Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Civil War Hair Tutorial

Welcome to the second installment of my four-part series covering Victorian-era Hairstyles. Today's tutorial covers hair during the period of roughly 1860-1865, just the Civil War years. I'll be showing you a simple day look; evening hairstyles during this period could be freer and more elaborate, utilizing hair pieces and flowers and such, but day styles were by and large very simple and controlled. Again, as with the Gibson style from last week, if you have shorter hair, you may want to invest in a good hairpiece or fall, and if you have very short hair, a wig! Bad news for ladies with "fringe" (bangs): Civil War ladies didn't wear it! So get out the gel or smoothing balm and try to make it blend into the rest of your hair, and let's get started;)

1. Start with your hair down, and parted down the middle. Once again, it's good to have a little bit of wave in your hair, but it's not crucially important for this style; the rain yesterday made my hair completely flat, but I was still able to get a nice period style out of it;)

2. Section the front of your hair into two pieces, and pin up to keep them out of the way. You won't be using this hair right now, so don't worry about looking like an Anime heroine for a few minutes;)

3. Section your remaining hair into two, a back section and a middle section. Twist the back section into a bun and pin into place, comme ca.

4. French braid the two middle sections of hair, braiding under-over, rather than over-under. This is so that your hair gets the appearance of having two long braids just draped over your head, instead of the common appearance of french braids. Practice and experiment with this if you're not sure what I mean; it's difficult to explain here, but once you get it, you'll slap your forehead and go, "Oh! It's just a backwards french braid!" Once the two braids are done, put a bobby pin or small rubberband on the ends to hold them. No big bands; you don't want anything modern showing once the style is finished!

5. Now, you get to unpin the front sections! Huzzah! Take them down and then bring them to the back, loosely, so that they cover your ears and sweep smoothly over your head. This is when bangs can be annoying; hairspray, gel, whatever works, get those suckers to lay smoothly with the rest of your hair, hidden! Pin the sections in place, hiding the pins in the bun. If your hair is very long, you can wrap them around the bun and then pin in place.

6. Finally, take the braids and sweep them to the back as well, once again pinning them into place over the bun, trying to hide the pins as much as possible. You're finished!
There is another option for those ladies who don't want to take the trouble to braid and coil their hair, or have short hair and don't care to spend the money for a hair piece: the day cap! Most women during this period over the age of twenty-one or so covered their hair during the day in some kind of cap, which can be very convenient if you're all thumbs in the hair department;)

Now, go forth and have Victorian hair! I hope this answers some questions (and doesn't raise more!) Please feel free to contact me with questions and I'll do my best to answer them as well as possible. Stay tuned for part three in the four-part series, coming next week!


Mystic Kettle said...

Any chance of a WWII British Military women's hair tutorial? e.g. Wrens and ATS girls.

SisterlyLove said...

lovely! I have a great love for hair and hair in the 1860's so this was wonderful to see. Thank you.
the three spinsters