Thursday, 24 February 2011

Get Set! - a Setting Lotion Review

Last week I stopped whinging about how using setting lotion never works on my hair and decided to give it another go. I wanted to see and to document how well it lasted. So.. here goes.

 I picked up a bottle of "Stay Set Extra Hold" from Superdrug for a under £2. I googled this stuff, as I could not find it on line to give you the link. But in my searching, I came across this interesting article.

Anywho, before Yule I received my copy of "Style Me Vintage" by Belinda Hay, which has been wonderfully reviewed by Retro Chick. I had had my beadies on it for a while, but was thankful for the honest review before I parted with my rubles.     

I decided to go for the "Marilyn Set" as I wanted something definitely curly. This is my feeble attempt... stop laughing.

I can never do the back of my head properly. NEVER.

 I used the product neat on to freshly washed, dry hair. I know that you are "meant" to use it on "damp" hair  -  but my barnet takes a long enough time to dry as it is. I also used the product from a small spray bottle that I had decanted it into. Much easier than that comb malarky.

It's a little bit higgeldy-piggeldy at the sides

And I should have rolled the front bits going back over my head.

Sans makeup and confidence that it will all be alright in the morning.

I applied about 10 mins of low heat from the hair dryer all over. I leafed through a mag whilst waiting. Like in a proper salon. Once cooled, I covered it over with a head scarf and went off to the land of nod.

Day 1  -  morning
Don't look too close. My bags are packing puffed up suitcases.

Ta da!!! I must say that I was proper chuffed with how this came out. It was all even (something I struggle with) and the curls were tight. I am not a brusher-outer. My hair is waaaay too thick for that. I would look ridiculous and I just don't have the time to deal with the aftermath. Which would be bad. Trust me. I have tried.

I bundled the curls up in a hat for my commute to work. It was drizzly-mizzly-bleugh when I left the house and I didn't want the curls to drop before they had a chance to make me feel suitably glam.

Day 1 -  evening
Oh. Lots of droppage. But this on account of my hair weight.

Now. My hair does like to drop. Which is a right pisser. I have pondered the idea of having it cut into a midi, but it depends on how good I get at setting it as to whether I would go the whole hog. But it is still a lot shorter than normal. I pinned it up and re-covered it for bed. Thus ended Day 1.

Day 2

This is me at the end of Day 2. I swapped my headscarf for a hat and didn't unpin my hair until I got to work. I only lightly went through it with my fingers. I was suitably impressed with how this had lasted. Granted -  I coulda, shoulda, woulda done more in the styling department before I took the picture in the evening -  but I was not in the mood. Trains delayed due to "rain" are liable to do that to a girl.

Day 3

Now. Day 3. First thing at work. My immediate reaction to this sight was "oh FFS!! It was all going so well!" To me, this looks like a tangled mess. But. With a bit of coaxing  -  it did become a lot less ridged and messy looking. By the evening I had some decidedly straight bits at the back. This was on account of getting rained on. So I re-spritzed those bits with a little lotion and re-rolled.

Day 4

I have to admit, that this is much better than day 3. I really like that fact that it still looks curly. But  -  as you can see, there are some straight bits creeping in at the ends.

Day 5

Thus, the week ended. In an up do and some rolls. I loved the fact the curls lasted pretty much all week and that by the end of the week, a smart-ish looking up do was instantly achievable.

And so it came for washing time. And brushing. *shudder*. I know I should  -  will! -  learn how to brush out properly. First I need a decent brush that does not fill my hair full of static, despite it promising not to.

My conclusion is that:- I need to get my hair cut. It is the weight of my hair that encourages the curls to drop so much. But, in short, I shall never be returning to using mousse to curl my hair!

Setting lotion is the way people!

Over and out!     


  1. Great post. Love that it's held your hair most of the week. Love the quiffy look you have with the rest of your hair down too. Does the lotion smell?! I'm going to try this x

  2. Wow, I am most impressed! Day 1 was incredible and I am amazed you managed to just about squeeze 5 days out of one set. Just think what you could achieve with a midi!

  3. Oh, and that bunny brooch you have is fabulous!

  4. MV - Yes - it does smell a little boozy - but that soon goes. I always end up putting a spritz of perfume in my hair anyway - so that covers it!

    Lauren - I am seriously considering a midi at some stage - but I need to have it cut and then practice on brushing out... eeeeeeeek!
    Re brooch - thanks :)

  5. I love the curls, I wish I was good at hairstyling, but I have basically just given up these days. Can't wait to see how you look with the shorter hair, if you do go for it!
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

  6. I love that setting lotion, even thought it does have a funny smell, but it leaves my curls silky soft after brushing out. i love it! :)

  7. Haha, something else we have in common (I'm liking this!), that last photo of you looks just like my hair after I brush it! I ended up having long layers cut in to mine in an effort to stop frizziness and big hairness. Didn't work. I still end up going to bed each night looking like a crazy woman from the Victorian period. However I am truly terrible at using curlers and the times I've tried I've ended up looking like Crusty the Clown. But maybe I should practice more and use a setting lotion? I didn't use anything to hold the curl except curling when my hair was damp, maybe that will make the much needed difference?

