Thursday, January 20, 2011

Using Scraps of Fabric as Hair Rollers


Rolling hair with rags started centuries ago. Before rollers and curling irons, women would use scraps of fabric/material to curl their hair.

I first found out about rag rolling when I was about 12 years old. I needed to curl my bangs but couldn't find my sponge rollers which I usually used. My dad saw how frantic I was then told me about how my grandmother and great grandmother used pieces of paper to curl their hair "back in the day". I had no clue what he was talking about. I could not possibly wrap my mind around how that could even be possible. But sure enough it worked. My dad (of all people) cut up a few pieces of paper and showed me how it worked the same as a regular roller. I was shocked and amazed, I had never seen anything like that before! I was even more shocked when I woke up the next morning and had better curls than I did with the sponge rollers.

A few months later I spent the night at that same grandmother's house and was once again without my rollers. We were going to church that next morning so my bangs had to be curled (Yes, I was a drama queen even back then!). She told me she didn't have any rollers so I asked her if she had any scrap paper. I told her how my dad showed me the way she and her mother would roll their hair that way. She told me how my dad was a little boy the last time she did that and she couldn't believe he actually remembered watching her do it (keep in mind my dad was in his 40's by then)! So she gave me some paper and once again, crisis averted!

Well, years went by without me ever using rags (or paper) again for my hair and I had forgotten all about it. I wasn't reminded until I was watching a movie set in the 1800's and saw the scraps of fabric in the character's hair. That's when I had an ah ha moment. I realized how when I used the paper as rollers, I could only use them once so I had to end up throwing them away the next morning after I took them out of my hair. However, by using fabric, I could use the scraps over and over just like regular rollers (just like the women did centuries ago)! You have no idea how excited I was.

So since then, I've used rag rollers off and on over the years and have been using them regularly starting pretty recently. They give tight, secure curls that last for a long time. They are much more comfortable to sleep in than hard rollers, and are a lot easier on my hair than sponge rollers. With sponge rollers my hair would always get stuck between the sponge and the plastic because my hair is so long. Rag rolling works perfectly!

This is what I did:

I took an old satin head scarf and cut it into strips about 1 inch in width. All of the strips don't have to be exactly the same size. They will work just fine even if they're a little off (or a little crooked!)



Next, I took each strip, folded it in half, then cut it again to make it into two shorter strips.



I cut out 12 strips and still ended up with quite a bit of fabric left over.


You can use any type of fabric you like, but I've noticed that using a type of satin or silk fabric works best. It doesn't have to be real satin or silk (wink wink). When I used cotton or similar types of fabric, there was a lot of unraveling (which left pieces of strings in my hair) and it also made my hair a lot frizzier. Cotton sucks all of the natural oils out of hair. Using end papers on the end of each section will keep the ends of the curls a lot neater and will also help with frizz.
You may want to lightly spray each section of hair with water or hairspray before rolling. However, if you have naturally curly hair that frizzes up while wet like I do, you will want to avoid any water or sprays. You can use castor oil (which is what I use) or shea butter to help smooth out each section before rolling. Rag rolling will work on straight hair or naturally curly hair.

Also, remember that the smaller the section of hair, the tighter the curl and the bigger the section of hair, the looser the curl. Below is a video where I show you how I use the rag rollers. I am only curling 5 sections of hair because my hair was previously curled. However, use smaller sections and more rollers if you are starting with straight hair.


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