ROAD TEST: "I slept with DIY rags in my hair and woke up with a head of voluminous curls."

You Beauty host, snack influencer, general beauty expert and all-around very wise woman, Leigh Campbell, once said: “Life will be a lot easier when you stop fighting your hair’s natural texture.” While I acknowledge the logic in that statement, my collection of hair texturisers, volumising powders, curling iron and straightener would suggest otherwise.

I am a typical straight-haired girl who longs for curls. I would love to take part in the retro curly lob trend but have little skill with hot tools and don’t want to invest time in daily styling. In other words, my options are limited.

Come in, rag curls. It’s the no-heat, styling trick borrowed from the 1800s that’s stood the test of time. You simply make some rags with an old t-shirt, pillowcase or towel – I used a stained white t-shirt – use this to curl your hair and sleep in said rags overnight. The result is a head of bouncy, voluminous curls that don’t drop throughout the day and take minimal effort and time. It’s a lazy girl’s dream.

Hairdressers translated: Having trouble understanding your hairdresser? Have no fear, we’ve got your back. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

But first, you’re going to need to make yourself some rags. All you need to do is get your repurposed material of choice and cut strips of fabric roughly 20cms in length, with a width of three fingers. As you can tell by my handiwork, you don’t need to be too precise at all.

Rag curls how to
The rags. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

And now onto the hair. You can do this with freshly washed or day two or three hair. There's always the option of using dry shampoo the morning after as well.

1. Brush hair thoroughly and section into three parts, or four parts if you have a lot of hair (lucky you). This will make putting in the rag curls so much easier. If you want, you can also apply leave-in conditioner during this step to nourish your hair as you sleep.

Rag curls how to
I used a clip to tie up the top two-thirds of my hair. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

2. Beginning with the bottom third (closest to your neck), take a two to three centimetre chunk of hair and start wrapping it around the rag from the bottom of the strand in an upwards trajectory. You can use more or less hair in each roll, just keep in mind that the final curl will be looser if you're using a thicker chunk of hair.

Try to wrap the hair around your face outwards and away, as you would if you were curling your hair with a straightener or a curling iron.

Rag curls how to
Keep on rolling. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

3. Once you've finished rolling the hair, use either side of the rag to tie a knot around your rolled hair to stop it from unravelling. This step can be a bit tricky. I find it's best if you hold your hair in place with one hand and manoeuvre the other to tie the knot.

Practise makes perfect. After doing this for a few nights, I can do my entire head of hair in under 10 minutes.

Rag curls how to
Nearly there... Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.
Rag curls how to
Done! Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

4. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of hair.

5. Leave your rags in overnight. Sleeping on your rolled hair will initially feel a bit funny but you get used to it. I found sleeping on my back felt best.

Rag curls how to
A look. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

6. In the morning, untie each rag and unravel the hair. The curl will be quite intense at first but don't worry.

Rag curls how to
I (truly) woke up like this. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

7. Brush your hair out with a paddle brush to loosen the curls. You want to avoid a plastic comb because they can cause a bit too much friction in your hair, which can lead to frizz. Brush the curls out to your desired texture. Don't worry if things get a little too voluminous, we're going to fix that in a second.

Rag curls how to
I personally like this volume, but if it's a bit too 'much' for you, you can tone things down a bit. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

8. If your hair needs it, tone down the volume with a finishing cream or leave-in conditioner. I used a pea-size amount of the Kristen Ess, Weightless Shine Air Dry Crème, $18.99, distributed it on my hands and scrunched it into my hair to give it hold and definition. Otherwise, you can finish with a volumising, texturising spray or a light-hold hair spray as well. A texturising spray will give you a messier, voluminous and 'undone' look, while hairspray will hold the curls better.

Rag curls how to
The styling creme helps to set and hold your curls. Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

And that's it! Heat-free curls that won't drop throughout the day and look great (if I do say so myself).

Et voila! Image: Supplied / Jess Wang.

Have you ever tried the rag curl technique? What did you think? Tell us in a comment below.

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