If there was one part of adopting the vintage style that I would say was the most difficult for me, it was the hair. Weirdly, that is also the part of the whole look that I tackled first, without even really intending to adopt the entire look altogether. I just wanted to have nice curls again, achieved in a heat-free way, after extreme heat styling had damaged my natural curls beyond repair.
I began with pincurls. Over time they became my favourite method of setting my hair even after I branched out into trying different types of rollers, whether bendy, Velcro, or foam, but in the beginning learning the technique and achieving a good brush out was a laborious, long-winded and often frustrating experience. I don’t regret it, because eventually I learned the pincurling technique well, but if a Pinup Godmother had come to me then, back at the beginning, and said ‘here, you can achieve a lovely vintage set with these handmade crocheted rollers which are, by the way, also comfortable to sleep in,’ I probably would have cried. Baby Pinup Amy didn’t know about Curlettes, but Present Day Pinup Amy does, and she’s a fan.
For anyone who struggles to achieve a neat set out of rollers or self-rolled pincurls, these Curlettes take all the hard work out of the job of setting your hair. Personally, I always manage to get kinks near the root of my hair when I use sponge rollers. I know there’s a trick of using hairgrips to pin the rollers in place at the scalp to prevent rollback or movement, but I never get the grip in the right place. Add to that the fact that I’m a fidgety sleeper and the result is the foam rollers around the lower half of my head or at my hairline often end up loosening by an inch or so throughout the night. At the hairline especially that can produce hair that’s dried with an odd dent at the roots, and no amount of smoothing during the brush out completely erases that. Using Curlettes, I was amazed and thrilled to find that they didn’t loosen at all during the night, so I woke up to find each Curlette set in place as they should be.
Available in three sizes, small, medium and large, there are Curlettes suitable for every hair length and thickness. The different sizes also allow you to achieve a different look, as they obviously provide different sized curls. All 3 sizes are created the same way, hand-crocheted in 100% cotton by Curlettes creator and maker Celeste.
The number of Curlettes you need to curl your entire head of hair depends upon your hair length and thickness and the size of Curlettes you want to use. Celeste generously sent me 10 small, 20 medium, and 10 large. I used the same sized sections of hair with the small and medium Curlettes as I would for any other foam roller or pincurl, and the result was that I needed all 20 mediums to do a full head, and would probably have needed 20 small to do a full head as well, as the 10 I had only set the front half of my head. I used slightly bigger sections of hair when using the large Curlettes and probably would have needed 12-14 Curlettes to do my whole head in that size as I ran out for the last middle section at the back of my head. My hair is fine in texture but I have a high density of it, according to my hairdresser, but it does only reach 2 or 3 inches below my collarbone in length, so if you have very thick, dense hair and/or long hair, you would need to use more Curlettes than I’ve listed above.
I didn’t find there was a huge difference in the size of the curls produced by the 3 sizes, but given their diameters measure 1.5cm, 2cm and 2.5cm respectively that’s not surprising. The large Curlettes did definitely give me a larger, looser curl than the small Curlettes did, and I think if I wanted to achieve an even looser curl in future then I would use a much larger section for each Curlette, as the sections I used for the below set weren’t especially large.
When it comes to how to use the Curlettes, it’s as simple as using any kind of roller. For a wetset, with your hair damp from washing and your favourite setting lotions applied (I use Motions At Home Foaming Wrap,) you comb the hair through, neatly wrap the ends around the middle of the Curlette, then neatly wind the entire length of your hair around the Curlette, rolling upwards and under, until your reach your scalp. Then you fold both ends of the Curlette towards each other up over your rolled hair in the middle, and poke the end through the loop, tightening it securely. It’s best not to pull any tighter than feels necessary to close the Curlette because then over time you would stretch it out and damage the shape. Celeste also sent me one of her hair setting nets, which kept my set in place while providing better ventilation for my hair to dry than my average silk or cotton headscarf.
The brush out process is the same for the curls produced as by any other curling method, and I was very happy that the final result appeared the same as when I set my hair using my favourite pincurl setting pattern. With the large Curlettes I got a slightly softer, looser waved result that looked a bit more Pageboy in style after shaping, but with the medium Curlettes below I got a much bouncier, curlier set. Either way, it was a lot quicker and easier to use the Curlettes than it is to hand roll my own pincurls, so Curlettes has jumped to the top of my list as my preferred way to now set my hair. Anything that allows me to quickly set my hair on the sofa in front of the TV in the evening, get a comfortable night’s sleep, and still achieve a great set in the morning is always going to be a winner for me!
All Curlettes are handmade to order so it’s worth noting that it takes approximately 6 weeks for orders to be completed at the moment, though it’s possible to contact Celeste before ordering to discuss whether they could be made ready by a particular date if necessary. Because of this make time, the Curlettes shop only opens for certain periods of time so that Celeste can fill her available order spaces then close the shop to avoid the wait times becoming too long. The shop is currently open and Celeste was lovely enough to give me a discount code MISSAMY10 for you to use until November 11th on any orders you place. Happy curling!