Do you want pretty, temporary curls without using a curling iron, rollers or getting a perm? Rag curls are the way to go, and anyone can do them.
Rag curls go way back; my great grandmother did them for my grandma when she was a little girl. Rollers cost money, bobby pins can hurt, and nearly everyone has some old fabric kicking around. It takes time, but the results look very nice. It’s also easier on your hair than perms and curling irons. I have very fine hair and I don’t like to damage it with heat or chemicals, so I love rag curling because it’s gentle.
All you need to do rag curls is some sort of fabric torn or cut into strips about an inch wide by six inches long. Soft fabrics work best. Old t-shirts are perfect for rag curls. How many strips you’ll need depends on how many curls you want, and how much hair you’re working with. You’ll probably need at least 20 strips for large, soft curls on an adult. For smaller curls you’ll need more.
It’s best to do your rag curls shortly after you’ve washed your hair. You don’t want it dripping wet, but damp is best. The curls won’t hold well if your hair is dry. It’s also a good idea to slightly over-condition your hair before doing the curls. I’m not sure why, but it seems to help them hold longer and not frizz later in the day.
You’ll want to start at the front of your head whether you’re curling yourself or have a friend to help. I recommend getting assistance if you have really long hair. For loose, flowing curls, take up one inch sections of hair, but smaller bundles if you want tighter curls. Pull your hair straight up from your head, and fold the center of the fabric strip over the tips of your hair. Begin rolling your hair on the fabric. For big curls, keep your hair in the center of the strip; for spiral curls wrap your hair down the length of the strip. Always roll toward the back of your head. When you finish the roll, your roots should be at the front (forehead side) of the roll, not behind. This makes the curls flow away from your face, instead of into it. When you get down to the root, tie the ends of the fabric around the roots of your hair.
Continue this method until you’ve curled all your hair. If you have one, put a plastic shower cap over your head to keep all the rag strips secure. Now all you have to do is go to sleep! When you get up, remove the shower cap and begin undoing the rolls, starting at the back and working forward. Be careful not to pull on your hair, unroll it gently. Once your hair is unrolled, you can use a bit of mousse or hair spray to really hold the curls in place. They typically last all day and sometimes well into a second day as long as you haven’t washed it again.
Rag curls are a great way to get a temporary look that’s inexpensive and gentle on your hair. It may take a while to get the hang of rolling your hair onto rags, but once you do you’ll love the results.