The Life-Cycle of a Pin Curl Set

Have you ever really wondered why you should learn how to do pin curls? With all the effort it takes, it better be worth it. It takes so long to master and if you’re new to doing it it can take an hour to set each time! GAH! I myself often think about doing a pin curl set and end up saying “fuck it, ain’t nobody got time fo dat.” But on those occasions that I do push forward and do it, I’m really glad I did. Let me chronicle here for you how a pin curl set looks – and holds up – so you can see and compare for yourself. I typically set it dry and spray to wet with Lottabody setting lotion diluted in water once it’s done. As for a setting pattern, I barely have one. I just roll it all down and under, except sometimes at the base I roll it up just because it’s easier that way. I don’t use hairspray so it’s not a factor in these photos. Keep in mind that my hair is naturally super straight, fine, and will only hold a curl after serious negotiation.

April 2nd – I started last night with kind of dirty day-5 hair, but I had done pin curls Friday night for Viva and thus had the motivation to do it again, even if I figured I’d have to wash it soon and might not get the full life out of it. Instead of using the large end of the pin curler I used the small end for the first time. I guess I just wanted to see what it would do. While the pinned curls look the same as when I use the larger end, the result is really quite different. Here’s the large end, that I used over the weekend…

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And here’s what I woke up with today

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So cute! I wish I had tried this weeks ago!

8 hours later it was definitely fuzzier, but had not fallen at all.  So for starters, let’s have a look at what happens when you just sleep on it as-is with no preservation, since this isn’t going to last much longer before I have to wash it anyway.

The next morning…

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Looks like a fresh pillow roller set!

Not bad.  By tonight it once again has managed to hold, however it’s clearly getting pretty gross so that’s the end of that. Now let’s start again and see how long it lasts when I preserve it overnight.

Day 1…

You can see how pleased I am by my expression

You can see how pleased I am by my expression

I think the small end of the pin curler actually works better when my hair is a bit dirty. It was all fluff. By the end of the day it was a little fuzzier like before, but basically the same. So by now we have learned that pin curls, though they may fall somewhat at night without preservation, don’t fall easily throughout the day.

Day 2…

Hooray, it's cute!

Hooray, it’s cute!

Last night I made maybe about 10 large pin curls using a foundation stick as a tool, and left them dry. So now we get to compare the difference this makes. As you can see I also did a victory roll, because pin curls make them about a million times easier so why not.

Day 3…

Last night I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at 4am, so I did a pretty half-assed job of preserving the set. I did 4 very large, very messy pin curls around the base of my head that were just barely hanging on in the pins, left the victory roll alone, covered it in a bandanna as usual and stumbled into bed. Nevertheless, it still looks great this morning.

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Can you believe this is day three? At this point I almost feel like I could keep this up indefinitely until my hair gets dirty. Have I cracked the code on how the girls at Viva could look so gorgeous all day every day on so little sleep? Of course the catch is that I figured it out a few days AFTER Viva. Oh well.

Day 4…

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While it miraculously doesn’t seem to be falling any noticeable amount, I am noticing a change in shape, though I’m not sure if it’s because the curls are getting old or because my hair is getting dirty. It’s a mystery for the ages. My hair is starting to deflate slightly, though it still looks good. It’s been losing its fluff and getting smoother, which is nice to a point. And it’s starting to form ringlets, which is annoying.

Day 5…

Yes I'm in my pajamas.

Yes I’m in my pajamas.

I’m still going at day 5. Basically my hair looks the same as it did yesterday, but by now I would really like to wash it. I wonder if I should give in and do it, or hold on another two days to really see how far I can take this thing. Also notable is it’s not trying to make ringlets anymore. I thought that was part of the curl aging process but it seems to have just been a slightly bad-ish hair day. I’m pretty much back to normal shape-wise.

Day 6…

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Ok so I have some pretty good volume here all things considered. My curls are becoming waves, but still have shape. I’m pretty happy! I think I’ll hang in there for the last day.

Day 7…

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Yeah, so today became a ponytail day.

Yeah, so today became a ponytail day. And I added pearls!

