Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bonita Granville Glamour Hair Tutorial

Having as much hair as I do, one thing I enjoy about Bonita Granville is her thick hair. It was nice to see normal starlet hair that I could emulate without worrying about perfect smoothness and over poofness. So when I decided to try and make a hair tutorial for my dear readers, I was originally planning on copying an extra simple style from her Nancy Drew Mysteries years, but when I searched for images of Bonita, I came across two beaitiful portraits of her. From the look of them, she appears to be a smidge older than in her Nancy Drew photos. Her hair is more glamorous than the originally planned simple do, but just as simple. In fact, the only real difference is the final finishing touches!

So for you vintage lovers out there, here is a Bonita Granville Glamour Hair Tutorial.
*Warning! Beware of Starlet with no makeup!!!*
Also note some photos were taken in the mirror and some were taken directly so pay attention to your own sides!

What you will need:
perm rods (I use 9/16 long)
hair brush
setting lotion*
bonnet dryer*
hair combs
bobby pins*
hair spray

First off I will show you my hair. When I begin my hair is about as straight as it gets without the aid of a straightener. My hair is way curlier than this naturally, but I let it air dry in a ponytail and had some glossy serum in it for a couple of days before this tutorial. As you can see for the most part my hair is all one length. Any "layers" seen is just hair breakage from bleaching and poor care. It is also a bit longer than I would like, but I have been lazy about getting it cut. The final outcome would probably be better with the right cut. So use this tutorial as a guide for your own hair, rather than a exact step by step.

For best results this set should be done with a cold set. A cold set or wet set is when the hair is damp when wrapped or set and allowed to dry completely before removing the curls and styling. Most ladies will want to use a setting lotion for a set that is stronger and lasts longer. A popular setting lotion is "Lottabody" and can be purchased at most beauty retailers. I, myself, have yet to find my perfect setting lotion, but have had success in the past with Lottabody. When setting, do not saturate each section, but rather spritz or mist it just enough to get it slightly damp.

Firstly, I part my hair off to the side allowing the part to go straight back to about the middle of my head. I then grab the front section of my hair that runs all the way across my forehead about an inch thick. This will be where I will create the front curl bump. When I begin, my hair is completely dry, so I just mist the sections with water before I put the perm rods in. My hair takes to curl easily, so setting lotion for me isn't always nessisary. When I put the rod in, I take the hair straight up and wrap it in a backwards motion towards the back of my head. Right before I get to the bottom, I twist the rod so when it is clamped is is sideways. This will help create that marvelous forehead curl/bump.


Next I take the hair on each side from the ear to the part and comb it straight up. While holding it straight up, I wrap the rod downward clamping it at the temple. This will help create the strong waves that are along the hairline.

From there I just take small sections of hair, about an inch thick, and wrap the rods upward in an under curl motion. This is a towards the face motion. Hey! It's My Name is Earl! At this point, I don't use a setting pattern as Karma doesn't care. Each rod is wrapped randomly. They are, however, all wrapped using the same under motion. Also, the rods are not wrapped all over the head, but rather go up only to the middle of the head, but mostly stay at the nape.

Also note that stupid faces and or pissy faces are completely optional.

Being that I started this tutorial in the every late afternoon, I decided I will sleep on my curlers for drying time. However, if I am in more of a rush or if it is early enough, I like to "set" my hair by using my bonnet dryer. Because of the thickness of my hair, I have to sit with the bonnet on for about an hour to get a lasting set. For those with normal hair, 20 mins should do the trick. Also, I like to finish up the dryer set with 10 mins with the cool setting to help seal the curls. I use a vintage bonnet dryer from the 70's that I picked up from an antique shop for about 10$. This is not my bonnet dryer, but any like these will work.


After the hair has time to dry, or set, I take out each of the rods, careful to not twist them as I take them out. I use my paddle brush to brush out the curls and break them apart. The hair will be a massive poof of frizz at first. DO NOT BE ALARMED!! You haven't done anything wrong. From here, keep brushing! Now start using your brush to shape the curls. Instead of just brushing straight through in a downward motion, take your time to smooth and shape the waves and curls. This is done with a simple flick of the wrist at the end and purposeful strokes. Sometimes I add just a hint of serum to help smooth out any frizz that is still there. It is this extra shaping and "polishing" that turns a casual style into a glamourous style.


For the top front, extra care is used so the shape is not brushed out. I brush the hair back and allow the hair to fall where it wants to. Here is where I have the most difficulty in styling my hair. Because it is bleached and fried, the front section has a hard time taking a crisp bump, so I have to re-wet it in order to shape it nicely without extra poof. I am careful to dampen just the hair along the hairline so I don't pull out the curl from the set.

