Style Advice Clinic – Vintage Hair Tips

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I often get asked for advice on style things.

Hair, make up, frocks, shoes. Most of what I know about any of these things has been learnt through years of experimentation, reading and talking to people. But if you don’t pass on what you know how does anyone learn?

So I decided it was time to ask if anyone had any questions and answer them on the blog for all to see.

I decided to start with hair as I’ve done a few hair posts recently and have done my best to collate questions from all over Facebook, comments and other places! The answers are all based on my experience, they should hopefully be a starting point, but everyones hair is different and sometimes experimentation is the only answer!

It’s taken me a good 3 years to finally be able to do faux bangs and be reasonably happy with them. Gulp. Here are my vintage hair tips in answer to your questions

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Emma asked –

Growing out a fringe and just clipping it back, any other ways of doing it to make updo’s look less rubbish?

This is a bit of a case of experimentation I’m afraid! Sometimes you can sort of combine growing out fringe into longer hair with the help of a bit of backcombing to help it stick together and a spritz of hair spray. A product like wax or pomade can help tame any slight flyaways.  Small pin curls done with wax are another way of working a fringe into an overall ‘do’.

It’s best to do your hair first and then go back and fix any sticky out bits. I find those fine u shaped hair grips quite good for holding shorter bits of hair in their place without showing too much.

Helen asked –

Do you have any ideas for vintage hair for a wedding? I’m going to one in a couple of weeks time and I’m struggling to find something that works on my hair with any kind of reliability so that I know it will be good on the day!

Without seeing your hair this is a tricky one to answer. In your Facebook profile photo it looks like you have some length, it also looks like you have pretty good hair already! If you can’t get curls to stay reliably I would stick with an up do that won’t wilt as the day goes on. A back roll using a sponge hair rat is always a good, easy hair do. Just put the rat on top of your hair and roll it up, or you can try this technique from Landgirl 1980. At the front a little roll like this is simple and easy (gosh, that video’s from 2010!).

Alternatively, if you have a bit more time, try pre setting your hair and then having a go at the “poodle” do (picture below). Take a horseshoe section on top of your head and pin the curls into place on top, use tongs to get neat curls, then split the rest into sides and back and twist and pin them up to join the rest then smother it in hairspray and take pins in your bag!
poodle

Phillipa asked –

I have just-between-chin & shoulder length hair and would love to master a 50’s style up-do… without all the pins showing! My actual hairs are very fine but I have lots of it, if that makes sense.

There’s no cheat to not showing pins I’m afraid really except hiding them with more hair and making sure you buy grips as close a colour match to your hair as possible!

If your hair is fine then a bit of backcombing or dry shampoo can give it more texture and make it easier to manage, and easier to hide the pins behind other bits of hair. If it’s just a few pins showing then hair flowers and decorative grips are the closest you get to a cheat!

Kathryn asked –

I need cute easy up do’s for hot humid weather with bangs preferably.

I know that the hair style from this tutorial works with bangs, as I teach it at the Sauces Masterclasses. Just leave your fringe out or brush it to the side. Victory Rolls can also work with bangs. depending on the length of your hair twisting the back into a french pleat, leaving the ends free, and then pinning them into smaller rolls on top of your head is quick and easy, or pulling it into a high pony tail and doing the same thing, rolling the ends into curls on top of your head. Like a quicker cheats version of the poodle do!

Jenny asked –

How do you get your set to not look greasy after a day?! Maybe its just my hair type but I have to wash my hair every other day so its not worth the hassle of setting it.

Partly perseverance. The more you wash your hair you strip the oils away and it tries to replace them, making it look greasier. Using dry shampoo in between washes makes a big difference, eventually your hair will get used to being washed less often and produce less grease. Try extending the time between washes by doing an up do on the day that you really think you want to wash your hair and extending it by an extra day.

Kerry asked-

Well I have synthetic dreadlocks in at the moment. I have a wedding to go to tomorrow and I cant think how to do my dreads in a retro style  Theres a challenge for ya!!

I answered this one on facebook as it was so near, but for other people, here’s what I said!

You could do victory rolls and a back roll with dreads I should think. A lot of vintage styles are easier if you backcomb your hair so it all sticks together in one lump, at least with dreads half of that work is done for you and you’ll get a lot of volume in! I’m sure you should be able to roll dreads round and pin them into curled shapes fairly easily! I bet you could create something really elaborate with a bit of playing around!