  8. Wow, I indeedy think a midi would suit- how cool is pic one! Your hair has sure done well at the length it is - must be soooo heavy! I actually think the brushed out photo looks alright too-you still have a wave and you have the fluffiness (meant in a nice way!) that was abundant in 40’s hairdos! Tups x

  9. You and I have exactly the same hair and I would highly advise getting it cut shorter! When my hair is long it doesn't stay curled long due to the weight of it, I cannot wet set my hair either it would be wet forever! I also don't brush out my hair I do think different hair types are different and brushing out of hair does not work for me, I end up looking like a gonk!

  10. STM - a gonk! ha ha ha ha ha ha! I am booked in. I am having the chop next friday :)

  11. thank you! i am going to give it a go. i think i have hair like yours - it loves to be straight. i have so many curling things but it has never worked - you may have just saved me from never having proper hair styles..
    i think it really does suit you. bella!

  12. Wow, fantastic post! The curls look gorgeous on you. I'm impressed, I never have curls last more than 3 days, especially in the rain! That last pick cracked me up! :)

  13. Great post! You have such amazingly thick hair. It's impressive how long a set lasts.

  14. Hehe love the last picture. My hairdresser sister-in-law is evangelical about getting the correct hairbrush, and I must admit when I did cave in and spend money on one it was worth it. Unlike you my hair is very fine so the static left me looking like I was constantly hooked up to a van der graaf generator!

  15. I'm so impressed by the lasting curl you got from your set. I definitely think a midi would be a brilliant plan!

  16. You've got beautiful hair and I'm way impreseed at how long your curls lasted for. My hair's so fine any curl drops out in hours :-(

  17. I'm so glad you did this post. I have only recently tried setting my hair but I haven't really found a proper setting lotion in the stores here (in Canada) .. maybe because I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for!

    Your hair looks great and I'm amazed it lasted so long! My hair gets stringy-looking by day three and needs to be washed. They say that a boar bristle brush smooths your hair. Wonder if that would work for you?


  18. Amazing, l love it! I need softer rollers that l can sleep in. You look like Marilyn's dark twin. That must be where all that breathiness in your voice comes from ;-) l have this book, l need to pay attention to the rules more though - BORING!

  19. Oh this did make me laugh (in a good way) but it's also such a useful post, thank you. I am useless at doing retro hair, it's my one big nightmare everytime I try to dress vintage. I keep toying with having my hair cut as all the ladies you see with perfect vintage "dos" have shoulder length hair and mine just seems far too long to do anything with. One day, I shall try the setting lotion in the drawer. I think you did really well and it looked great. I'm with you on the brushing out though!
    Hen x

  20. Thanks for this - I bought that setting lotion in anticipation of trying out some vintage styles from Vintage Hairstyling by Laren Rennells, but I haven't got round to it yet! A big bonus for me is that Superdrug's own products are cruelty-free.

  21. Wow looks great, and it's brilliant that it lasted so long. The up do is amazing- this is something I just can't get to grips with. Can sympathise with the brushing out though - fingers in an electric socket always springs to mind when I do mine! Can't wait to see the midi cut.

  22. Your face made me laugh in the last one, bless you darlin' - that look you dislike is what 40s curls are kinda 'sposed to look like! Bushier and much less defined! Hehe! But you look really super cute either way xxxx

  23. Hey Fleur - thanks for commenting! Yeah - I know that they are meant to look like - trouble is, I look more "hedge dragged backwards.. and forwards" than the Rita Hayworth image I have in my head when I start the process. Shorter hair.. better brush.. more practice :)

  24. Your hair looks fab. I think I'll follow your lead and give this a go since my hair's just hanging about doing nothing at the moment and I'm almost at the point of 'aggh, cut it all off' after trying to grow it x

  25. pretty in all of its stages of curliness!

  26. you look fab

    i have those foam rollers and tried them last sunday, my curls lasted till i washed but did drop. I used mousse but may give the setting lotion a go. only trouble is my hair seems to be greasy by day 3/4 after washing :-(

    very tempted to try and find a hairdresser to cut my hair in a traditional 40's cut

  27. I NEED to do a proper hair set post!

    That looked realyl good though, and good lasting power throughout a damp and drizzly week!

  28. Hola,
    I found you via MissPennyDreadful, Margaret
    your too cute..I think we have similar hair..I also now use easy set as opposed to Amani that was discontinued.
    I find if I am use smaller sponge rollers at the bottom of my curl last longer..I posted a hair tutorial if your interest amor.

  29. I think day 3 is the cutest actually! Perhaps that's just how it looks in the photos but I reckon you actually looked great!

    My hair brushes out just like that! I use a hot air tong/brush contraption and some hairspray but then it's not so much brushing out as re-styling in a way. Meh, Kentucky fried hair is preferable to me than frizz bomb.

  30. wow this looks amazing! day 4 especially, i have been dying to get this book since i spied it in Urban Outfitters, now I think I definitley will! great job! xox

  31. Definetly something I will try, love your hair down, especially with the quiff (i prefer poof, but that can easily be misunderstood), apart from the current hair SOS, consider yourself my new guru :) x

  32. So you can still pick up the setting lotion in supedrug? quite fancy it, works brilliantly on you. I'm guessing it's hiding at the bottom of the shelves in the hair section with the other granny products?

    Ps: how to you get the "reading now" bit

    Pps: started up my big vintage girl blog

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