The main thing you need to know is that you need a good setting lotion. This is an essential component. Without the setting lotion, a wet set will not hold, so all that lovely work you’ve done will end in disappointment. I use Lindy Charm School’s setting lotion. – Victory Lamour aka Tara Moss
I love a good wet set, but I’m still mastering the technique.
After a number of questions and requests from people with similarly stubborn hair to mine, I’ve decided to blog about how I do my wet sets, and record the results each day for you. For nine days I won’t wash or re-style my hair, and I’ll avoid putting my hair up in snoods and other styles that hide it, so you can see how the hair really behaves as the wet set settles in.
After some trial and error I have found I prefer the rag curl method to rollers, as my hair is thick and it’s easier and less fiddly to roll into rags. The ones I use have a bit of sponge in the middle, and close with a snap, and as a bonus, they create some defined shape around the hairline that I like on me. I’ve tried literally everything from hot rollers to curling irons to hot sticks to get my hair to curl, and I’ve settled on wet sets because they are the most practical on my hair.
Wet sets – The upsides:
The good thing about wet sets is that overall, they take less time, they cost less and do less damage to your hair (and the environment) – but they take longer to do at first. Wet sets create curls and shape that last a week or longer, and therefore less overall time is taken to maintain the vintage look you want, there is less need for shampooing and drying your hair, and less accumulated damage in done to your hair from other forms of heat-based curling. If I do my wet set right, I only need to brush it each day, and if desired, style it with a flower, a scarf or snood, etc. There is no need to re-curl or add products. Reducing washing, product use and curling reduces costs and time.
This method can also be done with plain cloth rags you may have around the house, making it affordable. Alternatively you can buy ones with a little sponge in the middle and a snap to close, or sew your own. No expensive equipment is needed.
For some women, rag curls require no heat at all, meaning you need no electricity. This is helpful for a bunch of reasons, including when you are doing some old school caravanning, as I often am.
This technique can work well for stubborn or thick hair that doesn’t like to hold curl. Depressingly, curling with tongs or hot rollers has been known to drop out in 2 hours or less with my hair. Wet sets last much longer, as you’ll see below.
If you are into 1940s styles, this kind of wet set automatically creates an authentic 40s vibe because women in that era did not generally have access to other curling methods. There were no stylists, home hair dryers or curling wands for women during WWII. An authentic 40s look is not ‘flawless’ in the modern sense – there is some frizz – but it is always curly and styled, and the curls have a particular shape that often came from this method…..