Happy Day of Pink, bitches! I’m wearing pink right down to my mismatched socks, except all blue underwear because I’m a rebel like that. I think these pictures might do a little too much justice to my hair right now. I feel like until this point, you couldn’t really tell that it wasn’t first day hair, that I hadn’t styled it just like that on purpose. Today it’s obvious that this is an old set. It may be because I lightly sprayed it with diluted baking soda in preparation for my next wash, or it might be that I put all the curls on the top of my head overnight because I was sick of pins poking into my head as I slept, or it might just be that it’s been a damn week since I washed my hair. Either way, I’m glad I’ll be starting over tonight. And I’m pretty impressed that it’s lasted this long. I asked Mike if I should just put it in a snood because it was “wonky and loose” and he said “that’s the way I like you,” so I guess I’ll take that as some sort of compliment. And I have no one to impress but myself anyway. Today is a day against discrimination, and that includes discrimination against my dirty fallen hair. That’s right. I timed this thing perfectly.

So what do you think? Broken down over a week, I don’t think I spent much more time on this than on a regular roller set, and I’m pretty inexperienced with this so I’m slow. With a roller set, I have to set it from scratch with water every night, and within a few hours of taking it down I have loose shapeless ringlets that look pretty lame in comparison.

And this is how it looks fresh!

So, worth it? I think so!

Now all this is well and good, but what happens if your set fails? Check back on the 25th, when I’ll show you no less than 8 options, none of which include the ponytail.

Does No ‘Poo Work on Dyed Hair?

13 days into going no ‘poo, I had an urge to dye my hair platinum blonde. When I get crazy ideas like this it means it’s seriously time to do my roots, because it must be looking shitty if I’m that unsatisfied. I dye my hair super blond and follow up with Punky Color, so I was a bit worried about what would happen. Would baking soda doom me to a life of natural hair?

Holy shit

Holy shit

The truth is that baking soda DOES fade color. The alkaline opens up the hair and makes it more porous, so it actually accepts color very easily. But for the same reason it lets it go just as easily too. Although I wouldn’t say it’s quite so much that you have to give up on either. The thing is, in a no ‘poo regime you wash your hair far less often than you probably did when you were using shampoo, and I feel like this helps to balance things out. Another thing to remember is that apple cider vinegar does the exact opposite of baking soda, which is why they compliment each other so well. Its great for sealing the color in.

So here’s what I think you should do. Wash your hair (or just apply baking soda as I do in a spray bottle) right before dying your hair, so it’s ready to soak it all in. When you rinse it out do it with water only. I used to use a bit of shampoo to get rid of the messy excess, but the funny thing is, the first time I dyed my hair after starting all of this was that a TON less color came out in the shower. It was like fourth or fifth shampoo hair vs first shampoo hair. This means two things. First of all, I did not re-decorate the bathroom and myself once again in avant-garde splashes of pink that just never seem to come out. Secondly, it seems that because of the baking soda, my hair was holding a lot more color than it ever used to. So because of this, it should be totally unnecessary to wash your hair again when you rinse your color. That excess I was trying to get rid of just wasn’t there. When you’re done, spray liberally with the ACV. This seals the cuticle and your color. And damn if it doesn’t make my hair the softest its ever been in my life.

Try as much as you can to then only wash your hair once a week. It will be easier to get to this point using no ‘poo than with shampoo. In fact many people go on from using baking soda to using water alone. By the time you need to dye again, it will be because of your roots, not because of color fade.

For the moment, I’m still not at that point yet. Almost, but not completely. My hair doesn’t get badly faded anywhere except by the roots, where the baking soda gets scrubbed in. It looks mildly bleached there. Everywhere else it’s never held up better. My tips used to look brown after about a month, now they’re still black. So this is great. It’s working and I’m on the right track.

So it’s been nearly two months now and I still haven’t fallen off the wagon. I haven’t used shampoo since January 31st. This is challenging, but I have no regrets and no plans to go back.

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Quitting Shampoo – Week 2

Feb 8th. I didn’t plan on updating EVERY day, but here we are, I have updates. Today I felt totally gross. Though I STILL didn’t look gross. I credit the fact that I had already only been shampooing only once a week. So I used a normal amount of baking soda if not more, and when I could still feel the grease through the water, I dragged a bar of coconut oil soap once over my hair. I feel much better. Scarlet said my hair looked incredible. She’s going to try this too. And I’m thinking about how much fun it could be coming up with different food-based hair recipes. I’ve also noticed that my hair is not breaking in the shower. I used to have big nasty handfulls of broken hair in there, now I’m down to MAYBE one strand. This is a big deal. All of it is.

