1.29.2013

{Vintage Beauty} Styling curly and coarse hair

Today we have a guest post by Ruby of Ruby Armoire! I met her on Instagram, and was immediately at awe of her hairstyling skills. I asked her to talk a bit about styling naturally curly and coarse hair into vintage style coiffures, as it's not something I have experience in, and isn't touched on much in the vintage world. Do check out her blog, and I hope you enjoy this guest post! Thank you so much Ruby!  

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Firstly, a disclaimer of sorts. I am not a hair professional, but over the years I have made a few observations about the stuff that grows out of my own skull, and that of my friends. I hope this post will be useful in helping you to understand your own hair and make the most of it! Hair textures run on a sliding scale from fine and smooth, to thick and coarse. All hair types have frizz issues too, ranging from static flyaways to a general rough appearance. 

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My extremely crude diagram shows the four main hair types, but if your hair is anything like mine, it is not so easily pigeon-holed. My hair (when it hasn't been heat styled) falls between curly and coarse. 


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(I only inflict this image on you for illustrative purposes!) 

 Vintage hair styles are great for making your hair appear smooth and full bodied, which is achievable for almost all textures once you figure out how your hair behaves. Enter my favourite all-purpose styling product and texture barometer: hair spray. Apply a little to your naturally dried hair near the root and comb through. If your hair absorbs it without adhering and smoothing strands together, then your hair will need a bit of heat to achieve a smooth finish. Chances are that your hair is coarse and naturally curly (like mine), which means getting volume and staying-power won't be an issue! Hair spray is only useful on smooth hair, but blow drying or flat ironing can smooth your hair enough for the spray to take. If the spray sits on top of your hair and helps it to hold a style, your hair won't need much heat styling for smoothing purposes, but you may need it for volume and to maintain a curl. The best way I’ve found to get a curl to survive through the unrelenting rainy British weather is hairspray and heat combined – that goes for pretty much every hair type. Starting with smooth hair, spray a section, comb through quickly then curl with tongs. The resulting curl will feel horrid and crunchy, but as soon as it is brushed out, the crunchiness magically evaporates and the final curl will be practically indestructible. 

If you'd like to know more about curling with tongs and hair spray, have a look at my tutorial for a pictorial guide.
 
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Of course, too much heat styling isn't good for any hair type, but just because your hair needs to take a break from heat doesn't mean it can't still look hot! Wet set pin curls are not only authentic, they look great too. If your hair is naturally curly with a bit of frizz, but can be blow dried smooth (use the hair spray barometer on blow dried hair to check), then wet setting could work for you as well as on fine hair types. There are a few things to watch out for when pin curling if your hair texture only passes the hair spray test after blow drying, which aren't as necessary for smooth textured types (although you'll get a better curl and a nicer wave if you follow them). Solanah's excellent guide will show you the technique, but here are a few extra tips for the natural curlies. Firstly, you will need to evenly section your hair into small squares so that as much of your hair as possible is contained in the curls. Make sure each section is soaking wet before pin curling – what’s frizzy beforehand will still be frizzy afterwards. Comb the section at right angles to your scalp (this will help the formed curl to sit correctly later) and run your fingers over the length to ensure it is ribbon smooth. Any bumps or slight tangles will be massively magnified when your hair is dry. Use a narrow cylinder to form the pin curl - I use an empty mascara tube. Wrap the end of the section around the barrel of the tube and curl under until it gets about an inch from your scalp. Push your hair off the tube and flatten it so it looks like a tyre. At this point you can twist the pin curl towards or away from your face. I part my hair on an extreme side parting, and then curl each side towards my face. 

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Cover your hair with a scarf and leave to dry overnight, or help things along with the aid of a blow dryer. Test one or two of the longest sections to see if they’re fully dry before taking out all of the pins, as the curls will disintegrate into a frizzy mess if there’s even the slightest hint of dampness. Another point in favour of using a blow dryer is it will help smooth the curls, which means you won’t have to brush as much to get a silky-smooth ‘do. 

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33 comments:

Em said...

Amazing post--thank you!

AhkaVintage said...

Oh WOW Thank you soo much! I love this post! Those hairstyles are perfection - so clever!
www.AhkaVintage.com

Unknown said...

This is super helpful - thank you for this post! I love all the four-ups of different hair styles. They're an inspiration even for us straight-haired ladies.

~Sasha
www.hotsytotsyvintage.com

Tasha said...

