Bang Thing

First of all I really have to thank Micheline Pitt for this one. She posted the video that taught me this. It wasn’t my idea, I’m just sharing it with you.

I always thought clip-in bangs were expensive. I remember seeing them only for about 50$, and I definitely wasn’t going to pay that, so I never got any, as cool as I thought they would be. Then Micheline posted a hair video. I was shocked to learn that her bangs weren’t real, and even more shocked to learn that at least one pair came from Sally’s for a mere 7$. She was using one more expensive kind for long side swept bangs, and the Bang Thing from Sally’s for bettie bangs, which she cut herself. I did a complete double take, and ran off to the website to buy two of them immediately. I was not disappointed.

The Bang Thing looks hilarious when you first put it on. Actually it looks really stupid. But for 7$ you’re not mad, you just laugh at the hilarity of it. But it really just takes a minute to get it looking good. Clip all your own hair neatly out of the way, clip in the bang thing, and style it by putting one small piece on the thin side of the part to keep it looking natural, and ease the rest into place to the side, out of your eyes. Simple, and very cute. Micheline uses a scarf as a headband to hide the top edge of it. You can use that, or a bandana, or a headband, or anything else equally obvious. I know she doesn’t use this brand for the long bangs, but I find they work really well. They’re a tad bulky for sure, but I just tucked some of the top hair under my bandana and it helped, as well as to hide some of my natural hair in the front, since it was important as my hair is really faded right now and doesn’t quite match.

“Did you tell her about your little hat there? You know, your little hair hat there.”

Things got only slightly trickier when it came to cutting the second Bang Thing into bettie bangs. Micheline is experienced at cutting hair, but recommends having a stylist do it for others. Of course I was way too impatient. Making that first cut was a touch terrifying. Almost like cutting your real hair. You instantly wonder if you’re being an idiot and going to need to buy a new one. But I figured it out and it was quite the success. Here’s what you do.

And for my next clever disguise…

First cut the bulk of the bang thing just enough to indicate the approximate length you want. This should be at about eyebrow level or so. If you’re nervous at all, go a little longer, just enough so you can see. Then get the thing off, because you don’t want to risk cutting your own hair anymore. I was already starting to make this mistake, it’s easier than you think. Now, one important thing to keep in mind is that bettie bangs are actually round. I would have had an impossible time getting the shape right while it was still attached to my head, so I got the idea to use a bowl as a stencil. Yeah, I gave my fake hair a bowl cut. Get a decent sized cereal bowl and press it firmly over the bang thing, right up to the edge of where you cut. Make sure the hair is pulled taut so you’ll get it even. Then just cut all the hair that sticks out from the bowl. This makes a mess, so best to do it over a paper towel, even if you cut the paper towel in the process. Actually this even helps, because otherwise the hair just wants to creep out of the way of your scissors if they’re not especially sharp.

You. Rawr!

When you’re about done, lift it up, comb it straight out with a fine tooth comb, and inspect for any uneven pieces. Fix them carefully, still without the bang thing attached to your head. Now get a really small barrel curling iron or small flat iron and curl the very ends under. This will help give it the final shape and disguise any pieces that might not be quite perfect. You’re done!

When you put it on you can adjust the look of the length by placing it further forward or back on your head. You’ll use the same bandana or scarf or whatever to cover up the back edge. Mine looks super cute, and I totally suck at this. So there you go! Watch Micheline’s video, and add that tip about the bowl for the bettie bangs, and you’ll have some really cute bangs that you can play with for different looks without the commitment, or barely any money. Bang Thing rules!

Hair Flairs

You know what’s always awesome? Glitter. Glitter is damn fantastic.

A little while ago, I modeled in my first fashion show for The Foxy Shoppe. Remind me to do a review for them, ok? It was two shows, a ton of models, and I did the hair and makeup for about half of them. It was a good 12 hour day. It was exhausting and awesome. This fashion show happened to take place at the Taboo sex convention, and once all the work was over and I had lived out a few exhibitionist fantasies, I was eager to relax and take in what the convention had to offer. Mike made fun of me that I was more interested in looking at things like microfiber sheets than things that go in my butt. I’ll stick with the sheets, thanks.

