How To Do Simple Vintage Pin Curls Hairstyle Tutorial

Dec 6, 2010 by

Pin curls are one of the easiest most fuss free ways to get curls and they are a personal favorite of mine.

My new hair

They take very little time to put in and can be styled in many different ways. There have already been a whole lot of tutorials on the subject, Super Kawaii Mama did a great pin curl video here: http://www.superkawaiimama.com.au/hair-parlour/perfect-pin-curls/but after a lot of requests I thought it was about time I did one too ^_^ *edit* I have added a video which includes me taking them out at the bottom too.

What you will need for this particular pin curls tutorial:

  • Pins
  • Curl spray or hair spray
  • Scarf (optional)
  • Hair ties (optional)
  • Brush

Pin Curls Tutorial

So start with clean hair and make sure that there are no knots or tangles. Give it a general spray with the curl enhancer, I’m using a Tresemme one which works really well in my hair.

Pin Curls Tutorial

Section your hair in half so it’s easier to work with. I tie the other side off into a pig tail ^_^

Pin Curls Tutorial

Start from the top and grab a small section of hair. The size of the section you take will effect the side of the curl you end up with eg. little section = small corkscrew curls while big section = waves. Keep in mind that it’s better to over curl than do all this work and end up with straight hair! XD If the curls are too tight in the end you can always brush them out looser but re-curling is a pain in the butt!

Pin Curls Tutorial

Spray your section with the curl enhancer:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Starting a little way from the end, twist the hair back on itself to form a loop:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Again the bigger the loops the bigger the curls. You should have this:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Get the end which is sticking out and curve it around the inside of the loop so it stays there.

Pin Curls Tutorial

Start rolling the whole thing up to your scalp…

Pin Curls Tutorial

This is where you want to be in the end:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Take the loop and flattern it on your head. Whether you go towards the front or back will determine whether the curls end up going towards your face or away from it. I chose backwards:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Have a whole lot of pins ready ^_^

Pin Curls Tutorial

Now slide a pin in to the curl attaching it to the hair near the scalp. You might need to use 2 pins if you have a lot of hair.

Pin Curls Tutorial

Repeat this all over your head! Leave no space behind ^_^ You’ll end up with something like this:

Pin Curls Tutorial

The gradient in my hair makes it really easy to see the curls ^_^ This is what it looks like from the side…

Pin Curls Tutorial

Spray the hell out of the whole thing with either more curl enhancer or hair spray… I use both XD

Now you need to decide how long you want to keep them in. My hair doesn’t like holding a curl so I find the easiest way to do it is to sleep with them in. It was odd the first time I did it but now I don’t even notice anymore. I’ve also found that having a hot steamy shower with them in (but not getting them actually wet) before bed helps too. Other girls I know will just leave them in for a few hours during the day if they’re going out at night so it all depends on your hair.

Like most people, the way I keep them all in at night is to use a big scarf ^_^ This is a technique that’s been around for ages and I certainly didn’t come up with it! Again if you want a video version you should check out Super Kawaii Mama’s because it’s very informative.

I fold the scarf into a triangle and place it over my head like this:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Pull the two side corners up and the ones on your forehead down like this:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Tie the side ones in a knot together. Pull the forehead one back towards your hair and tie the side ones in another knot over it.

Pin Curls Tutorial

You get this ^_^ It’s like sleeping on a big cushy pillow!

Pin Curls Tutorial

In the morning when you take it all it will look something like this:

Pin Curls Tutorial

Unless you were going for ringlets it’s probably not looking exactly how you want, so all you need to do is brush it out and add more hair spray and you get this:

My new hair

Hopefully that helped answer all of the questions I’ve gotten about this, let me know if you have any more! ^_^

*edit* I know a lot of people were wondering how much I brush them out etc so here’s a video that includes what I do the morning after wearing them. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Thanks so much for reading, I hope it was easy enough to follow and good luck with your own pin curls! Let me know how it goes!


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115 comments so far! Leave another?

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  • http://thegirlwithabow.com Diana

    You’re just the cutest thing!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Aww I <3 you too!

  • http://fuyume.net fuyume

    Love this tutorial as its a style that will look equally good on my much shorter hair :)

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Exactly! It looks great at almost any length :D

  • http://weekendlolita.com Andie

    It looks beautiful!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thank you!

