Women have been curling their hair longer than we can remember. Throughout history, many different versions of hair curling have made an appearance. However, one version has stood the test of time and is still used today. Rag curlers were popular during the victorian era, and they’re still popular now. Rag curls are a cheap and heat-free way to give your hair some natural vintage style waves. Moreover, all that’s required is some damp hair, a comb, and an old rag.

  1. Make Rag Strips

    Start by getting an old clean rag, towel, T-shirt, or pillowcase. Then, cut your fabric into strips about three inches wide and nine inches long. You will need six rag strips in total.

  2. Dampen Hair

    Make sure your hair is damp. For example, if you just washed it, towel dry it until it’s wet. Later, if you start with dry hair, use a water bottle to mist hair until it is dampened.

  3. Part Hair

    Using a comb, part your hair down the center, from the front to the nape of your neck. Starting on one side of your head, part a section of hair from the show to just behind your ears. Comb the piece of hair straight down, holding the ends of your hair tightly between your fingers.

  4. Wrap Hair

    Position one of the precut rag strips over the ends of the section of hair you are holding. The rag should be perpendicular to your hair. Gently wrap the ends of your hair around the rag strip a few times until they are tucked and secure. Continue rolling the rag and hair upwards towards the scalp until it cannot roll anymore. Take the two sides of the rag strip and tie them together around the rolled-up hair tightly against your head.

  5. Next Curl

    Part the rest of your hair on that side of your head into two equal sections. Take the second section of hair and comb it straight down. Wrap the ends around the second rag strip until tightly secured, then roll the curl up towards the scalp, just like the first one. Again, tie the ends of the rag around the curl until tight. 

  6. Repeat 1-5 Steps For Remaining Sections

    Repeat this same process for the remaining section of hair on this side of your hair, followed by three more curls on the other side of your hair. Ensure that all six curls are tightly wrapped, rolled, and tied.

  7. Dry Your Hair

    Now it’s time to let the curls dry. You can let them air dry during the day or overnight or use a diffuser to speed up the process. They are comfortable enough to sleep with because they are not hot or bulky, and there are no sharp pins. If you are letting them dry naturally, wrap your head in a silk scarf to help prevent frizz.

  8. Finally! Remove Rags

    After your curls have thoroughly dried, carefully remove the rag strips one at a time. The rings will look tight, but they will relax after a while. Next, gently brush through the curls to create that natural vintage wave style. A hairbrush with boar bristles will help with the frizz, leaving your curls silky smooth.

FAQ’s on How To Do Rag Curls

Can you do rag curls on dry hair?

Completely dry hair will not work to create rag curls. Because this is a no-heat curling style, damp hair is necessary to set the curls in place. An alternative to damp hair would be to rub a styling serum on each section of dry hair before wrapping it in the rag. The moisture in the serum will help to set the curls in place. However, this method may not produce the desired look as dampened hair.

Can I use any fabric to make rag curler strips?

You can use any cotton fabric to make rag curling strips. However, some material may be too thin, resulting in super tight curls. On the other hand, the fabric of a rag or old towel is thicker, resulting in looser waves. Another strange but effective option is to use socks.


Rag curls are a great way to give your hair a natural vintage wave style without damaging it with heat. They can also be very versatile. You can use different-sized rag strips to create different-sized curls. Try parting your hair on the side to create a different look altogether. A deep part and some finger waves can create an authentic vintage style. If you bleached and then permed your hair in a hair salon we suggest you check our list of shampoos most suitable for your hair.

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