Picture time!

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Feb 10th. No wash yesterday. My hair hasn’t gotten any greasier, but it hasn’t gotten any less greasy either. I added a vinegar rinse for the first time today but I didn’t notice any difference at all, and I think I was pretty generous with it. And it smelled awful, even though the smell was gone even before I got out of the shower. I’m just feeling a bit discouraged. I don’t feel like my hair is nice right now. Plus I need a hair cut, my roots suck, and my baking soda is not only years old, but I just figured out it’s baking powder, meaning it’s half cornstarch. This sucks.

(If you’re having trouble with the transition phase too, check out http://ecottached.blogspot.ca/2011/11/no-poo-day-two.html)

Fuck it. I got back in the shower for a second time and went nuts with the coconut oil soap, tons of vinegar, and a bit of conditioner. Tomorrow I’m going to go buy some REAL fresh baking soda, two spray bottles for my mixtures, essential oil, and a boar bristle brush. Persistence for the win. Montage!

Feb 11th. We went to walmart and I got everything I needed. The spray bottles could only be found in the gardening section, so they’re huge and fit at least 5 cups each. I put a few drops of clove essential oil in the “conditioner” to dilute the vinegar smell. It worked, it smells totally weird, but much better. Then I thought what the hell, I’ll put some in my “shampoo” too. I’m excited to try this out, but my hair doesn’t need it, so I’m going to leave it alone for now.

What I realized though is that having this stuff in spray bottles instead of squirt bottles is genius. I wanted spray bottles to make sure I was applying it evenly, and not using any more than I needed. Not wanting to wash my hair until it really needs it again, but still wanting to try it in some way, I just lightly sprayed them on my dry hair. It turns out my notion that this might be a great refresher in between washes was right. I thought it was far fetched, but my hair just perked right up. My ends are also noticeably softer from the vinegar for the first time. I have no idea why it suddenly worked. And now I smell like clove!

For more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, see http://www.naturalnews.com/038131_apple_cider_vinegar_hair_treatment.html

Feb 12th. I don’t know if it’s because I slept with baking soda in my hair, but I woke up feeling NO GREASE for the first time in two weeks. All I felt was a lot of baking soda, but my hair looked fabulous right out of bed. Consequently I didn’t feel the need to wash it, but I did anyway to get the baking soda out. When I felt a bit of grease through the water, I used a dab of coconut oil soap. I sprayed the bottom half liberally with the vinegar mix as a leave-in conditioner. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe this, my hair feels normal. But it feels better than normal, it feels amazing. No grease, no grime, no baking soda residue, just thick, super soft hair. I can’t believe it. The transition phase didn’t last very long, but it felt like forever, and I think I’m actually out of the woods. My hair looks and feels awesome. Between the baking soda, vinegar, and red dye, it’s worthy of me saying that I care for it with a volcano of epic-ness.

Epilogue of sorts: I dyed my hair on the 13th and 15th with no wash, just water and vinegar after to seal in the color. I didn’t wash my hair again until the 18th, because I had a hair cut. But I totally could have gone longer. Everything is going great.

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So let me break down my trial and error for you into what really worked for me. What you’ll need:

-2 spray bottles

-Non-expired baking soda

-Apple cider vinegar

-Essential oil of your choice

-A boar bristle brush to move the oil from the roots to the tips and make it shine

-Natural sulfate-and-detergent-free soap or shampoo bar to get you through those really tough moments.

Total cost to me: About 35$ for absolutely everything, that will last me a year or more. But it’s quite possible you already have these things in your house, making it virtually free.

Mix one tablespoon of baking soda for each cup of water (you can choose to use distilled water, or boiled and cooled if your water is hard) in one bottle, and between 1 tablespoon per cup and half and half of vinegar and water, depending on your hair needs, into the second bottle. I didn’t even pay attention to the ratio I used, I think it was about 1/5. Add about one drop of essential oil for each cup or two to each bottle. Keep in mind the benefits and/or aromatherapy qualities of each. In the shower, scrub the roots well to lift any dirt and grease, and use a bit of natural soap if you’re feeling desperate during the transition phase.

