of setting lotion and then rolling each piece of hair under towards my head. This is a fairly standard set that I have seen used in a variety of different places so I thought it would be the best for my starting point, nothing fancy-smancy yet! I used just under 20 small foam rollers from Boots, and they were surprisingly easy to put in and actually very comfortable.

What do you mean I look funny?

The whole thing took me about half an hour, which I thought was not bad going for a complete novice. I'm sure these things would take less time with experience, so this would actually not end up eating into my daily routine if I decided to do it regularly, particularly since I'd be doing it at night when I have more time available.

Rollers from the back

All that was left for me to do was give my hair a quick going over with my hair dryer (or else it would probably still be sopping wet in the morning!), get some sleep (if I could!) and see what my hair would hold in store for me in the morning. Well, I did manage to sleep quite easily after finding a comfortable position, the foam rollers were a lot softer than I thought they would be! And this is what happened when I removed said rollers in the morning:

On the good ship lollypop...

Firstly, hallelujah my hair dried over night! Secondly, alright, please keep all Shirley Temple references to yourselves! As you can see my hair had a crazy curl going on. I always knew that my hair would take to the curl really well, because it is curly, so it likes to do what it does best! I just wasn't expecting anything quite so extreme!

Yes it still looks crazy from the side!

And if you're sitting there thinking, oh don't worry Katie, those curls would drop during the day, you couldn't be more wrong! My hair would stay this curly all day if I left it alone! Curse or blessing, you decide :) One thing I would say about this stage of the set was I was very surprised at how soft and glossy my curls were after taking them out of the rollers. They weren't even hard or crispy as the setting lotion had warned me they might be. They were quite pretty at this point! And then I took hold of a hair brush and things started to go slightly array...

Post brushing out

As you will know from my previous post I have never before owned let alone handled a hair brush, so it's no wonder really that my brushing out was an unmitigated disaster! I just didn't have a clue what I was doing. You may think that these pictures don't look so bad, but basically the more I tried to brush out my curls into the neat little waves that I have seen on so many other blogs, it just did what I always feared it would do, got big and bushy. Like a big old bush. On my head. Sad times. It also lost it's glossy smoothness and dried out very quickly, so it really did feel nasty and course. Not a good feeling! Nothing I did seemed to be able to tame my hair again once it had reached this state. I tried hair spray to no avail, and then I thought of trying some mousse but my hair was really too far gone at this point for anything to help. Perhaps if I had had some pomade to hand at this point I wouldn't have had a problem. What do you think, fellow vintage hair stylers?

Just before the hair explosion

As you can see from the pictures above, even after brushing out the curls my hair is still very curly. Perhaps if I had left my hair this way for longer these curls would have dropped and relaxed a little, but I didn't leave my hair this way so I don't know! After the disaster that was my brushing out I was rather disheartened, and the worse thing to have when you're feeling sad is bad hair! So I washed it and let it dry naturally. I know, what a wimp!

So here I am my friends, partially lost in a sea of vintage hair setting, and I stand before you asking for advice. From my experience it was only the brushing out that caused me problems, but I'm not sure how I could go about styling my hair without doing this without having to stick with corkscrew curls. Do you have any advice on other techniques? Or if brushing out is the only way, do you have any better techniques I can try or ways to tame the hair beast that might be useful to me? As always I so appreciate your help and advice :)

For now I'm going to hit the books and see whether there is a better way to achieve the look I want, maybe a different way of setting altogether is the way forward... Anyway, whatever I do next I'll be sure to let you know in my next Vintage Hair Diary!

Bye for now!


Isis said...

I think your hair looks very good from the pictures. :)

My hair is just wavy, not curly, but this is what I do; I pull out the curles gently downwards with a litle pomade on my fingers and fingercomb them slightly. Then I go on doing something else, like haing breakfast, to allow them to relax a little.

I have also found that when you feel you have brushed your hair into disaster, then you have to go with the brushing... It helps to smooths the hair downwards with your other hand as you brush, again with a small amount of pomade on your fingers.

On the other hand I know people who never brush, but comb gently. Tricky business, hair- what works for some don't work for others. :) I'm sure your hair will turn out more to your liking on your nest try!

Natalia said...

it souds like your hair is the exact opposite of mine (dead straight and won't hold a curl for more than 30 minutes even if I look like Sirley Temple when the rollers come out.) So maybe my advice would be to do the opposite of what I try with my hair so:
Use thicker sections of hair on the rollers
use bigger rollers
use a serum (like frizz ease)after brushing/combing

that said I am by no means an expert and my attemps at curling often leave me with sticky straight hair that I give another wash. I am determined that practice makes perfect though!

good luck!

Debi said...

I do my hair at least once a week into a set (with pin curls) and it definitely holds the curl. I tend to leave it the first day (if I am wearing something 30's inspired). The next day or if I want a 40's look I will brush it out...but when I brush it out, I have to spend like 30 minutes just brushing. Then I almost always need to put one side back (since the volume increases). Sometimes it takes quite a bit of handling and pinning various sections to achieve the look you want. I've been doing mine consistently for about 3 months now but I still feel like I have so much to's fun to experiment!!

Toni Jo said...

I thought it looked very nice! I'm sure you've read it everywhere but the best advice is to keep brushing... continue brushing your hair beyond all reasonable time limits. It does slowly shape itself into something lovely but it really takes a lot of brush strokes to get there!

