Edwardian Pin Curl Tutorial – No-Heat Zig-Zag Waves

Edwardian Pin Curl Tutorial – No-Heat Zig-Zag Waves

In this tutorial I’ll show you how pin waves were made in the Edwardian era.

Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle Tutorial

‘To the woman who desires a really attractive, well-dressed head, waving is indispensable. [It only means] ten minutes’ work overnight, or the same extra time spent on the coiffure in the morning. And the result is a prettily waved head, which takes half the time to dress, and, besides looking softer and more attractive, remains in position and shape considerably longer than straight, flabby hair.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)


You’ll need:

  • craft wire, copper wire, or hairpins
  • water spray bottle or damp hair


Make Edwardian wire curlers

make edwardian wire curlers

You can use hairpins, like the one on the left, to make Edwardian pin curls, or make your own wire curlers. Cut your craft wire slightly longer than a hairpin and bend it like the one on the right.


Make Edwardian pin curls

edwardian pin curl water spray bottle

After you’ve washed your hair, let it air-dry till it’s still slightly damp. Or use a spray bottle to dampen your hair.

wrap hair edwardian pin curl tutorial

Take a strand of hair and twist it ‘ over and over each prong until the strand covers the pin in a sort of plait.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)

edwardian pin curl tutorial-3

Then bend the ends of the pin so that they cross each other to secure the strand of hair. If you’ve used a hairpin, secure it with a hair elastic.

edwardian pin curl tutorial-7

Wrap the next strand of hair in a zig-zag shape round the wire curler.

1900s pin curl tutorial

‘Four pins should serve to wave the front and sides, and the back can be done in the same way if desired.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)

zig zag waves curls no heat

‘If the hair is left on the pin all night, or some hours, no heat is necessary ; and when the pin is removed the wave will appear. But if the hair is to be dressed immediately, some flat pincher-shaped irons – as used for curls en papillote – should be thoroughly heated, and the hair pressed firmly between them. The pin can then be removed, and the wave is equally good.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)


Pin wave or marcel wave the hair?

Edwardian Pin Curl Waves Tutorial‘Waving is not all of the Marcel type ; indeed, it is practically impossible for a woman to Marcel wave her own hair. But there are other ways of securing an excellent wave on the front and side hair ; a wave which looks pretty and natural, and gives the hair just that support and substance which makes waving such a help in hair dressing. Every woman can wave her hair, if she wants to, on pins.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a) It is ‘interesting and instructive to remember that in the days of Madame la Pompadour all waving was done on pins or en papillote, as marcel waving was then unknown. Therefore, the wave made on pins is far nearer the original Pompadour style than the marcel wave.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2b) ‘I do not want ladies to think that this process – which needs no helper or maid – will give them the same appearance as a Marcel wave. It will not. But it will wave their hair’. Curling the hair on pins ‘cannot possibly harm the hair [as marcel waving might]; and they will produce a far more natural, wavy result than badly manipulated tongs or so-called ” wavers.” Indeed, they offer the nearest home-made approach to a Marcel wave.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a) Wire hair curlers were advertised as ‘”La Donna” French Crimping Pins, no heat necessary’ in Eaton’s Spring And Summer Catalogue 1904.

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