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Retro Pin Curls

Pin Curl HairstyleEye catching retro pin curls were favored on some of the gorgeous glamour girl pin-ups of artists like Vargas and Olivia.

Bombshell Beauty

Whether in vibrant color or black and white, the graceful beauty of these bombshells leaps right out of photographs, and it has everything to do with that classic styling that is the perfect blending of strength and femininity.

Marilyn Monroe Pin Curl Style

If you’ve caught yourself drooling over the gorgeous, vintage-y waves and curls of days gone by beauties like Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, then here’s a treat for you – retro pin curls are at the root of every good retro style, and they are not hard to do on your own.

Rita Hayworth Long Picn Curl Waves

Classic Retro Styling

How To Style

There are a few different techniques for achieving these soft and defined shapes.

Go old school with a slightly modernized version of a wet set, using a setting lotion like Lotta Body, this tried and true, mega holding purple solution which, when diluted with water and spritzed onto damp hair, will help your hair hold any shape you’d like.

If you can’t find setting lotion, a teeny dab of gel will also do the trick.

Section off small pieces and roll hair around your forefinger (or fingers, depending on how large you’d like your curls to end up) from the ends up in the direction you’d like the bend to aim.

Continue rolling hair until you are pressed up against your scalp, then gently slide your fingers out, and secure your little loop with a criss cross of bobby pins.

Leave your damp curls to dry (you can also help things along with a blowdryer) for at least a few hours up to overnight - a silky scarf will protect your pin curls as well as make them easier to sleep on.

If you haven’t got time for a wet set, cheat a little with a curling iron.

A heat setting spray like Kenra Thermal Styling Spray will help keep those curls super strong, and a smaller iron tends to work the best for setting hair.

If using a traditional curling iron, it is easier to slide the curl off the shaft of the iron if you don’t use the clip and just wrap hair around the iron.

Wrap your hair around in the direction you’d like your curl to bend, slide off at scalp, and pin hair to set.

Let hair cool as long as possible to ensure the curls hang touch all day long, and give hair a final spray of shaping spray before you take your pins out.


Whatever your method, carefully remove clips and gently break up your curls.

Use fingers to keep most of your curl-tegrity in tact (more like Marilyn), or brush with a natural bristled brush to loosen into molded waves (Rita Hayworth-esque).

From here you can shape the front of your hair with a bit of teasing and more hairspray to frame your face any way you choose, or even veer a bit more pin-up retro with a pompadour or variation of a victory roll.

Enjoy Retro Pin Curls

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Retro Pin Curls
Author Tanna Mayer
Published January 21, 2013

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