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Friday, August 30, 2013

How to Rag-Roll Your Hair: One Beauty Routine I Can be Bothered to Do Since Moving to Portland, Ore.


 Let’s lead with a very official survey: From my post at a Portland Starbucks, I can see three women. If I squint, I can awkwardly check out my fellow female’s eyelash situation, I surmise that none are wearing makeup. Add me, and you have 4/4 women in a public place with no makeup on. No one has a hairstyle more complicated than a ponytail. I’m doing the study in a Starbucks, not the vegan joints down the street, so it’s not like it’s a skewed sample. Is this a trend I’m not privy to or is this just a Portland thing?

I moved here last September from the small town in Eastern Washington where I went to college. There, I was pretty average in terms of beautifying and grooming. I wore liquid eyeliner and mascara almost every day, shaved my legs when it wasn’t winter, and did weird braid/ bun combo hairdos. I wouldn’t say that I felt extremely pressured to do all these things, but it certainly seemed to be the norm. It’s what I did in hopes to complete an outfit and attract bearded young gents.

The game completely changed when I moved down to Portland, partially due to the fact that I managed to hook a bearded one, and for some reason he agreed to move down here with me. But also my environment is incredibly different. Bare faces are all I see, top knots are the fancy hairstyle, and I am kind of jarred when I see a shaved armpit. Chameleon-like, I retired my beauty routine. 

I am still boggled by how much less of a priority these traditionally female grooming rituals became when I realized they weren’t expected of me. I mean, I work a nine hour day and ride the bus. Why would I waste time flat-ironing my hair or whatever?

So after this long introduction, here is a routine that I actually CAN be bothered to do: rag rolling! Rag rolling is perfect for my new Portland life because: 1. I’m asleep for ¾ of the process. 2. It’s eco friendly. Just make your own rags! 3. It’s totally something Laura Ingalls did (important in a town where, in a job interview, I was asked if I know how to milk goats for cheese).

Here’s how:


Prep your rags beforehand. I used an old sheet that was Goodwill bound, but any cotton you have available is great. Cut the fabric into strips about five inches long and one inch wide. I use about 20 rags for my medium-thick, medium length hair, so you may want to adjust the number based on the state of your hair. It’s probably best to have some extra fabric handy to cut off some extra rags if you find out you need them once you are in the rolling process.

Take a nighttime shower. I wash my hair with Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap, but feel free to do you in this step. Towel dry so your hair is not dripping wet but still pretty damp.



Take out a 1-2 inch section of hair. Roll the section of hair around the rag moving upwards until your reach your scalp. Tie the rag firmly into a knot, making a little doughnut-like circle of hair. Then tie a second knot or a bow with the excess rag. Repeat until all your hair has been wrapped.


Sleep! You’ll need a full 8 hours for your hair to dry in these things. They are very comfortable to sleep in, unlike foam rollers.


 In the morning, simply untie your rag rolls and pull the rags out. Style your curls how you please.

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