Monday, October 17, 2011

Barbara Stanwyck's Hair

"Sure, that was a highly intelligent actress, Miss Stanwyck. I questioned the wig, but it was proper, because it was a phony wig. It was an obviously phony wig. And the anklet — the equipment of a woman, you know, that is married to this kind of man. They scream for murder", Billy Wilder on Barbara Stanwyck.

For those looking to imitate Barbara Stanwyck's ultimate femme fatale hair the first option is to do what Barbara did herself and wear a wig  (simlar wigs can be found in the joke shop) but why not try the look out yourself.

Step 1: Be a curly girl
For the wavy haired ladies style hair as normal, for curly hair tease your curly out gently with a comb and for straight hair you can use a curling thongs or hair pins to add a wave to your hair. 
Pin curls
These can be tricky at first if you're new to more involved hair styling. Pin-curls are a 1940's staple, and are necessary for many 1930s and 1950s hairstyles as well.

  • Find a setting lotion that works well your hair type. This may take some trial and error, so be patient, ladies!
  • Start with washed hair, and let it air dry or blow dry so that it is still damp. It is most useful to put setting lotion into an atomizer (plus, lots more fun!) because it can be applied more evenly.
  • Comb through hair and part into sections. Sections of hair can be from ½ inch to 1½ inch thickness, depending on how thick your hair is, or how it reacts to curling. If you want a certain set, curl in the directions that it will need to go in the final style. If you want just the ends curled, start with the underneath sections of hair, and work up.
  • Wind the curl around your finger, making sure that the strand isn't twisted in any manner that would disrupt the direction of the curl. Once the end is started, it is easier to roll up more.
  • For more wavy curls, roll pin curls in a spiral.
  • For more ringlet styles, remember to keep the curls uniform and make a little donut shape.
  • Pin with bobby pins (best for spiraled pin curls) or regular hair pins (better for pin curls that don't lay as flat).
  • To make waves along the face, wave clips can be used, but these are hard to sleep in and best for use with hairdryers.
  • Avoid rolling ends too tightly, or they will be frizzy.
  • Despite the difficulty this may be to master, after only a few sets you should find it easier to do and take less and less time. Actually, this is a very low maintenance style because it can be done the night before, and only needs to be brushed out in the morning and dolled up with just a few pins. And sets like this can double up on evenings with a just a few more pins! A set can last from one to five days if kept up at night in a snood or scarf.

Step 2: The Rat
For the faux fringe you will need a hair rat , the traditional method of making a hair rat involved saving hair from your hair brush and rolling it up into a sausage shape. Yes, it's free, it's easy, it's historically accurate and it won't show if your hair slips but since most of us don't collect their loose hairs here is method of making your own hair rat, you will need:

a pair of scissors
fiberfill (used for pillow stuffing)
a fishnet stocking (I use one that is close to my hair color)The fishnet allows for easy and secure pinning

1.) Cut the stocking so it is about 6 or 7 inches long

2.)Roll a hand full of fiberfill into a long sausage shape.

3.)Insert fiberfill into stocking

4.) Stretch the stocking out, rolling it between your hands so that it forms to the desired shape. Spreading the fiberfill throughout the stocking

5.)Add a bit more fiberfill if needed

6.)tie off or sew end of stocking closed. Looks like a strange potato!

Alternatively you can buy a foam hair bun donut in Penny's and cut it in the middle.

Step 3: The Faux Fringe 

The key to using a rat is to roll it really tight. Start by parting your hair with the tail end of a comb so that everything is even. Wrap the ends of your hair around the rat, being sure that the sides of your hair are wrapped tightly and roll it up. Keep the hair in the center of the rat as you roll it up. As you roll, pull the rat away from your face so that the hair is wrapped tightly. When you get it rolled to your liking, pin eack end of the rat, making an "X" shape with the pins. use your fingers to spread the hair evenly across the ray, covering up any foam (or hair if you use a rat made of hair). If you have gaps, use a comb or your fingers to close the gaps with your hair. Spray the heck out of it with hairspray and you're done. It takes practice to get it just right. Keep trying, it will get there!

Pull the rest of your hair back and secure it with a clip so it stays out of the way. Brush the front section out and roll it up in the rat as shown. Make sure to roll the hair up very tightly so the ends don't puff out. This part takes some practice!
Pin the rat to your head so the rat forms a "U" shape. Make an "X" with the pins to secure it in place.
Grip the rat in the center and very lightly pull the hair towards the sides of your face so that it spreads evenly across the rat. Be very gentle and make sure to fill in any gaps so that the rat is no longer visible. I use a comb to very lightly brush over the top to smooth it all out (you can see the smoothness in the finished product photos). Finish with a TON of hairspray.

Now style your waves around your face and voila it's Phyllis Dietrichson.


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