There is definitely a learning curve to this. Aside from the transition phase, it takes some time to learn what works best for you, as far as the ratios of your ingredients etc. Contrary to what seems to work for most people, I’ve been finding that this works best for me when I spray baking soda on my hair a day before washing, using a bit of a higher ratio than recommended, and apply more and scrub and rinse the next day. The vinegar is also by far the most effective for me when used as a leave-in. So even when the transition is over you might need to experiment before you get the best results. When I did things the “normal” way, I found my hair returned to being stringy, greasy-ish, and a bit crunchy. Using my sprays on dry hair mostly fixed how bad it looked and felt when it was getting pretty bad, and when I washed a day later things were fine again. I had to do a month of trial and error before things worked themselves out.

The transition phase varies widely, I’ve heard everything from none to a few months. The most common seems to be approaching 2 weeks. Just hang in there, use ponytails, bandannas, hats, or snoods when you need to. And remember it totally does get better. You can do it!

On the 25th, I’ll answer the million dollar question – Does no ‘poo work on dyed hair? Find out soon!

Quitting Shampoo – Week 1

People have always said I have nice hair. One of the reasons for that, my guess anyway, is that I’ve always used as few products as possible. I own products, and I have used them. But it’s pretty rare. I like to be super gentle, I don’t even blow dry except on rare occasions when I have to. Another reason I hate products is that it would just be too gross, because for the last few years or so I’ve been seriously cutting down on shampoo, and days of product buildup would be gross. I want to keep it relatively natural, and I don’t want to be high maintenance. I do what I need to do to feel hot, but I won’t do anything unnecessary or not fun. And now after slowly spacing out my shampoos more and more, with the help of dry shampoo in between, I can go 6-7 days between washing my hair. Awesome.

Well I’ve become even more interested in this since I heard of the “no ‘poo” movement, and since I dyed my hair this outrageously pretty and bright pink-red color I wanted to shampoo as little as possible to keep it looking good. So I did some research. I have to say it looks pretty damn amazing. Save money, help the environment, and have the best hair you’ve ever had in your life? Hell yes. There are a ton of great resources about this on the web, here’s one of the more popular ones http://www.crunchybetty.com/no-poo-to-you-too.

So now I’m trying it. And here’s my progress.

Before. This picture is a tad old, but accurate nonetheless.

Before. This picture is a tad old, but accurate nonetheless.

Feb 3rd. It’s Sunday, and I haven’t washed my hair since Thursday. Normally I wouldn’t wash it again for another few days, so I figure it’s a good time to test this out and see if it looks totally clean. I see that people are generally using baking soda as a substitute. I couldn’t find any baking soda, so I mixed a teaspoon and a half of sugar in conditioner because I read that one person used that too, and it’s gentler anyway. To my surprise, the sugar-conditioner mix actually lathers a tiny bit. Also, that lather is WHITE. With shampoo it immediately turns hot pink. You know what this means? It’s not stripping color out of my hair! Awesome! My hair looks pretty bright and clean, but I think using conditioner on my scalp put too much moisture in it and it’s weighing it down. Next time I’ll just dilute it in water or something.

Feb 4th. Ok, so my hair WAS clean, really really, but all that conditioner was really weighing it down and making it look greasy. I didn’t look so great. So instead of waiting 4-7 days I decided to try the more traditional baking soda method today. I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar for conditioning, so I used regular conditioner on the ends.

My hair is definitely clean, the conditioner is gone. I’m feeling like this is definitely something I can keep up. For better and for worse though, it feels like it was rinsed with salt water. It feels a bit dry and it’s a bit hard to comb, but it has some badass volume, and I’m always looking for more of that. I’d even venture to say it looks a little teased. Mike says he might try it. Maybe I used too much baking soda. It does have to be used pretty sparingly, and I didn’t measure when I put it in the bottle. A little bit of detangler has helped pretty good though. I’m tempted to rinse it again. But I kind of just want to wait and see what happens instead of messing with it too much and driving myself crazy.

Just look at my big stupid grin. This is me, not believing my hair can be this thick after just air drying.

Just look at my big stupid grin. This is me, not believing my hair can be this thick after just air drying.