Also on display, to my immediate delight, was Hair Flairs. I’d had their website bookmarked ever since I saw the owner on Oprah years ago, but I had never bought from them. I honestly can’t really say why. I already knew that 100 strands of these things only cost 10$. I told the girl I remembered these being mentioned on Oprah, and she said that it was actually her who was on the show. Unfortunately I couldn’t say too much about it because these things were about the only thing I remembered from the episode besides the fact that she wasn’t on the show to talk about the business at all, but some terrible events in her life. Oprah and the rest of us just couldn’t help but notice the pretty shiny things in her hair.

Hair flairs are exactly what they claim to be, tinsel for your hair. You knot them in according to the instructions and they look absolutely fabulous. They’re glittery and colorful and awesome. I had been wearing 5 inch heels for about 12 hours at this point so the fact that there was a chair at the booth made me sit down and pour over the about a million color choices for quite a while. (Note to small business owners. Make sure you have a chair at your convention booths. We will buy from you just so we can sit down!) She loved pale pink for my hair, to her surprise, and because I wanted something just a little more intense I went with hot pink. I decided to try them out for the first time a week before going to my first Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, which incidentally takes place in Vegas, which is incidentally the birthplace of glitter. I mentioned how these things are 10$ for 100 strands. You know how many strands it takes to make your hair awesome? Exactly three. Though 10-15 is about ideal in my mind. This is a fantastic deal, and it’s been the same price since I discovered them years ago. What a nice lady. Well of course as soon as I put in just one strand I got all giddy about it and put in four more until I decided I better stop and set my hair if I was ever going to get to bed on time. Then I ended up blogging about it for half an hour, because I’m a genius like that.

They’re not difficult to put in per se, but they are quite tricky to start with. The hardest part is that you only attach these to three strands of hair at a time, so it’s hard to keep a good grip on them and even see them while you’re tying these knots. I highly recommend starting at the front of your hair where you can see what you’re doing a little better and don’t need as much dexterity until you get used to it, or get a friend and do them for each other. Totally worth the effort by the way. As I went along, I started to find it was getting pretty fun.

Yeah, rockin it like I'm 15 for some reason. I wish you could see it more.

Now even though my hair is straight in that picture, because it was raining and humidity is mean, I had my hair curled up in a wet set that morning. And you know what? Hair Flairs can be heat styled, but they can take wet sets too! Horray!! They totally took to the set. I have no idea how this works, but it’s great. be warned, these are addicting. Every day I’m like “just a couple more,” until pretty soon I’m going to wake up looking like this person.

http://www.hairflairs.com/

Holly Hui Hair

I like my red hair. It’s the color that perfectly borders natural and wild, because it can go either way depending on the shade. It’s also just a sexy color. Photographers use me for my red hair too, so if I had a more standard or freakish color I have the feeling I wouldn’t get asked to do pictures half as much. The thing is, it’s been red since I was 19. And I have a tendency to get bored. Before it was red, it was blond, white, black, blue, and green. I changed it a lot. But one color I never actually got to do was purple. It was one of the first colors I intended on trying but I chickened out once my hair was bleached and never quite got around to it again.
Enter the “ombre” dye job. You’ll know this as the big Hollywood trend of girls with long brown roots gradually lightening into blond on the bottom half. Obviously those colors are not for me. But I like the idea of having two hair colors at once, especially ever since I saw Megan Massacre on NY Ink with her fire engine red and black ombre hair while I was just dying for a change of some sort. Suddenly after a bit of google image searching the solution became all too obvious. I wanted ombre hair, bright cherry red at the top, into deep purple at the bottom. Fuck yes.

The trigger

It also occurred to me that instead of seeing Becky and having to bring her a print-out that would require me to go out and buy color printer ink, I should see Drawn and Plastered’s resident hairstylist Holly Hui. I really must say, Drawn and Plastered is really lucky. We have the absolute most talented and awesome people out there working for us because they’re so awesome and support what we do. I’m so proud to say that Holly Hui is one of them. Obviously I couldn’t possibly go wrong here.

