Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wave-ing Goodbye to My Lazy Approach to Vintage Hair

For quite a while now, I have been planning to try to clean up my act where my vintage hairstyle is concerned. To explain: I am fairly lucky in the locks department, in that I have a natural wave pattern in my hair that is somewhat similar to the Marcel wave look popular in the 1920s and 30s. This wave is even more prominent when my hair is shorter. Given that I have recently discovered I really feel absolutely at home in late 20s and early 30s frocks, this is rather fortuitous. However, it has led me to stop trying out ways to make my hair more polished and era-perfect. Part of this laziness has to do with the fact that when my hair was a tad shorter than it is now, I could get away with loading on the products to create a slicker 20s look. However, even with short hair, I am just really oafish when it comes to doing my own hair. I've always envied girls who can french braid their own hair (like my friend in middle school used to do). That is just not me. Still, I crave a more authentic and finished look.


Where I'm at now, as part of my New Year's Resolution, is to strive to keep my vintage style relatively lower maintenance by continuing to work with my natural assets, but at the same time, to complete my vintage look by adding a bit more curl in the right places and by banishing my cowlicks, flyaways, and rogue "wings." I've purchased the book Vintage Hair Styling, as well as the wonderful Early 1930s Hairstyles from Wearing History on Etsy, and I've feverishly tried to read their instructions and follow the images. However, I found myself feeling the way I used to feel while studying math or physics (two of my worst subjects: like a spatially challenged blockhead. Surely, I thought, there must be a way I can still get an "authentic" vintage look without having to labour with metal hair clamps and without having to fiddle around with rollers (or my own fingers--I can't even do finger waves on myself...unless you can call me getting spitting frustrated and giving myself the finger in the mirror, finger waves!!!).



The other day, I had a mini-revelation: I saw a photo of Jean Harlow getting her hair done by a stylist on set. What was the stylist using? Maybe a metal clamp of some sort, but to me it looked like A CURLING IRON. Bells and whistles went off in my head. DUH! Women of the past, like many women of the present, were open to innovation and modernity, especially when it comes to making beauty rituals less arduous and tortuous. After doing a bit more reading I realized that actually the whole Marcel wave technique is also achievable by using a hot iron (makes the waves more prominent and makes them last longer than finger waves!!!) I've since found other photos showing women from the 20s and 30s using irons on their own hair or having their hair styled using irons. Here's one:



With this reassuring information in mind, I have since purchased a working, unused early 1930s curling and waving iron. I suppose I could have bought a modern one with a smaller barrel, but I thought a vintage one would be fun (pray I don't get electrocuted or burn my hair off or something!!!). There's another one for sale on Etsy, by the way.


Long story short: in the next while, I am going to try to "wave" goodbye to my lazy approach to hair and make my crowning glory truly worthy of such an appelation. I'm hoping this new appliance will be the key to tidying up my act. Wish me luck!

11 comments:

Lindsey said...

Oooh! The 20s and 30s waved hairstyles are so pretty! Best of luck replicating them. ;)

Trixie said...

Oooh neat!

I have a vintage marcel wave curling iron which is basically the original of the 1980s crimping iron! It gives beautiful waves if you apply the proper setting lotion first and of course it helps to have the shorter hair to avoid the 80s look.

Have fun!

Dustjacket Attic said...

Wishing you luck honey, sounds fabulous. Make sure you show us the results.
xxx

Miss Matilda said...

that's true dedication that is!

Pink Flower said...

oooo i'll have to give that a go with my hot iron!

Miss Emmi said...

I hope it works out for you! I'm scared of buying vintage appliances because I'm worried they won't work or I'll get electrocuted :/ you're braver than I am!

Francy said...

You're so lucky to have a natural wave! I don't have vintage-y hair at all, which makes things like finger waves pretty frustrating to do. I lovelove that kind of look though, and the hot iron is a great idea!

pixiedrivein.blogspot.com

Stefanie Valentine said...

Make sure you show us the results! That curling iron looks lovely, and i love marcel waves so i hope it works out for you! xx

Andi B. Goode said...

Good luck with your hair endeavours! I look forward to seeing the results. =]
-Andi x

BaronessVonVintage said...

If I don't fry my locks or have an electrocution disaster, I will try to post results (after it arrives and I fiddle with it a bit). xoxo

Altissima said...

Good luck. And pics please!