After more than a year of requests and promises that I would do it, here is my first ever vintage hair tutorial. I have chosen my speediest and simplest style to start with – a version of my Victory Mega-Curl. I am often asked about this one. It’s an easy but striking daytime vintage look for those on the go, and a style I am particularly known for – a victorious single mega-curl, generally worn with a scarf of red or leopard print. You can leave the back out, as I have here, or tie it back. Assuming you have enough length for the roll at the front, this can be adapted to almost any hair length. This look takes 20 minutes or less, in roughly 2 x 10 minute blocks. The first half involves curling your hair. The second half involves styling it. If you don’t have to curl your hair you can achieve this look in under 10 minutes.
I have illustrated the 7 steps to this style through images (including some good concentration faces), though you will need to read the text for more detail. All photographs are by Berndt Sellheim.
Here are 6 things you will need:
Hair sticks, hot rollers or a curling iron, and electricity to use it. I currently use the largest (purple) BaByliss hair sticks for speed. One 20 piece set comes with two barrel sizes, but isn’t enough to do all of my hair, so I purchased two BaByliss Pro 20 piece hot stick sets on sale, and basically swapped them over so I am using only the larger size in one set. (As mentioned above, I do have an unusual amount of hair, so this won’t be necessary for most. Experiment with what works best.)
A rat tailed comb. Metal or plastic works fine.
Bobby pins similar to your hair colour.
Firm hold hair spray.
A setting lotion and/or pomade of your preference, to hold your curls to your liking.
A square scarf of your choice, folded lengthwise. Fabrics that are not slippery are preferable.
Welcome to my boudoir…
Now, before we begin, I should qualify this tutorial by saying that I am not a professional hair stylist. Also, my hair is extremely thick, and I wash it roughly once a week. This was done on day 2, though most vintage styles hold better when my hair is dirtier – 3 or 4 days after washing. This rule holds true for many vintage hairstyles, particularly the 40s inspired styles I am fond of. During WWII women did not wash their hair often, and access to products was limited. They expressed themselves through ‘ration fashion‘, that iconic red lip, and homemade, curled styles that were not sleek or perfect, particularly as they were often achieved without electricity and with the barest of essentials. I also frequently style my hair in other 40s inspired styles that I will share in the future, but this is the simplest and fastest. I hope you enjoy it.
Above: Good morning! Starting out. (Yes, my makeup case is covered in glitter.)
Step 1: Make a side part and curl your all of your hair using the method of your choice. I use hot sticks, and this step takes me about ten minutes. (Try this hot sticks tutorial if you haven’t used them before.) I curl the side sections towards the face for this look. Now take some time to let the curls cool completely. This waiting is vital. Do your makeup, have breakfast, read the news, get angry about something online, read a book, whatever you like. I wrap my curls in a scarf so they stay out of my face, and well, because I’m irresistibly drawn to leopard print.
Step 2: When the hot sticks are cool and you are ready to style your hair, unclip the sticks one at a time. Sliding the sticks out gently creates ringlets. Spray the ringlets to hold that look or brush them out gently with your fingers if it is looking too tightly curled. Brushing them will likely make your hair frizz out, so I would avoid using a hair brush.
Step 3: Using a rat tooth comb, section off some of your hair at the front. This section will create your victorious mega-curl. Backcomb it at the base if needed. Hold that section of hair upright and wrap the ends around the index and middle finger of one hand (this is one reason the curl in your hair is helpful), then working your fingers and thumbs on both hands, roll the hair carefully down, with the direction of the curl facing away from your forehead, keeping that section of hair taut until it is rolled down into a loop. The roll should stay open in the shape of a jet engine. The ends of your hair should be well and truly tucked inside and invisible. Hold that supercharged mega-curl open and in place with the fingers of one hand and reach for your bobby pins with the other.
Step 4: Adjust the curl until you are happy with the placement, size and shape, and then place a bobby pin on the inside, and one from the back. Add more pins as needed, while trying to keep them hidden. You may need to try step 3 and 4 a few times until you are happy with your front curl, which is the focal point of this look.
Above: A view of today’s Victory Mega-Roll.
Step 5: Pull the sides of your hair back firmly, with a twist upwards, and pin them in place using two bobby pins, one coming from underneath and one from above, so they cross over in an X. This X will hold the hair firmly. Add more if needed. You don’t want these side sections slipping down under your scarf, so make sure they feel secure. The pins will be hidden under the scarf.
Step 6: It’s time to scarf up. Place your lengthwise folded scarf neatly across the top of your head, behind the front roll and so it falls close to your ears, then flip your hair over and tie it comfortably but firmly at the back of your neck. You may wish to use a single bobby pin just behind the roll, to hold the scarf in place. You may want to try curling your hair forward over the scarf at the sides, as below.
Step 7: That’s it. Victorious and ready to go before my daughter can steal my brushes. I’m wearing a vintage 1940s cotton dress to go with the mood. I was genuinely in a hurry when I did this, so it isn’t perfect but does represent what can be achieved as a speedy vintage look in under 20 minutes, plus cooling time.