The Life Cycle of My Wet Set – Day Seven


Well, I made it! The last day of my set. My curls have fallen substantially and my hair desperately needs to be washed so I will do that this evening and start the whole process all over again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and you’ve gained some insight to how I style my hair. I hope to produce more hair tutorials in the future for you. I prefer to do pictorials rather than videos, for me personally I learn better that way. Plus videos are so time consuming to produce and I just don’t have the equipment to do it properly right now.

So here is my seventh day hair with a quick how-to guide below. Only once my hair has smoothed out can I do this style. It doesn’t work very well at all when it’s curly, so I reserve this for 1-2 days before need to wash it.

Day 7 - 1 IMG_6527 IMG_6526 Day 7 - 2 IMG_6521 IMG_6525


First, you’ll want to section off your fringe and pin it up and out of the way. Brush out the hair and smooth it out with a bit of pomade. Start on one side of you head and and start twisting and rolling the hair gathering another section as you go. Place a bobby pin or two horizontally to secure the roll.

Follow this all the way across to the other side. Twist and tuck the ends in on it self and secure the ends with bobby pins. Feel along the roll for any loose sections and add more pins wherever needed, making sure you pin horizontally to hid the pins.



Now take down your fringe and smooth it out. Add a bit of pomade to smooth any fly-a-ways. Create a swoop and tuck the end into the twist on the side of your head. Secure with bobby pins.


Take the tail of your comb and while holding the swoop secure lift up a little to give a bit of height. Place a hair flower or hair comb to further secure the end of the swoop and to hide the pins. Run a comb through the back of hair from the crown to the roll.


The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Six


My hairstyle today is one that I do on a fairly regular basis. I will give a more detailed pictorial on how to achieve this style below. It’s best done when the front fringe is not as curly, however the back should have some curl or wave to it to help with the “messy bun” look. I don’t always add hair flowers, but I recently bought these and thought they looked nice with what I was wearing.

Day 6 - 1 Day 6 - 2 IMG_6446 Day 6 - 3 IMG_6449IMG_6451Day 6 - 4


Someone on Facebook has asked me to show what my hair looked like before styling it, so here it is on Day 6 just after I’ve taken in out of a bun, I haven’t brushed it yet.

First, section a your hair on the smaller side by creating a side part then sectioning off the hair down to the top of your ear. Then section off the larger side down to the other ear. Tease a little bit to get some volume. You can secure the back of your hair with a tie if needed.

Take the hair from the larger side and start twisting the hair back and down until just past your ear. Push the twist forward a bit to give it some volume, then bobby pin to secure, making sure you cross the pins for a secure fit.

Do the same thing on the smaller side.

Now for the back. Take three sections and make a partial pony tail, not pulling the hair all the way through the hair tie.

Now, using small bobby pins, just start pinning sections of the partial pony tails up. Make sure you take some hair from each section and pin to the next, so they look like they are all one “messy bun”. There really is no specific technique to this, just start pinning where you wish. After you’ve pinned a few sections, check in the mirror for any “holes” or hairs falling down and pin them up.

Once all your pins are in, just take your comb and run it through down to the curls to get rid of the three parts and create a smooth crown. Then you can adjust the front part of your hair and carefully pull the twists up to get more height if needed. Hairspray and you are finished. You can leave it like this or add hair flowers if you wish.



The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Five


My hairstyle today is simple and honestly kinda lazy. I needed a quick style as I had a volunteer shift at the USO and didn’t have time to futz around too much this morning. My curl at the ends is still pretty good, so by pulling it into a side pony tail I can show off those curls. And since I had my fringe in a roll all day yesterday, I’m able to easily create a front swoop and pin curl it on the side. Add a hair flower and Voila!

Day 5 - 1 Day 5 - 2 Day 5 - 4

Day 5 - 3



The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Four




As you can see my curls are really starting to fall and some of the volume has flattened. This will probably be the last day that I wear my hair down this week. I have to admit that I had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to do with my hair today. Sometimes at this point, I would use a few hot rollers on my fringe or do a dry pin curl setting with my curling iron. But I really want to show how my hair evolves throughout the original set.