It looked like you used 1.5" foam rollers (estimating) which is pretty reasonable, your hair must take curl VERY well! But as someone said above, bigger rollers might help too.

~Angela~ said...

I have a couple suggestions--- first is the type of curler you use. The pink foam curlers tend to frizz out hair and also the curl tends to be uneven depending upon how tight you wrap it around the curler. (The foam will allow a pretty tight curl if you don't wrap loosely). I use homemade fabric curlers. You can buy these from crafters on in various sizes or if you want to make them yourself check out and search fabric curlers. (Sorry I can't give an exact link, I'm not yet too savvy on this mobile device) The curls come out very smooth, and honestly I don't do much but run my fingers through it. I use the lottabody too 5parts water to 1part setting lotion. Put it in a spray bottle and then sleep on it. Because the curlers are simply cotton and fabric, its like sleeping on a pillow! Good luck on your next try!

~Angela~ said...

Ah, I think I figured out how to cut and paste a link using my tablet... try this :-) My curls come out very similar to hers!

Kate said...

I think your hair looks good in the pictures!

But if you want something less poofy try less rollers. The setting pattern I use doesn't cover my whole head with rollers, I only place then along the edge of the hairline (keeping the crown flat). I find my hair goes too crazy if I used a "full set" but looks much better (and it easier to brush out) if I use 9 or 10 small rollers.

Not sure what to suggest about the setting lotion. I don't tend to use one so I've never had that problem.

Kate said...

If it makes you feel any better, this was my first real attempt at setting my hair: It was quite a disaster and I didn't have time to fix it before I had to go out haha

Tasha said...

Oh my I have so much I could say on this subject! The poofiness is exactly what you get when you start to brush out your set. When I start brushing mine I look like a clown. It was the major deterrent for me when I first started to set my hair because I just didn't get how to work through it. Now I know to expect that stage and keep on going.

What I do to combat the 'hair explosion' is I first brush through all the curls so that I know I don't have any tight ringlet left. Then I take a decent sized section of hair in my hand and brush ONLY that. As I brush it, I brush it against my hand (something I learned from Lisa Freemont Pages on YouTube). That gets the huge poof out. I keep doing this around my whole head, it takes maybe two sections per side and two in the back for my head. Sometimes you have to go back and do it again, but that brushing against your hand is really key to combating hair poof. Then I kind of progressively take larger sections, still always brushing against my hand. That severely tames the hair and you can really start to mold it and play with it.

This all being said let me reiterate: for me the brushing against my hand is the ticket! Even after I get it all tamed and lovely, if I just went and brushed it without doing that, it would turn back into a big ol' poof. :)

Miss Katie said...

Oh my goodness, thanks to every single one of you! You have simultaneously made me feel so much better and have given me the courage to continue with my hair adventures :) Expect a post using all your amazing comments soon. Again thank you sooo much, you beautiful people rock my world :)

LandGirl1980 said...

Ola! I am a little late to the party on this one. I think your hair looks lovely! I used to just wear my hair straight out of the rollers - no brushing out at all. I have recently started to brush out (see comments on from me on your previous hair post) and it does depend on the rollers that you use. I would not use foams again. Not after switching to perming rods.

I console myself with women in the 30's / 40's didnt have perfect hair - and nor do i!

Tasha said...

Btw I didn't mention this in my original comment but I see a couple of people don't like foam rollers-- that's what I use and I actually really like them, though I'm interested to try different ones as well. But it's kind of one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" things for me. ;)

Casey said...

I haven't had a chance to read through all the comments, so my apologies if this is just a repeat of advice given before! :) My thoughts about foam roller curling (and curling in general):

- Don't roll the rollers to quite so close to your head; this helps keep the crown area smooth (as was popular in the 40s). I usually roll mine to about ear height and just let them dangle. I'll usually cover them in a scarf when I sleep. Not glamorous, but it keeps things from frizzing!

- When brushing out, try following some of the methods in these videos:

Super helpful and is similar to how I brush my curl sets out to help create a smooth look.

- Get yourself some good smoothing serum. It's basically a very oily-feeling liquid that just a tiny dot (and I mean TINY!) will help smooth things down and restore some gloss to your locks after brushing. I usually add some about halfway through the brush-out and brush it through my hair.

- If you felt like the curls were a bit too tight in this set, either try a size up of foam rollers (I usually stick to medium and large ones for my sets). Pincurls, while fun to do, are a huge pain to sleep on (at least in my opinion) and create even tighter curls. You could also try rag curling for a looser, wavier curl.

Anyway, just my jumbled bits of advice! :) I honestly do not think it looks that bad for your first set--don't get discouraged!!! :) It takes more than a few tries to get a routine down that works for your hair.

Rhia said...

Even though my hair is very different from yours (straight and doesn't hold curls very well), I get "hair explosion" aswell. I'm not very experienced with setting hair but I'm sure the thing is, like atleast Tasha said: to brush small section at the time against your hand and keep brushing untill the sleek waves start to form, after the explosion. Ends of my hair are rather dry and frizzy and sometimes I use tiny amount of molding creme (like Fudge Hair Shaper or similar) to create more sleek and polished waves. I add Hair Shaper the amount of my fingertip on the section I'm brushing right before I'm done. It might not work for you, but that has helped me to sleek my hair.

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