The inspiration

The location was definitely different than the fancy salon on Corydon I’ve been going to for the last five years. I wasn’t at all familiar to the area. So that turned my nerves up a little. But as soon as I saw Holly there I relaxed. I gave her my usual middy instructions and told her I wanted the longest part to be at the bra line, however gave her permission to take off more if she had to to get rid of split ends. This scared me as it was quite a bit shorter than I’ve had it for a long time. I also got bangs because I figured it’s been about 13 years, so if I’m going for different, let’s toss that in there too. I’d been toying with the idea for way too long not to. That was even scarier. But having trust will get you far. I held my breath and kept quiet.

Your first time seeing this unstyled is also mine. And how brave am I for posting a picture in absolutely no makeup and stupid pink pajamas?

When it was over I looked…normal. It’s the first time I used Matrix hair color, so it’s going to take some time for it to build up to the brightness and contrast I’d like. The bangs and the smooth straight style also looked unusually modern for me. So I looked great, but didn’t feel like myself. Of course we both knew all it would take was for me to play around a bit at home. The whole point of a middy is versatility afterall, and my bangs were cut long in keeping with this, just barely short enough for me to see. Holly also razored one side so I could wear them to the side without having a corner, and when I curl them up they’ll look very Bettie Page. The length should make them relatively easy to blend in and hide too.

Yep, there are bangs in there!

And later that very night. Who invented this sorcery!

Side note/tip: I quickly found just how easy blending bangs really is. Take the bangs along with a portion of hair from behind them, and backcomb the roots from behind to mix them together with a teasing brush or fine toothed comb. You want the teasing to be really tight, so you wonder how you’ll ever manage to comb it out again. When you let go you’ll have some odd pieces randomly sticking out. Just tuck them underneath with a pin and have the longer part of your hair fall over the ends of the bangs. Hairspray liberally. Ta-da! And I mean it was *quick* – it look less than a minute and you would never know they were ever there.

As soon as I got home I got to curling it in my regular style. This was challenging because a lot of the layers were quite a bit shorter, so it was difficult to get everything into the rollers. Nevertheless it somehow seemed to take quite a bit less time, since there were no more ratty ends, and a shorter length means less hair to roll up, and less maneuvering to reach the ends of it. Once the rollers were taken out, my hair was fuller and bouncier than ever. There was so much less weight that with some backcombing and hair spray it would virtually stick straight out with very little effort. Then with a little combing of the bangs to the side and a bit more spray, I was easily able to get myself into a style that felt really great for me. Very Joan Holloway.

After the first time styling it myself. I’m me again!

Now I don’t know if it’s because it was shorter, the layers were shorter, the products that were used, or the fact that I saw Holly, but out of the now three times that I’ve had this particular hair cut done this is the first time that it physically feels like I expected the middy to feel. Before it just felt like my hair, only the look was different. This time it feels so light and soft, like it could just float away. It feels luxurious and easy and the complete opposite of being buried in hair. It feels fantastic. And it actually made a big difference in my day, like I was wearing silk pajamas instead of jeans. I just had to mention that.

By the end of the night I was in love. I was no longer ambivalent about bangs, and the huge messy curls I had made me feel awesome. Of course anything that makes you feel like Christina Hendricks, Dita, and a spy can’t be anything but all sorts of awesome. Mike is super happy too.

Having trust in your stylist will get you far. If I didn’t have that,  I wouldn’t have done it. And I’m so glad I did. You can trust Holly Hui.

For more about asking your stylist for a middy see https://victoriablack4.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/vintage-hair-part-1-the-haircut/ and https://victoriablack4.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/i-got-a-middy-and-a-word-about-setting-lotion/

My Bright Hair Routine

No. No no no no no. No.

No. No no no no no. No.

I’ve been dying my own hair for over 11 years now (wow, has it really been that long?) and I’m often asked how I manage to achieve my color. It’s not as simple as buying dye from a box though. To get bright unnatural colors you need to use veggie dyes, and it’s a 2-step process.

