Ringlet ‘Rag’ Curls

Do you remember having your hair done in ringlet ‘rag’ curls for special occasions? Was it painful to sleep in? Or was your hair naturally curly?

Using strips of rags was a way of obtaining curly hair without visiting the hairdressers and without applying heat. Each strip was wrapped around a small section of hair, before being folded in half and back onto themselves. All you needed for these curls was old bed sheets, scissors, a comb and water.

Followers of the Spring Chicken Facebook group have been sharing their memories:

‘When they were taken out, one hair would get caught and make your eyes water. My nan used to heat curling tongs in the coal fire to make ringlets in my hair. The smell of singed hair was foul, and if she caught your neck you were branded for months!’

‘I had rag curls every Friday night after my weekly bath.’

‘My mum used pipe cleaners in my hair lol.’

Did you have ringlets for your school photos, for holidays or for Sunday church? The best part was having someone brush your hair, although the pain of sleeping with rags in your hair was unavoidable. They were definitely worth the headache – providing you were able to show off your hair the following day.

How to achieve ringlet rag curls:

1. Cut an old sheet into 5-inch-long strips. Cut the strips into 2-inch widths.
2. Separate your hair into sections, beginning from the front and working your way back. If you want smaller ringlets, separate smaller sections of hair.
3. Mist each section with water until damp. You can also rub in gel/mousse before rolling.
4. Wrap the end of each section of hair around the centre of the rag. Roll the rags up the length of the hair toward the scalp.
5. Tie the rags together. Add a double knot for more security.
6. Leave the rag curlers in your hair during the night. You can wear a shower cap to protect them.
7. In the morning, take out each rag carefully. Spray hairspray to set the ringlets.

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1 Comment

  • I remember well getting the rag ringlets done every week, I wanted them done because I watched David Copperfield and loved the hairstyles.

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