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Vintage Hair
Hairstyles for vintage enthusiasts
Pin curl and roller advice 
26th-Feb-2008 03:19 pm
Found @ this website

Chapter 12 - A Professional Setting-At Home

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Down and forward       Back and down
                               and forward

Once you know the basic dance steps, you're ready to attempt anything on the ballroom floor.

So, too, once you've mastered the basic pin curl and roller patterns, there's no limit to the number of hair styles you can copy or create.
Complex as many coiffures may seem, they are all merely infinite combinations of surprisingly few tricks with clips and rollers.

Learn these, and the wonderful world of flattering hair styles is yours. Anything you see on a magazine cover today, can be on your head tomorrow. Improvise on a few basic patterns and you can make your own custom designs.

The trick is to get the feeling for rollers and pin curls   and then to experiment.

Beautiful styles also begin with observation. Pleasant as it is to daydream at the beauty parlor, watch your hairdresser's every motion as he pins and rolls your locks. And if at first you don't succeed in imitating his or 83 her polished results, try, try again. A neat set is a neat trick, and the first curls are the hardest.

Be sure your hair is crystal clean. No matter how expert your setting, dirty hair will only hang lank and dank. Get in the habit of following each shampoo with a hair setting. The trick is in persevering no matter how tired you may be. The more effort you put into the original setting, the fewer pick-me-up sets you will need between shampoos.

Here are some general tips to guide you:

  • Hair should be wet, but not dripping. Whatever setting lotion you use, it should be combed through your hair thoroughly to insure an even application.
  • Section hair neatly. The base of each curl is as important as the strand of hair itself.
  • Bases of all curls should be approximately the same size to assure an even wave. You don't want a tight curl alongside a loose one.
  • Stylists use pin curls for curl, fluffiness, and control. They choose rollers for fullness and curve without curl. Choose your hair weapons as carefully as they do.
All About Rollers

Because of the popularity of soft, bouffant hair styles which emphasize line rather than curl, rollers have become more and more popular with hair stylists. To duplicate their flattering results, there are several setting rules the do-it-yourselfer should follow.

Wind hair on rollers as firmly as you can, for a set that will hold its shape longer.

Comb hair as smooth as possible and use end papers to hold ends in place. Fold the end paper around the strand and slide it carefully to the tip. For best results, hair should be flat on the roller, not bunched up.

Comb each strand straight out from the scalp and slanted slightly away from the direction in which you wind it.

Make each section of hair to be rolled slightly narrower than the length of each roller and about an inch deep. Never use more hair than the roller can hold securely.

Secure each roller directly above the base of the wound hair. Each roller should be as close as possible to the next one. Some stylists clip the ends of neighboring rollers together so there will be no intentional breaks between strands of hair when the style is brushed out. Another way to avoid these breaks is to stagger the position of rollers slightly, so that rollers are not set in straight lines but form a modified brick-wall pattern.

There are many different types and sizes of rollers. Some have tiny nylon bristles to control hair ends better. Some are made of springy plastic mesh which allow hair to dry fast. Others are made of rubber sponge, more comfortable to sleep on. Then there are the "magnetized" rollers to which wet hair clings without end papers (if you are skillful).

Texture of hair and size of rollers determine the resultant wave or curl. Notice how carefully stylists select rollers. So should you. Fat ones create waves and puffs. Use these for top waves and longer ends. Shorter, thinner ones are for the neckline, shorter ends, side curls, and tighter waves.

For hair with natural body that holds a curl easily, use larger rollers. On finer hair, use smaller rollers to the same size curl.

This guide should help when you are confronted with a store display filled with many sizes and shapes of rollers:

Long Rollers. Giant, Long: For very bouffant, bouncy effects if hair is soft and curls easily. Use at crown and sometimes at side for deep full waves. Jumbo, Long: Used on less easily curled hair for bouffant effects, also for smooth sides and pageboys. Large, Long: Used for top back, lower sides and narrower waves. Medium, Long: Used at ends and back when loose waves or curls are wanted. Small, Long: Choose these for hairline and hard-to-curl areas. Tiny, Long: Use for especially difficult-to-curl areas.

