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Pin curls coming out!!

SwingPrincess

New in Town
Messages
5
Imagine this: I spend a good two hours painstakingly putting my damp hair into lots and lots of pin curls, wait at least 12 hours for them to properly set, then take ages taking every single pin out of my hair.
I brush out the set, and it looks amazing- I could have come straight out of a Golden Era film.
Then I spray the finished hair style with hairspray so that it won't all fall apart.

But shock, horror: the hairspray ruined the entire set! It made my hair look stringy and it stuck together. It didn't look soft and curly at all- my hair felt hard.

Help! Does anybody else have this problem or is it just me? Is the hairspray the problem or is it the hair? What did women in the golden era do?

Also, I tried not spraying my hair after another pin curl set and didn't stay as long as it usually does when I spray it, but at least it looked better.

Ugh.... I need advice!
 

sheeplady

I'll Lock Up
Bartender
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4,479
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Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
Are you using setting lotion?

Have you tried a different hair spray?

Hair sprays vary dramatically. Some are, for instance, more "moisturizing" or "drying." The moisturizing ones don't work on my hair, but I have fine hair without much volume.

Another trick is to spray your hair with hair spray as you set it (in addition to or instead of setting lotion). Spray each section before you curl it.
 

St. Louis

Practically Family
Messages
613
Location
St. Louis, MO
SwingPrincess, this isn't so much a direct answer to your question (though Sheeplady's response seems very sensible and helpful) but more an addition to the discussion and further questions to anyone who is knowledgeable about 1930s and 40s products.

I've always wondered about the specific products women used to hold their sets during the Era. I do know that they permed their hair every few weeks, which surely must have helped. I asked a hair dresser about that and she almost fainted. She told me never, never to attempt that. She said it would damage my hair beyond repair, so I guess it's not a viable option.

Here's another puzzle: I read lots of 1930s and 40s magazines. Among the thousands of ads, I don't think I've ever seen a single ad for hair dressing products. I do see ads for Drene shampoo (and the like) but never anything for setting lotion or hair lacquer. Is that because these products just weren't used at home?
 

SwingPrincess

New in Town
Messages
5
Thanks for your advice sheeplady!

Yes, I do use setting lotion, although maybe I should invest in a stronger one.

Something else I'm definitely going to invest in is a different hairspray! The one I'm currently using apparently 'fights humidity', and I'm not sure if that's for me and my hair. I'll definitely try something else and see how that goes!

St.Louis I've also often pondered about what they were using back then. I could use some nowadays!
 

sheeplady

I'll Lock Up
Bartender
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4,479
Location
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
I know that damaging my hair helps me with my sets, so I wonder if a perm did the same thing.

I have very fine and slippery hair with a tendency towards greasiness and build up. I tried a lemon treatment (usually used to lighten hair, which was a pleasant side effect). I put the lemon juice on my wet head and went out in the sun for about 40 minutes. It gave me a lot more volume, helped to control the grease, and helped with my sets. It's been two months since I've tried it, and I'm keen to do another because the effects are fading, I think as I'm getting more buildup and grease.
 

sheeplady

I'll Lock Up
Bartender
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4,479
Location
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
Also, I know some women nowadays use homemade flaxseed gel as a setting lotion... but I'd assume that if vintage women used that, they'd be reference to it in women's magazines, including recipes and how-tos.

As a reference point, I doubt making your own setting lotion was common, basic knowledge that every woman knew, either. I have cookbooks from the 40s and 50s that go into extreme detail on basics of cooking... things I've heard people making fun of young people not being able to do today (boil an egg, cook rice, etc.). Very basic tasks. So I'd assume that if there was a portion of women who had no idea how to perfectly soft boil an egg, there was a portion of women who wouldn't know how to make homemade setting lotion.

I was looking at my reprint of the 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, and it occurred to me it was often so basic (carefully going through recipies and variations) because it was marketed towards a generation of women who lived through the depression and war. When I think about how my grandparents ate in the 1930s and 1940s, it wouldn't surprise me if the vast majority of women in their teens, twenties, and even thirties in the early 1950s had no idea how to cook given the scarcity many families had faced in the decades prior.

So, to draw this back... I'm willing to bet most women didn't have all this background knowledge about hair that somehow never made it into publications, if some of them needed help to boil an egg, no matter what our modern society thinks everyone knew back then. And, given the lack of funds for so many, I doubt that they were using store bought setting lotions until after the depression.

(Note, I'm not poking at not knowing how to cook eggs or anything like that. I didn't know how to perfectly boil an egg for the different variations until a year ago, and I am a quite capable cook. My point being that many of the skills we bemoan 18 year olds not having in 2017 many 18 year olds lacked in 1953.)
 

AvavanBlythe

Familiar Face
Messages
85
Location
US
I know the replies are a bit old, but I want to offer what I currently do whenever I want a good curl. Maybe it'll help someone else. :) I have Asian-straight hair, which means a lot, lol. What works for me is doing a dry set in medium-sized sponge curlers, then spraying it all damp. Not too wet, more like dew on grass. I allow the water to settle in, then use a dryer bonnet for a hair dryer. I just goof off for 30-40 minutes, then give the curl set time to cool off. By then, it's dry. If I did this during the day, about 3 hours leaves me with a good curl set. Otherwise, I just sleep in them, and take them out after I do makeup.

My own protip is to brush from the ends, not the roots. I've seen many women just drag a paddle brush through their hair without a care -- hello breakage! I find better results with a smaller cushion brush. It's best if you find one with wooden "fingers" since it's more scalp friendly, and you avoid static. Like this. Also, I brush in sections. I take out a section, brush it to wear it's smooth but still very curly, then do the next session. It allows me to sculpt the style I want much easier.

Now, hairspray: My two favorites are from L'Oreal. There's L'Oreal Lock It, and L'Oreal Paris Elnett Satin hairspray. Elnett is brushable, and Lock It's extra hold is quite literally weather proof. It's helped my hair survive a windy day, but wasn't so weighty that my curls fell out. Elnett's extra strong hold allows for a smooth sculpt, which is even nicer for pageboy styles.
 

Swing Girl

New in Town
Messages
45
Location
Washington State, USA
I know I'm late on this reply, but in case this will help anyone:
From what I've read, hairspray wasn't used until the late '40s (in the US, at least), so I think St. Louis may have been correct when she asked if it just didn't exist. I like being authentic, and I don't use any setting spray, lotion, or hairspray, and for the most part my hair stays just fine. If your hair was looking fine before the hairspray, it probably would have stayed pretty well, unless you know from experience that it doesn't. If you feel like you need hairspray, though, a different brand might be better, but I can't help you with that.
 

Grant Fan

Practically Family
Messages
846
Location
Virginia
Women in the 40s didn't get their hair permed every 2 or 3 weeks they had it professionally set every couple of weeks. Set meaning they had a professional pin curl set and hood dry their hair. They did perm their hair of it was straight to help their website hold. I have naturally cvery curly hair it is fine but very tick and it hold pincurls extremely well so I can see why they permed straight hair. Hairspray didn't exist in the 40s pomade was one of the few hair finishing products that I know of from the time.
 

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