Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hair Did Done! (How I do my sets!)

In the four years I have been setting my hair (before it was air-dry or blow dry then flat-ironed), I have tried several methods i.e. foam rollers, ceramic curling iron, pin curls (disaster), flocked velvet steam rollers (eugh), hot sticks, and hot rollers.  After much experimenting, I have come to discover that hot rollers are the best way for me to set my hair and have it last for three days.  My  hair is naturally very fine and my scalp is very oily so despite my best efforts, I simply cannot make my set last longer.  Things just get limp and icky.

Nevertheless, this is how I set my hair:

I wash with Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and condition with Pureology Hydrate Conditioner.

After towel-drying, I use a blend of Surface Bassu Oil Gold and Surface Trinity Protein Cream on my ends and my blond highlight section. Then I apply a quarter-size dollop of Ouidad Moisturizing Curl Gel to my hair. I comb through, section my bangs, apply my Rogaine, and then let things air-dry while I do my makeup.

After the face is done, I roll my bang section in grippy rollers, spray them with Layrite Grooming Spray, and then I finish drying overall with my hair dryer. I concentrate my dryer on my bang section to set the curl. The Layrite Grooming Spray is activated with heat. 

While I am blow-drying my hair to ensure it is totally dry before setting*, I plug in my Remington Tight Curls hot rollers. There are 21 in a set but I wish there were 24. Anyway, once I have achieved completely dry hair, I roll my hair in sections with the hot rollers. I spray a tiny spritz of Layrite on the very ends of my hair and roll up. Finally, I secure the curl with a clip (from a 12 pack from Sally. I bought two). The U clips that came with the rollers were crap. My fine hair would just unroll and the roller itself would fall out onto the floor.

Here I am with my natural hair texture. Can we say 'fuzz ball?!' My bangs are set with the grippy rollers and I am about to set the rest of my hair:


I leave my rollers in for about 30 minutes. While my hair is cooling, I make the bed, do laundry, feed the cat, read CNN online, make lunch for work, and then get dressed.

Then, I unroll my curls, remove the grippy rollers, and I finger style my hair with a touch of Layrite Original Pomade. On my bang section, I use the husband's heavier type of Layrite Pomade (the darker colored jar). I shape my bangs, roll, and pin.  Then I spray curls into their final shape with Aussie Instant Freeze Hairspray.

When I go to bed at night, I simply wrap a chiffon scarf around my set. The next day, I apply a light amount of TiGi Catwalk Dry Session Series Dry Shampoo to fluff curl and give it a refreshed look and feel. I re-pin my front roll and I may use hair combs. On the last day of my set, I will re-apply the dry shampoo spray and put my hair into a ponytail.

I like to set my hair because not only does it give me the vintage style I want, I look like I have more hair! Let me tell you, my hair is so thin and fine. I have had stylists in the past give me a blow-out and then flat-iron (standard for modern salons), and I hate it!!!! Sure, my hair looks silky but it also showcases how little hair I have. I feel so bald! Oh what I would do for more hair.

Anyway, all pouting aside, I love to set my hair because I can make my style last longer, I wash my delicate hair less, my hair is vintage-looking, and I look like I actually have a good head of hair! Curl = volume!

So, what is your "tried and true" hair routine?

*Please, take it from me, never EVER use any type of direct heat from rollers, curling irons, flat irons, etc on damp hair! Even slightly damp hair will be damaged. Doing so causes your hair to be boiled and your cuticle destroyed.


  1. I have found that using foam curlers works best for me. I use a setting lotion and let them dry overnight. I have been having trouble preventing frizzy ends so I may try wrapping them in tissue paper before rolling them up. I try to avoid heat as much as I can since I can't a handle a curling iron to save my life.

  2. I love your hair (and style)! All your looks are fabulous! Like Mariela who also commented, I find that foam rollers overnight work best for me. I spritz my hair with water so it's damp, not wet, and put a bit of gel in it. (I actually put my hair in a very high ponytail before I put it in rollers; that way I don't have to sleep on bumpy curlers.) I find that letting my hair sit for 6-8 hours or so is the ONLY way it will curl! I too, have super fine hair, and it will not curl with hot rollers. I would have to fry each piece of hair with a curling iron for five minutes in order to get it to keep a curl with heat. Obviously that's not very healthy ;) Since I have really long hair, I try not to use heat very often so that I can keep it from getting too damaged. Also, I get up at 3:30 for work so time is a precious commodity I don't have much of in the morning ;) This way I only have to take out the rollers, throw in a few bobby pins here and there, spritz with hairspray and I'm out the door.

    Love your blog! Thanks for all your tips!

  3. Holy bees, I came across your blog earlier this week and have been reading it and loving it! My name is Jamie and I live in DC too, having moved here in 2012. I used to wear 1930s-50s fashions 90% of the time (I still have it all, just don't fit into them at the moment!) and I haven't met anyone who loves vintage clothing, fashion, furniture and music. Unfortunately, even my husband isn't a big fan of the 'lifestyle', though I'm sure the shopping doesn't help my case in persuading him otherwise as he hates shopping! Would it be weird to get a coffee sometime? Loving the blog and the hair post. I am always admiring people to set their hair. I do it rarely as I've never learnt how to sleep on my setting (foam roller girl like the others) comfortably and can't help shampooing all the time so I just have Betty-esque bangs and vintage makeup (also love Besame) to compensate!

  4. pretty nice blog, following :)

  5. your hair looks fantastic and I really like this blog
    retro rover

  6. Hi Tara! My name is Cameron Von St. James and I had a quick question for you! I was wondering if you could email me at your earliest convenience at cvonstjames AT gmail DOT com :-) I greatly appreciate your time!!

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