Today I just sectioned off my fringe and created a front roll, pinned it inside the roll and off to the side. Then I did a small pin curl on the smaller side. I added two small hair flowers to finish off the look. I prefer to do rolls like this on day 3 or 4 hair. As you can see the curl at the end is still pretty stable, but the rest is smooth.

Day 4 - 4 Day 4 - 2 IMG_6368 Day 4 - 5 Day 4 - 1 IMG_6369Day 4 - 3IMG_6373





The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Three


Today was a very uneventful day, so I just brushed my hair into a more sleek style. As my set wears on, you can start to see how the curl falls a bit, especially in the front of my hair. I pull my hair back into a pony tail when I shower and put my makeup on in the morning and when I wash my face at night. This pulls some of the curl out, but it also smooths my hair, so I’m ok with it.

Day 3 - 2 Day 3 - 3 IMG_6329 IMG_6335


The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Two


It’s still pretty chilly here in Germany right now, so I will try and wear my hair mostly down for as long as I can. Once my curl starts to drop I will wear it up more.

For my second day, I chose to wear my fringe in a front pin curl and bring the sides up using a twist method and secure with hair combs. This is really a very simple vintage style and one that I wear a lot in many variations. I lightly brushed my hair with my Denman brush prior to styling and added a little bit of Precious Oil for shine and taming fly-aways.

Day 2 - 4 Day 2 - 5 Day 2 - 2.1Day 2 - 1


Here’s a little pictorial guidance on how to twist and secure the sides. You’ll want to grab the sides of your hair and hold it up towards the ceiling and twist inward toward the center of your head. Push the twist forward just a smidgen to give it some volume and secure with a hair comb.



Now the other side

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Day 2 - 3



The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day One

I have been wanting to do a series like this for quite some time. Now I can dedicate the time and energy to do a series like this justice. This is quite an undertaking for me as I normally do not take outfit or hair photos every day. But I am excited to share this information with all of you.

I was first inspired to do this post by a wonderful vintage hairstyle group I am in on Facebook. Many questions are asked about how to do specific styles, what products to use, definitions of terminology and how long a wet set might or should last.

So I’ve decided to create The Life Cycle of My Wet Set. Notice that I say MY wet set. My set and styles work for me and my hair. I truly hope that the information I provide can help you out, but please don’t dismay or give up if your set only lasts a few days or the products or techniques I use don’t work well due to a different type or texture of hair. Please note that I am not a hairdresser, I was not trained in styling hair. I am simply an enthusiast of vintage hairstyles. I practice AND FAIL a lot, and hopefully learn from my mistakes. I challenge myself regularly to learn new hairstyles and over the years I’ve really learned a lot about my own hair and style. I know what silhouettes flatter my face, I know the limitations of my hair and what products to use to achieve the different styles I love.

For this series I will only create styles that utilize my basic wet set as the base. I won’t really be using any additional styling tools accept my flat iron occasionally. I have naturally curly hair and sometimes I have to use the flat iron on my fringe to relax the curl that happens after I shower.


I typically wash and set my hair once a week. The curls I create with this set are the basis of just about ALL of my styles.

Here is my typical wet set pattern and the one I used for this series. Please check out my previous post here for the products I use to set my hair.

Day 1 Wet SetDay 1 Wet Set - 2

I don’t re-curl or re-set the curls at night. I simply brush out my hair each evening with a wide-tooth comb and then figure out what to do the next day.

Here is the finished style. Day one is usually a simple brush out using my Denman brush and I tease the fringe a bit then sculpt it into an “S” curve. I place a small bobby pin to secure the curl and that’s it.

Day 1 - 1 Day 1 - 3 Day 1 - 5 Day 1 - 2 Day 1 - 4

Easy alternatives or additions:

  • Add a hair flower
  • Bring sides up and secure with hair combs
  • Make front fringe into a pin curl



Vintage Hairstyling for Naturally Curly Hair

When I about 16 years old I started playing around with vintage hairstyles. I would watch old movies and scour my local vintage shop for old magazines and study their intricate hairstyles. I started to understand and admire the esthetic and shape of the vintage styles and I wanted it!!!