Feb 6th. By today my hair still looked pretty ok, but it was starting to feel a bit greasy and look a bit stringy. Right on track as it’s been 6 days since my last shampoo. It was MUCH less than it would normally be at this point though, I’m sure nobody would even notice, but it was enough to prompt me to try this again. This time I used a VERY small amount of baking soda, less than half what I did before, and rinsed it really well to make sure it was all out of my hair. I also only used about a third of the bottle. Someone suggested pouring it over dry hair so you can tell if you’re getting it everywhere, and that’s all it took. It’s just as clean as last time and still has that same feeling, I guess this might just be normal. But I’m really looking forward to trying this with baking soda that isn’t years old and adding a vinegar rinse. Both have been added to the shopping list.

Later: My hair is greasy again like it was this morning. It’s pretty safe to say it’s entered the transition phase. However it is really shiny, and my rings, which have been tarnished for quite some time, are really shiny too! Never buy jewelry polish again!

Feb 7th (one week). I scrubbed really hard with water today. And, ok, one little squirt of the baking soda mix. Even though my hair still looks ok, I just don’t like how it feels. The shampoo is calling me. I’m also starting to break out, so maybe it’s time to put this bitch up in a ponytail. But I will persevere. I also haven’t been curling it, first of all because greasy hair doesn’t curl, and secondly because I really want to witness what my hair does in its natural state. It’s winter anyway, so I haven’t been wearing any pretty vintage-y dresses that need curled hair to look right. And in my new position at work, I sit where nobody can see me or the weird shit that may pop up on my screen. Perfect timing.

Later: I went to visit my former boss, a super cool chick, and told her I was quitting shampoo. She looked totally perplexed, and stated she couldn’t tell at all, my hair looks perfectly clean, and asked if it smelled. I let her have a whiff. It doesn’t 🙂

I was going to put this all into one article, but it got ridiculously long. Coming up next is week 2 🙂

Bonus Post – My New Hair Cut & More Raves About Goth Rosary

On Monday my friend and hair stylist Holly Hui was nice enough to come to my house to give me a hair cut. I’m still loyal to the middy, but in order to experiment a little more with classic styles I went quite a bit shorter than I’m used to. My long hair looks have a tendency to fall apart a bit when I’m trying any sort of specific shape, even with tons of hairspray.  I’m a tough case when it comes to hair because I like everything, which means I can never make up my mind and once I do the grass is always greener. In this case, it’s too short for me to like it as much as I did when it’s straight, though that’s just my taste and it still looks great, however it is so beautiful when it’s curled. With this length I can accomplish a classic page boy like Dita, but more often than not I’ll make it the big messy luxurious white girl fro that I love. And that’s so easy now, because nothing is weighing it down! These pictures are half so I can document how my hair reacts to different types of curls, and half for YOU to see the same, because I know a lot of vintage-lovers are always looking for more middy pictures, including me.

So the cut. This is not cut to the diagram. I honestly don’t think it’s necessary, even in the actual 40s I’m sure they just understood it and went from there based on the person’s face, head, and preferences. I would venture to say this is about 10 inches long overall (from what I understand it’s Rita Hayworth length, but it’s still longer than any official diagram). The cut is layered horizontally and fairly uniformly, cut blunt, so no feathering/texturing/what have you at all, and is U-shaped at the bottom so the layers frame the face. My hair is very straight and fine, and these pictures involve NO product whatsoever as per my normal routine.

I’ll save you the picture of it straight for now because I look sickly and miserable in it and it’s pretty much the worst picture ever. I’ll take a better one later.

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This is hot rollers, all rolled under. I did this right after the cut. I have to try everything when I get a hair cut because I’m so curious about what it will do. My head looks huge haha. This is lovely.

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Hot rollers loosening up. Still great.

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Before I re-washed, because it felt a bit greasy as though I didn’t do it right the first time. Know what I mean? Actually it still kind of feels like that. But this is awesome, I love this.

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Pillow rollers. Neat, but not totally my taste. I promise I’m not about to cry here lol I’m a weird picture taker. I’ll keep this style in mind for certain adventures in modeling.

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Pillow rollers after falling throughout the day. Totally cute! I tied a ribbon around it here, it’s very Snow White.

IMG_1218I tried a tutorial I found on Classic Retro Glam’s Youtube channel. Normally these tutorials drive me insane because I’ll love it, run to my dressing room to do it, and fail repeatedly. This one I got right away, and it’s beautiful. YES!!

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Another angle. None of these are great because I had to take them myself and I had no idea where the camera was pointing.IMG_1226

The big curly white girl fro of sorts. My hair always looks its best right before I go to bed. And it seems I’ve once again subjected you to pictures of me in my underwear. Sorry.

