Classic Curls

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
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Retro-inspired waves are just gorgeous and are easier to accomplish than you might think. There are a few ways to create the look but in this post I’m going show you how to do a curling iron set that’s tweaked a little afterward.

When discussing curl, it helps to have a few key concepts down first.

  • The section of hair that you take should not be wider than the diameter of your curling iron or roller. Obviously, the bigger the iron or roller, the larger the curl.
  • Sections can be taken horizontally (think Marilyn Monroe) or vertically (think Taylor Swift).
  • If you hold the hair out from your section at 45 degrees away from you before you roll, you will end up with the iron or roller sitting on the section or “on base.” If you hold the hair at 90 degrees to your section you will end up “half-on base.” And at 45 degrees toward you, you get “off base.”
  • On base placement will give you the most volume, off base will give you the least.

For this set, all the curls will be placed horizontally and half-off base using a 1 ½ - 2 inch curling iron. Here are the steps:

1.       Create a deep side part and section off a large rectangle from that part.





2.       Subsection a rectangle at the front of the head. Direct hair away from head at 90 degree angle from the subsection, spray with hairspray, then wrap around your curling iron so that your curl ends up off-half off base. This first curl should go FORWARD. Wait for curl take, slide iron out and pin using pincurl clips. Be careful not to place them where they will pinch the hair and leave a mark.





3.       Take the next section behind the first and curl this one back. Continue until you reach the crown of your head.





4.       Next curl and pin the side sections.





5.       The back of the head is now divided into two sections and curled in the same manner.






6.       Spray the whole thing with a healthy dose of hairspray and wait for it to cool completely.

7.       Take it all down and run your fingers through it.





8.       Brush it out for smoothness. If you see an area between two curls that looks separated from the way it dried, gently tease the hair near the roots to rejoin the sections.

9.   Here’s where it gets a little tricky. (It was hard to do a photograph at the same time.) The goal is to manipulate the hair around your face a bit so it has a slightly more retro wave feel. So, pick up a section at the front and find where you want it to bend. Place your curling iron there with the rod on top and turn up. Release the iron and hold the bend the way you want it to look. Use your curling iron like a violin and drag it across the curl to help create the wave. Spray.





10.   Repeat further down the hair shaft working in the opposite direction. Spray. Repeat on the other side of your face.










A few notes:

  • A simple set like this is a great base for any updo.
  • If you want to, you can continue to manipulate the curls all the way around your head into more of a wave structure but you will likely need a friend to help.
  • If you really want to exaggerate the wave in front, set the wave and then clip with duckbill clips. Don’t take them out until you are really to roll out.


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2 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for your tutorials. I just recently found your blog (I can’t even remember how I found it, but I’m thankful I did) I’ve always struggled with doing my hair and having it work for me. Your tutorials look easy enough that I may just give some of them a try (I may have to let my hair grow out a little bit before some of them). Could you explain (for those of us who aren’t knowledgeable in this arena) What does “on base” or “off base” mean?

  2. You’re welcome! Thanks for reading and for your comment. I will definitely do a more in depth post on on base/off base.

  3. […] know where to start? I know – you want to try out some of my awesome tutorials, right? Like this one and this one and, of course, this one. Before you buy, there are definitely a few factors to […]

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