Hair combs are the best way to keep the sides in place. Simply pull the sides back and secure them with the combs. The curled ends should fall forward creating those voluminous waves. If nessisary, reshape the waves with your brush, but do it gently!

Use bobbypins to secure any wayward curls, or to help lift any saggy ones. You can also use the pins to secure the front bit of hair.

To finish up, spritz with your favourite hair spray. Add a little bit of makeup to complete the look!

There you have it The Bonita Granville Glamour Hair Tutorial. If you don't have success this time, keep trying. Get familiar with your hair and it's abilities and modify any steps to your own advantage. Most importantly, bookmark this page and post photos of your hair in the comments so I can see!! Good luck ladies! I hope this tutorial works well for you. As this is the first time I too have tried this style! That is right, making this tutorial is the first time I tried this style!!


  1. This is a really good one! You have now completely convinced me to go get some silly perm rods and see if they will work for me. I am tired of the frizz I get, though, so is that brush you use a plastic bristle kind of thing? I usually can't get that kind through my hair.

    I wonder how I could modify the front part to accommodate my bangs.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a great and fun tutorial! I will be trying it soon!

  3. thank you! i've been a fan of you and your hair for a long time now :D i use sponge rollers and set them almost in the same pattern. sponge rollers are so much more comfy to sleep with than perm rods ;D i cut my hair a while ago, i had the same lenght as you. but it was so hard to brush it out, i have thick hair too.

  4. love it. How you sleep in perm rods is news to me! OUCH! I sleep in spongies sometimes... mostly I cheat with a curling iron...

  5. brilliant! i'm going to sally's today anyway and have now added perm rods to my list. maybe a paddle brush....and and and..where's the boobs ;)

  6. okay, Miss Lolita, I picked up two packets of perm rods at Sally's. They say 12 rods 3/8" and then below an image of two circles (i presume the side view of the rod) it says 9/16". They are white. Did I get the right thing? are 24 enough? so many questions, lol. please email me 'cause i'll forget to check here again. thanks ;)

  7. Love the tutorial!! I'll have to try it out!

  8. Awesome tutorial. I am now convinced to go and get some perm rod thingys; life is too short for pin curls (and I like the results you got here more than my pin curl sets)!

    "Karma doesn't care" – that's GOLD :D

  9. Great tutorial...You look oh so young without make up...

  10. thank you thank you thank you! Cant wait to try this out!

  11. Red... I thought you already used the perm rods with your hair. Use your regular cake comb to brush through your hair then use a paddle or round bristle brush to shape your hair. I can help show you how. Remember the fantastic rolls I did in Pinks hair in 2 mins from behind? I am a genius! Hahaha Just teasing!

    WtDeluxville... Let me know? Any photos?

    Betty Lou... Aren't you a Sweetheart?! Let me know how well it works with sponge rollers. I never have the same success that I have with the perm rods. They soak and hold any dampness and leave my curls ackward? Since I have no trouble sleeping on rods, I just stick with them. I'd like to see the outcome with the sponges and I am sure other readers would like to know as well.

    Brook... I am always amazed at how well I can sleep with them. Especially since most ladies seem to have difficulty. I wonder if this is what my boyfriend means when he says I am hard-headed! Hehehehe

    Shrinky... Hehehe no worries... more photos of my boobies will be hitting the internet soon enough! Hah!

    A Rose... Please post your results!

    esme and the lane way... There are days I wish I could do pin curls. That is one trick of the trade I have never been able to get no matter how hard I try or how many times I try! It would be neat if you did the tutoria both with pincurls and with the rods and compare the results! Let me know how your hair turns out.

    Gingeyginge... Thank you. I think I look wickedly horrid. :) Maybe less makeup is what I need though! :-D Too bad the glamour whore in me says else wise. Hehehe

    JamaLee... Please take photos and post them here for me to see!

  12. I dont know how to embed photos into a comment box, but feel free to go to my web album ( to view my first attempt. it's not perfect, but its a start! Thanks for the tutorial!

  13. Cool. You Have the exact same thick and lightly waved hair as I do. It can be tough to style.

  14. You are cute as pie!

  15. Aw man! I'm looking for tutorials using perm rods vs. other rollers (sponge rollers just make a mess of my hair) and the links to the pictures aren't working on this one!

  16. Aw man! I'm looking for tutorials using perm rods vs. other rollers (sponge rollers just make a mess of my hair) and the links to the pictures aren't working on this one!