For years I admired beautiful vintage hairstyles that I never thought I could achieve. The soft waves and curls of Marilyn Monroe’s blonde locks, Jane Russell’s fabulous, full sideswept look and Betty Grable’s height-enhancing poodle style were styles that I dearly loved but my absolute favourites were the perfect Victory rolls and other inventive up-do’s of the 1940s that often revolved around accommodating hats.
Those beautiful styles made me envious and a bit sad about my lack of skill as every time I tried to do something interesting my hair would fall out of the style within an hour. So I turned to youtube and, well, found nothing… Ok this was a few years ago and the best tutorials hadn’t been brought out yet! Now it’s a totally different story, there are more hair tutorials on youtube than you could possibly watch in a week! Today I would like to share 5 tutorials from my 5 favourite vintage hair gurus with you – these fabulous people really are the cream of the crop when it comes to vintage and pinup hair styling. They know their stuff and even better, are prepared to show us how.
Dip your toes or jump in at the deep end?
I love spending time watching different youtube hair tutorials but there are some that, well to be honest, just aren’t great. I thought I’d expand my trusty collection and looked up some tutorials that were supposed to be for beginners to add to this post and wow – I don’t know about you but when I was just setting out I still wanted my hair to look pretty awesome…
I wanted to know how to do styles that were a little bit easier to achieve before I moved on to tackle the harder stuff – easy and beginner doesn’t have to equal unspectacular! Quick and easy styles are a good place to begin as are tutorials that explain everything in great detail so you can watch and practice. Check out the channels for the 5 hair gurus on this post because they have different styles for different levels of experience Take some classes if you can and it’s something that interests you (there’s always some around), browse pinterest (there is so much there!) and even books can be helpful.
One thing you notice very quickly when exploring tutorials, books and classes is that techniques are many and varied; everyone has their own way of achieving the end look and what works for one type of hair may not work for every type – something may not work for you and that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing it wrong. Play around with techniques and products till you find what works best for you and you know what, if you’re struggling to get it right you can always ask your favourite hair gurus for help!
For example; I always used to heat style my hair; always, always, always! Then my beautiful hairdresser wet set it with velcro rollers and it turned out a treat! Now (after much experimenting and hair struggles) I wet set with pin curls, setting lotion and a de-frizzing serum. When I don’t have time for wet sets I still pop in the hot rollers but will now be using pincurls whenever I can. Maybe I’ll invest in one of those 50’s style over head hair dryers to speed up the process!
This is how my hair looks after a very quick brush out from a wet pin curl set – what do you think?
Hot and cold sets create very different looks, if you’ve ever been curious to see all the finishes compared there’s a great comparison tutorial from Lisa Freemont Street later on in this post.
Your hair cut matters
My hair is thick and wavy and when I started learning vintage styling it was also quite long – I thought it would be fantastic for achieving some great styles but I was wrong. Often it was just too heavy to hold properly which meant my gorgeous, carefully cultured curls and waves would drop in a matter of minutes. After having it cut to a more manageable length the staying power was greatly increased and I found it a lot easier to achieve the styles I wanted – moral of the story, the cut underneath the style can make a huge difference to ease of achieving that style.
Now without further ado, on to the tutorials – Yay!!
Michael and Kitty from Bouffant Delacroix in Melbourne, Australia are hair wizards and two of my very favourite people. Kitty convinced me to go turquoise (ok I didn’t need that much convincing!) and I haven’t looked back. They know hair, they know vintage and modern hair styling and they are a pleasure to be around. They also stock quite a selection of stunning wigs and take custom orders for them AND do event hair and makeup – whew, is there anything they don’t do?!
Unfortunately not everyone in the world has a Michael or a Kitty on hand to do their hair for them every day and it’s not practical to move into their salon with them full time…
Fortunately they have a youtube channel so we can take them home with us! If you were lucky enough to pick up a copy of Issue 5 of Adore Magazine you will have their wet set Marilyn Monroe hair tutorial in your hot little hands but if you missed out, never fear! Their youtube channel has all sorts of videos on it from Hair how-to’s to Makeup and Hair FAQ’s and Hair and Makeup Look Alike tutorials where they show us how to achieve the look of some of our favourite fashion icons like Marilyn and Dita Von Tease.
Here is their famous Marilyn Monroe hair tutorial using a wet set. When the sentence ‘the hair will do exactly as you tell it to’ is used in a tutorial it sounds like magic to me and something I must try! The end result is breathtaking.
If you like this you should check out the rest of the videos on their youtube channel! And find them on Facebook and instagram @BouffantDelacroix. Or if you happen to be in Melbourne you can check out their salon in person at Shop 3/599 Malvern Road Toorak, Victoria 3142 – call (03) 9827 2855 for bookings
Candice DeVille is the queen of vintage technique and has to be one of the most effortlessly glamorous people I have ever met – which is why this is the second time she has featured in my list posts (of which there are only two so far!) – in the previous post her clothing style was the feature. I know that Candice has put a lot of practice and effort into perfecting the art of vintage hair and makeup over the years, she told me so, but she makes it look so very easy and effortless – like she just woke up that way! You can find her looking fabulous and being her lovely self at many rockabilly festivals in Victoria (that she has also been known to lend a hand in organising) where she and her lovely team of vintage hair and makeup stylists make over festival goers into vintage styled sirens.
This youtube tutorial is about how to pin curl hair – she has many tutorials on her youtube channel and her blog, including one on another topic I often see people asking about – how to tie hairscarves in different ways.
