Sunday, 15 May 2011

My Vintage Hair Diary - Part 2: Supplies and Tools

Hello there, I hope you've all been having a great weekend! Welcome to the continuation of my Vintage Hair Diary.

Now that my hair has been all cut nicely by the fabulous people at The Painted Lady, I felt it was about time to learn to do some awesome styling properly. Now I've been reading a lot of vintage hair books, articles and blog posts, and I feel that before I even try something like this:


or this perhaps:


the first and very basic step that I need to take is perfecting a good old fashioned set, the core of all good vintage hair styling. 

Now there are all kinds of different hair setting techniques that seem to work differently for different people. Many girls cannot live without their wet set whilst others won't even try it because of past horror experiences with fizz-ridden mops of tangles, and there are some lucky devils who need nothing more than some hot rollers for the perfect finish (oh how I envy them!). So I really need to find the right hair setting technique for me, because I know for the experience of others how each person's hair reacts so differently to similar setting methods.

I feel that at this point in the post I should take a moment to tell you about my hair. Now, I was blessed with curls, uncontrollable wild curls, that I have spent my entire life trying to understand and tame. Trying anything new on curly hair can be quite stressful as you literally have no idea what the results may be, or how long they will last (after all I don't want to spend hours setting my hair only to have it last for a short time, I have better things to do!). I have no idea how my hair will respond to the setting process, it might end up as a horrible disaster, but we'll see!

As I said before I have been reading up about hair setting techniques in order to best decide which might work for me and I have decided to give a wet set a go for my first try. I have decided this for a number of reasons: 
  1. Firstly, this is a technique used by a variety of bloggers that I admire for their coiffed locks (Yesterday Girl, LandGirl1980 and Vixen Vintage to name a few) and they also seem to have a thicker texture to their hair, so hopefully their methods will also work for me! 
  2. I feel that the wet set will be more gentle on my hair as the only way I could do a dry set (using just hot rollers for example) on my hair would be to straighten it first and then recurl, all of which requires a lot of brushing and a lot of heat, not so good for curly hair that can dry out easily. Too much heat makes my hair sad :( So a wet set it is! 
The next step is, what supplies and tools will I need to create this look?

Now the two main books I have been using as reference points are "Style Me Vintage" by Belinda Hay and "Vintage Hairstyling" by Lauren Rennells, so obviously I went straight to my bookshelf for a leaf through to see what basic tools they recommend. First off Style me Vintage:
  • Hairdryer or portable hooded dryer
Wooh wooh wooh hold on! Ok, hairdryer I understand, but portable hooded dryer as a basic? I should be so lucky and have a money tree in my garden...
  • Curling tongs (check)
  • Pin-curl clips (check)
  • Kirby grips (check)
  • Hair padding (I made some myself!)
  • Boar bristle brush
  • Backcombing brush
Ok, time to confess. I have never in my life owned a hair brush. Before you lock me up for insanity, let me explain! When you have curly hair the hair brush is your worst nightmare, the key to all that is frizzy, dry and unhappy. But I guess I'm going to have to break the cycle, grit my teeth and invest in a hair brush *gulp*
  • Pintail comb (check)
  • Regular comb (check)
  • Sectioning clips 
  • Rollers (I think these will definitely be needed, must get me some rollers!)
  • Heated Rollers (I do actually have these!)
  • Hairspray (check)
  • Hairnet (check)
Phew! That's a lot for just basic tools, and believe me I'm not going to run down to the shop and buy all of these things willy nilly. But it does make me think that perhaps this vintage hair thing may be an even bigger challenge than I first thought! And I haven't even started on what Vintage Hairstyling lists in it's tools section! 

To be honest Vintage Hairstyling lists pretty much the same tools as "Style Me Vintage" with slightly  more descriptions of different types of rollers and clips and even more kinds of combs and brushes that you should apparently have to hand (do I really need a styling comb and a speciality styling comb?). I'm sure I can get away with the very basic part of the basics for now, if I decide to change my career and go into vintage hair full time then maybe I can think about owning 5 different brushes, but for now let's not go crazy! The main things that Vintage Hairstyling brought to my attention are setting lotion and pomade. From what I can gather setting lotion is what is used to create the actual set whilst pomade is used to neaten up the style afterwards, smoothing down those pesky fly-aways (of which I have many!).

