This post is about the fact that I am more than halfway through my twenties and have just started to learn how to use a curling iron. Look! I am learning!
american apparel + sharpie shirt, h+m skirt, LOTS OF HAIRSPRAY.
In general I am pretty good at girl things: I can apply liquid eyeliner perfectly in a moving taxi, and I hardly even blink at five inch heels. But one thing has always eluded me: CURLING IRONS. How do those torturous implements which I recall being forced to submit to as a child for maximum curled-under bangs give people everything from loose waves to Hollywood ringlets without weird bumps in their hair and burns all over their face? IT’S A TWELVE INCH ROD OF FOUR HUNDRED DEGREE CERAMIC-COATED METAL. That is a device capable of a good deal of bodily harm.
But the grass is always greener when it comes to hair texture, and I’ve spent much of my life trying to make my thick wiry pin straight hair (for reference, this is “air dried and slept on”) somehow not straight. It has been a long and expensive journey, but I think I am finally learning! HERE I WILL SHOW YOU HOW.
I’ve mastered the foam curlers, which are awesome, but sometimes you don’t have time to sit around with curlers in your hair, and curling irons have long terrified me. But I have found one that does not! It is called the YouCurl (they have a “YouSpiral” one too but whatever, it just has some kind of pointless guides on it) and it is amazing. (I swear, the only person who I can credit for advertising this to me is Hilary who showed up with it at Halloween and I was all WHAT IS THIS DEVICE I MUST HAVE IT.) This thing is rad because there’s no weirdo clamp mechanism to create snarls/creases/get stuck in your hair/stab your eye out, and the tapered barrel means you can make different size curls pretty easily. It was a little tricky to use at first - even despite the weird three-finger heatproof glove it comes with I burned my fingers a few times, but whatever, I am a bad feminist willing to trade a few blistered knuckles for wavy hair.
SO. What the heck do we do with this rad thing now that we have it?!! I did a lot of internet research. No, really. Youtube is full of helpful ladies who record themselves getting all pretty, and there are plenty of bloggers out there from the uber high femme retro pinup girls to tanned sorority types who will tell you how they did magical things to their hair. And every style is different! You actually don’t just stab the curling iron at your head and twist and cross your fingers and hope for the best! Honestly, I had no concept of this until recently. Don’t laugh.
So figure out what you want to do and let the internet tell you. Like for Olsen twin curls you should pull 1-2” sections of hair and alternate the direction you wrap the hair. For beachy messy waves, do the same, but use dirty hair and only curl from the ear down and don’t hold the iron in there too long and wrap it a little looser. For old Hollywood waves, you should twirl the hair around your finger a lil before wrapping, then wrap all in the same direction at a bit of an angle starting at ear length, let it cool, and then brush it all out smooth. It’s wild! I am still learning too so don’t worry, it’s okay if you look like a poodle the first few times.
Anyhow, what I did here was alternated curl direction. Start out with 2/3 of your hair piled on your head with a piranha clip and work your way around curling the bottom layer in sections, then pull some more down, etc. Bangs get tricky but I’ve learned that curling them AWAY from you face is what looks best, since curling them under or towards your face makes you look like a soccer mom. This whole thing only takes me about 30 minutes, and I have long thick hair and no coordination and swear a lot while I’m doing it. You probably are better at this.
When you are done your hair is goiing to look ridiculous, like this:
You are going to look like a doll or child beauty pageant contestant. This is okay! You are going to mess with it a little with your fingers but not brush it, and maybe spritz some sea salt spray in there to calm it down and muss it up.
This is my “I’m still half-asleep because it’s 7:45 in the morning” face, I guess.
And then you have to get dressed and put on a sweater and get on the train and wallk nine blocks anyhow and probably get rained on or something, and it will totally calm down by then. I promise. I probably need to learn how to do it subtle from the start, but my hair is so determined to straighten out that and hour or two of weirdly bouncy curls is fine with me. So by the time you get to work or the party or whatever it will look like this:
And then you’re going to go out dancing and sweat a lil and by midnight you’re going to have messy waves and it’ll look amazing and for the next two days it’ll be all wavy and textured still. Like this, which is second-day curls:
In that silly pouty photo which started this whole post, I went for maximum side part drama, so I slicked down the shallow side and pinned it with a cute twisty bobby pin. Then I brushed out the curls for more volume, and then re-curled and teased some of the stuff on the other side for maximum poof and doused myself in half a bottle of hairspray.
But today I just messed it up a little and threw on my amazing new cheap vintage dress and some tights and slouchy wool winter socks and creepers and a ball chain necklace and took some blotchy mirror photos and called it a day! Perf.
How amazing is this dress, for real? A little 90’s, a little 20’s, applique/oversized lace over a silk slip, for $17.