[NC’s Beauty Tips] Let’s Talk Socks

My friends will tell you that I have an almost obsessive-compulsive relationship with my curling wand.  A Christmas gift from my well-meaning mother (who could never have anticipated the madness she was instigating), my BaByLiss iPro230 iCurl (check out a review here by Miamazing) is what it promises to be: ridiculously easy to use.  So I have been using it.

And I have been overusing it.
Given my zeal to achieve perfect Blair Waldorf-esque curls (visitors to my blog know of my long-standing obsession with the style of the UES’ Queen B), I have inadvertently burned my hair on several occasions, owing to the fact that I refuse to let a curl be until it is shaped according to my exacting standards.  My poor, punished ends, unsurprisingly, started splitting, throwing a wrench into my plans of growing out my hair so I could style it more.  To prevent any further damage, the state of my hair affairs has meant a vacation from the heat and my beloved curler. 
You can just imagine me spasm-ing from withdrawal.
I was prepared to spend several long months of bearing with the arrow-straight hair that God saw fit to give me (not that there’s anything wrong with the arrow-straight hair God saw fit to give me), when I chanced upon this video on YouTube:
No-heat hair curling with…Seriously?  SOCKS?

Well, I was desperate.  And since I do have an abundance of unused socks from my elementary days, I decided to give this technique a try.  I’ll be posting a YouTube video of what I did in a bit, but for now I’ll break it down for you in story form.
The Sock-Curl Technique
First thing’s first: you’ll want to work with completely dry hair.  Not the blow-dried kind either–that usually leaves the roots wet–but air-dried.  I tried doing this with wet hair and came out with results that didn’t last quite as long or look quite as nice, because they didn’t dry up enough over the course of the night.
Once your hair is completely dry, you’ll want to brush it out just to make sure that there aren’t any tangles and knots and stuff.  Afterwards, especially if you have damaged hair (like me), you’ll want to put some anti-frizz or damage-repair serum (look for the stuff with the chemical Dimethicone) on your hair, especially on the ends.  I use Sunsilk Damage Repair Serum, but there are others like Vitress or Dove that are pretty good as well.  Once you’ve applied the serum, you’ll want to comb out your hair again just to make sure it’s distributed evenly. 
Then, dampen your dried hair.  No, seriously, you’re going to have to get it a bit wet again, otherwise the hair won’t be able to dry into the curl, and then where would you be.  Also, dampening your hair will prevent an unholy amount of frizz in the morning.  Trust me.  I didn’t dampen my hair enough, and was met with a frizzy weather system when I undid the socks this morning.  Luckily, I managed to tame the hurricane (more on how later).  Suffice it to say, dampen your hair.  Spray it with water until just before the roots.  It should be about 85% dry when you’re done with it.
After dampening your hair, spray in (or rub in) a fixative product, either hair spray or a tiny bit of hair gel.  This ensures the curl sticks.  I used Finesse Extreme Hold Hairspray with added conditioning, and sprayed it just a bit around the ends of the hair especially.  Should you choose to use gel, make sure you only add a small amount (think a peso or dime-sized dollop) to your hair because you’re going to have to sleep with this stuff in your hair.  Also, choose a product with at least some conditioning capacity, or add leave-on hair moisturizer/conditioner before you put in the fixative product.
Once you’ve added your hair spray or gel, you’re ready to break out the socks!  The more socks you use, the smaller they are (toddler and children’s socks versus, say, your dad’s or brother’s work socks), and the tighter you roll them, the tighter your curls will be.  For my hair, I only used three, rolling them using the technique shown in the video above (it’s better you watch it rather than I explain it–this part, at least, needs visuals).
There, visuals.
As you can see, there are two socks on each side of my head, and there’s one you can’t see which is rolled near the crown of my head, using the hairs at the crown.  Basically you treat the socks as a foam roller: you twist the ends of the hair around the sock, roll it up as close or as far from the root as desired (for the crown piece, I rolled that almost to the root; for the side pieces I kept them just below my ear), and knot the sock in place.  I suggest double-knotting to prevent them from falling out in the night.
Then you sleep.
In the morning, after you brush your teeth, wash your face, put on your clothes, and eat breakfast, take out your socks.  I warn you: you will be treated to extremely tight curls that will not look attractive in the least, unless you’re trying to look like Amy from Little Women.  DO NOT PANIC.  Simply flip your hair over and, placing your hands NEAR YOUR SCALP/THE BASE OF YOUR HEAD, use your fingers to shake out the curls.  Don’t shake near the ends as this may cause the curl to fall out.  Stay near the scalp/the roots.  This will separate your curls in no time.  Of course, you’ll still have a huge cloud of hair, which is why you’ll have to break out your damage repair/anti-frizz serum again and rub that into the curls.  You can even try manually separating and defining them like in the YouTube video above.  As for me, I was in a rush, so I pinned a few of them back, sprayed them with hair spray, and hoped that the damage repair serum would work its magic.

Lo and behold, it did!  After a few minutes and some veeeery careful finger-combing, the serum managed to loosen my frizzy hurricane of curls into soft, sexy waves.  I’m quite proud of the results, and even my mom, who had very little faith in the sock curls to begin with, was pleased with the final outcome.
There you have it!  Heat-free curling using socks! 
Of course, this is only one of the many heat-free techniques you can find on YouTube.  There are those involving pens and pencils, ripped-up paper bags, bits of cloth (“rag curls”–a very vintage method), braids, and buns, but for me, this is probably the easiest and most painless of the lot (the pens and pencils one looks especially painful), especially if you’re going to sleep in them.
Convinced?  I sure am.  I’m definitely using this technique over summer vacation…even if it means I look like a demented grandmother when I go to bed!
~ NC
Coming soon: sock bun curling! :))

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