I Tried Morello's 'OITNB' Beauty Routine IRL

On Orange is the New Black, Red isn't the only one who likes to improvise. Many characters over three seasons have used varying methods to keep looking cute while incarcerated. However, of all the inmates, Lorna Morello's beauty routine on Orange is the New Black is one of the most consistent and recognizable looks. It's old school classy, and goes along with the picture perfect fantasies she creates for herself.

In the Season 2 episode "A Whole Other Hole," we learned that Morello gets her vintage curls using the rag rolling method, and shapes her brows with a band-aid. We also learned in prior episodes that she uses instant coffee to create a smokey shadow look. It's super easy to try this routine. Everything was already in my apartment. However, I did have to steal a band-aid from one roommate and "borrow" a pinch of instant coffee from another to complete this look. Please don't tell them! Taking beauty advice from Orange is the New Black has already been a bad influence.

I don't typically follow a proper lipstick routine or use bright colors that often, but I have recently become obsessed with curling my hair overnight using no-heat methods. Braids work just fine, but my favorite is vintage pin-curls. I was a little bit inspired by Agent Carter, I cannot lie. That's why I was interested in doing this in the first place. It was familiar yet challenging enough to make me wanna try it out. Here's what happened when I tried the Morello approach to beauty.

Rag Curls & Band-Aid Brows

I was a little nervous to do this. The last time I did rag curls with an old cut up tee-shirt, I looked like a cross between Shirley Temple and a poodle. However, I was placing the curls too close to my head. Morello has a much more subtle method. I also went a little extra DIY. In the episode, you can see she's using a cut up uniform. Instead, I went with toilet paper. I curled each strand with two sheets.

This isn't too far off. Morello wore a TP veil in her promotional pictures for OITNB Season 2 so we know that she's fond of it for crafting. Plus, it doesn't matter. That's the beauty of rag curls. You can use cloth, toilet paper, tissues, newspaper — whatever! The curls will look the same.

Here's what you do, and here's a youtube tutorial for rag rolling that explains it visually for this style. Towel dry your hair as much as possible or use a spray bottle to dampen dry hair. Place the rag a few inches from the bottom and wrap the ends of your hair around it — make sure that the very end is loose, especially if you have naturally curly or wavy hair. Wind your hair up as far as you want the curl, then hold with one hand while tying the rag or paper into a simple knot. I did mine in the morning and took them out after lunch, but the best way (and the Morello way) to do this is to leave your curls in overnight.

While I was putting in the paper rags, I started to worry that it was taking too long and my hair was going to frizz. I decided I was definitely going to have to buy TP next for my apartment because I did not tell my roommates I was doing this. I also hoped they wouldn't mind me not signing for packages or mailing rent until this afternoon.

The brows were pretty simple to do in theory. Just cut up the sticky part of a band-aid and stick it on your face in the shape you desire. However, the band aid didn't remove a single hair from my brow. I'm not too surprised — my follicle genes must be stronger and more stubborn than Miss Morello's. Here's what my hair looked like when I took the curlers out. Not bad!

I think Morello would approve of my makeover so far, even if it's not exactly just like "that TV show where they gave those ladies the plastic surgery makeovers and then all their problems just run away after."

Make Up

Luckily, Morello is risky and scrapes out "empty" lipstick tubes for her contraband lip look. So I just used regular lipstick. The eyeshadow, on the other hand, is a different story. This was the part I was least looking forward to, frankly. However, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. I basically just took my shadow brushes and a bit of instant coffee and hoped for the best. I learned that in order to get it on, you need to wet the brush quite a bit. Putting on eyeshadow has never felt more like painting to me. At first it was clumpy and rough, however, with plenty of water and practice, I was able to get a nice stain on my lids.

I'm pretty pleased with this overall, however I will be changing my shadow before I go out tonight. The coffee looks cute but A) the smell is distracting and B) it's sitting heavy, dry, and cracking on my eyelids. Ironically, it made me feel even more tired.

Final Results:

Here's the spruced up version of my Morello look. In that scene on Orange is the New Black she just lets the curls fall and finger combs them, but usually when I put this kind of curl in my hair I smooth them out with a round brush to make them softer and more uniform. As someone who was traumatized after brushing her curls out into frizz for years as a pre-teen, this changed my life. Place the brush under and perpendicular to each strand, start at the top, and brush down while rotating the brush to keep the curl's shape. Then you can use your fingers to style them into place. I am actually fond of adding faux victory rolls with bobby pins to curls like this as a finishing touch, which is what I did here.

What do you think? Are you tempted to try all (or at least part) of this technique? I'm definitely less scared of rag curls than I was yesterday. However, now everyone knows that the picture of me in my bio above is a blown-out lie. Them's the breaks, unfortunately.

Images: Netflix (screengrab); Leah Thomas (6)