So where do I start?

I used to buy box dyes. It seems like the obvious choice. But while looking through the “reds” section, I can’t help but feel like the people who pick the shades need to go back to kindergarten and revisit the color wheel. Dull auburn is not red, guys. It’s little more than a very warm brown. How exactly did you get your jobs again?

So because this color would start out “almost red” and quickly fade to “not at all red”, I would occasionally punch it up with some manic panic. This would be gorgeous for about, oh, four days. The bathroom redecoration on the other hand would last for weeks. Waste of money indeed. So then a very smart and beautiful friend of mine told me to get Punky Color instead. This happened to be around the time the 24 hour drug store down the street started carrying it, so it couldn’t have been more convenient.

Everyone’s hair is different, so you may have to try a few brands to find the best one for you, but on me this is ideal. This shit does NOT fade. After 2 months my color is just slightly more subtle, and in high quality photos is shows up as bright as the day it was done. With my current routine of washing just once a week, it hasn’t noticeably faded at all by the time I need to do my roots.

There is only one issue here, and amusingly enough the beauty consultants at the drug store seem to have no idea about this. Veggie dye does not contain developer, so it doesn’t exactly work on virgin hair. In general it is expected that you will bleach your hair first, so it will be damaged enough to hold the color and have a nice light base so it comes out really bright. I find bleach harsher than I would like, using it makes me nervous, so I start by dying my roots blond. Make a lot of partings in your hair and just slather it in there, making sure to get behind your ears and all around your hair line. When that’s done, I like to scoop up some dye with my fingers and slide them under my hair and rub my head all over with it to make sure I got it everywhere. If this is your first time going bright, you’ll have to lighten the whole thing.

Step 1: doing roots with blond dye.

Step 1: doing roots with blond dye.

Important note: You cannot dye your hair blond if it’s not at least light brown already. Why? Box dyes work by stripping (hence the the developer) your color and depositing their own color in one step. But they don’t contain enough developer to lift your hair more than 2 or so shades. If your hair isn’t light already, just use bleach. Pro tip: Make your blonde dye last longer by mixing a third to half of each bottle from the box in a bowl and save the rest for later, similar to using bleach and mixing dye as explained below.

Step 1 = complete.

Step 1 = complete.

Step 1.5: Dry hair to at least damp in preparation for the veggie dye.

Step 1.5: Dry hair to at least damp in preparation for the veggie dye. And yes, I’m topless. Why ruin a shirt if I don’t have to?

Ooh, like a sunrise!

This is from months ago. It’s like a sunrise!

And now a big secret: Red veggie dyes fade either pink or orange, and most people don’t really want that or they would have dyed it pink or orange in the first place. The best way to avoid either is to mix an orange-red with a pink-red. Yes, you can custom mix with veggie dyes! They cancel each other out and fade gorgeously, to a soft rose red. I used to do this, but I get bored easily so at the moment I’m just going pink. But you can custom mix any shade you want.

Three colors I've mixed together. This particular mix achieves something half way between red and pink.

Three colors I’ve mixed together. This particular mix achieves a pretty shade of raspberry. Red Wine isn’t necessary but here I’ve added it for some extra depth.

IMG_1162Now then, line a bowl with saran wrap so you don’t ruin it, and put your colors in. This part is going to be like mixing water colors in class when you were a kid. You’ll also need a tint brush, and these can be obtained at a drug store very cheaply. You can play with this and keep experimenting until you get a shade you really like.

So mix all this up and start painting your roots with the tint brush the same way you applied the bleach or blonde. If the rest of your hair is faded you can now cover it in the rest of your dye chunk by chunk, either with your hands or the brush, whatever you find easiest.

IMG_1167

Yes, this is my head covered in saran wrap.

Then one helpful thing you can do is take the saran wrap out of the bowl and put it on your head. This locks in the moisture so the dye penetrates better, and minimizes your chance of the dye coming off your head onto the couch. Now if you follow the no ‘poo routine and wash your hair with baking soda like I do you may be wondering if this is compatible with coloring your hair, especially cartoon colors like this. You can read more about that here. Put simply here though, yes, but you need to make sure you wash as seldom as possible and use the PH levels of the baking soda and ACV to your advantage when you dye it by having clean hair before you dye it and only conditioning it after.