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Aaaand today, after being set in large dry pin curls overnight to preserve some of yesterday’s curl. The top just needs some fluffing. I have also put clothes back on.

Now how exactly can I get it to look this way on day one?? Tell me please!

Also today, besides my hair looking totally boss, I got another package from Goth Rosary. The owner has been having some medical issues so the site was down for months, but I’m happy to inform you that it’s back up. I don’t know what I would do without this perfume. It’s wonderful. I ordered Samhain (everyone’s favorite. I mean everyone) and Fairy Wings for my mom. She’s very allergic to perfume, but she can stick her nose right in the bottle and it doesn’t bother her, so that’s saying something. Fairy Wings reminds me of a mix of Fantasy and Midnight Fantasy. I can’t smell the cucumber personally, but lots of sweet berries. It’s really delightful, I’m going to order some for myself next time. This time I got myself Gothic Rose. It’s a true deep red rose scent, untainted by alcohol. Mike says it smells like soap though, I guess because a lot of soap is rose-scented. It’s thus a little more commercial than their other offerings, but I like it a lot. This one lasts a very long time too, I can still smell it on myself without even trying. Or maybe I just used too much lol. I also got a sample vial of Black Wings, which is beautiful and very masculine, so I’ll be including some for Mike on my next order. I recommend that if you’re not in the US you go in on your orders with a friend or two; shipping is a bit of a bitch.

Until Monday!

Snoods

When I woke up on Christmas Eve I had a failed set. It hadn’t happened in a while, but there it was, a couple floppy wet curls, and only a few of them really worked the way I wanted them to. The perfect dampness for curls really is a science. Normally this would mean putting it into an only slightly less stupid looking ponytail, and maybe having to change my whole outfit because wonky ponytails rarely look right with cute vintage-y clothes. Well the convenience fairy seems to have paid me a visit because I had just gotten my new snood in the mail. Bad hair day: fixed.

Snood from Arthelia’s Attic

A snood, for those of you just entering the world of vintage style, has a long history. To be brief, they started in the renaissance. They were really pretty and had pearls on them and stuff. Then they came back in the civil war, and after Gone With The Wind became super popular, they became a staple of working women during WWII.

I wonder why I never got one before. I knew about them obviously. But they just never grabbed my attention. They had seemed a little utilitarian and costume-y I guess. But eventually I figured I would get one anyway. For variety’s sake.

As soon as I tried it though, it occurred to me that a snood is more than a fashion statement, it’s a life-saver. Failed set? Fixed. Windy out? No problem. No time? Fixed. Feeling lazy? No problem. It takes two minutes to make your hair look cute and you don’t have to do jack else to it. Curls fill it out better, but to be honest I wouldn’t be above just back-combing it a little and shoving it in there. If you’re good at doing rolls all the better. I do mine with a foundation stick – another life saver because victory rolls are hard. Add a flower and red lipstick – you look perfect. Nobody needs to know you just rolled out of bed with shitty looking hair.

Snood from Arthelia’s Attic

The ones I got were from Arthelia’s Attic. These are the “expensive” ones. They’re the best, made from the right kind of yarn for the right drape, from a vintage pattern, and with a cute removable bow. Even so they’re only $25. Not actually expensive at all. Mike has been calling them my “dudes” for some reason. They come in all different colors (I got black first because it goes with everything) and don’t slip at all. It’s hard to look at a snood without imagining it just slipping right off but I wore mine for over 12 hours and it didn’t budge. I only used two pins. And really, it doesn’t have to look costume-y, though that’s still cute if you want it to. I wore a pretty regular shirt and pencil skirt, nothing really 40s, and it worked out great. So it really seems to depend on the clothes and other accessories you wear with it. So versatility too! Yay!

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I had to get a pink one too. You can get yours here.

Triple Reverse Ombre, or “Ombre Extreme!!!”

I’ve been hearing through the grapevine that the ombre trend is over. Excuse me? I hate trends, and finally I found something I really like. You don’t get to tell me it’s over. No, now is the time to take this shit to the next level. Ombre Extreme!! Let’s do this thing.

You recall from my first post about how to achieve a reverse ombre that I put black on the ends. Well, it turned out great. I absolutely love it, and I think I’ll keep it pretty much forever.  And today I’m going to expand on that. First up, a simplification of the process on the bottom. This is a complete revision and you’ll never have to read my first article again, except it still has pretty pictures.