I eventually cut my bangs into “Bettie Bangs” and started twisting my hair and creating poodle hairstyles. I bought snoods and started making my own hair flowers. The only problem was, I naturally have incredibly curly and thick hair and the styles that I was in love with were all lovely waves or soft curls. And the idea of running a brush through my hair sent shivers down my spine. A brush though my crazy, curly locks typically resulted in a huge frizzy mane that even Mufasa would be jealous of.

Here is my natural curl

Nowhere in the vintage magazines did it ever talk about how to style naturally curly hair. I just assumed that no one had curly hair back then. Then came the Internet. Once photo and video tutorials were commonplace and vintage blogs started popping up I once again turned to educate myself. Yet, I still couldn’t find anything specific to naturally curly hair. I found some great info on styling your hair when it’s curly, but nothing about how to achieve the coveted vintage styles by taming my natural curl. So I started to experiment.

I learned from having Bettie Bangs that it was imperative to “relax” the curl in order to manipulate it and bend it to my will. So I started to experiment to see how I could temporarily relax my curl and create the soft waves I was so desperate for. I never wanted to use chemical relaxers and while I do use a straightening iron occasionally (mostly on my fringe), fully straightening my hair never worked to create the style I was after. If I straightened my hair it wouldn’t hold a curl for more than 30 minutes.

My hope for this post is to provide some guidance to anyone who is struggling with vintage hairstyles and their naturally curly hair. There will be some general information as well, so If you don’t have naturally curly hair, some of this information might still be helpful for you.

I’ll list some of my favorite products and tools here. I will create another post for my various wet sets and then I will start a few tutorials for my styles.

Because my hair tends to be dry, I try not to use too many heat styling products. I wash and set my hair once a week. I can sometimes draw it out to 10 days, if I’ve not heavily styled it every day.


WASH: I use Deva Care No-Poo Shampoo and One Condition Conditioner. This product is designed specifically for naturally curly hair and has no sulfates so the shampoo doesn’t foam. It’s considered a “co-wash” system, which means that the shampoo won’t strip your hair and it helps to retain maximum moisture . I don’t wash out the conditioner; I just use it as a leave-in.


TOWEL: It took me a while to figure this one out….it is really important to have the right type of towel to dry curly hair. A microfiber towel is the best or you can use an old t-shirt and remember, never rub your hair dry as this will separate the curl and create frizz. I use a Turbie Twist Microfiber Hair Towel right out of the shower. I twist up all of my hair into this turban and secure it with the fastener in the back. I keep it in this towel for 30-60 minutes to really whisk away the water.Turbie Twist

SETTING LOTION: I’ve tried so many setting lotions and found that straightening balms tended to work better for me. However I was noticing that my scalp was getting dry and flaky so I was once again on the search for something new.  Over the last year or so I’ve been making my own flax seed setting lotion. It has done wonders for my hair. I have less flaking, it holds my sets really well and hair looks really shiny.

See my recipe below. This recipe makes enough for me for 2 wet sets and will last 2 weeks in the fridge. I just spray it on each section of hair then I can start to roll my hair into my sponge rollers. I have a few patterns I use regularly depending on the desired outcome. I will do a separate post on my various sets, but you can see my regular wet set here.


HAIR OIL: I cannot live with out Precious Oil Versatile Caring Oil from Pureology. This is truly a versatile oil, it adds shine and smooths flyaways. It also replenishes the protective lipid layer to enhance color vibrancy. This was very important to me when I colored my hair red, as red tends to fade quickly. But it works well even with my dark brown color now. I use this oil after my hair has dried, before I style it. I use this oil just about every day to add shine and create smooth styles.


HAIRCREAM: On vacation a few years ago, I forgot some of my styling products so I used my husband Brylcreem for a bit of hold and I fell in love. It’s a light creamy product that has a light hold, and give your hair shine. As my hair is dryer naturally, I can handle this kind of product. But I would imagine that if you have thin hair or if it tends toward oiliness, this would not be a good product for you. I use a very small amount and distribute it evenly through my hair. It does have a light “men’s hair product” smell, but I don’t mind it at all and it dissipates very quickly.


