Style your hair in soft vintage waves that lay close to your head.

How to Get Soft Vintage Curls

by S.R. Becker

Soft vintage curls are suitable for special occasions or everyday. Whether you're wearing a retro rockabilly dress or a wedding gown, a large-barrel curling iron allows you to style your hair into perfectly suitable waves. Wrapping your hair around the barrel and pinning the warm hair in place (instead of placing the hair under the clip) gives your locks the same look as finger waves. Also, the curling-iron method doesn't require you to start with wet hair and sleep in curlers or sit under a dryer.

Straight Hair

Turn your head upside down and spritz your dry hair with a curl-setting lotion and a heat-protectant spray. Flip your head back and spray the top layer of your hair. Brush your hair with a large round brush.

Twist a 2-inch section of your hair gently from roots to tips. Twist only two or three times to keep the hair loose.

Wrap the hair around the curling iron in a spiral from roots to tips. Hold the ends away from the barrel. Leave the hair wrapped around the iron for 10 to 20 seconds.

Release the curl and pin each wave against your head horizontally with a large bobby pin. Continue curling and pinning each section, working all the way around your head. Allow all the sections to cool, then unpin them.

Comb your hair from roots to ends with a fine-toothed comb to soften your waves. Finish the look with a light mist of hairspray.

Items you will need

  • Setting lotion
  • Heat-protectant spray
  • Large round brush
  • 1 1/4-inch curling iron
  • Long bobby pins
  • Fine-toothed comb
  • Hairspray
  • Heat-styling glove (optional)


  • To prevent burning your fingertips, wear a heat-styling glove (also known as a heat-protectant glove) on the hand that holds the hair.
  • To boost the shine in your curls, apply a silicone serum instead of a heat-protectant spray. Silicone is an artificial oil that coats and protects your hair by reducing its porosity. Those with curly, dry or color-treated hair will find that silicone helps to guard against frizz.
  • Serums and sprays buildup on your hair. To keep your curls shiny and bouncy, use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remover product residue.


  • Be careful using curling irons, as the barrel gets very hot. Always unplug your curling iron after use.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images