Short Rollers. Giant, Short: Designed for closer placement of waves especially at the crown. Jumbo, Short: Use when wrapping narrow strands, in setting short temple curls or for crown fluff. Large, Short: Choose for close placement at back of head. Medium, Short: Used most often over ear and at upper nape. Small, Short: Use at hairline and on narrow strands. Tiny, Short: Used for the tiniest of nape curls.

All About Pin Curls 

Pin curls come in two basic styles, although there are many variations on both. They are the sculpture curl for waves and close-to-the-head effects, and stand-up or barrel curls for soft fluffiness.

Stand-up or sculpture, all pin curls must be round, untwisted, and ribbon-like. They must have the right tension, direction and placement. And they must flow in one smooth motion from the starting point to the pivot point, where each curl is completed. Before you wind, comb each strand straight out in a 90-degree angle from the scalp.

Many women have trouble even when they duplicate their hair stylist's exact pattern because they do not direct pin curls   from their very bases. After all, the whole strand is involved in the general motion, not merely the tip. When a curl is properly directed, your setting will have strength no matter how energetically you brush it. Curls must also be secured at the proper point.

As you roll every pin curl , remember:

  • Make it nice and round. Always keep curls separated, neat and even, following the lines of the desired style. You can't do a hit-or-miss job and create a smooth-flowing line.
  • Always  give  pin curls    a  direction,  toward  or away from your face, or at an angle, depending upon which way you want the brushed-out curl to move.
  • The size of the pin curl  determines the size of the finished curl. Roll curls dime-size for tight curls. Roll them quarter-size, around two fingers, but still use the same small section of hair, and you will have loose but lasting curls.
  • Keep tips inside the circle.
  • Avoid untutored ends by not forcing a clip to hold more than it can handle.
  • If the over-all effect of the hairdo is to be tight, wind pin curls   all the way to the scalp; if not, stop winding before you reach the scalp.
  • Use the right pin curl  clip, applying it gently so as not to injure hair. Use a small single-prong clip for tiny earline and neckline curls. Use a longer one for plump, standup curls. Use a double-prong clip for soft sculpture curls and a very long single-prong clip for waves or sectioning.
Sculpture Curls

There are several ways to make sculpture curls. Some women roll them from the scalp to the tip, some from the tip to the scalp. Others put the index finger of one hand at a 90-degree angle to the scalp and wind hair around it with the other.
Perhaps the most professional way to make a sculpture curl is first to ribbon each strand. With the fine teeth of your comb and the thumb of your opposite hand grasp the strand at the base. Draw forward in the direction the curl will take, exerting firm pressure in combing until you have ribboned and tapered the hair into a smooth stem.

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With both hands, make a little circle at the end of the strand. Make this first circle smaller than the outside one will be. Roll as you would a circular Danish pastry. Secure by sliding a clip across the diameter of the curl.

Curls, as we have pointed out, can go in many directions. Basic sculpture curls go either forward or back. A forward sculpture curl turns toward the face and appears to be clockwise in the mirror. A reverse sculpture curl turns away from the face and appears to go counterclockwise in the mirror.

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FOR FLUFFINESS: Wind the sculpture curl in a series of circles all the same size. These pin curls   are particularly good for feathery effects.

FOR CLOSENESS: Head-hugging styles are usually based on pin curls   which get bigger and bigger as they are wound. The diameter of the inner circle is much smaller than that of the outer.

FOR SMOOTHNESS: Shape pin curls   into a figure six. These are used for Italian-type tousled styles and cheek curls. Turned away from the face, the result is a little duck-tail. Turned toward the face it's a cheek curl over the ear.

The Stand-Up Curl

Wound in a perfect circle from tip to scalp, the stand-up curl is the most popular and versatile of all. Used more often for bangs and to create soft bouffant styles, it does a job similar to that of the roller, but the result is more relaxed.

