Skip to content
November 4

First early 40s Sponge Curling Attempt

Yes, blog-buddies!  This is truly the first time that I’ve attempted my first sponge curl set, and really the first time I’ve ever tried to curl my own hair since high school (*cough cough* over 10 years ago *cough*).

I decided to grow out my pixie cut once I got engaged, but I’ve had pretty short hair since high school, but I rather like myself with longer hair and have maintained a decent length since I got married 2 years ago.  I’m still quite the novice about how to actually *do* things with it.  I rely heavily on tutorials that I’ve found online, which is what inspired me to try my own hand at a sponge-curling.

I’ve had my hair curled in a salon before with a hot curling iron, and even with heavy hairspray (ick!) it never held for long.  I knew that my hair would hold decently with sponge rollers since I’m no stranger to them.  My mom used to sponge-curl mine and my sister’s hair every Sunday for church while growing up.  So I vaguely recall that the curls always seemed to hold well, when no heat is involved.  I actually used sponge curlers in my wedding-day hair style, too.  I’ve just never done it myself.

Fully prepared with all my supplies, I decided to attempt my very first hair-curling experience using the trusty sponge curler aaaaand Tasha’s awesome tutorial!!! to guide my way through the process.

Following closely with Tasha’s steps, I bought all my needed supplies.  Yes, ladies….  I just bought a comb and a hair-pick because I don’t own such items.  I’ve always just made-do with my trusty hairbrush, but thought this would be the perfect time to purchase these basics.

I’m going to spare you the details and images of me in my curlers.  Suffice it to say that I believe I spent about 1.5 hours in front of my hallway mirror curling and re-curling my hair.  I actually started curling somewhere around 8 or 8:30 pm, shamefully later than Ms. Tasha recommends (no later than 7pm) and I don’t think I ate dinner until 10pm.

I was a bit frustrated at first, but I just kept telling myself 1.) This is my first time, its bound to be difficult 2.) No worries, I’ll just curl it again and 3.) If it looks bad in the morning I can always just re-wet my hair and style as usual.  I’m happy to say I didn’t throw anything down in anger and no tears were shed.  :)  It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it was going to be and will definitely be trying it again.

Sleeping in the curlers is always challenging since I like a firmer pillow to sleep on.  But I think I could get used to the curlers if I do this type of set more frequently.  I woke up at least 3 times during the night to readjust positions and to check to see that no curlers had fallen out (which none did thankfully).

Sadly, I don’t think I styled my hair all that well in the morning.  I found it much more difficult to style my hair than it was to curl it.  I’m thinking this really has to do with the length of my hair vs. dear Tasha’s and also due to the fact that I didn’t want to brush too much and ruin the curls.

Felix graciously shot these pics just before heading off to work:

As you can see I ended up pulling both of the sides back.

Left side view:

Right side view:

I like how I pulled the sides up on this side vs. the other…

I barely brushed through my hair so I wouldn’t ruin the curls.  But some of my ends didn’t get tucked in the curlers the way they should have been and caused a bit of frizz at the very bottom.  Next time I’ll make sure to be more careful.

I realize that this post is all about my first curling attempt, but I have to point out the leaf-scarf I just finished.  I’ve had it completely knit since January, but I finally hand-stitched the embroidery on it (the stem and vines in the leaves).  So now I’m wearing it out and about for the first time.

Full shot of my leaf-scarf and curly hair:

I look very autumnal today…

Lastly, I do have to say, I think I picked the very worst day to curl my hair.  I didn’t check the weather before hand, and I woke up to rain and tons of wind.  While my hair was pretty curled in the morning, but the time I got to work my hair was so windblown, the curls had dropped significantly, down to my shoulders.  It remained curly all day and looked quite nice, it just wasn’t the original 30’s/40’s affect I was going for.  But I don’t think I can achieve that anyhow, due to the length of my hair.

So it was a non-sewing and non-knitting evening for me last night since I was so slow to curl my hair.  But I can see curling my hair once a week or so, and I imagine I’ll get much faster if I do so.

While I absolutely love Tasha’s tutorial which is extremely comprehensive for a newbie like me, I don’t think I can get the same look as hers without cutting my hair.  So I’m kinda curious does anyone else have any good vintage curling resources?  I’d like to try my hand at a set that is more geared towards longer hair, but I have to use sponge rollers since my hair is quite resistant towards heat-sets.

Edit:  I thought I’d take a quick shot for you all of the second day, in the morning, after I slept on the curls overnight.

I look like I’m scowling/frowning, no?  I’m actually doing a relaxed-smirk…. heh

 

  1. Lou / Nov 4 2011

    For the record, I thought your hair looked super cute at work yesterday. ;)

  2. Tasha / Nov 4 2011

    Liz, your hair looks awesome!!! YAY! That is 10,000% times better than my first year of attempts! I am doing virtual cartwheels for you.

