It can be overwhelming to go full out vintage because there were so many different factors to incorporating the looks from the 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. It can be a bit much to incorporate the hair, makeup, clothing and shoes so for the sake of making it a bit easy, we'll start with the hair and then go to makeup before getting to the style.
I think the most difficult section for African American women with naturally curly hair is of course the hair styling because you do have to set your hair to achieve some of the signature looks from past eras. For my everyday, basic style, I start with hair that has been set in large braids or plaits with a front section of hair on a flexi rod roller. This helps stretch and elongate the hair making it much more easy to style. My hair is super thick so all the bobby pins in the world wouldn't hold it together if I for went the hair setting process!
Two large braids (plaits) give me nice big waves!
The products I use to set my hair are products I've used for a long time. My leave in conditioner of choice is Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner and my hair moisturizer is organic virgin coconut oil. I apply the leave in first, then the coconut oil and smooth my hair with a simple plastic bristled brush. Applying these products leave my hair soft and very bouncy. You can allow your hair to set overnight or if you're pressed for time, sit under a dryer, you'll get the best results if you leave them in overnight though. Focus on next say hair that's bouncy and smooth. If you're starting with freshly washed hair, your hair will be more fluffy the next day. If you plan to start on 2nd or 3rd day hair, you'll have more smooth and defined hair.
Southern Tease by Mane and Chic. The last step is to create a victory roll with the front section of hair. Use what products you need to so that your hair is smooth with minimal flyaway hairs. I don't mind them that much but if you're meticulous about them, that's okay - you're just passionate! ;)
Have fun with it! :)
~The Retro Natural