Tag Archives: hairstyling

Gossip with The Women

1939’s The Women bestowed a wealth of gloriously iconic dialogue and imagery on the world. Rosalind Russell’s “Seeing Eye” Blouse designed by Adrian, Rosalind and Phyllis Povah landing heads-first into a passing department store cart and my personal favorite: “Jungle red!”

But there is one disconcerting aspect of the film I could never find an explanation for…until now. The poodle-like hairstyles. Every woman in the production (except the blissfully spared Paulette Goddard) sports an unbecoming mass of tightly woven curls on her head. If any of the ladies had long hair at the time, it’s well disguised and contained with the most permanent of waves ever to grace a screen.

Well, it seems at least one of the ladies has a practical reason for her poodle curls, according to the gossip column of Silver Screen’s August 1939 issue:

Joan had every right to be “horrified” if you ask me. Even the masterful snips and curls of Sidney Guilaroff couldn’t transform her botched perm into an acceptable hairstyle. I can’t help wondering if the rest of the ladies’ hair was styled to match Joan’s just so her chopped locks would not stand out. And then I started wondering why Paulette Goddard sported soft shoulder length tresses while the others went for the chop? My only explanation is that it really paid to be married to Charlie Chaplin!

The same column leaked a tidbit about Adrian’s shocking fashions, too. If those clothes in the fashion show sequence are still fascinating and slightly odd to this day, imagine what movie-goers thought of them at the time. No wonder Silver Screen attempted to prepare everyone:

Joan is seriously displeased with the new do.

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How to Wear a Crocheted Snood

Hello friends! Today, I’d like to dive right in and explain how to wear a crocheted snood. Crocheted snoods are simple to put on and keep on, making them the perfect hair solution for quick trips around town. I guarantee your errands will feel glamorous if you don one of these! And an added benefit for those in the colder climates: crocheted snoods are incredibly warm. It’s like wearing a hat without the hair-smushing drawback.

You will need:

  • a crocheted snood (see below for where to buy one or how to make your own)
  • hair pins (I use bobby pins from Sally‚Äôs that match my hair color)

Step 1

Style the front of your hair. In the photo above, I have two huge pincurls rolled to towards each other to the middle. My hair was parted slightly off center before I made the curls, so they are not the same size and slightly askew.

Step 2

Brush out your back hair. I often curl the ends a little, too. I do this with a round bristle brush: Take a section of hair, position the brush at the ends and gently catch the ends in the brush, curling the hair under in a circular motion. This helps give the back hair more body once it’s inside the snood.

Step 3

Gather up your back hair and pin it in a large loose pincurl at the nape of your neck. Not too many pins, only about three or so. This pincurl bun doesn’t need to hold very long, it only needs to keep your hair out of the way while you pin on the snood.

Step 4

Take the snood, with the ribbon ends positioned at the top of your head (if it has a ribbon) and wrap it around your head, covering the pincurl bun. Now you pin it in place:

Pin the top, behind your front hairstyle

Pin the sides, behind your ears

Pin the bottom, under the pincurl bun

Step 5

Reach into the snood mesh and remove the pins holding together the pincurl bun. Fluff the hair into the snood so it fills out.

Step 6

Tie the ribbon at the top.

Here’s a little demonstration gif so you get the idea:

Where to find one

Premade snoods are available from a variety of online sellers. My green one in the photos above was a very thoughtful present from our lovely friend Patricia. She discovered The Snood Lady – a dear woman who meticulously reproduces snoods in modern yarns from a vintage pattern. The Snood Lady even sells fancy jeweled snoods for weddings and special occasions. (Edit 10/24/12 – The Snood Lady is closing up her website, so see the other links I’ve provided for premade snoods.)

Of course, there is Etsy – a wealth of premade snoods in a variety of colors: Aprils Bag and Stitch In Time Design in the US and Eden Valley Vintage and Gin Poodle in the UK (thanks Tanis for letting me know about your shop!).