In addition to festival makeovers, Candice does wedding and special occasion hair and makeup – she made myself and my birthday buddy Stacey up for our combined 30th last year and we spent the night feeling (and looking) like princesses – I’d say queen or star but it was a Disney Princess themed party so princess is totally appropriate!
Candice occasionally holds classes in hair and makeup and I learned a huge amount when I went to one of her hair classes. She has studied and perfected many vintage styles and loves to share her knowledge with her students. She also works closely with photographer extraordinaire Helen McLean, doing hair and makeup for her photo shoots and the results are always breathtaking.
Cherry Dollface is a household name in rockabilly, pinup and vintage circles around the world and for good reason. Her style, class and delightful sense of humour shine through her youtube videos, instagram photos and Facebook posts (along with her stunning bright red hair!) and is sure to get you hooked. Cherry Dollface shares her hair and makeup expertise with her fans through booked-out workshops (which she travels around the globe to deliver) and tutorials on her youtube channel. She also does hair and makeup transformations for events and photo shoots!
Check out this video about styling a snood with beautiful front rolls – she makes it so quick and easy and the end result is gorgeous 🙂
Her site contains lots of tutorials for a range of expertise
I have a shoot booked in August at Greazefest Melbourne with All About Pout Photography and Cherry Dollface and I can’t tell you how excited I am!
Pinup Doll Ashley Maree
Pinup Doll Ashley Maree was the first pinup hair stylist that I found and subscribed to on youtube – finally I found something I had been looking for! Her styles are usually attained with heat, mainly a curling iron, so they’re a same day thing – no wet setting your hair the night before. She can achieve a lot of different styles this way and her youtube channel is a great place to visit if you prefer heat styling (particularly with a curling iron) and want to learn some great quick and easy styles like the one below. Thanks Pinup Doll Ashley Maree, this one will come in very handy for last-day-away-at-rockabilly-festival styling. You know the day I’m talking about – when your hair has been put through several different styles within a couple of days and is a little bit unruly from styling so you don’t quite know what to do with it and you’re a bit tired and foot-sore but still want to hit the festival because they only come around every few months…
Surely it’s not just me who gets that – scarf styles are a girls best friend 😉
Lisa Freemont Street
And finally, for a brilliant comparison on the results you can get from different types of rollers and pin curls with both hot and cold sets (including the pros and cons of each type) – here is a brilliant tutorial from Lisa Freemont Street. How handy is that! If you were wondering about wha type of roller to use for the style you want to achieve and the time you have to achieve it this tutorial can help answer those questions – enjoy!
From all these videos and my own experimenting I think the most important things I’ve learned are as follows:
- A good start is essential for creating the perfect finish
- Think about what you want to achieve before putting in your rollers/pin curls etc because placement and direction of the curl will dictate the final result
- If you use heat let your hair cool pinned up in the curl – it’s very important. Unfortunately for a lot of hair types, if you curl your hair and just let it go you might as well not bother curling it at all.
- Find an excellent setting lotion and other products that work for YOU – not just what is popular, available or used in a class because that’s not necessarily the same thing. Try a bunch of them if you can (it can get expensive after a while if you try heaps though!) or you can even make your own! I’ve tried a few including the DIY one which is super simple to make but has the consistency of snot (yum…), plus my curls fell out in about half an hour. I find that the Luscious Locks setting spray by Ruby Rabbit works best for my hair. I like it because it doesn’t make my scalp itch (ugh sensitive skin!), it keeps my curls beautifully well without leaving my hair feeling crunchy or stiff, can be used for heat or wet setting and it smells like strawberries – yum!
- Coconut milk serum is fantastic as a de-frizzer (and it smells amazing) – use it on wet hair for the best result, but not too much or your hair gets that ‘still wet’ look – yum… I use OGX Coconut milk serum that is stocked in my local supermarket – too easy!
- If you forget to de-frizz beforehand or need some help taming and neatening up your hairdo, try a good pomade – they can work wonders! I really like Relax Pomade by Ruby Rabbit, I thought I’d give it a try when I bought her setting lotion and am very happy with the results.
- When my hair is dry and a bit frizzy or my scalp is itchy from a scalp bleach I like to work some olive oil or coconut oil through it about an hour or so before washing to replenish the moisture and soothe my scalp – it’s a lot cheaper than a hair mask, massage and moisture can help stimulate hair growth and it’s hypo-allergenic to boot! If you really want to you could leave it overnight and wrap your hair up but this could lead to pillowcase grossness…
- If you have trouble keeping your arms up for long to put rollers in and then do your hairstyle, try a wet set – I often do my set the day before or a couple of days before I need it then leave the curls pinned in if I’m not going out. This way you’re not having to sit or stand there for ages with your arms up. Break things up a bit and give yourself a rest.
- I know this might sound obvious but it took me a while to get it; if you can’t stand there for ages doing your hair and makeup, sit down!
- Freshly washed hair is harder to work with because it’s more slippery and soft – if you’re doing a heat set it’s better not to wash your hair on the same day
- Practice makes perfect!
- And finally, if you use a tail comb BE CAREFUL OF THE POINTY END! No seriously, if you are sitting down and you drop it and it bounces off your leg with the point upwards when you go to catch it, it will end up sticking out of your hand. Try explaining to people that you stabbed yourself with a comb, yeah kinda embarrassing hey! Particularly if you hit a nerve and it takes 8 weeks to heal up properly… As you can probably tell I learned that one the hard way 😉