The Life-Cycle of a Pin Curl Set

Have you ever really wondered why you should learn how to do pin curls? With all the effort it takes, it better be worth it. It takes so long to master and if you’re new to doing it it can take an hour to set each time! GAH! I myself often think about doing a pin curl set and end up saying “fuck it, ain’t nobody got time fo dat.” But on those occasions that I do push forward and do it, I’m really glad I did. Let me chronicle here for you how a pin curl set looks – and holds up – so you can see and compare for yourself. I typically set it dry and spray to wet with Lottabody setting lotion diluted in water once it’s done. As for a setting pattern, I barely have one. I just roll it all down and under, except sometimes at the base I roll it up just because it’s easier that way. I don’t use hairspray so it’s not a factor in these photos. Keep in mind that my hair is naturally super straight, fine, and will only hold a curl after serious negotiation.

April 2nd – I started last night with kind of dirty day-5 hair, but I had done pin curls Friday night for Viva and thus had the motivation to do it again, even if I figured I’d have to wash it soon and might not get the full life out of it. Instead of using the large end of the pin curler I used the small end for the first time. I guess I just wanted to see what it would do. While the pinned curls look the same as when I use the larger end, the result is really quite different. Here’s the large end, that I used over the weekend…

CurlsLarge

And here’s what I woke up with today

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So cute! I wish I had tried this weeks ago!

8 hours later it was definitely fuzzier, but had not fallen at all.  So for starters, let’s have a look at what happens when you just sleep on it as-is with no preservation, since this isn’t going to last much longer before I have to wash it anyway.

The next morning…

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Looks like a fresh pillow roller set!

Not bad.  By tonight it once again has managed to hold, however it’s clearly getting pretty gross so that’s the end of that. Now let’s start again and see how long it lasts when I preserve it overnight.

Day 1…

You can see how pleased I am by my expression

You can see how pleased I am by my expression

I think the small end of the pin curler actually works better when my hair is a bit dirty. It was all fluff. By the end of the day it was a little fuzzier like before, but basically the same. So by now we have learned that pin curls, though they may fall somewhat at night without preservation, don’t fall easily throughout the day.

Day 2…

Hooray, it's cute!

Hooray, it’s cute!

Last night I made maybe about 10 large pin curls using a foundation stick as a tool, and left them dry. So now we get to compare the difference this makes. As you can see I also did a victory roll, because pin curls make them about a million times easier so why not.

Day 3…

Last night I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at 4am, so I did a pretty half-assed job of preserving the set. I did 4 very large, very messy pin curls around the base of my head that were just barely hanging on in the pins, left the victory roll alone, covered it in a bandanna as usual and stumbled into bed. Nevertheless, it still looks great this morning.

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Can you believe this is day three? At this point I almost feel like I could keep this up indefinitely until my hair gets dirty. Have I cracked the code on how the girls at Viva could look so gorgeous all day every day on so little sleep? Of course the catch is that I figured it out a few days AFTER Viva. Oh well.

Day 4…

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While it miraculously doesn’t seem to be falling any noticeable amount, I am noticing a change in shape, though I’m not sure if it’s because the curls are getting old or because my hair is getting dirty. It’s a mystery for the ages. My hair is starting to deflate slightly, though it still looks good. It’s been losing its fluff and getting smoother, which is nice to a point. And it’s starting to form ringlets, which is annoying.

Day 5…

Yes I'm in my pajamas.

Yes I’m in my pajamas.

I’m still going at day 5. Basically my hair looks the same as it did yesterday, but by now I would really like to wash it. I wonder if I should give in and do it, or hold on another two days to really see how far I can take this thing. Also notable is it’s not trying to make ringlets anymore. I thought that was part of the curl aging process but it seems to have just been a slightly bad-ish hair day. I’m pretty much back to normal shape-wise.

Day 6…

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Ok so I have some pretty good volume here all things considered. My curls are becoming waves, but still have shape. I’m pretty happy! I think I’ll hang in there for the last day.

Day 7…

IMG_1736 IMG_1743

Yeah, so today became a ponytail day.

Yeah, so today became a ponytail day. And I added pearls!

Happy Day of Pink, bitches! I’m wearing pink right down to my mismatched socks, except all blue underwear because I’m a rebel like that. I think these pictures might do a little too much justice to my hair right now. I feel like until this point, you couldn’t really tell that it wasn’t first day hair, that I hadn’t styled it just like that on purpose. Today it’s obvious that this is an old set. It may be because I lightly sprayed it with diluted baking soda in preparation for my next wash, or it might be that I put all the curls on the top of my head overnight because I was sick of pins poking into my head as I slept, or it might just be that it’s been a damn week since I washed my hair. Either way, I’m glad I’ll be starting over tonight. And I’m pretty impressed that it’s lasted this long. I asked Mike if I should just put it in a snood because it was “wonky and loose” and he said “that’s the way I like you,” so I guess I’ll take that as some sort of compliment. And I have no one to impress but myself anyway. Today is a day against discrimination, and that includes discrimination against my dirty fallen hair. That’s right. I timed this thing perfectly.

So what do you think? Broken down over a week, I don’t think I spent much more time on this than on a regular roller set, and I’m pretty inexperienced with this so I’m slow. With a roller set, I have to set it from scratch with water every night, and within a few hours of taking it down I have loose shapeless ringlets that look pretty lame in comparison.

And this is how it looks fresh!

So, worth it? I think so!

Now all this is well and good, but what happens if your set fails? Check back on the 25th, when I’ll show you no less than 8 options, none of which include the ponytail.

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6 comments on “The Life-Cycle of a Pin Curl Set

  1. Fräulein U. says:

    Quite certainly worth it!

    I too find that with a little preservation each night you actually *save* time with pin curls because the set keeps so well. I can’t go longer than five days usually because I need to use an anti hair loss serum that builds up after a while, but otherwise my experience is quite similar.

    The ringlet issue indeed tends to get worse over time for me though, it rarely resolves itself again unless I wash and re-set.

    Thanks for sharing.Love your funny style of writing btw. 🙂

  2. Heather Rajotte says:

    Love the blog but the way your photos are highlighted around the face & such a light background, your darker hair is hard to see. Impossible to tell the difference between the different effects you talk about when its all falling into shadow.

  3. Alissa says:

    How exactly do you “preserve”your curls?

    • Ava Strange says:

      I would just put in large (like about 5 on my whole head) pin curls before sleeping without worrying at all if they were even close to perfect. Just something that will keep it in its general shape while your head is rolling around a pillow.

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