Always wind away from face to add height, toward the face to create fluffy, controlled bangs.

To make a stand-up curl, divide hair into one by one-and-one-half-inch sections. Comb strand straight up or out from the scalp slightly in the opposite direction from that in which curl will be turned. Hold taut in this position with left thumb and forefinger while you ribbon and smooth the stem into an arc to begin the curl.

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Now, with thumb and index finger of each hand, form a circle on the end of the stem and roll it all the way down the stem. Work gently, without pulling the strand in any direction so curl will literally stand on its base. Insert clip completely through bottom of circle, thus securing it to the scalp. An inverted stand-up curl is used most often for fullness without direction. Time and time again it is used at the center back of head. Inverted stand-up curls are also useful for breaks—points at which you start curls going in an opposite direction.

Pick up a strand of hair. Comb it straight down. Now hold it taut. With your left forefinger on top of the stem and your thumb underneath, smooth the stem. Form end into circle and roll up and toward your head. Secure the curl through the base of circle.

Place wads of cotton between rows of curls to prevent flattening while sleeping.

The Setting Pattern

Many stylists use one or two basic roller-and-pin curl  settings on almost everyone. A variety of styles can be brushed out from a good setting, so even if you only master one basic pattern, you will be able to achieve several flattering comb-outs, with practice. The following setting is a most versatile and popular one:

Starting at your forehead, wind a row of rollers straight back and down. Wind all side and back hair down and under. If your hair needs extra body to hold its set, or if your nape hair is too short to wind on rollers, edge your setting with a row of pin curls  —one or two above each ear, wound toward the face, and as many as needed to capture the nape hair. Wind the neckline pin curls   to the left, with the exception of one or two behind the right ear, which should be wound toward the right. This setting results in a flattering lift at the forehead, with sides that can be brushed into waves, a smooth line, or face-framing dips.

After you become more adept, you may want to design your own setting patterns, or try to duplicate a style shown in a magazine. Here are some variations for top, side, and back sections. You can mix and match them to achieve almost any style you want.


Setting: Use five medium-sized rollers. Starting above your left eyebrow, wind three rollers to the right. Now wind one roller to the left of your starting point. Behind this front row, wind one roller toward the back.

Comb-out: Top fluff blending into slanted bangs.

Setting: Similar to the set above, two jumbo rollers turned to the right, one to the left, with a roller behind this row turning toward the back.

Comb-out: The jumbo rollers give a smooth finished effect.

Setting: Same as above, with the addition of three forehead pin curls   wound toward the right. Comb-out: Curved bangs and a bouffant top.


Setting: Three large rollers above ears, two turned down, bottom one turned up. Comb-out: Smooth side with flipped-up ends.

Setting: Two large rollers turned down, with two large pin curls   side by side above ears, wound toward the face.

Comb-out: Smooth bouffant side blending into a cheek curl.

Setting: Two large rollers turned down, two reverse pin curls  , side by side above ears.

Comb-out: Side dips going forward and then back ovei the ears.

Setting: Pin curls   above and behind ears, each row wound in opposite direction.

Comb-out: Back-swept line with hair coining forward again below the ears.


Setting: Six rollers, all turning down, in three vertical rows of two rollers each, edged with one row of pin curls   at the nape.

Comb-out; On short hair, a bouffant bubble effect. On medium-length hair, ends will flip up. On long hair, a pageboy will result

Setting: Place rollers vertically instead of horizontally. Wind four toward the left, two toward the right. Wind a row of pin curls   at the nape of the neck, each going in the same direction as the roller above it.

Comb-out: A deep wave.

26th-Feb-2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
I could not have said it better myself....wonderful information. One thing I would add is the angle in which you roll the hair on the roller. Softer curls are wound so that the roller is off base (I think that is what it is called) or in a forward direction. An on base roller is a tighter curl near the scalp wound with the strand straight up and then down.
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