    As for length, as I mentioned in the tutorial the tight curls I achieved in the photos where I was actually taking out the rollers was sort of abnormally tight. The longer your rollers are in, the tighter your curls will be, and generally speaking the longer they will last tight throughout the day (of course, disgusting Chicago weather aside… that foils my hair a lot). If I keep brushing, I get a much softer look with a little more length, which is how I often wear it these days because the wind is a killer and just makes a rat’s nest of the tighter style. That all being said my hair has needs a trim and I can’t get it as tight as I did in my tutorial right now, either.

    So for all my talk about putting them in before 7pm, at 10.30pm last night I decided to throw in some rollers on washed but dry hair, with just my fingertips damp from water/setting lotion, and today my hair is at my shoulders, longer than your curls. I was planning on doing an updo but was too lazy. ;)

    Anyway, don’t be discouraged! Your hair looks fantastic and I love it swept back to the sides (lots of gals in my 40s knitting booklets do that). The same principals apply to the set regardless of length, it’s the styling that will make a difference (I used the same setting patter in my tutorial even when my hair was down to my bra strap this spring). If you put your rollers in a bit earlier and brush the curls more, you can easily achieve a variety of hairstyles with it. Usually I stick with kind of full more mid-40s, or try and brush it under more for a closer-to-my-head style (it’s too long now to do a proper pageboy). You’ll learn over time to feel more confident about brushing and styling it.

    Oh and Chicago tip– wear a beret to work, it will keep your crown flat and untangled and at least helps a little bit to tame the wind whipping around the curls. My hair frizzes like crazy and it does help.

    Anyway, I’ll stop blabbing and say you’re off to a STELLER start!! You’re rockin’ it with those curls, your outfit and that awesome scarf! xo

    • Liz / Nov 4 2011

      I have lots of revelations overnight somehow and last night was no different. I woke up thinking “I bet its not the curling I need to change, but the styling of my hair.” I couldn’t actually see any way to alter the curling side of things, so it makes sense that it’s all about the brushing, product, ect. which isn’t my strong suit…
      I think I may have to venture into work like an old lady, with a full headscarf to keep my hair up so the weather doesn’t affect it as much, here in the windy city.

      Thanks so much for your kind words! But really I should be thanking you! :)

      I have a few things I may try differently next time, which is using more curlers than I did. I think if I add more, it may make my hair curlier and set better. I didn’t quite use 20 curlers, but around 15 or 16. I think I may change up the size of the curlers, and where I put them.

      Oh and I wore my baret this morning, but I still had some frizz at the top when I got to work… nothing a bit of water couldn’t fix though. :)

      Thanks so much!

  3. weriem / Nov 4 2011

    You look great with your curly hair!! On the contrary, when I was in high school, I tried everything to have straight hair, lol!

  4. Annabelle / Nov 4 2011

    Love it! Curls look just wonderful on you :) I have the same problem with using heat to make my hair curl – if it lasts five minutes I call it a success (just enough time to snap a blog photo or two). I have been wanting to try sponge curlers again, since I also haven’t used them since childhood. Great job!

  5. Lauren / Nov 4 2011

    i think it looks great!! i totally get what you mean, though – sometimes my hair just looks awful (to me), but the pictures deceive everyone into thinking i have wonderful hair! lol NOT.

    here’s my unsolicited advice to you, as someone who’s been messing around with all sorts of curling procedures for the past ~year or so: try other curly methods! personally, i don’t care for sponge rollers as they are uncomfortable to sleep on & they take *forever* to properly dry. i really like rag curls, although they tend to be too tight for my hair length (i end up looking like a poodle lol). my preferred method is pin curls – they take a while to get used to doing, but now i can get my hair all pincurl’d up in about 10 minutes. they are VERY comfortable to sleep on, since they are flat. and bonus: you can tie a scarf over them & look mostly normal, if you need to curl in the daytime & leave the house or something. i like the effect of the slightly looser curl too, and they don’t frizz as much.

    don’t worry about brushing them out too much… honestly, once they’re set in, you really can’t over brush. when you’re styling wet-set curls, you want to brush until you look like an 80s rockstar, and then keep brushing & brushing and they will eventually smooth out & mold to your liking. after lots of practice, it only takes me maybe 5 minutes to brush out my hair in the mornings. quickest styled hair ever! the frizz will get better, too, once you get the hang of rolling/brushing. try using a boar bristle brush, if you have one – that helped me a lot.

    i like your next-day curls, too! mine never last past the end of the day… i have to re-set every night. anyway, the loose curls look great on you. so pretty!

  6. Emilie / Nov 4 2011

    I also want to try something like this… I just have to find the time to do it at night. Thanks for the inspiration! I think your hair looks really cute!

  7. Meg / Nov 7 2011

    I ADORE your hair like this. Very lovely!!

  8. Elise / Nov 8 2011

    I love your hair! I usually use rags but I tried my hand with the sponge curlers a while ago, was a total fail but then I did only leave them in a few hours cause I was going out, my next attempt I shall sleep in them and hopefully they turn out as pretty as yours! :)

Leave a comment