easy everyday vintage curl set

easy everyday vintage curl set

I’ve had a few requests for a tutorial on how I do my hair, so today I’m taking you behind the curtain and showing you all my secrets. Before we begin, I’ll warn you that I am definitely not a hair expert. My set is definitely not neat and pretty; it’s kind of haphazard, but it works for me so oh well!

Let’s go once more into my poorly lit, very yellow-y bathroom and get started.


I start with clean hair. If it’s still damp from the shower, that works…if not, I’ll usually run some water through it, but my hair is very fine and generally eager to curl, so I don’t worry too much about it.


I use Jane Carter Wrap & Roll as a setting lotion. It was the first setting lotion I tried (since you can buy it at Target), and I have no complaints so far!


So it turns out it’s super hard (indeed, impossible) to take photos of yourself curling your hair while…curling your hair. So here’s two stages. I take a small pump of setting lotion, then run it through a small chunk of hair. For the crown of my head, I do standing pincurls and roll it from as close to vertical as possible to help create more lift.


Like so.


I usually do about two rows of three curls on the side with more hair, and two rows of two on the side with less. Like I said – messy! It’s not much to look at, but it works out okay.


These are probably the ugliest pictures ever, sorry! I use these soft rollers from Walgreens to put up the rest of my hair, because I’m lazy and I don’t want to pincurl my whole head. They’re pretty easy to sleep on too, which is a must-have for me. How I wrap them varies from set to set, but it’s usually about three in a triangle on either side of my head, then however many it takes to do the back of my head.


Wrap ’em up, then off to bed for some beauty sleep! Note: I thought it would be fun to use one of my grandma’s vintage scarves to wrap my sets, but over the year or so I’ve been using it, it’s gotten pretty beat up. Definitely don’t do this with a nice, pretty scarf you would otherwise wear!




Remove your various rollers and pins. Be gentle with them – don’t tug!


I run my fingers through gently to help break up the curls and start blending them together before I pick up the brush. There are a lot of great brush out videos on Youtube, which I’d recommend you’d check out! I use a basic paddle brush and basically brush through my hair while immediately following the strokes with my other hand to smooth the curls. I usually tip my head to the side to kind of brush…out instead of straight down to help keep more body in my hair, if that makes sense?


When my hair is mostly brushed out, I section off my bangs and start brushing and shaping those separately.


Looking pretty good! Once I’m mostly done and happy with the shape of my hair (which depends on how much time I have in the morning TBH), it’s time to spray!


I’ve been using Suavecita firm hold hairspray for about two months now, and I’m a big fan. Smells good, works well – what more could a gal want?


But it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind πŸ˜‰ Sometimes I still adjust my bangs and whatnot after spraying…it just takes a little bit of coaxing.


Put your glasses on and voila! You are ready to face the day with your easy retroΒ ‘do!

I hope this was at least a little bit helpful…hair tutorials are pretty hard to communicate through still photos, haha, but I did my best!

my middy hair cut (at revolution hair studio)

my middy hair cut (at revolution hair studio)

I finally did it – I got my first middy cut!

I’ve been considering taking the leap and going for a middy for a long time now, but I’d heard so many horror stories about girls bringing diagrams and such to “modern” stylists and still ending up with something awful that I was nervous. I asked for advice from some fabulous Midwestern ladies, and it turns out there’s a fabulous vintage hair salon just a little ways south of me!


The second I walked inside Revolution, I knew I was amongst my people. The walls are covered with pinups, car show posters, and more retro fabulousness. There’s also an adorable waiting area up front that’s full of vintage furniture and MCM charm.

My stylist was Kelly, who is a boss. She was so enthusiastic about my hair that I got even more excited myself! We started off by lightening my hair. After a lot of coloring and wet setting, my hair pretty busted (apparently absorbing those extra chemicals from a setting lotion into your hair can affect it a lot?? I never really thought about it!), so Kelly used a clarifying shampoo and gave me a Malibu treatment to help remove build up from my hair. My hair was so goddamn soft and silky after that treatment, I could barely even feel a comb going through it. It was that smooth. Highly recommend! The purple-fication was next, and once that was set and rinsed, it was the moment of truth: middy time!

Now, if you’re new to the vintage hair scene, you might be saying, “But Penny, what is a middy?” The middy cut is well known in pinup circles as the “perfect” cut for vintage curl sets. It’s a U-shaped cut that’s longest in the back and is made up of very precise layers. It’s not a “wash and wear” cut like most modern cuts are – it’s specifically intended to be set into curls, so the layers are much blunter than in a modern cut and can look shaggy/choppy left unset. Kelly asked me as soon as I came in if I regularly set my hair, and I definitely appreciated that she was looking out for clients who may have heard about the middy cut and not really understood what they might be getting into.

It was actually really interesting to get the cut; because of the precision of it, it was a much different experience than any other haircut I’d gotten before. I ended up going with a variation on the “long middy,” so I lost about an inch and a half of length off the longest section of my hair.

Funnily enough, the baby fine texture of my hair which I’ve often bemoaned is, according to Kelly, the perfect texture for a middy cut! My cut actually ended up looking pretty decent even straight, but Kelly added some gentle wave with a curling iron and was actually sweet enough to put it into victory rolls for me! I definitely did my best to watch closely and hopefully absorb some of her technique.


All told, after about five and a half hours at the studio, I left feeling fabulous and so excited to have taken a new step in my pursuit of vintage styles! The ladies at Revolution Hair Studio were all so lovely – the whole studio was filled with chatting and laughter, and it’s obvious that the stylists there are very talented. I immediately felt at home, and when I get to leave with my hair looking this good, well…suffice to say, I’ve already made my follow up appointment! If you’re looking for vintage hair in the Milwaukee area, I definitely encourage you to check it out.

This is how the style turned out after sleeping on it, with just a little bit of the leftover wave left in it. I’m absolutely O B S E S S E D with the color…it’s so unbelievably rich and beautiful!


I’ll make sure to share my adventures with the middy cut as I start learning how to properly set and style it!

Anyone else taken the middy leap?