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The second time I did the black on my ends, I wanted Bea to do it because she’s a hair genius. I’m always afraid of missing things in the back because I’m not an alien and I don’t have eyes back there. Well, she surprised me, even for her. She did the whole thing in under five minutes and didn’t spill a drop. She also didn’t use the brush, or separate my hair into blunt chunks by layer like I did. As it turns out, that was totally unnecessary. In fact the whole thing is just so easy I feel kind of stupid now for over thinking it so much before. She took a small piece from the front, saturated the bottom, and just pushed the dye up with her fingers. Then she went around my head, going purposely uneven so everything highlighted and swirled beautifully, and that was literally it. The only thing to know about this is you want the bulk of the dye to be at the bottom so you’re not dragging very much up with your fingers. I just slap a little glob on there, make sure it’s really worked in, and just slide my fingers up and down up through the transition part to carry it through. Easy. You won’t even believe it. Retouching my hair as it fades is now crazy quick and painless. And after about 5 times doing this I’m still using the same jar I started with.

Seen here with hair flairs, for added color and sparkle.

Now you may also remember me saying I don’t use bleach, because my hair is already blond and bleach kind of scares me. So to get my bright red to take I was dying the roots very light blond as an alternative. Now, this is the shitty part about bright hair upkeep. Most hair dye is just one process out of the box, but these bright veggie colors need bleach/blond, and then color is a second step. And let’s face it, I’m lazy. Often I dyed my roots blond and because I didn’t want to dry and dye and wash my hair a second time in one evening, I just left it. And left it. And left it. Soon I had some pretty crazy blond roots going on, and my hair was three colors. And actually that was pretty awesome. The color itself wasn’t bad, but me and light hair just don’t mix. It’s not me, and I needed to tone it down a bit. So then over the fall I started dying it copper. At first I didn’t love it, it was just too orange. But it always faded to a very pretty warm golden blond. And there I have it, the perfect tri-colored fire ombre. My laziness actually paid off and now it looks like I put in even more effort than I did before. I just keep touching up the roots, and don’t go there when I touch up the red part.

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

So enough about me. How can you do this? Let’s take this into the perspective that you will be keeping with the light-to-dark theme instead of the other way around. This way is a LOT less damaging. If you hair is already light to begin with, you can take it any color from there. To do your roots just make a bunch of partings and paint them with your color of choice and your tinting brush. Go as far down the length as you want, you’ll be covering it up with the darker colors after and extending it down a bit may even help the gradient effect because hair dye is rarely opaque. Take the second color, making sure it’s complimentary and a bit darker, and dye from your preferred starting point downward. It transitions smoother when you brush upwards in a sort of rounded “swooping” motion instead of plopping it on and brushing down the usual way, which would be very abrupt and unforgiving on unevenness. Then do it again with the third color either with your brush or the way I described I was doing my ends earlier. Most likely of course you’ll be doing this in three separate steps instead of all at once, and it’s ok to not even do it all in the same day. It might even be four steps if your root color doesn’t come in a box and you need to lighten it first. Suddenly this style doesn’t seem quite so lazy anymore, but I don’t call it “ombre extreme” for nothing.

Hellooo profile picture.

Hellooo profile picture.

Or you could sort of simplify and do it like me, if you’re patient and a little shy about wanting to do your roots something extra awesome (bonus – if you’re going white, the heat from your scalp processes bleach quicker, so your roots will be easy). This is also good if your hair is too dark/already damaged to handle the lightening and you want to start fresh with strong virgin hair. Choose the middle color as your base and do that all over. Then do your darkest color on your ends. Live with that. As your hair grows, touch up your roots not with your main color but with the lighter root color. Most likely this will involve lightening and either keeping it that way or dying something else on top later that day or the next. Have fun thinking of all the pretty colors you could do. White-purple-black, white-blue-black, blond-teal-royal blue, blond-pink-purple….this is going to be so much fun. Pro tip: Use lip liner, eyeliner, or eyeshadow to tint your eyebrows to match your hair. Next up for me, pink-red-black “flower” ombre!

Like a boss

Like a boss

You NEED to show me pictures if you do this. Let’s show them something fresh and keep ombre in.