Short pin curls are one of the most classic looks from the 1920s to the 1950s, and hold endless possibilities for a glamorous vintage style. They’re not the easiest, but they’re one of the most fun and glamorous looks you can do. This process works best on medium to long hair, and virtually any texture is able to curl.
- Duckbill clips: At least 20 or 30. Grab more than you think you’ll need.
- A very strong-hold gel.
- A fine toothed, rat-tail comb to help section off the hair.
- Butterfly clips to keep the hair pulled back.
- A spray bottle of water in case your hair becomes too dry while you’re working.
- Soaking wet hair.
Step 1: Coat the hair with strong-hold hair gel. Make sure your entire head is saturated with the gel to get the smoothest, most long-lasting curls possible.
Step 2: Section the hair into workable areas. Take the middle section of your hair, from the temples backward, and twist it up. Clip it there with a butterfly clip so it stays out of the way. Next, use your rat-tail comb to section the hair above the tops of the ears. Twist these two sections up, and secure them with butterfly clips.
Step 3: Start pin-curling! Take one one-inch section of hair, and comb it through. Make sure to face your comb upwards and draw the hair up with it, which smooths the hair and makes it all go in the same direction. Loop the hair in a curl, making sure to curl away from your face, not towards it. Once you have a satisfactory curl, pinch the curl together with your thumb and forefinger, and roll the curl all the way to the root. Once that curl is flat against the head, slide a duckbill clip through the curl to keep it in place: make sure the top part is going through the curl, not across the entire thing, which could leave an unwanted imprint.
Step 4: Continue pin curling. Keep curling! Make sure your pins all face the same way, and your sections of hair stay in uniform, straight rows. Once you’ve got your curls, decide what kind of part you’re after: are you after the deep Veronica Lake-inspired waves from our last blog post? Then take down your middle section and push it all to one side, then start pinning more curls. If you prefer a middle or less deep side part, then keep all the curls going away from your face, facing backwards like the rest of the curls.
Step 6: Wake up, flawless. Not really flawless, but super close. Once you’re up, head to the bathroom, remove your turban, and use your hairdryer on that same low setting to get your hair nice and super-dry. Once it’s dry, start removing the pins. Work from the bottom upwards, and slide them out carefully to make sure you don’t catch your hair on the ends. Give your head a shake before styling.
Now you have some options:
- For bouncy, vintage curls, simply comb through your hair with your fingers, and set with a fine hairspray.
- For that 1920s flapper look, comb through with a fine-toothed comb for a little frizz, then smooth down the top with some of that hair gel.
- For Veronica Lake volume, brush through with a boar bristle brush, run some shine serum through, then set with a fine hairspray.