And if you are a crocheter, you can make your own! The free pattern I used to make my red snood is here (Ravelry link). I added a couple more rows of crochet to this pattern so I could thread a ribbon around it (details on the exact stitches are on my Ravelry page for the project). Annalaia’s shop has 10 vintage crocheted snood patterns and a special pattern for containing layered hair can be found in Patterns ala Carte’s shop.

I hope these ramblings encourage you vintage ladies to give snoods a try! And as always, if you have questions or if I didn’t explain something good enough feel free to speak up.

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Secrets to Vintage Hair Success

(photo from silent_screen_queen)

Vintage styled hair is an integral part of being a vintage girl – well in my opinion, anyhow. It’s just one more piece of the puzzle that helps lend a girl that classic film star feeling. My technique of choice is pincurling because I favor the 1940’s rolled, smooth styles. Ladies, if you’ve never tried pincurling, you honestly have no idea what you’re missing. If you are interested in learning, YouTube is chock full of valuable information from our leading vintage gals. I learned from Aya’s Tutorial (part 1, part 2) but Lisa (part 1, part 2) has great instructions, too.

My reason for bringing all this up today is that I have discovered a marvelous vintage hair secret that I’d like to share. Well, it’s not so much a secret but I think it’s relatively unknown. In the tutorials above the ladies recommend using hair products or water as a setting lotion when you pincurl. These do work to terrific effect and there are many superior products to buy (check out this Fedora Lounge discussion for tips on the best ones). However, I’ve always been overprotective of my hair and try to avoid hair products and heat when styling. It’s become something of an obsession with me, so when my storebought setting lotion ran out a month ago, I decided to see if I could make my own.

My search led me to the aforementioned Fedora Lounge thread where I was soon engrossed in the ins-and-outs of setting lotion. Some of the ladies mentioned the possibility of homemade setting lotion and as I read further I even found links. I printed out two of the most promising recipes and set about procuring ingredients.

So far, I’ve only tried the first one but it has proved to be such an immense success for me that I couldn’t keep it to myself another moment. It’s a blindingly simple recipe that uses only 2 ingredients and takes only 15 minutes to make.

Flax Seed Hair Setting Lotion

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon whole flax seeds

Combine the water and flax seeds in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the mixture is gelatinous (about 10-15 minutes). Strain out as many of the seeds as you can. Let cool. Keeps for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

The result is an odorless, colorless gel that can be used just like setting lotion or putty when setting pincurls. It has the consistency of egg whites. Don’t worry if you aren’t into cooking. It’s a forgiving recipe. The first time I tried it, I forgot about it and it boiled over a bit, but the mixture turned to jelly anyway. I tried straining the seeds out, but they get pretty set into the jelly and it’s a tough task. I just left the seeds in and was careful not to get them in my hair. [2/8/11 Update: After making this recipe once every two weeks since posting this, I’ve found that it’s quite easy to strain the seeds out. Just be sure to strain as soon as you take the mixture off the heat. If it has a chance to rest, it sets up.]

The marvelous part of this is the softness of my hair after pincurling. No yucky hard pieces where the product has built up, no greasy feeling. Just soft, dry, perfectly curled hair. I have found that my curls stay in longer and better with it, too. The product I used always gave up within 2 days of setting my hair. Last week, I was able to go for 4 days with my flax seed set and it was quite easy to fix my hair style each morning. I was testing to see how long it would last – I don’t normally go 4 days without washing my hair! :)

One more tip: if you want that amazingly shiny hair we often see on classic film starlets, massage some tea tree oil into your scalp and comb through your hair before pincurling. Works like a charm and smells divine, too!

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4/14/10 Update: I have a convert! Be sure to check out the post Kate of Vintage in a Modern World wrote about her flax seed experience!

2/8/11 Update: Another convert! Atlanta of The Story of a Seamstress and her gorgeous pincurled, self-set hairstyle.

6/13/11 Update: Joanna of FriendSheep is a happy convert!

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