My first experiment with wet set curls

I’ve been meaning to give wet set curls a try for quite a while. This is how they did things in the olden days and it is a mainstay of vintage hairstyling. When I was little I had extremely long hair. Sometimes when I would sleep over at my grandma and grandpa’s house, my grandma would wet set my hair with rags. It was always fun and lasted longer than anything from a curling iron — although it still didn’t last very long on a zany little girl.

IMG_0555I towel dried my hair and prepped it with some styling cream. I bought a multi-size pack of foam rollers from amazon. I only used the smallest and 2nd smallest rollers.  Since I was taking a nap and also since I ran out of the smallest rollers, most of the bottom back was unrolled. I did find it a little hard to sleep despite how much I needed a nap because I rolled some of my hair a little too tight. This set was very fast. I only left it for about three hours. My hair is very fine so it was mostly, but not completely dry.

IMG_0556I had a somewhat hard time getting some of the rollers out. The ends got a little tangled. This might not have happened if my hair would have been absolutely dry. I got some crazy kinky curls though!

The secret to the wet set seems to be the brush out. Apparently a boar’s bristle brush is the way to go. At the moment, I don’t have one (but I think that will be changing) so I used my Denman paddle brush and Denman curved styling brush. I had a really hard time fighting my hair into a reasonable shape. I’m sure this was partially due to the fact that I didn’t really roll my hair in a particular pattern or pay close enough attention to which direction the curls were going. I had to touch up the back and some of the curl ends with a curling iron.

IMG_0585IMG_0584Eventually I got something that I was fairly pleased with. It was definitely a lot fluffier than I would have preferred. It certainly looked retro however.

I went out with a friend for an evening of cute dresses, tiki drinks and pokemon hunting. I finally wore my Atomic dress. I had very mixed feelings about this dress when I was sewing it but I love it now!

IMG_0587Even in my dress selfie you can see where ironed curls were already failing before I even left the house. My hair sort of held up for maybe half the night. The curls were gone but I was left with a fair amount of fluff and volume that stuck around into the next day.

I can’t really say that this was a success but I think I learned some things in my experiment. For one thing, I shouldn’t use the smallest rollers right at the hairline. The curls come out too small, kinky and unmanageable. I also probably need to buy that boar’s bristle brush. Finally, I might have better results after a much longer drying time.

Later this week I’ll try this again. On the next attempt I’m going to attempt to create something more Regency since I have two Regency dress to wear at Costume College. Wish me luck!

 

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One comment

  1. I always always always do wet sets! Curlers or heated rollers just don’t so anything for my hair! I usually just roll my hair sort of like i’m going to do victory rolls but pin them flat against my head and it works perfectly for me! Then when I brush them out, I sort of brush them against my hand to keep a bit of a curled shape!
    Also, Denman do really good bristle brushes! I just got their smaller travel sized one cause it was cheaper but it does really make a difference to your curls!

    Another thing, your dress looks lovely! 😍

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