Friday, April 1, 2011

What Do I Do With My Hair?!

English Country Dance, Part 3

The hair is the richest ornament of women.  ~Martin Luther
If you're like me, you suffer from simple complications that hinder the creation of your own elegant hair-do. When you were growing up, you loved doing your doll's hair, but you couldn't get the same perspective and control on your own head. Unlike you, your doll's face seemed to suit any style. Your sisters didn't like having their hair done, and you didn't know anyone else whose hair you could practice on or who wanted to practice on you.

Well, girls, I say thank God for the internet and YouTube, because there is help at hand. You'll still need to practice, assisted by a dash of patience and a pinch of upper arm stamina, but hopefully this post will encourage you to have another go at arranging your own up-do.
If you're not in need of a mass of artificial curls, provide yourself with simple tools like skinny* hairties (clear or coordinated with your hair), bobby pins (hair grips), hair spray, and a fine-tooth tail comb--use the teeth to get that smooth, shiny look, and the tail for precise partings and shaping scoops, waves, and curls.

*Skinny hairties are less visible. If you have strong hair, try using 2 or 3 on top of each other, or find a sturdier elastic.

Don't panic if this sounds complex. I had no idea why anyone would arm themselves with such a dangerous looking comb until I started watching YouTube hairstyling videos.  It doesn't matter what form of study you apply yourself to, if you have a good teacher, learning becomes easy and fun. I'm now going to introduce you to a few such teachers and let them welcome you to the adventure of styling your own hair.

Parisian hair model Lilith Moon demonstrates how to create hairstyles you'll love. She's enchanting to watch (with a fascinating English accent), her YouTube tutorials are easy to follow, and her choice of backing tracks are inobtrusive. Here are two samples.

Side-Braid Curly Bun Updo

Waterfall Side Braid

If you do need a mass of curls for that Pride and Prejudice look, Lilith provides how-to-curl tutorials using a variety of equipment, or you can simply braid your wet hair after washing it. Undo the braids when they're dry and you'll have a mass of waves that with little coaxing will make curls for you. Torrin Paige uses this method in her Regency Ribbon tutorial here.

Regency Ribbon Updo

YouTube makeup teacher Michelle Phan recently invited hairstylist Krista Bradford to help her cover the hair department. Here are two samples.

Simple Romantic Updo

Charming Scarf Braid

In search of something a little more Jane Austen era, I typed "Jane Austen hairstyles" into YouTube's search bar and browsed a few of the options.

Emma Ribboned Hair Tutorial (Yes, BeAFunMum looks weird to begin with, but wait till she's finished!)

English Rose Easy Fishtail Side Bun

Nobody expects you to look like you've just stepped off the set of Sense and Sensibility. For one thing, those actresses never do their own hair. Does creating your own glamour-do still seems improbable? Despite all this access to knowledge, I'd still rather someone else did my hair. I'm not sure if that's an admission to laziness or just a stirring of that eternal, feminine longing to have someone brush my hair.

At the last English Country Dance in Palmerston North, I'd had a long working day so my hair was simple -- a ponytail clipped with an ivory chiffon bow. I didn't feature my photo in the subsequent posts here because I didn't think my hair helped my outfit. Perhaps it wasn't as incongruous as I thought--I haven't had any offers to improve it for the next dance!

Or maybe it's because I'm supposed to be a self-help guru and ladies figured I was doing a dowdy so I could transform myself for the next event and publish on Boutique Narelle how I did it! But don't you think a good reason for making friends with girls who enjoy dressing up is that the talented amateur hairstylists among us get to exercise their gift and we get to enjoy the result?

What it usually comes down to is knowing someone whom you can ask for help. It's rarely offered, so help yourself get help. Tell someone you have a need. If they're not able to help you, accept it gracefully and ask if they can recommend someone who can. Keep seeking and you will find.

For more details on girly preparations and the events that followed it, click on the links below.

Charmagne Smith's hair style ideas, costume photos, and more English Country Dance videos:

To view the tutorial for this Princess Braids style, click here:
This Princess has her hair done by her creative and dexterous Mummy, but I'm sure you'll love the styles so much that you'll be looking for a little girl to practice on...or a big girl who wants to practice on you.

Belle Hair Tutorial

Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.  ~Author Unknown

Hair is vitally personal to children.  They weep vigorously when it is cut for the first time; no matter how it grows, bushy, straight or curly, they feel they are being shorn of a part of their personality.  ~Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography, 1964

A celebrity is any well-known TV or movie star who looks like he spends more than two hours working on his hair.  ~Steve Martin

Violet will be a good color for hair at just about the same time that brunette becomes a good color for flowers.  ~Fran Lebowitz

She was what we used to call a suicide blonde - dyed by her own hand.  ~Author Unknown

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