HAIRSPRAY: I love Elnett Unscented Strong Hold. This is truly THE BEST hairspray for anyone who doesn’t wash their hair everyday. It’s not a super strong hold, but it’s great for most hairstyles, and the fact that it’s unscented in a bonus as I am very sensitive to smells. I never understood why hairspray should be scented anyway. But what makes it so amazing is that it really does “disappear with a stroke of a brush” as indicated on the bottle. Which means that it doesn’t create a ton of build up on your hair so I can style my hair for several days not feel like my hair is gross.


POMADE: Pomade is essential to sculpt and hold vintage styles. I usually only use pomade when sculpting victory rolls or small pin curls. I don’t like to use it on all of my hair unless I’m doing a very sleek look. I have several tins of different pomades, and each one has it’s merits. I like the water based pomades as they don’t leave too much residue. But if used everyday it will buildup and look horrible. This is why I use the Precious Oil to smooth flyaways instead. The two I use the most are John Master’s Organic Hair Pomade and Layrite.



BRUSHES: Another “can’t live without” item is my Denman brush. As I mentioned before, I never really used a brush on my curly hair and certainly never really cared what kind of brush I used. But when the Denman brush was highly recommended I thought I would try it. And it really changed my mind and my styling process. This brush really helps to sculpt my curls and waves, it’s comfortable in my hand and massages my scalp. I brush my hair each night before bed, otherwise it tangles. This also helps to brush out some of the product that I use and helps distribute some of the natural oils.


I also have a boar bristle paddle brush, which I use for taming some flyaways and doing more sleek styles.

COMBS: Two essentials are a wide-tooth comb and a rat-tail comb. The wide-tooth comb is perfect for combing the through wet hair and also combing out my set right after I take out my sponge rollers. For most naturally curly haired girls, the wide-tooth comb is the closest thing we get to a brush.

The rat-tail comb is your basic comb for everything from parting your hair – for wet sets, side or middle part – to backcombing for extra volume. I also use this comb to straighten my hair as I wrap each strand around the sponge roller.

CLIPS: Duck-bill clips and pin curl clips – used to help separate the hair, secure a pin curl or sculpt a wave. I also have a few wave clips, which can be helpful for creating a more defined finger wave.


HAIR SIDE COMBS: I have several sizes of hair combs, and I prefer the brand Grip-Tuth. These keep your hair in place because the teeth touch each other, leaving no room for hair to slide out. I use these regularly to hold the sides of my hair up or back. These create a nice soft look. I use them when I do my “twist” hair styles (as pictured above) as they really grip and hold your hair in place.


RAT ROLL: I will have to dedicate an entire post to the infamous rat roll. I make my own rat roll with hair that I collect from my hairbrush. I keep the hair in my beautiful hair receiver that sits on my vanity. I do have a few synthetic rolls that I use for a larger back roll. But I prefer to make/use my own.

Hair Receiver

This is my beautiful vintage hair receiver

HAIR PINS: Of course every woman’s vintage hair routine would not be complete without bobby pins. I use two different sizes – medium and small – and I make sure that they are never seen. It’s a big no-no to have your bobby pins showing. It does take some practice to learn where to place the bobby pin and hide it, but it can, and should be done.


The medium size pins are great for just about everything, but the small pins I reserve for small pin curls or any curl or wave around my face. They are much easier to conceal.

I also use traditional hair pins to secure rat rolls and french twists. They aren’t tight like a bobby pin but they do hold larger amounts of hair pretty well.

Hair Pin

Traditional hair pin


Well, I think that’s about all my main products and tools. I hope this was helpful for you. And just remember that practice really does make perfect. My best advise is to really  get to know your hair, and learn what it’s strengths and weakness are. Be kind to yourself when learning, and most of all, have fun with your styles.

I look forward to answering your questions. I’d also love to hear from you, which hairstyle you’d like to see a tutorial of.