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Rag Curl Tutorial

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today I wanted to share my easy rag curl tutorial. If your hair is like mine: naturally straight, wont stand up to a curling iron and refuses to be professionally permed, rag curls are a great way to get long lasting vintage curls.  In Missouri, our summers are as humid as the rainforest and winters are usually very rainy but rag curls stay strong and hold tight all day!

You will need:
a brush
a water bottle
setting lotion or mousse- something to give your hair a little hold
15-25 cotton rags approx. 1 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches long
(I used flat fold cloth diapers available at walmart in the baby dept. You can use any cotton be it a t-shirt, a sheet, or scrap of pretty fabric)




1.) Begin with towel dried hair. You can soak it in the sink or towel dry after a shower. Apply mousse or setting lotion to your hair. Brush your hair and get all of the tangles out. If your hair generally curls easily, you can just do this on wet hair with no product.


2.) Section off the first piece of hair. For gentle, large curls, use a larger section of hair. For tight, smaller curls, use a smaller section of hair.

3.) Fold rag in half (hot-dog style) with the ends of the hair inside of the rag fold (as seen in the picture).

easy vintage curls hair style tutorial rag curls
easy vintage curls hair style tutorial rag curls

4.) Roll the hair up to where you want your curls to start and tie it off. Don't roll the hair or tie it too tight. Repeat on the other side of your head until all of the hair is rolled up. You can do as many layers as you like, I generally do 2. If you hair dries quickly, use the spray bottle to moisten it as you go.


easy vintage curls hair style tutorial rag curls

easy vintage curls hair style tutorial rag curls


5.) When finished, cover your head with a scarf  and sleep on it!

Be patient with rag curls, they are a real pain in the butt the first few times. If you are doing more than one layer, sometimes it is helpful to section off the top layer with a clip, roll the bottom layer first, then let the top layer down and roll.



6.) In the morning, when your hair is dry, untie and unroll each curl. Do not pull rags out because it will straighten the curls. When all of the rags are out, you can keep the curls as they are or run your fingers or a brush to them to separate or fluff them out. Spritz your hair with a little hairspray or shine serum and style your bangs as desired. If you have any little strands that aren't as curly as you'd like, you can touch them up with a curling iron or hot rollers.

easy vintage curls hair style tutorial rag curls


11 Responses to “Rag Curl Tutorial”

  1. Thanks for this lovely post. I've always wanted to try this! x

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  2. Sure thing! It's super easy once you practice it a few times!

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  3. Awesome! I've never done rags before, I always thought it was hard. They look much more comfortable to sleep on.
    I will definitely try this, thanks!

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  4. What a lovely tutorial, thanks. I need a hair cut at the moment but once I've had one I'll be giving this a go.

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  5. love your hair length. Thanks for this. My hair wave/curl pattern looks a lot like what you've achieved here. I guess my problem is how to whip the natural waves and curls into a more desireable shape/pattern. Still, this is really interesting and I thank you for posting!!!

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  6. I am going to have to give this a try as well. Do you roll up or under?

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  7. I roll up. I've never tried rolling under but I suppose that you could!

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  8. My hair is the same way! Ultra straight and will never curl. Ive just tried to accept it and embrace he straightness.

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  9. your blog is a godsend. I love these tutorials! (and the tips!) cant than you enough you are amazing!

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  10. I've been doing rag curls since I was a kid except I use toilet paper. My hair is too long to do pin curls so I modified my rag curls and roll them over and under alternating and roll them all the way to my scalp and pin them to get the Rita Hayworth look you do. With the right amount of styling and brushing I have been fairly successful at achieving a pretty good rendition of this look.
    I love your blog btw, I just recently came across it and have found it to be so helpful.

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