Monday, September 8, 2008


A discussion arose the other day on the WellTrainedMind forum about curling hair. A mom asked how to give her 11 year old daughter curls -- she had tried various methods, but the curls fell out as quickly as she put them in.

I can relate. When Thalia was young and in ballet/tap/jazz classes she wanted fancy, curly hair for recital. Unfortunately her hair was straight as a stick, and Would. Not. Hold. A. Curl. Uh-uh, no way. I used a curling iron, hot rollers, sponge rollers left in overnight, various hairsprays, and still ended up with a dismal flop.

Fast forward, and we join Irish Dance. We are asked to curl hair. Oh, I dreaded it, let me tell you. I was sure it wouldn't work.

But, whaddya know, it did.

We had a performance last Saturday and AnnaBeth requested that I curl her hair in lieu of having a wig on (wigs are hot and itchy). So I took some pictures while we went through the process.

(Also, I discovered why people who post a lot of pictures tend not to use Blogger. Trying to sort out all of these in the post is really annoying in the Blogger system.)

Here's what AnnaBeth's hair looks like plain:

It's fine and rather thin. For the record, Thalia has long, thick hair, and we've curled it plenty of times, too.

Here are my tools:

From Sally's Beauty Supply we have SalonCare Super Firm Styling Gel. It's an unattractive yellow gel that comes in various size jars. I'm on my second 12 oz. jar. We also have Sally's Jumbo End Wraps. And we have some packages of Soft Spike curlers. We bought these at the dance studio. I typically use 2 packages (30 spikes per package) on AnnaBeth's hair, and 3 packages on Thalia's. If I'm doing both girls, though, the second one gets drastically fewer spikes, as the charm of curling hair really wears thin after an hour or so.

I've got the spikes I need opened up and ready to go so I don't have to fumble around with them. Also, I've put them all on a tray next to the chair I'll sit in.

I'm curling her hair on Friday afternoon; our performance is Saturday afternoon. This way we'll have plenty of time for the gel to dry.

Note that I'm working on dry hair, wetting it only with the gel.

For the hairstyle we use for performances, we make a part from ear to ear and draw that front hair up into a pony tail:

Starting in the little ponytail, take a lock of hair about half as big as your pinkie:

Coat it with gel from roots to tip, after which it will stick straight up into the air by itself:

(From here on out I'm fumbling around with the gel all over my fingers while I'm trying to take pictures, so expect them to be a little wonky.)

Put an end paper over the end, and roll up on the spike:


Et voila! One curl done!

Finish up the ponytail:

Then start curling the main head of hair, moving row by row front to back:

Almost done! She's looking through a magazine here; sometimes we watch movies while we do this. By this time my fingers are cold from glopping around in the gel for so long.

Next morning and we're already taking some out. Same view as the picture above. We start taking them out at the bottom so we don't end up with a tangled mess.

Action shot of Thalia unwrapping a curl (looks like she should've been picking up the couch pillow and papers all over the floor instead of messing with this, sigh):


Speaking of having a mess on the floor, the discarded spikes and end papers need to be corralled:

We took them out before dance class. This will give them some time to relax a bit before the show:

Later that afternoon, having already bounced around in class, she's ready to go on stage:

It was a beautiful day, but those dresses are hot and heavy. She was feeling pretty good about her decision to not wear a wig.

After the show the curls are a little droopier:

She put on a hairnet overnight, and had curly hair Sunday morning for church:

Sunday afternoon she wore the whole thing, curls and all, back in a ponytail. Then started brushing the front curls out with a hairbrush. By Monday morning, having spent the night without a hairnet, the curls were looking pretty droopy and she was ready to wash them out:


kitten said...

Those are cool. I have never heard of them. KB's hair will curl easy, but fall out as fast as you curl it. I was told to try solar rollers. If solar rollers don't work, I'll check these out. Her hair is thick, heavy and coarse.

Rhonda said...

Oh, how pretty! She has such nice shiny hair. My youngest has hair like that. I may have to find some of those rollers for her just for a change.

km said...

An Irish Dancing mom has joined our homeschool park days. I think I'll be seeing some of these performances soon. Her 2nd grader was dancing at the park...just because she loves it so.