Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to Rag Roll Hair with Video

I have two daughters at home. The oldest is seven, and has always been my girlie girl. I on the other hand am not really all that into frills and putting a lot of time into doing hair. Most days we are lucky to get out of the house with the girls' hair brushed and pulled out of their faces. But there are days, when even the most practical of mommas, wants to doll her girls up with fancy hair dos. The holiday seasons often bring those days.

Trouble is that Lydia, the seven year old, has a ton of straight fine hair. I've tried curling it with a curling iron before, and it an enormous effort whose results did not last. Almost three years ago we tried rag rolling for the first time.

Since then, if the girls want curly hair we break out the rag bag. It is really a simple process. It is cheap, and the curls last for a very long time. I also thoroughly enjoy that this can be done the night before the big day. Here is what we do.

1) First you need rags.
I've cut up some old towels and old sheets to use. They are about an inch or two wide and seven or eight inches long.

2) Then comb out the hair. It helps if the hair is slightly damp. I just dip the comb in water to accomplish this. If the hair is to wet it won't dry, and your work will be for nothing. Ask me how I know.

3) Take a small section of hair to roll. Smaller sections will make tighter curls. Larger sections will make loose curls.

4) Starting the hair around the rag is the hardest part. I use my finger to hold the hair while using the other hand to start rolling. It does get easier with practice. Once you get it started just roll the hair all the way to the top of the head, and tie the ends of the rag together.

The video below shows the first four steps:


5) Once you have all the hair rolled, your daughter will look something like this. Then I tie a big scarf or a bandanna around their heads to help hold the rolls in place, and to keep the three year old from pulling at them. If we are going somewhere in the evening I leave the rolls in all day. If we are going somewhere in the morning we will roll their hair the night before, and let them sleep with them in.

6) When you are ready to take the hair out, simply untie the rags and unroll. Use your fingers or a pick to arrange the hair. Brushing it will make a big fuzzy mess. Again, ask me how I know.

The end result will be a head full of long lasting curls. And by long lasting, I mean days of curls. I rolled the girls hair Monday. Lydia still has quite a bit of wave left in her hair this morning.

Here are my girlie girls with their curls. You can see that I got the front of the little one's a little too tight, but she still loved all the curls.

Stephanie is a homeschooling, homesteading momma of four, attempting to live a frugal and simple life in the hills of West Virginia. She also blogs at Stop the Ride and Adventures in the 100 Acre Woods.


  1. I just did this with my 2yo last week and it was so much fun! I'll be using the bandana on her next time because several fell out during her reastless sleeping, plus I tied them fairly loose so her hair would dry fast.
    The photos are adorable!!

  2. I'm a child of the 1940's and grew up with curls ala rag. It a time tested and true way to accomplish something with out heat, electricity or chemicals. They don't hurt if you have to sleep on them, and the supplies are very low cost. Thank you for sharing this with young moms..the old ways sometimes prove best *VBS*. Hugs, Finn

  3. Wow! I've sent that to a friend with two pretty little girls...she'll love it! Thank you for sharing, and thanks for making the video.


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