It’s been a while since I did a Crunchy Beauty Tips post. This one is for all of those of us who love to get their girly girl look on from time to time! Looking for more Crunchy Beauty Tips? Check out this post.
I think I can probably get a silent head nod or an amen from many women when I say that -as a kid- I wanted hair that was the opposite of the hair with which I was born; stick straight, reddish brown hair. What did I want? I wanted blond curls or an afro. Yes, those are extremes, but it’s what I wanted. After learning the lesson that straying SUPER far from your natural hair colour in either direction (an attempt at dying my hair black separated by eight years from an attempt at blonde, both with results equally abysmal) I opted to embrace the fact that I was born to have brown hair. Every so often, I augmented it with henna or a semi-permanent colour wash, but I stayed in that brown hair family. I was okay with it…
And over the years, I came to appreciate the ease of care for my straight hair, but from time to time I still wanted curls.
I had tried perms, curlers, little bendy rods, hot rollers, and just about every other method mentioned. Perms failed miserably… I semi-perpetually looked like a wet poodle. Curlers and bendy rods hurt my head while I ‘slept’ on them and weren’t worth the loss of sleep, plus they inevitably became tangled in my hair when I removed them leaving me in tears from yanking on my hair. Hot rollers were a giant pain in the tuckus. Sure they worked, but OY what a lot of work! I love to look girly and pretty, but I’m awfully lazy about it. Hot rollers were out.
Then I remembered reading about girls tying their hair up in rags to curl it. At this point, I don’t recall which book it was (maybe Little Women?) but I figured it was worth a try. I grabbed my fabric box, cut some strips that were about 2-inches by 8-or-10-inches. I washed my hair, let it air dry a bit, rolled it up one section at a time, then went to bed. I had nothing to do the next day, so if it looked awful, I planned to rinse my hair and wash out the experiment.
Sleeping on it was the first test. I’m a total Princess and the Pea when it comes to bed. Everything has to be just so -bed neatly made with no wrinkles or lumps- or I wouldn’t sleep. I conked right out and stayed out, so that was one hurdle out of the way. The second potential hiccup was the removal of the rags from my hair. I untied them and they slipped right out of my hair as easy as pie. The real clincher was going to be how my hair looked though.
I didn’t allow myself to look until I had all the rags out of my hair. When I checked it out, I looked a little silly. I had about 10 curls all over my head because that’s how many rags I had used. I separated them a bit with my fingers and VOILA! I loved it. I had a head of “naturally curly hair” like the little red-headed girl in Charlie Brown. I was so happy.
…And I looked so good, I insisted we come up with something to do that day. I gathered the kids together and hauled them to the playground with a picnic lunch. I tossed my curls, I picnicked, I looked fabulous, my kids were thrilled. So there ya have it, fellow straight-haired gals… Pretty, tossable curls are within our grasp and they couldn’t possibly be easier to achieve!
How to Rag Roll Your Hair:
- Cut between 10 and 20 strips of fabric that are about 2-inches by 8 to 10-inches. Keep extra fabric and scissors handy in case you run out.
- Wash hair and let it air dry, or dampen it. Do not start with dripping wet hair. If you use product (and I didn’t), this is the time to add it.
- Don’t brush your hair, but use your fingers to comb through it slightly.
- Separate a section of hair. The smaller the section, the tighter the curls will be. The larger the section, the looser the curls will be.
- Position a rag about 1 inch from the bottom of that section of hair. Gently wind the tail of the hair around the rag and use your fingers to hold the tail in place as you roll the rag up toward your head, until the hair winding around it holds it in place. Roll it all the way up to your head and tie a square not in it. Don’t tie it so tightly that you’ll have trouble untying it in the morning, but be sure it’s secure.
- Go to sleep! Dream of bouncin’ and behavin’ curly hair.
- Wake up, have a cup of tea (strictly optional), and untie then unroll and remove each rag.
- Separate curls gently with your fingers. If you brush them, the curls will become wavy hair rather than curly hair; it’s your call, but I prefer the pronounced curls.
- If you use hairspray, and I didn’t, this is the time to spritz it on to hold the curls. Unbelievably, my straight hair held the curls without hairspray for TWO WHOLE DAYS! The third day they started looking a little whopperjawed, so I pulled my hair up into a curly updo and it still looked fab!
When I visted my Grandma every summer as a child she curled my long hair with rags. I always looked like a princess. I have lossed alot of my long hair due to covid 19. Had to cut short. Trying to regrow hairloss has taken me 1.5 year. Im trying less damage to my hair is better.
I remember how granny did my hair I never new how she made the rags. Thank you for sharing your post.
You’re very welcome, Mary!
I am 62 yo and why i was about 12, my mom told me about her mother rag tolling her hair ( c. 1930). We decided to try sn experiment. Unfortunately after trying unsuccessfully for half an hour, she gave up because she couldn’t remember how.
Thanks to you, I can finally try it!! And thanks to my quilting scrap bag for precut strips!!
That is awesome, Cat, and makes me so very happy!