Victory rolls

A little over a year ago, I spent countless hours searching the web for a victory roll tutorial that would make the magic button click inside my head and get my hair and my fingers working together in a way that created magical 40s style hair. I also pretty much used an industrial-sized can of hairspray, teased my hair into oblivion and gave myself wicked arm cramps. I have this Facebook friend who is a model and around the same time as I was trying to conquer the victory roll, it was her favourite going out hairstyle, so I kept leaving annoying comments on her pictures along the lines of: “Heeeeeeeeelp me!”
My friend, all the video and online tutorials all had one thing in common; they all said something along the lines of: “victory rolls are hard at the beginning, but then all of a sudden, they become super easy.” And: “they’ll work sometimes, and other times, you’ll want to tear out your hair in frustration.”
On my last night out in Sydney before I moved to Brisbane in March, the best I could muster was one roll. A victory roll. Singular.
And unfortunately, it was on the side of my head that I now realise I tend to turn away in pictures, so… as far as photographic evidence goes, I don’t have one to show you. I tried, tried and tried and that time was the only time it was good enough to wear in public.
Here’s a picture of me in May, just two months later. I had mastered two rolls quite a while before this picture was taken, but this was the first time they stayed pretty much perfect all day. This is an end of the day picture.
So what changed between March and May? Well, the big thing is that my hair went from uber long l to shoulder length. This meant that I wasn’t having to stretch my arms almost to the ceiling to start the roll, which meant that my arms weren’t getting tired before I got halfway through. But, that being said, I had worn my long hair in two rolls before I got it cut (oh how I wished I’d had the foresight to take a picture of it!).
I think all the girls with their advice about it suddenly just clicking into place is actually right. Not one tutorial I watched or read was really better or much different to the others, I just had to get all of the factors working together and get a feel for when to slip my fingers out of the loop or how much to tease and spray before I started.
But there’s one other thing I think might have happened too. I think I got used to seeing myself with big, giant loops of hair that stood up higher than my head. In the past I might have made a successful roll, but thought I had too much hair, that it was too big or looked like horns. And actually, on the night of my going away party in Sydney, someone complimented me on my hair and when I said I’d had trouble with the other side, she said: “Oh well, might have looked like horns if you’d done both sides.”
If you haven’t mastered the victory roll yet, I am now joining the ranks of those who have and will tell you to make sure you’ve got a rat’s tail comb, a huge can of hairspray and bobbie pins and you keep trying, you’ll get there.
But in the meantime, here are some tutorials that I found really helpful:
A Beautiful Mess tutorial – Aside from the fact that Katie from Skunk Boy Blog is gorgeous, this is a nice, less slicked, not at all “horn-like” style that works well with layers. I don’t have a fringe/bangs at the moment and my hair is all one length, but when I copy this style, I just left a section at the front and tuck them back behind my ears to give a similar look (the picture above with the red headband is similar).
A fancy, but lazy girl’s victory roll tutorial by Kristina Uriegas-Reyes, one of my favourite XO Jane writers. I’d already pretty much mastered the rolls by the time this was posted, but it’s super helpful and the step-by-step pictures are great.
Cherry Dollface is my favourite YouTube vintage glamour tutor and I watched this video literally hundreds of times. She’s also done a faux victory rolls tutorial which I found helpful before I mastered the real deal.

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