How to: Pin Curl Your Hair

There’s something to be said for having perfectly coiffed hair. It’s part of the reason that men still dress like James Dean, the resurgence of which, has made me question my question my hair care. Do pin curls come back in style with pomade? Doesn’t a curling iron defeat the purpose? Having taken the past week to figure this out I can say (with confidence!) that a) pin curling looks 10 times better than using a curling iron and b) it takes a lot of damn time!

After searching “pin curls” on YouTube I came across several pages of videos in which well-dressed, made-up women were showing just how-to get this glamourous look. I tried three tutorials after deciding that I’d follow the instructions and go for a Katharine Hepburn-ish hair-do.

There are a couple of general things you’ll need to know. First, you’ll need pins (like 45 of them, though it does depend on how long and thick your hair is), some sort of setting lotion, a scarf, and several hours. You can either wet-set your hair or do it dry. Wet-set is done overnight, usually after a shower. Done dry, you’ll need to do it as you’re starting your day, let them set for a couple of hours, and be much more careful when brushing them out.

Of the YouTube tutorials that I tried, I found that several of them tend to rely on the kitch of their video aesthetic to get their views rather than the straight instruction based tutorial I was looking for. I found three that were pretty basic.

While “StrawberryKoiVintage” had easy to follow instructions her music choice and awkward demeanor made the whole experience sort of depressing. When you’re pin curling you’ll have to watch these videos a couple of times. They’re generally ten minutes, with a time-lapse section where you’ll see them race to the end of the time consuming process. With that in mind, watching “StrawberryKoiVintage” repeatedly just made me take note of her weirdness rather than learn how-to do my hair properly.

“VividMakeup,” on the other hand, with her “Pretty, Polished, Playful Pin Curls!!” tutorial did not only have an annoying opening (the song is just awful) but her instructions aren’t helpful. While she does lay down the basics, she isn’t nearly as candid, which makes the experience sort of overwhelming. I watched her tutorial several times, repeated all of her steps and then felt defeat when I saw what my hair came out to look like .

“HollywoodNoirMakeup” has helpful hints, easy to follow instructions, and doesn’t let the editing of her video distract from the point. It could have been that pin curls take a lot of practice, and this was my third try, but my hair finally turned out how I wanted it to. [[Side note: the photobooth on my computer has a really bright light. Sorry for the awkward-ass photos.]]

Below I’ve posted some more photos. I also tried to do a victory roll and a beehive, both of which look really overdone for daytime wear. With regular pin curls it’s obvious that you’ve taken the time to do your hair, but it’s not nearly as jarring as those ‘dos and tends to look polished, with a hint of glamour.

(Disappearing nose due to photobooth camera)

Victory rolls are incredibly frustrating and much harder to do than pin curls. You’ll need to practice (a lot!) and have the right occasion to wear them. Other wise it’s just all sorts of awkward.

The beehive is just way too much. You’ll look overdone and it looks awful when you brush it out. This hair-do must be totally apt for the occasion.

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