Two Sisters+Classic Hollywood=One Hell Of A Good Time

Finger Waves for Curly Hair?

I have naturally curly hair. And the curls aren’t nice ringlets. They’re wild,  crazy, and untameable (is that a word?) like a lion’s mane. Being a lover of all things vintage, my hair became the BANE of my existence. I can wear vintage clothes, accessories, and makeup, and yet I could never achieve a vintage hairstyle! My hair was just too wild.

I searched fruitlessly on the internet for an answer to this question: Can curly-haired girls finger wave their hair? However, After a zillion Google searches, I STILL couldn’t find an answer. I went to every hair salon in town, ritzy and non-ritzy alike. The ritzy ones would put my CURLY hair in CURLERS and placed me under the big hair-dryer for what felt like the rest of the day. The style isn’t called a FINGER WAVE for nothing, goddammit! You gotta put your FINGERS in my HAIR!  Icame out of the ritzy salons feeling that I would’ve fit in better amongst the cast of The Lion King instead of average amongst human beings.

If that was what happened at ritzy salons, you could imagine what happened at the non-ritzy salons:

Me: I would like to get a finger-wave, please.

Non-Ritzy Hairstylist: Heh?

Me: A finger wave? You know, it was a popular hairstyle around the 1920s and 1930s?

NRH: Finger whaaaa???

Me: (very angry) FINGERRRRRR WAAAAAAAVE!!! Oh my God I thought they taught you this hairstyle in barber school! See, here’s a picture of it! (angrily pull out pictures of flapper-era Joan Crawford and Carole Lombard).

(The NRH looks at the pictures for a long time. And I mean LONG time. Then they consult with the other NRHs. Is the hairstyle really that hard? Geez!)

(My thoughts: S*** S*** S*** F*** F*** F*** !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

After all the hell and embarrassment, guess what they did.

They gave me a blowout.

I realized that I couldn’t trust other people in this matter and I had to find the answer myself, sooo, after more than a year of trial and error, I finally, FINALLY came up with a way for curly-haired gals to finger wave their hair! Now I finger-wave my hair every day!

The reason I put this post up is because my friend wanted to know how to ahcieve the style for the Senior Halloween Party. She and I are going as flappers! (Warning: My hair is uber-bitchy to me, therefore I need to put a lot of gak in it to keep the wave. If you have the blessing of kind hair, congratulations, no need for a lot of gak!)

Carole Irene’s So-Simple-It’s-Sinful Finger Waves

Step 1: make sure you have some type of natural wave or curl to your hair. The whole point of my finger-wave is to follow the natural wave pattern of your hair. It couldn’t get any easier! Make sure you do the finger waves the day before an event! They need a while to dry and set in place. If you just CAN’T sleep like a mummy through the night, do the waves early in the morning so they can be ready for that evening party!

Step 2: Practice! Practice! Practice! Finger Waves need a lot of concentration, patience (of which I have none), and arm strength. More often than not, the waves will not come out as perfect as you want them the first several times. The key is to practice often. The finger waves will come out glamour-photo ready in no time!

Step 3: make sure your hair is wet. Comb it out so there are no tangles and your hair falls smoothly. This way, it can do whatever you want it to do much easier. It also gives the finger waves that enviable shine you find on the hair of your favorite Hollywood actress.

Step 4: roughly section off your hair. Then take a dollop of hair gel (if you can find waving cream, boy am I jealous of you!!!)And work it through that section of hair ONLY. If you put gel on your whole head of hair first, it will dry up before you can wave it!

Step 5: follow your natural wave pattern to do the actual finger wave. Where your hair naturally “takes a dip”, place either your middle finger there and emphasize this dent by pushing slightly upward and down towards your face. You index finger should push the hair next to the dent upward and away from your face. Yay! You just made the finger wave! Now clip the dent  in place with a long silver clip (the kind they use at hair salons). Repeat the step until you fnish the whole length of hair (if it’s short enough)

See how Joan’s hair has an “up and down” pattern? Your middle finger should make the “down” parts (push down and to the face) and your index finger the “up” parts (place so that the piece of hair is in between the index and middle fingers and slightly squeeze fingers together to push it upwards).

Step 6: Keep repeating step 5 until you have waved the top of your head (or if your hair is short enough, your whole head). Clip each wave with a big silver clip. Yes, you will look like a Medieval weapon.

Step 7: If your hair is kind to you, skip this step. If not: spray the waved area. It will be VERY hard, but I think hard hair is better than scraggly pieces falling apart!

Step 8: My hair is slightly longer than Joan’s in the picture above, so i make a faux bob with bobby pins to get a true 1920s look. Just take your hair and pin it under and away from your head.

Step 9:Voila! With vintage-style makeup and a great hair accessory, you will look like a glamorous Old Hollywood actress in no time!

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11 responses

  1. Angie

    Wow, this actually helped a lot! I searched and searched on Google but wallah – here it is! Anyways, I haven’t tried this yet but I only have 2 hours to get ready… uh-oh. Let’s hope this works! And I also have nicely tamed curls so hopefully that helps (I’m biracial).

    March 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    • I’m so glad it helped! Another way to do it that I just recently discovered is to leave in your conditioner and wave your hair with it in there. It looks a lot softer. Lucky you for having nice curls! My hair is…I don’t even know anymore :( treasure those curls sister!

      March 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm

  2. modernblackbombshell

    I’ve been in love with all things 1975 and prior. The deco era is actually my favorite so of course finger waves are a must and having been a veteran of frizzy pin curl sets, you might want to try using a setting lotion. It makes the hair much easier to set and you might be able to use less gel to reduce the hardness. Hope it helps.

    but oh, I know exactly what you mean! I’m black and my hair actually varies in thickness and likes to change from tight curls and waves to the ever recognizable afro puffs, and to top it off, I blatantly refuse to get it relaxed! But I thank you for this post! I really, really, really do. Every post and how to vid for “finger waving black/African American hair” is fairly ample but the women all had … relaxers. so I typed in curly hair and found this. Great blog by the way, old movies and the like really should be remembered.

    May 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    • Hello, and thank you! I know that setting lotion is the proper thing to use for vintage styles, but I can never find it! I’ve searched high and low. Where do you buy it? I’d love to know!

      I’m Mediterranean, and my hair is insanely curly. I’ve relaxed it several times over the years, but it never worked! I’m glad you found my post helpful. I was just so tired of finding tutorials on the internet for people with naturally fine hair, so I took the matter into my own hands :)

      June 1, 2011 at 9:01 am

  3. Meg

    THANK YOU. I am in a play about the 1930s and I was really hoping to achieve this sort of a hairstyle, but unfortunately nobody out on the world wide web seems to represent us curly girls. Knowing my uncooperative hair and minimal styling skills, theres a large chance this won’t work for me, but I will try it out tonight.

    July 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm

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