Hair help needed

Tomorrow night I get the joy of helping my grandnieces prepare for their dance recital. My youngest grandniece has mounds of stick straight baby fine hair. We’re talking ‘won’t even stay in a ponytail’ type hair. Of course, her hair needs to be curled. The front is to be in a pony tail, the rest down and curled.

Last year I tried shellacking her hair with super hold hair spray, but less than two hours later her curls were mere squiggles and a fair amount of hair escaped her ponytail. It’s even difficult to use a curling iron on her as her hair slips off the iron.

I do not know how to deal with straight, fine hair. TheKid, the older grandniece, and I all have curly hair.

What tips do you have to help me deal with her hair? I’m guessing hair products are involved - the cheaper the better.

I have had tremendous success with setting lotion, which is what women used in the old days when they’d get their hair set every week. As far as I know, Sally’s (or another professional hair supply store) is the only place to sell it, but it’s pretty cheap. You dilute it with water in a spray bottle and spray each section before you roll it. It holds a curl really well and has an added benefit of not feeling sticky at all – your hair feels pretty much product-free.

Also, a wet set (with wet/damp hair and rollers) will hold the curl much longer than a dry set (curling iron, hot curlers, etc.). The best thing for your grandniece’s hair would be to do a wet set tonight with foam rollers and then sleep with the rollers in, but I don’t know how feasible that is for a little girl.

ETA: Another possibility could be using a fall or hairpiece (I don’t know what kids call them these days!) of curly hair.

My niece is a baby (18 mos) and thus has baby-fine hair. My SIL wants to have a little ponytail on the top of her head, but you can’t do it with the usual means because anything you put in there just falls out.

SIL’s mom (Other Grammy) does something special with a ribbon that my mom (Grammy) keeps pointing out as “curling her hair with rags”. Now, I’ve never actually seen a rag in niece’s hair, but I do know that when you remove the ribbon, her hair has a fantastic curl that lasts a good while.

Google “rags hair curling” to get a ton of info about this method, as well as a video.

If there was more time or I could count on her mother to assist her to rag roll it / wet set it, I would go that way. But there isn’t, and her mother is a waste - while she’ll spend hours on her own hair, she will only do J’s hair if they’re doing something with her family. Otherwise she tells J to do it herself. J is 7, with the attention span of a gnat.

It will have to be done with a curling iron.

Your grandneice’s mom sounds like a real peach!

From your description, I imagine you are pulling the front part of her hair (from the ears up to the crown) into a ponytail. And then the rest of her hair will be down. Right. Like half-up?

For the ponytail part, most stores will carry a variety of sizes of ponytail holders. You are going to want the smallest size that you are able to manipulate with your hands. And try to find ones without any metal in the loop. They are called ouchless, because hair doesn’t get stuck and yanked out in the metal bit… But you can make these ones even tighter. Goody’s is an excellent brand, and is sold at most pharmacies and Giants. Some stores even carry what look like tiny, clear plastic ponytail holders. These would be perfect, BUT they take practice using!!!

Do the half ponytail part first. Use a slightly wet hairbrush with lots of fine bristles, smoothing the hair back. Knot the ponytail holder as close to her scalp as possible. Once in the ponytail, spray the pulled back part lightly with hairspray, and using the back of the brush (flat part) smooth her hair away from her face, towards the ponytail holder.

For the curling part, spray each section of hair lightly with hairspray, and let dry for a second, before curling with a screaming hot curling iron. Curl the hair up to about an inch away from her head.

I highly recommend using an aerosol-nozel hairspray. Not a hairspray with a manual/mist spray, like a windex bottle. An aerosol hairspray will release smaller droplets of hairspray, and will cover her fine hair without saturating it. A windex-like hairspray bottle will release fat droplets of hairspray, that will likely saturate her hair.

Good luck and have fun!

ps. Please take this with a grain of salt… I am an amatuer hair stylist/make-up artist… i.e., I have done hair and make-up for a number of weddings and other special events, but have no real training.

Yes, half up. Of course, the ponytail also has to be curled, too. I did buy the Goody clear plastic pony holders, as they do seem to be the only ones that do not fall out of her hair. They only use the peg bristle type brushes, so I will go buy a regular bristle brush.

Regarding using hairspray while curling: I’ve tried spraying before curling, I’ve sprayed while the hair was on the iron, I’ve tried spraying just after releasing it from the iron. I’ve used aerosol, I’ve used pump. It’s a pain to even wind her hair on the curling iron, and I’ve tried 1/2" barrels to 2" barrels.

How much time will you have? If you have, say, an hour, I’d still suggest the rag curls, just spray down her hair with water until it’s damp (not wet). Fine hair dries pretty quickly. It’ll dry a bit slower when curled up in rags, but it still shouldn’t take that long. If you actually have rollers, it’ll dry faster yet. Steam-heat rollers might also be a good option.

The point is to get the hair to dry in the curl shape; it’ll last longer than attempting to curl after it’s dried straight.

Also, I gotta ask: why does it have to be curly? There’s something to be said for working with her hair instead of against it.

Because that’s how all the girls are supposed to have their hair for the recital. I’m not in the position to ask, just do. My eldest grandniece, with her wild mane of mixed-girl hair, has to have it straightened. Go figure. I suggested to the girls they trade and dance with each others troupe so I don’t have to dink with their hair, they laughed at me.

I should have a few hours to play with her hair, so I try rag rolling. If I wet her hair down and rag roll, can I use a blow dryer to speed up the process?

I’ve personally only ever tried it with letting it air dry, but I don’t see why not. I’d keep the dryer on low so stray hairs don’t get blown out of the rags and end up straight, but beyond that I can’t see a problem.

A few hours should be plenty, though.

For the person who insists that all the little ones have the same hairdo? Tell her for me that she is a controlling bitch.

My hair care lady recommends lime juice instead of hair spray. **Not **lemon juice which will lighten hair, but lime juice. Get one of those spray bottles that will produce a mist and use just like hair spray.

It will keep the fly-aways from happening as it will pretty much shellac everything in place. Another benefit is that it washes away in water.

I would not use it with curling irons or other heating implements. Spray away after you have the style in place.