I found a You Tube tutorial here finally, which might help.

dreadlock victory rolls

 Natalie  asked-

Vintage hair for someone with the curliest hair in the world would be good.

As the owner of the straightest I shall do my best to answer this based on conversations I have had with other people with very curly hair! I once advised someone to try a wet set with large velcro rollers, and she said it worked a treat. Velcro rollers add bounce to hair, and setting curly hair on them should control the curl somewhat, so it’s smooth curls rather than frizz! Boots Curl Creme is also a bit of a wonder product in this area.

Sarah asked –

Victory Roll with layered hair and a fringe with hair that is extremely fine and flyaway

Becky asked –

 I can’t get victory rolls to work…. I have alot of layers in my hair and each time I try to roll it all kinda fans back out again…. Any idea how I can fix this problem? My hairs naturally curly too

Gemma asked  –

I can’t for the life of me do victory rolls

Victory rolls are a popular look, but not the only 40s style out there, and if you find them completely impossible it might be time to admit defeat and you either need a different hair cut, or to find a different do.

However, there are tips that can help with layers. For starters, back combing your hair and spraying it lightly with hair spray BEFORE you start trying to create the roll will help, as will putting pomade on your hands to control flyaways. Make sure your hair isn’t freshly washed, hair dressers say 24 hours, I’d give it 48 if you struggle with flyaways. You want it to be a bit dirty and greasy as it’ll help it hold and be far more manageable. Remember, it’s best to get the shape of the roll first and deal with flyaways and sticky out bits with hair spray and grips afterwards, if you try and get it perfect straight off it’s much harder.

If you struggle getting 2 rolls in your hair as you have shorter layers you might find it easier to do 3. If you have a side parting then split the larger side into 2 and roll them both. I did do a victory roll tutorial video. It was my very first one and is quite bad, maybe I should re do it!

Honor asked –

Can wet (read damp) set my straight hair, it takes, (yippee) but it ends up massively frizzy no matter how much I brush it out to ‘tame it’, and it won’t fall into waves a la Rita Hayworth. Think Crystal Tips stylie… Any suggestions?

I don’t know whether you’re using pin curls or rollers or what. But my immediate thought is to try using larger rollers, looser pin curls or larger sections of hair. Rita Hayworth waves are hardly curls at all, and the sort of thing I would normally get on about day 3 of a set, if I hadn’t bothered to put it back in rollers at night. A lot of people find hair is slightly frizzy on day one of a set, but on day 2 and 3 will look exactly how they want, so I don’t know if you’ve tried waiting till the next day, brushing it and seeing how it looks?

You could also try damp setting dirty hair, just lightly spritzing it with water and pin curling, your hairs natural oils should help combat some frizz which have been stripped if you set it from freshly washed. Boot curl creme is another product worth a try to tame frizz, either as a setting medium, or work some through your hair to calm the frizz.

Apologies if I missed anyones questions!

I hope some of that helps! Let me know if it does in the comments! I’ll be running another style clinic on beauty traumas, but probably not till next month! If you have a beauty trauma question, like wonky eyeliner you can leave that in the comments too and I’ll try pick it up later for the next post!

19 Responses
  • Natalie
    June 6, 2013

    Thank you, I’ll let know how I (and my curls) get on x

    • Gemma
      June 6, 2013

      If the velcro rollers work to calm them down then it should be easier to work with! Like I said, I’ve had someone else tell me it worked for them, so good luck!

  • Helen Mae
    June 6, 2013

    That was really helpful, thanks! My hair always causes the biggest problems for me out of everything, so there are some really useful things here. Mine was the wedding question – I think an updo is definitely the answer and I am probably going to attempt the poodle do. Thanks again!

    • Gemma
      June 6, 2013

      Good luck! The poodle is fairly easy to do, but does take a bit of time to get the curls on top in the right places!

  • Arianwen
    June 6, 2013

    Inspiring stuff!! I need to be more experimental with my hair. I’m lucky to have hair that does what it’s told and I still usually just leave it down. Some great tips here.

  • LandGirl1980l
    June 7, 2013

    Aaaah – thanks for using my hair rat tute 🙂 You have reminded me that I STILL need to try the poodle doooo!