  • http://www.fyeahlolita.com/ Caro

    Those curls are gorgeous!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      :D Thanks Caro! You should try it!

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  • http://twitter.com/xardra xardra

    but how much do you brish it out? i have a bad habit of overbrushing and ruining all my hard work. any advice in that end? i would love to do that for work tomorrow!!!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Sorry I’m a little late! You need to experiment with how well your hair can hold the curl to know how much you can brush out. The more you brush the less curly the end style with be so if you want lots of curls then don’t brush too much, like maybe once through each curl then re-wrap it around your finger ^_^ Hope that helps!

    • http://inclinedtothrift.blogspot.com Dani

      Try finger combing them instead. A little gentler than brushing, and a little harder to overdo (but still possible lol)

      • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

        Completely agree and if you’re worried about fly away hairs you could just brush at the crown and finger comb the rest :D

  • http://aimeidoll.blogspot.com lissy

    wow such a cool way to make curls :D

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      :D It’s so easy to do too!

  • http://biggreendinosaur.blogspot.com BGDino

    Looks great! LOL once I left mine in for about 8 hours accidentally and I had an Asian afro when I eventually took them out! :P

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet


  • http://mliragana.blogspot.com Mark Lester Iragana

    Very cute blog. I like it, the model is beautiful.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Hahaha thank you!

  • emma_G

    If you want your curls to last longer it’s actually better to do it with “dirty hair” so like a day after you’ve washed it. The natural oils in your hair help a lot to keep the curl. But I love your lose curls by the end of it especially with your new hair color

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Oh really? I can never get them to stay in unless my hair is clean >_< I'll have to keep practising!

  • http://hrhqueenalexandria.blogspot.com/ Alexandriaweb

    I do those all the time pretty much :)
    I find using pins made especially for pin curls (they’re like a crocodile clip but with two prongs) make better curls than bobby pins though, bobby pins sometimes leave a bit of a dint.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I haven’t seen pins just for curls, I’m going to go find some :D Thanks for the tip!

  • http://aimiyalove.blogspot.com/ Aimiya

    Aww! I wish this had been up last night! Then I could be waking up to pretty curls XD

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Hahaha sorry!!

  • http://www.cutexcoco.blogspot.com Tasja

    Oh this is great! I never thought about doing it like this!
    I always make a bun :p

    Thanks Violet ^^

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      No problems ^_^ I wish my hair would curl in a bun, it just got back to being straight for me >_<

  • http://sequinsandbeads.blogspot.com Georgie

    Awesome tutorial I’ll see if it defines my curls more! By the way do you dye your hair yourself? If you do please will you do a tutorial on how to get that gradient effect? Its lovely!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Glad to help ^_^ Yep I did my hair myself, I don’t know if I would feel qualified to do a tutorial on it though, I’m not a hairdresser so I don’t want lots of angry people complaining to me if my technique doesn’t work for them *_*

  • http://miniblog.create-magical-nails.com/ Minnie

    Princess Violet!
    That’s very interesting way to create curls:) It’s neat and doesn’t seem to be leaving hair pin marks on hair either:)) I’d like to try, but I’ll need a lot of hair pins since I’ve got LOTS of hair!! Hahaha!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Heehee when I visit maybe we can do pin curls together! I’ll bring lots of pins ;)

  • http://www.nessbow.webs.com Nessbow

    I love pin curls. Because my hair is so long and heavy, I find that it’s the only way that I can curl my hair. If I try to do it with hot rollers or a curling wand, the curl drops out after just a couple of hours. Pin curls can last for days if you take proper care of them. I find that if I curl my hair dry like you did, they don’t stay in for very long. I wash my hair and then wait until it’s about 40% dry, then add a curl enhancer and put the curls in. Then I leave them overnight. I think this is just because my hair is crazy-long, on regular hair your method would be perfectly wonderful.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I completely agree, my hair doesn’t like head curling much either! I think it all comes down to individual hair types, if I go to sleep with my hair even a little bit wet it won’t dry at all so I just wake up with wet hair the next day hahaha!

  • http://superdimitri.com.ar Dimitri

    So useful! I’ll comment this post on my blog, it’s very interesting.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thanks so much Dimitri!

  • http://www.bored.com Janice

    I like the pin curls, they look so good on you! But what I love the most is the summer plait hair! Can you maybe do an interesting pony tail or Goldilocks style?