Now I had no idea what pomade was, so I hopped over to wikipedia who gave me this handy description:
"Pomade (also called pomatum) is a greasy or waxy substance that is used to style hair. Pomade makes hair look slick and shiny. Unlike hair spray and hair gel, pomade does not dry and often takes several washes to remove. It can be easily removed using a high-detergent shampoo or other de-greasers such as olive oil, dish washing liquid and lemon juice."
Holy moly. Now I don't know about you but that does not sound like something I want to be putting on my hair on a regular basis! I think for now I may just stick to hairspray and mousse! As for setting lotion, this is also something I really know nothing about. I have read some brilliant articles by Land Girl 1980 who has been making her own setting lotion at home with some great results, but I think this may be a bit of a reach for me at the moment! For now I think I will settle for the shop bought kind, and the one that seems to come the most highly recommended is Lottabody setting lotion.

I have found an online supplier that sell this at a very reasonable price, so I think I'll order a bottle and try my luck! If of course you know any better brands of setting lotion please let me know, any advice would be very much appreciated!

As for the other basic supplies I decided the main things that were lacking from the mammoth list of tools were rollers and brushes. Well after a quick trips to Boots this was soon rectified!

Sponge rollers! 

I bought sponge rollers as I thought these would be most comfortable to sleep in (I think sleeping in the set will be the only sure fire way to stop me fiddling with it!)

My first hairbrush!

Natural bristles! Ooooooo...

And I also bought my first ever hairbrush! And it almost doesn't frighten me at all! Almost...

So there you have it my friends, all I need now is some setting lotion and a free evening and I will be taking the next steps towards the perfect vintage do! I must admit I'm excited and scared, hopefully it all won't go horribly wrong! Join me soon for the next part of my Vintage Hair Diary when I will be trying out my first hair wet set!

Bye for now :)

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Kate said...

Good luck! I know my first few sets went horribly wrong. Basically it just takes a lot of practise to know what works on your hair and which setting pattern to use. Once you figure out what works, it honestly only takes a few minutes before bed to throw in some rollers/pin-curls and another few minutes in the morning :)

Wendy said...

Wow you are very organised:)
I can only get my hair to keep a curl when I wet set it, otherwise it just drops straight out!
Instead of a pomade I use (sparingly) Treseme Smooth Silk Shine Finishing Spray which seems to work for me to calm down the friz!

Good Luck!

Vintage Girl said...

These are beautiful hairstyles. Good luck!

Tasha said...

Good luck! Let me tell you something you may or may not want to hear, however, which is just my own personal opinion. I have a Denman hairbrush and there is no way in the world I could properly brush out my set hair with it. It just doesn't have enough oomph. Too many bristles and too short of bristles,I think.

I actually rely on a really cheap plastic hairbrush from the drugstore with longer bristles, which works much better. I am certainly not saying the same will be the case for you, just giving you a friendly word of caution since you aren't used to brushing your hair in general. :) I really need a brush with more control to really work through the curls and turn it into something that isn't completely frizzy and poofy.

Miss Katie said...

Kate - I hope I get to the stage where it only takes a few minutes a day! That would be awesome :)

Wendy - Thanks for the tip, any methods to calm down the frizz are much appreciated!

Vintage Girl - Thank you!

Tasha - Thanks so much for the tip, I really appreciate any advice, especially from someone like yourself who always seems to have such lovely hair :) if I need a more heavy duty brush I'll definitely get myself a stronger one with longer bristles. Thanks for the heads up anyhow!

Isis said...

There's pomade and there's pomade- wikipedia is not quite right. There are a lot of different kinds:

Some, like Royal Crown Hair Dressing, washes away easily. The brilliance of pomade is that a tiny amount defines the curls and makes them less frizzy, but it doesn't make your hair stiff. :)

LandGirl1980 said...

Allo poppet! Perfectly coiffed locks - hardly! You are very blinf - i mean kind!

I have just started to brush out myself (again post to come soon!!) and I have found the boar brush to be a little fluff creating for an all over brush out. That said - it is a dream at getting smooth (ish) rolls. I use a really cheap (98p!!) fairly wide bristled brush from asda! Seems to ws to work a treat.

Wet sets NEVER dry on me - and you can use setting lotions on dry hair - but then again, you have your curls to contend with. But if you are applying heat all over & sleeping on it, then it should work a treat. My advice is to decant into a spray bottle, spritz and comb through, roll, heat, cool, heat again, sleep. Can't wait to see the results!!

Also - Pomade. Boots sell with the hair waxes and the like - under £4. It is called Black & Whites. I started using this last week - and I recommend it. Washes out fine.

Miss Katie said...

Isis - thanks for the tip! Maybe pomade isn't so scary after all :)

Land Girl 1980 - Don't be daft, I love your hair! Thank you so much for the tips, I'm going to be trying out my first set in the next few days so hopefully it will go well! eek! and I think maybe pomade would be a good idea after all, and I have seen Black and Whites at Boots before. We'll see what happens!

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