DIY Setting Lotion

“Your hair is 90% of a good selfie”

– A friend, recently                                                     

A large part of completing a vintage-inspired look is the matching hairstyle to go with it. When I first adopted vintage fashion nearly a decade ago, it was at the tail end of my “goth phase”. I began experimenting with simple vintage hairstyles such as victory rolls and suicide rolls to compliment my outfits as I had seen on a number of Goth livejournals (Yes, LIVEJOURNAL). It was during this time I came across a recipe from another user for something called a “setting lotion”. The recipe promised soft, bouncy curls at a fraction of the price of commercial setting lotions. Not knowing what a pin-curl set or setting lotion was at the time, yet sensing the importance of the recipe, I wrote it down in one of my binders. In my mid-20s, due to the strain home dye jobs took on my hair, I decided to lop my long locks into a middy cut. It was too short to put into victory rolls so I had no option but to learn to set it in pincurls to achieve an authentic vintage look. That is when I dug up my old setting lotion recipe and had a go. It was a success!

Flashforward to 2018, where pinup fashion and hair has become a commercial success and vintage hairstyling is a lucrative business. I am finally at the end of my last bottle of Suavecita, an American brand that is notoriously hard to get hold of in Australia. Unable to order any more from overseas or my local salon due to financial constraints, I decided to dig up that setting lotion recipe once more. This morning when I brushed out my pin-curl set, I began to wonder why I ever strayed from this recipe. My curls were soft, bouncy and my hair somehow felt stronger than the night before.

I am currently going through a blonde phase and the sheer amount of processing has left my hair a tad brittle which is to be expected when you try to maintain sunshine blonde in naturally raven tresses. The recipe involves Flaxseed as its main ingredient and I am assuming that the protein content of this setting lotion has something to do with why my hair feels a lot softer than usual.

Here is what you need:

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You should end up with a colourless and odourless gel which I would suggest you apply to your hair in sections as you pin-curl. Some people have described the texture as similar to egg whites which makes sense as Linseed gel is often used as an egg substitute in vegan baking! Lest you enjoy picking out linseeds from your hair the next day or have your office pals think you have nits, I will stress that you need to strain the mixture well before it cools down! I like storing my gel in a little mason jar in the fridge but I have also seen people who pour the cooled jelly in an old lotion pump bottle. Keep a nose on the gel as it tends to start smelling sour at the two week period. Just a word of caution, when you remove your pins from your pincurls the following day, your hair may feel a little crispy but a good brush out will get it all soft again!

Linseed can be purchased from the health food section at your local Coles or Woolies and a single bag can last you nearly a year! I have tried this on my own thick, wavy hair with great success over the years and I am keen to hear what fine haired and straight haired girls have to say about this recipe! Please do drop me a line or better yet DM me a photo of your finished set on instagram so I can feature it on my Instagram feed. I am @thedesipinup on most social media platforms.

Until next time, stay foxy!

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