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Goldilocks style? Like plaits? Hmm Let me think about what I could do :D

  • http://fantasycasting.blogspot.com Gina

    So, I know this is totally NOT the point of this post (which is perfect and clear and super helpful, by the way) but am I the only one who thinks ringlets are cute? You’re not the first to but the kabosh on ringlets… Maybe I am way more out of date than I thought…

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Hey Gina! Nope, you’re not the only one, I love ringlets too, I actually learned this technique on my way to trying to master the perfect ringlets so I definitely don’t think I’m trying to put the “kabosh” on them XD Pin curls generally product imperfect ringlets though so if you’re aiming for that you might find you need to be very smooth with your pins or use rollers or rags in place. I find that the best ringlets come from using a hair straightener to create the curl. That’s just me though, depending on your hair type you might find this method is enough ^_^ Good luck with it!

  • http://prettykissblog.blogspot.com Kate

    SO CUTE. I need to try this. BTW when you said “spray with curl enhancer” what exactly is curl enhancer?

  • Ingrid

    This is so incredible adorable! I’m definitely loving your hair-completely jealous, fyi! I’m excited to see what else you have! Keep up the awesome work and I’m glad I stumbled onto your blog!!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thanks so much for commenting Ingrid! I hope you enjoy my other posts too, come back soon :D

  • laura

    youre ugly
    love, ke$ha

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Hahaha thanks for your comment Laura/Ke$ha!

  • http://www.vedettestore.com/ Vedette

    Oh my gooodness! This is so cute and it looks so pretty on your hair. I like how you explained it in such a simple way.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed!

  • Jen

    Could this work by putting it into the curls and then blowdrying?

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Yep it definitely could though it would depend on the type of hair you have. Mine is a lot harder to manage so it really needs to be in overnight but I have friends who only need to have them in for an hour of so. Heat would definitely help though. Thanks for commenting!

  • http://inclinedtothrift.blogspot.com Dani

    Pin curls are something I’ve always wanted to try, but never knew how. After I came across your site through stumbleupon, yesterday afternoon (and subsequently wasting most of my day reading your archives lol) I decided to give them a try! My hair also has a hard time holding curls, so I put them around 3 yesterday afternoon and left them in all night. This morning I woke up to beautiful (if not perfect) curls! I will have to perfect my technique (obviously) but thank-you so much for sharing this, I’ve NEVER been able to get my hair to curl like this! And it’s so much healthier for it than heat styling! (:

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’m so glad they turned out well :D I was in the same boat as you, my hair just hated to curl so I’m so happy it worked for you too!

  • http://ladies-trends.com/ Aaria

    Hmnm..nice hair styles…i specially love the last pic. You look cute and the hair style is awesome too.. thanks for sharing.. :)

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      No problem! I’m really glad you enjoyed it :)

  • http://www.rendermeyellow.com DollFace

    Thanks for the step by step process… I’m going to go try it right now! I have a job interview tomorrow, We’ll see if the pin curls help :)

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’ll cross my fingers for you!

  • Tonia

    Trying this tonight, wish me luck! I always love new ideas for my mid-length hair, especially curly ideas ;)

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Good luck, I hope it worked!

  • Katy

    I absolutely love your hair! I “stumblupon”d this and even though i curl my hair this way I loved how helpful ur photos r.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      :D Thank you so much, that is so nice of you! I’m so glad it worked out for you!!

  • Kelsey

    Hi, first off, your site is so cute! The pin curls turned out so good on you! I hate curling my hair with a curling iron cause I know the heat is really harsh on my hair. My hair has no wave to it what-so-ever but you said yours is also straight as well so I think I am going to give these a try! My hair is about as thick/long as yours, I was wondering how long of a process this is for you to pin each one up?

    Once again great site! Thanks for the tutorial I am def going to try this!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thank you so much Kelsey! Once you get the hang of it, pinning each ones only takes a fe seconds, maybe 20-30 seconds each so it’s quite quick. The first time it took me a long time though because I was just working out where to put it and which way curled better etc. Good luck and thanks for reading!

  • Megan

    Unlike a lot of the people who I’ve seen comment, I actually have really curly hair! My hair is very thick and the curls can be unruly at times. I’m always using little tricks like, letting it dry in a low pony tail so the top is straight and the bottom is super curly. I think I’m going to give this a try to see if I can have nice defined curls. My natural curls can be beautiful but almost too much ringlet. I’m going to aim for big loose curls! Thanks for the tutorial!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thanks for commenting Megan, I love the idea of the pony tail trick you mentioned! I think if you brushed them into the pincurls and used a decent amount of solution to set at night it would work really well. Let me know how it does go, I’m really curious!