Yes! Love it. She always has THE most gorgeous hairstyles.

Katie Aman said...

Gasp! I am insanely jealous of every hairstyle here-especially the finger waves. My hair would never hold those...siiiigh a girl can dream.

Carla said...

THANK YOU! Thank you for having this lovely lady guest post! I've been wanting a post for gals with coarse hair to do vintage styles. I'll be sure to try one of her tips!

mel said...

Wow, you're very talented. The red hair color is awesome!!

KittyMeow said...

Gosh I love her! Ruby has the best hair in the world!

One thing I don't see a lot of online is the opposite - curling 'caucasian Asian' hair (or so my hairdresser calls it - also applies to actual Asian hair ;-P)...which is fine, flat and slippery.

I am slowly getting curls (but wet set pin curls still don't look great) but volume is hard to do! I don't want to tease the crap out of my hair :-(((

Jessica Cangiano said...

Stellar guest post! Ruby is, bar none, one of the most talented vintage hairstylists I've ever encountered. I'm smitten with both everything she wears and all the incredible things she does to her hair.

♥ Jessica

Cherry said...

Your hair-dos look fantastic!
It's so interesting how different everyone's hair can be. When I pin curl I have to have air dried but still a little damp hair. Soaking hair turns into a frizzy mess for me no matter how much brushing out i do and dry hair doesnt hold.

Wendy Ratcliffe said...

Wow, such a stunning woman & what an incredible talent to be able to create those styles, I know some hairdressers who can't do a decent up-do! And also, as someone who has curly-frizzy hair... thank you, great post, great info!

Cherise said...

Oh my gosh, that lady has such amazing hair styling skills! Such an inspiration :)

Isis said...

Wow! I'm completely in awe of you hairstyling skills! Gorgeous!

Helen Mae said...

What fantastic hairstyles! There is some great hair inspiration here.

Laurence said...

What a great post! Ruby's style and hair are just so lovely, she have a wonderful blog.

Incendiary Blonde said...

Yep - Ruby's hair always looks awesome!!!

norafinds said...

She is amazing! I love following her on Instagram too - she does the most amazing hairstyle EVERYDAY! Gotta love Instagram, it's found me so many gorgeous vintage ladies! And thanks for checking out my blog Solanah - I was talking to Tim from Like Johnny and June about how lovely your blog is and how they really appreciate you recommending them to your readers! :)

art deco dame said...

Great post and she is gorgeous!

Kristian said...

Oh wow! I've been looking for a post like this for a friend with extremely curly, kinky hair.

Hadley Makes said...

Gorgeous! You have such talent!

Simonas street said...

Inspiration bonanza! Ruby is amazing and I'm so glad to have found your blog!

XO, Simona

Michelle said...

omg, you have amazing beautiful hair! I wish I had curly to coarse hair, I always loved huge curly/frizzy styles that reached to the sky. Keep up the good work!

Flo said...

Ruby you have the best coiffures ever !
You are very talented and probably you've got the immense patience that I miss.

Learning new hair techniques is one of my 2013 goal.
With my hip length hair, I could do something interesting. But often vintage hairstyling seems too require middle length hair.
Am I right ?

paisleyapron said...

She takes my breath away! Gorgeous!

My Kinda Vintage said...

Lovely!

Kit said...

This is so useful, thank you! As a curly haired girl who ocassionally wants to do something more than scrape her hair back, I really struggle. Think this will be a massive help :-)

Rebecca said...

Amazing hairstyles!! Now just need some tips for those of us with stick straight can't-hold-a-curl-to-save-my-life hair. :D

Retro Threadz Vintage said...

AMAZING collection of hair-do's, very talented madam

The Working Home Keeper said...

Love it!

Mary Ellen
The Working Home Keeper

A Certain Vintage said...

fantastic advice - my hair is a disaster and I am woeful at styling. I used to never brush through the curl because I thought I would lose it but brushing with bristle brushes has been my biggest vintage helping hand lately. her hair is amazing!
xox

LoveNWright said...

OH MY GOD!! I saw so many hair styles that I would like to try! Your hair is amazing and you Vint as if you weren't born in this era.

LoveN you!

Kay
www.lovenwright.blogspot.com

Ruby Armoire said...

Thank you everyone, it was so much fun to write! I'm really happy you asked me to guest post Solanah!

Ruby xx

Georgiana said...

I cannot believe that this is your real hair on the first Picture and that you are able to create these amazing hairdos.