Monday, April 2, 2012

Big and Crazy 1790's Hair! Or the Hedgehog Wig Turotial

I tried my hand at some wig styling last week. I was pretty pleased with the results of my first try,so here's a tutorial about how to get a decent 1790's hedgehog style from a cheap synthetic wig.

2 years ago I made myself a chemise a la reine  dress and have since experimented with the big 1790's hair to complete the look.
My chemise a la reine . With some fake curls peeking our from underneath the hat!
 My attempts with my own hair (with and without some supplemental hair from the black lady hair store),  turned out ok, but they took forever to create and wilted in the heat. Not to mention the pain of having to wash and brush out teased aqua netted frizzy curls afterwards.

my first attempt at a hedgehog hair do

 So since I'm lazy by nature and do not enjoy spending 4 hours on my hair at 6am, I decided I needed a wig to go with my 1790's outfits.

Now when I say they had big and crazy hair in the 1790's I'm not lying, just look at these gems of hairdressing art!

Queen Louise of Prussia with some fab big hair!
This lovely lady has less top poof but some serious mullet back length.
Can you say white girl Afro?!
After looking at hundreds of period images I decided I wanted to go for something along the lines of this style:.

Medium top poof and nice long flowing back curls.

And here's what I did....

I started out with a long wig that I got from on ebay. Spent only $9.50 and it's a really good quality synthetic wig. It is a light brown color that matches my natural hair pretty well.  These ship directly from china so you have to wait for about a month but it's totally worth it.

The wig in it's original state
The first thing i did was give the wig a haircut. since the style in the 1790's seemed to be a rather mullet like short in the from long in the back sort deal.

And after it's haircut
I lopped off generous amounts of hair in the front sloping down from the already existing bangs. I also took off some of the top layer of hair in the back to get it to poof up with the rest of the front and not be weighed down by  length.  I think I took off a bit too much in the back and would like to have a bit more long hair there if I tried  this again, so don't go over board.

Curling supplies, a comb, some mousse and strips of muslin is all you need!

Next I rag rolled thin narrow sections of the hair with the aid of some styling mousse. The mouse helps to keep things together while rolling, it doesn't give  much hold afterwards. If you have never rag curled hair here's a short you tube video on how http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxgwbWc5Yiw.
Rag curling is a bit tricky to get right but I chose this method because it is the method they used in period and produces a distinctly shaped  curl that is tighter than what you get from most modern rollers i have used, also it's cheap, all you need is some scrap material torn into strips.

All Rolled up!
I ran out of muslin after a while....

I used about 80 rags and spent over 2 hours rolling them up. I used bigger modern rollers on the long section in the back wanting looser curls but you could also just use bigger sections of hair with the rags as well.

Next I took my rolled up wig to the kitchen placed it in a large bowl and poured boiling water over it and let it sit for a while.

Give the wig a nice bath in boiling water.
This step is  very important, because the synthetic fiber in the wig  is not like natural hair that will curl when left to dry on a curler. It has to be melted into shape. The boiling water softens the synthetic fiber and will shape it into curls. Take the wig out of it's it bath after a couple of minutes and let it cool off. You can take the curlers out as soon as it's cool, the curl is now permanently set and will not relax unless dunked in hot water and brushed out .

After taking the curlers out, before styling.
looked like a clown mullet
You cans separate the curls with your fingers and brush it a bit, don't overdo the brushing.  This will frizz up the curl but will not relax it much. Which is a good thing since it means your hair do will not get droopy and unsightly after a couple of hours. I have not tried the wig in high heat and humidity yet but I think it will hold up well enough. perhaps some extra aqua net may be in order in extremely hot weather.
Here's the first result:

White girl Afro mullet!
Not  bad, but not good, and wow talk about frizz!
I  wasn't too happy with it. It looked a bit too round and high and the hair in the back was curled too tightly. I felt I looked more like Foxxy Cloepatra than lady Hamilton.

Good! Lady Hamilton, famed Regency Beauty.

Bad! Foxxy Cleopatra , Austin Powers Sidekick.

So I did some tugging and pulling and restyled the back curls by relaxing them with hot water, and added another sash. and this is the end result.

Much better, still frizzy but less poof!

I like the side view

And the relaxed curls in back.
Still not exactly what I had in mind. it's more late 1780's early 1790's in style, when hair was still extremely poofy. But for a first try it's really not bad at all and will go great with my chemise dress which is why I wanted a wig to begin with. So all is well!
Next time I will roll larger sections of hair to get  somewhat looser curls and I will leave more long hair in the back. I already purchased another wig from the same seller, this time in dark brown, and will try my hand at a somewhat later style.

2 comments:

  1. You are brilliant! I am inspired : )

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