  • Wendy

    You are so super cute. And thank you for teaching me how to do a pin curl properly!!!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Aww thank you for reading!

  • http://www.thecrabtreegroup.com Kierstana Krüz

    i just had to tell you that I really enjoyed your video tutorial. it was unique and very helpful. you are so super cute! keep making videos! :))))) have a good day!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thank so much for watching!

  • Katelyn

    You’re so beautiful, and your hair is so cute! I adore the pink gradient!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thank you so much Katelyn, you’re so sweet!

  • vicky

    so glad i found this heat makes my hair dry =[
    tried it earlyer and it was amazing so curly and bouncy =D found my new hair style for my birthday party on friday xx

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’m so glad it worked for you!

  • stephanie

    Your hair looks really unhealthy, honey. Do some deep oiling and stop bleach/blowfrying/curling so much.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thanks for the suggestion :) I actually quite like my hair’s current state, I don’t generally blow dry and this whole post is actually about curling without heat damage. Have a great weekend!

  • http://rubylee1776.wordpress.com Ruby Lee

    I am so trying this tonight!!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I hope it worked well!

  • Danae?!

    Not only are is the combination of your very-blonde hair and dip-dyed tips gorgeous, the pin curls play it off very prettily! I love it. Used to have fuchsia tips myself, wish I would have done these then >.< I'm actually waiting for my pin curls to dry and set as I speak haha!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Aww thank you so much :) I hope your curls turned out beautifully!

  • Hanna

    I love your hair! it is sooo perfect! I also love all of your tutorials! Thanks so much!!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Aww thank you so much, you’re so sweet <3

  • Amanda

    I was thrilled to find your website that had pictures and step by step instructions. There are so many links out there to YouTube and videos, but some of us don’t learn so well via that type of instruction. I’ve got my strips of fabric waiting and am looking forward to some trial and error and final results on my end. I have very thin, medium length hair and have found that rollers only last a little while, but it’s so much fun to see any curl and to feel frilly :-) Thanks for the great post. I’ve bookmarked and will certainly return. Cheers!

    • Amanda

      Oops, meant I’ve got my pins ready!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Oh I’m so glad you found the post useful! I know what you mean about videos, it can be hard to follow what’s going on sometimes. I hope it worked out well for you and thanks so much for commenting!

  • Ariana Elise

    Thanks to your pin curl instructions, my hair looks like a NEST!
    P.S. Who has white and pink hair?

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      It’s definitely not suitable for all types or lengths of hair, if it’s turned out too frizzy for you then the easiest way to bring it down to a manageable style is by using a little mousse on each curl as you smooth them down and re-curling around your fingers. This will give a bit more definition after brushing and should hopefully solve the nest problem. Of course, everyone’s hair is different so a good amount of trial, error and practise is needed to find what works best for you! Good luck ^_^ P.S. I do ;)

  • Bella

    I tried this as an amateur with wet hair and it turned into a frizzy mess! Hope this method works better!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Oh no! I personally prefer to use dry hair to curl rather than wet as it sets better but everyone’s hair is different so I would suggest just experimenting with different method until you find the best for your hair. If it does turn out frizzy again try using a little mousse and wind each strand around your fingers to smooth down the curls, that should smooth them down and give more definition. Good luck with it, hope this one works a bit better for you!

  • Rebecca

    Mine turned out hilarious! I think I put too many curls and in and made them too tight for my hair length and type because I looked like I had an afro. I also did it on wet hair which probably didn’t do me any favours. Going to try looser and fewer curls on dry and clean hair instead :)

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Oh no XD Good luck trying with fewer/looser curls, hopefully that will solve the problem! If they get too out of control you can smooth through with some mousse to tame them too. Hope it works out!

  • Kelley

    Hi! This is a random question, but where did you get the red bow you are wearing in the last picture? I love it (and this tutorial!!) Thanks!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thanks! It was a gift sorry so I’m not sure where it’s from.

  • Kirsten

    Fabulous! Thanks so much for simple explanation and plenty of clear pics. Wish me luck for Saturday night!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Good luck!

