I Got a Middy! And a Word About Setting Lotion

Well, a modified middy. And I LOVE it. My hair was nearly to my waist, limp and shapeless, and I hadn’t had a hair cut in 6 months. It was taking me an hour to curl, and it felt like it took as long to comb. I felt buried. I was extremely close to hacking it off myself. So I made the appointment.
I had studied the middy a fair amount, and looked at a crap load of pictures. It’s a little hard to find pictures of it unstyled, but I landed on a good one, where the length of the layers were modified to be longer and less awkward so that the cut didn’t need to be curled to look right. I took this picture, a picture of the same girl with her hair styled, and a picture of Lauren Bacall, along with a mental list of instructions with me to Tonic.

Lauren Bacall, an awesome woman with awesome hair.

My stylist, Becky, didn’t know what a middy was, as far as I could tell. But she followed my instructions to the letter. Split ends gone, a U-shaped hemline, and lots of box layers with no texturing or feathering. My length rose to the bra line at the back up to just barely past my shoulders at the front. The result was a cut that looks very modern when left straight, elegant when softly curled, even surprisingly high class and professional, but that when set in curlers looks authentically forties or fifties. It’s a beautiful and very cool cut. Becky is awesome. I think I might even go shorter next time.

My hair as styled by Becky, and a horrible display of photographic skill.

In fact, the way she styled it, trying to imitate the picture of Lauren Bacall but using modern tools that didn’t quite do the job, was so sleek and elegant that I liked it even more than my own big fluffy “Hollywood” style of curling it.

My hair before, “Hollywood” style, before it has a chance to collapse under its own weight.

I wanted to recreate this, but punched up with a little more vintage. It didn’t take long to figure out how. My usual set was too curly, and just a curling iron wasn’t curly enough, and too time consuming. So I ended up doing 8-10 big curls instead of 15-20 little ones, radiating outward from the crown, with the thin side of the part smoothed out with the curling iron used like a flat iron. It took 10 minutes to curl instead of an hour, half an hour to dry instead of five hours, and barely a minute to smooth out. Perfect. As far as a perfectly vintage look, I finally got it down, and I love it enough to share. Tutorial to follow in the next article.

Perfect vintage hair, minutes before static and bad quality hair spray ruins it. I’m working on that too.

So if anybody in Winnipeg wants a stylist who will listen to them and give them a great do, go see Becky at Tonic!
Now, there is something that I failed to mention in my curling tutorial, and that’s about setting lotion. Setting lotion is a product that will make your hair fuller and keep the curl for longer. The most popular kind is Lottabody, and you dilute it in water. I’ve heard of different ratios, 1/5, 1/3, 1/2. You’ll have to figure out what works best for you based on your hair type. If it’s too thick it won’t spray out properly and your hair won’t curl. But the stuff does wonders. Alternatively you can use mousse or spray gel. Don’t use hair  spray until AFTER you’ve finished styling though, or it will be too stiff to work with.
So there’s my little update. I’m learning a lot more about styling lately too so when I can get my thoughts on that in order I’ll be posting another. See you soon!

10 comments on “I Got a Middy! And a Word About Setting Lotion

  1. Shari says:

    you’re a red head! Aaaah! I love it! the cut looks gorgeous.

  2. CJ says:

    it turned out fantastic! if you have time you should check out this link, it’s a hair tutorial from youtube of this girl (maria) showing how to get pin-curl-looking curls without heat, and i feel like it could help you out if you were in a rush. it’s SO easy. here’s the link:

    • Thanks for sharing! Though if she has to keep it in all day and night I would hardly call that quick lol. If you’re in a rush I don’t know of anything that doesn’t use heat. I just got some hot rollers to rescue a failed set (like today), or for when I want something more modern. It takes me half an hour from start to finish: 10 minutes to put in, and 15-20 minutes to completely cool, a perfect amount of time to wait while you get dressed, put on makeup, and have some coffee. I love how they actually don’t undo the curls that DID work, so I don’t have to feel like I’m starting all over and wasting my work from the night before. For tighter and more authentic vintage curls in a snap, Lisa Freemont Street recommends hot sticks.

  3. Sarah says:

    im gettin my hair cut soon and i really want a modified middy like your would it be weird if i asked for pictures of your hair front side and back straightened to take to my stylist? i really want your hair! and don’t want to ruin mine >.<

    • Victoria Black says:

      Wow, that’s so nice of you! I would love to but I’m way over-due to have it cut again myself so it’s kind of shapeless right now. You could bring in a middy diagram and tell your stylist to keep the layers longer so it doesn’t have to be curled to look right. If you’re into a more rocker look though, the authentic middy is actually great when it’s straight.
      The basic instructions to my stylist was a U-shaped hemline, and lots of box layers with NO thinning, texturing or feathering. The very round bottom and no texturing etc are the most important parts. Then the length of course is up to you, though shoulder length is the most authentic and easiest to curl. My own length is to the bra band at the longest point, and just past the shoulders at the shortest point. Here are the other pictures I brought to my stylist. I hope they help!

      Since this post was written Lisa Freemont Street also did another video about asking your stylist for a middy.

  4. Sarah says:

    thank you so much!!! this helped a lot :] i really wanted a longer modern middy like yours! i follow ashley too on LFS but i thought it would be weird to show her the videos haha

  5. Ava van Blythe says:

    After looking at the photo from Victoria, it seems like my method isn’t far off. Now, I’m no precision cutter, but I’m learning to do this more clean and a bit more U shaped. I think my very old habit of cutting a very deep U still creeps into my hair cutting style. One day I may stick to a Veronica Lake inspired hairstyle, as in no layers and simple waves. But this style is just so easy to set, brush, be happy. I have a very different method than what C-Dot explains on the Fedora Lounge, but I get results I’m happy with. It’s just that seeing this post made me happier with yesterday’s results. 😀

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