So wait a minimum of 30 minutes here for the color to take. Veggie dyes are totally harmless so you can let it sit for as long as you want. Then rinse it all out. Make sure you put your gloves back on before rinsing though, especially if you have gel nails. Those are stains that just don’t come out. Oh, and uh, you might not want to wear white shirts if your hair is down. Ever again. This is off limits now. Enjoy!

And all is right again with the world.

And all is right again with the world.

The Beehive!

Sunday night at Drawn and Plastered Stars in Pink Hawaii, I wore my first beehive. I did it myself and had it perfected and expanded by our hairstylist for the night Holly Hui. And now I want to wear one every day! Not Marge Simpson at all, it’s a super cute look and I’m its newest fan. It’s really not all that hard either. So I’ve decided to map it out. You will require: A rat, fine-toothed comb, hairspray, and the Austin Powers soundtrack.


The first thing is just to grab all the hair on the top of your head and comb it forward so it’s out of the way. This is all about the crown. This should take about a second and a half. I’ll wait.


Now, the most important thing to create a beehive is a rat, or hair filler. I mean, you don’t NEED one, but it’s a hell of a lot harder without it, and you’re more likely to end up with a rat’s nest instead. I use a long narrow rat for bumper bangs, so I curved it into a U shape with the middle facing up for this look. You can also just use a round or ball-y shaped one. A lot of people put cotton or fake/real hair into some pantyhose or a hair net for this. Bumpits are crap btw. Put your rat on the crown of your head or slightly higher in case of sagging or just to make it all the more epic. Pin it in place. Then bit by bit, take the hair from the top of your head and tease the living shit out of it, and pin it over the rat. Do this until you look like Dolly Parton. The last bit that will cover the surface should be left smooth. Then you just need pomade and a light touch with a comb to smooth the top out, and lot of hairspray. I slept in mine and it somehow actually survived, only shrinking a little. Which was perfect as I was feeling lazy and liked it and wanted to leave it up for work. Anyway, you can leave the bottom in beachy waves like Bridgette Bardot, put it in a ponytail, or for more of a Hairspray or formal look, twist it up into a French twist and tuck the ends in.
Holy crap that was easy.

This is not me, but I do feel this fabulous.

A Revelation About Rats

This article is probably going to be fairly short, since what I have to teach today is awesomely easy and simple – you don’t have to buy anything for a rat. They don’t even have to be your hair color, though it’s nice if it is, and they don’t even have to be shaped to perfection.


You can of course buy rats. I’ve seen them on Amazon. They’re in different hair colors and snap together at the ends to make a bun shape. Some people decide instead to get some of their hair, or fake hair, and put it into a hair net and shape it. That’s a good idea too. But I do even less than this and it’s been quite a success.
I’ve always been partial to socks in my hair. I don’t mean that they look nice or even particularly sane, but I’ve found them to be a good tool in the ol’ hair arsenal. When the cats kept stealing the rag strips I was using for curling, I started using long, thin trouser socks, like short stockings instead. I only needed about 8-10 and they did a great job. I would even say they were better, since they were bigger and less fiddly. I’ve even used paper towels to achieve this, so I’d like to think of myself as something of a hair McGuyver.


So I knew there had to be an easier way to make a rat. Easy as hell really. I simply cut the leg off a pair of torn fishnets, rolled it up, and tied an elastic around it to hold it together. That’s it. The length and thickness was perfect as-is. And because I used fishnets instead of regular stockings, the bobby pins easily have a place to go and it takes minimal pinning to keep it in place. If the ends poke out the sides of my bumper bangs, I do what Lisa Freemont Street instructs and pin up some hair on the side to cover it. A flower does a great job of this too. It’s an extremely adorable and quick style to do, especially if you want to have a pinup look but didn’t have the time or motivation to curl your hair.