  • Jillian

    would this also work for shorter, fine hair? and would i need to do anything different?

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      In theory yes it should, as everyone’s hair is different it’s best to experiment a few times to see which technique works the best in your hair. In theory though it would be exactly the same steps :)

  • http://www.catrinaboucherphoto.com Catrina

    Oh my! I love!! I wish I had found this tutorial before my wedding, this would have been perfect!! Oh, well, I’m getting it down now, I’m pretty sure this is going to become my nightly routine. [: So much easier than I thought, and more comfortable, too. I’ve always been afraid of sleeping with bobby pins in my hair, worried they would stick into my head. I’m excited to be able to have nice curls without all that time with a curling iron.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’m so glad that this worked out for you! Thank you so much for commenting and come back soon!

  • Emily

    You are sooo PRETTY! (: This looks awesome and I cannot wait to try it!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Aww thank you so much, I hope it goes well for you too!

  • Anna

    I did these yesterday afternoon around 4pm on wet hair with some curl mousse and spray stuff that I stole from my housemate. I tied them up in a scarf and went into uni for some study. I had the scarf far enough back that sme hair showed out the front cos it looked nicer. Got home at 2:30am, retied it neatly and went to bed. Pulled curls out at around 10-10:30am. They looked awesome. I tried brushing some out and it basically went pooooof. I have a hard bristle brush, and think if I had a softer one it would have a nicer effect. Most of the fluffy/afroness has gone down and I only brushed part of my hair so I’m just gokng to leave it as I don’t have anywhere to go today. If I’m out, I may pick up a softer brush but there is no harm in letting them drop naturally, right?

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Nope no harm in letting them drop naturally, a softer brush may indeed make a difference but the biggest difference will be recurling each curl around your fingers and smoothing it down with some hair spray. It definitely depends on what kind of hair you have to start with though. Hope that helps!

  • kathleen

    oh your curls came out so pretty in the end i used to hate it when i was little my gradma would make me sleep like that but now i really like it by the way the part when your twirling it into a circle i use a mascara tube to make the circle round i find its easier :)

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      That’s such a great idea Kathleen! I wish my grandma had taught me this too!

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  • crystal

    welp..my pinned curls look no where as neat as yours so we shall see. =]

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I hope it turned out alright!

  • Erika

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I’m so happy I discovered this site!!!! You’re absolutely adorable :)

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      :D Thank you so much Erika, come back and visit again soon!

  • http://dashinghome.net/ Slavica

    Oh dear, I love those BIG EYES! You look like a doll. <3

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Thank you :)

  • http://70000 San cassie

    I want to dip dye my hair pink and curl it for real
    Is that possible to do ? ><
    I have some blond highlight hair and when I went to the salon to curl my hair, the hairdresser there just curled up the normal hair and put highlight hair aside.
    Then I have my blond highlight straight and curly normal hair :((
    If I want all my dip dye hair curl up, how high the heat can it take ?

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I wouldn’t suggest perming dyed hair if that’s what you mean? I would suggest going to a different hair salon because everyone’s hair is different so it would effect what you can do with it. I can’t really tell much about your hair without being able to touch it so better to go to a different salon. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

  • http://endomorphusagi.tumblr.com Adrianne

    This has been the most helpful pin curl tutorial I’ve found yet!!! THANK YOU! <3

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’m so glad to help!

  • Emma

    Wow! This helped a lot, I like the idea of the scarf and I used it and now my curls stay in longer! Thanks!
    Btw, I love your hair and you have the cutest face!! XD

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’m so glad to help and thank you!

  • Eden

    Hi Violet!

    First, I love your style and this site. You are lovely!

    I have a STRANGE question…any ideas on holding in a pin curl set without pins?

    I work in a manufacturing facility and we cannot have metal on our bodies. I would like to be able to set my hair for an evening event in the morning and tie it up in a scarf for the day, but I can’t figure out how to do this without pins.

    Any creative suggestions?

    Thanks a bunch!!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Hi Eden! That’s a tough questions, if you’re able to use plastic you could always use rollers to hold the shape rather and tie up in a scarf rather than actual pin curls? Or I’m sure I’ve seen plastic pins as well somewhere. I’m not sure how well it would work but you could pin the curls, put on a hair net and then remove the pins after it’s on tightly then scarf over the top of that. Let me know if you do find a solution!