Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Regency Hair-do...done!

Yesterday was the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY.  I will save all of the juicy details of the festival for another post, but in the mean time, I want to give you a brief tutorial on how to get that wild 1790's hair-do.  My hair has a slight natural curl, but on most days, the best effort my hair gives is a half-hearted wave at my temple.  I wanted a LOT of curl, so I resorted to something that women have done in the past to achieve that: the pin curl.

I remember my grandmother patiently pin curling her hair ever night.  And when I say patiently, I mean it.  It took me close to 45 mins. to pin curl all of my hair.  My arms felt like they were going to fall off by the end of it.  (Note: It helps if you have shorter pieces of hair around the front part of your face if you want to achieve this look, but the effect could still be captured even if your hair was all one length. You might just need to pin up some of the long front hair at the very end so that it looks shorter.)

The first thing I did, was wash my hair.  Then, while my hair was wet, I thoroughly doused it with mouse and parted it down the middle. 

Next, I pulled little sections of hair out and twisted those sections really tight.

Then, I carefully rolled that twisted section into a little flat curl, like a garden hose wound up.

And placed two pins crossing in opposite directions through the little curl.  (sorry the picture is so blurry...I don't have the best camera.)  Sometimes, if a curl looks as if it is a little loose, I will then add a flat metal barrette on top of it all, just to give it a little extra security.

You can see in this picture, that I am working my way from the top of my head, down the sides.  I did the same thing on both sides of my head, so that the curls would be as even as possible.  Then I started at the top again and worked my way down the back.  Don't try to do the under sections before the upper ones, or the upper sections will get in your way.

And here's the SCARY picture.....my whole head is pin curled....and now I know why I don't look good with short hair.  My husband said it makes me look like a mean, tough girl, who could beat someone up.... Yikes!

Ok, so the next part is a bit painful, but worth it.  You have to sleep on the pin curls...overnight, of course...and in the morning, when your hair is dry, then you can take it all down. 
Ready for what it looks like?
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Here it is...

Just call me Medusa!  No, this isn't what I want, but it is what it looks like after the pins are taken out.  The first time I tried this, I thought I had ruined my hair.  But, all you have to do next is carefully run your fingers through all of the tight curls, and loosen them up a bit.

And here's the true effect of the pin curls!  Lots of volume, to say the least, which is what I want for a 1790's hair-do.  I do NOT have thick hair, so anyone can achieve this.  If you have really thick hair, then you might want to take smaller sections of hair at a time when you are pinning it all up.  (note: The volume didn't quite make it through the day, because of the extreme heat and humidity, but it still looked pretty good.)

The next step was to just take a silk ribbon and wrap it around my hair in a few places, being careful not to smash my hair down.  You might have to move some of your hair out of the way when you do this.  Then, take a few pins and pin up a section of hair at a time, leaving some pieces to dangle.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.  Just remember, you don't want a perfect "bun", you are trying for height, volume and over-all random curliness.

Here's the side veiw.

And the veiw from the back.

And, finally, the veiw from the front.  Soft, and messy...just how the 1790's like it!

9 comments:

Gail said...

I liked how your hair turned out in the beginning, after the pins were removed, it was like you had a Mucha moment.

Jenni said...

Ha!Ha! Thanks, Gail...I hadn't thought of if like that...

carla said...

I saw your comment on Tomato Soup Cake and loved the bonnet; therefore I had to visit your blog.

This is absolutely delightful! The Jane Austen books are such a gift of beauty to us in these modern times.

Your tutorial on how to fix hair in the 1790s style is Very helpful. I've never been very good at fixing different styles, so the pictures and step-by-step instructions are great.

We've mostly been to 1940s events and it was difficult trying to fix my hair. I found a book on amazon but it was prohibitively expensive.

Jenni said...

Carla, Thank you! I'm glad it could be of some help. I'm always looking for tutorials like this, and thought it might benefit others.

Gail said...

@Carla: I like that: "prohibitively expensive".

Nabila Grace said...

I also saw your bonnet and HAD to stop in! What a superb delight! :o) I do believe your hair turned out so wonderful! I need to try pin curls sometime. My hair is short now so I can't...I'm a hairstylist and I'm wondering how well it works for updos compared to a curling iron...hmmm :o) Thanks for the wonderful picture guide! :o)

Jenni said...

Nabila Grace,

I used to have short hair too, and when I pin curled it, it was a very cute, short curl, but it didn't look anything like the 1790's look, of course. As for comparing the curling iron to the pin curls...I would say the difference is that the pin curls give a much 'tighter' curl...if that makes any sense....there's much more texture to my hair when I pin curl it as opposed to curling irons, so the curl stays longer. But, of course, that's just my hair and it might be different on someone elses.

I'm glad you enjoy my blog!

Hana - Marmota said...

Thanks for this tutorial! I really like the 1790s look, and have really straight hair, which doesn't go well together -- well, didn't. :-)

Anonymous said...

This is a FANTASTIC tutorial! I have never been able to do anything with my hair, especially for reenacting. This worked great and I got a lot of compliments on it. I did the ribbon and some pearls to put it up. Looked just like the Greek/Roman ideal that a lot of chicks at the time were going for. Thanks so much!