Fishnets aren’t the only thing you can use for this. A rolled up bit of lace works too. Anything with holes in it like that is ideal for pinning. I’m sure there’s something in the room you’re sitting in right now that will do. No need to go to the store at all 🙂

A 1910s/early 1920s style for every length

Since the hairstyles in the early 20th century were generally fairly short – about shoulder length or shorter – I’ve seen many requests online from women with long hair wondering how to recreate these styles without going for the chop. I can sympathize. I can’t remember where it was that I saw instructions for this style, probably Lisa Freemont Street, but I thought I would try to put it into my own words since trying it myself and seeing great results on the first try. I also want to spend a little time on it since I find it surprisingly versatile.


So here’s the look we’re going for. This is a Gibson Girl, the very first pinup. Personally it reminds me of those really old Edwardian Coke ads. It looks really hard to do. It’s not.

See? This was my FIRST try!

First you want to tightly curl all your hair. It’s up to you how to do this, either with pin curls or rollers. I just did my usual roller set. The beauty of this is that it doesn’t matter if the curls don’t turn out perfect. After you pile it all up there nobody can tell.

If you want to look really Edwardian, part your hair in the middle. You don’t have to, I parted mine deeply to the side the way I always do. Then grab 3 or more side combs. Chunk by chunk, fold your hair in half upwards so that the ends are sticking out from the top, and secure them with a comb. You can do a french twist sort of thing if you hair is shorter and/or you want to keep the sides really neat. But it doesn’t matter so much because you’ll be covering it up later. Don’t you just love styles that involve covering the mess of pins instead of making it perfect?

So keep doing this all around your head until all your hair is up except for some curls that you would like hanging out around your face. The piece in the back should be centered. Now this won’t look too good, so don’t get discouraged. It will be really messy and floppy. Take some bobby pins/kirby grips and pin those floppy curly ends up a bit higher. Leave the very top smooth for a look more like the Gibson girl, but you can just make yourself a big nest up there too if it suits you. that’s what I did. If you did an exceptionally good job this is where you might start to think this looks rather 1930s, in which case you’re free to stop there and enjoy 🙂

Otherwise, grab yourself a very long head scarf. Mine is just a big piece of black satin I cut. This can be either wide or narrow, but I like wide because it covers up more of the pins and odd bits, and you can always fold it later if you want it more narrow. Place it at the top of your head in a way that you like, likely with some curls from the back falling forward on top of it, and tie it at the bottom. You can leave these long ends to trail behind or over your shoulder, or wind them around your head and pin them. The second time I did this I pinned them with a peacock feather hair clip. It was very pretty if I do say so myself.

Now you take the pieces in the front that you left out, and if they’re quite long, pin them up higher with a bobby pin and tuck the remaining loop of hair under the scarf. More pieces looks older, less looks more modern.

Finally, you might want to do a little more arranging and pinning. If the back shows, try to get some curls to fall down over it and pin them in place. If you just can’t get it looking the way you want, go for it again. This is a quick one so it’s easy to get lots of practice.

You might find that with the scarf, this style moves back a little over time. In fact when I’ve done it I’ve seen that it likes to do its own thing, which somehow always ends up looking just as good if not better. As it’s very secure, it doesn’t fall out any more than a few tucks back under the scarf can’t fix. I was finding that mine ended up looking a little Greek, and oddly enough, modern at the same time. So here’s where you have the option of pinning it further back in the first place, and/or switching up the scarf for a couple narrow headbands, or nothing at all if the whole thing looks nice enough to show. You could even use a dread wrap if you want to keep it casual. I ended up with this.

My apologies for the terrible quality.

And accessory-free…

Looking very modern here.

So as you can see this is a great style to try out and play around with. I know I mentioned that this is great for long hair, but you can actually do this with ANY length that you can fit around a roller. More pinning for longer hair, less or even no pinning for shorter. There aren’t too many of those! Also, while this is technically an Edwardian style (the Gibson Girl picture is from 1912), I find it very conducive to the 20s as well. Just like wearing 40s hair with 50s clothes, wearing 10s hair with 20s and even 30s clothes looks just fine. I think I may have a new look for casual Friday in the works!