Pinterest and YouTube make hair look deceptively easy. Anyone who has ever dared to follow along with a hair tutorial knows there’s a little more to it than “Ten Easy Steps!” The babes of yore were able to get flawless victory rolls with nothing but sugar water and a bobby pin, but these days we have a wealth of tools and product technology to get picture perfect results every time.
Bernie Dexter rockin’ perfect retro victory rolls
1. Get Nasty
Clean hair isn’t going to do you any favors because it’s simply too slippery. Plan on not washing your hair for 2-3 days prior to when you plan on having it set. Starting with wet hair is not ideal but it isn’t impossible; just “dirty” it up with gel, mousse or sea salt before blow-drying to 100% dry. Test the dryness of your hair by blasting it with a cool setting on the blow dryer. If your hair feels cold after cooling it means you need to keep at it.
2. Clip ‘n Cool
Whether you’re using hot rollers or a curling wand, always coil up the curl and use a hair pin or single prong clip to hold it in place while the curl cools. After your whole head is curled and clipped give it a liberal misting of hairspray and wait patiently.
3. The Big Tease
Two common backcombing mistakes are sectioning and placement. Sturdy backcombing will provide a strong foundation for any style by preventing any shifting or flat spots. Sections should be parted and backcombed in increments of ¼” to ½” Backcombing for up-dos and most pin-up looks should be applied over the entire head and then smoothed and shaped appropriately. If you start to look like The Bride of Frankenstein, don’t fret – it means you’re doing it right!
4. The Rat
Perfect backcombing is something you can aspire to, but it’s unrealistic to expect perfect results every time. Luckily, there are a few tricks to save your wrists and sanity while you fake it – get yourself a Rat. A Rat can be purchased from beauty supply houses like Sally Beauty, or you can make one yourself out of pantyhose and cotton batting. Fill the pantyhose with small pieces of batting, making a sausage shape, then pin underneath whatever part of your hair needs the most dramatic volume. Smooth hair over it and BAM: Fake it ‘til you make it!
Miss Mosh models a perfect pinup look with hair roses
Photographer: Marla Rutherford
5. Other forms of deception
Your hair looks great save for one goofy spot? That’s what bows, barrettes and hair flowers are for. Cover it up and no one will notice! Something else to keep in mind is unless it’s going to stay put, your hard work will be all for nothing. Save your sanity and a million bobby pins by going to your local drugstore and grabbing a set of “As Seen on TV” Spin Pins. Your hair will survive the apocalypse.
You know how a professional manicure is finished by polishing on a top coat? Your hair is no exception. After your hair has been set, pinned and hair sprayed into submission, applying a shine spray will give your style a finished professional result.
Best of luck!