Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The most famous hairdo model in the world

... was Sara Thom, at least in the 60s. In 1963 she made the front cover of Hairdo's September issue wearing curlers. Looks like the green bows were tied to the clips holding her rollers in place.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Back to School" Style from 1969

From American Hairdresser in August, 1969, here is a great back to school style.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Last items from "Glamour Hair Secrets"

Two more items from "Glamour Hair Secrets" 1969 (to enlarge, click on each image, then right click on "view image", then click again).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jackie Kennedy's Hairdo How To

From 1969 "Glamour Hair Secrets", here is how to do the iconic Jackie Kennedy hairstyle (to enlarge, click on each image, then right click on "view image", then click again).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If this blog had a sponsor ....

... it might have been Palmolive. Remember the commercials with Madge the manicurist and the lady who's hands she soaked in Palmolive diswashing liquid? The ads were often in a salon, and sometimes the unnamed lady was in curlers. Her set below in magnetic rollers is so perfect.

Sometime she was also under the dryer, below in such a typical late 1960s scene:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A quick how-to

A while ago I wrote a couple of articles for Karen @ Bobbins and Bombshells (a really great blogger).

So rather than repeat things, I am going to be a bit lazy and point you to two sections on her blog for a concise "how to get started".

Here are the links:

A Basic Wet-set for Vintage Hairdos


Basic Setting Patterns for Vintage Hairdos


Magnetic Rollers

Magnetic rollers really are smooth plastic rollers and are called magnetic because wet hair tends to cling to the plastic surface. The are rather tricky to wind, and are secured with clips. Because they are smooth, the hair can easily slip off which makes them easy to remove creating some of the smoothest, nicest sets. But this also causes them to loosen while you are wearing them which can make them impractical for sleeping in. They also take longer to dry but this small price to pay for the great results sets. Its probably best to leave these rollers until you have so much practice winding the other rollers that you can almost do them in your sleep.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Plastic Brush Rollers

I have always preferred brush rollers over other types, and among brush rollers, some of the vintage plastic ones to be the best. Its really too bad that they don't seem to make the rollers below any more. The good thing is they often appear on eBay and if you see them up for bids, try and grab them.

Wil-hold Plastic Brush Rollers were the classic plastic brush rollers used in salons and at home in the 60s. The rollers are made from moderately hard plastic and the bristles are actually like little combs, making them particularly easy to wind. The plastic only has a little flexibility, so if you wind them too tight they really can become uncomfortable after drying. Even well wound, they can still be slightly prickly to wear, but after using these rollers a number of times you quickly get used to them and they are actually quite comfortable. The package promises they are “easy to sleep in” and although it takes a week or so to get used to wearing them overnight, they are well suited for that purpose: the fact that they secure so well means they can't loosen and yank your hair uncomfortable you toss and turn. Its also worth mentioning they are great under the dryer as well. The air flows through them making drying easy which is probably why they appear to have been very popular at salons.

Solo Sleepeasy Curlers are a slightly different approach to plastic brush rollers. What makes them unique is that that they are made out of a softer plastic (but not so soft that they deform) and also have bristles with rounded ends. This makes them gentle on the hair (no sharp bristles to scratch the hair shafts) and also more comfortable . The softer plastic also makes them a little more forgiving if you wind them too tightly which makes sense since the vintage ads seem to imply that these rollers were aimed more at the home use market. Other than that all the the comments about Wil-hold rollers apply to these too.

Tip-Top Snap-On Rollers or Tip-Top Clip-On Nylon Brush Curlers are the last variant on the plastic brush roller theme. The main difference from the others is these curlers are hour-glass shaped, possibly to make it easier to wind hair. They also have clip on clamps to hold the roller in place, but in reality you still need to use pins or piks to secure them for anything more that a few minutes in curlers. Interestingly, they appear to have been available with and without the clamps, and with and without an inner nylon brush, probably to accommodate all tastes in rollers. Like the the Solo Sleepeasy Curlers, the ads seem to indicate they were made primarily for the home market.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wire Brush Rollers

Wire brush rollers are perhaps the most classic at-home curlers and easiest to use. There are actually two types: the older ones where the mesh is woven out of wire and the newer ones where it is fabric or plastic. If buying vintage, watch out for the mesh : it can be broken or frayed, and if fabric, disintegrated. The brushes also wear and sometimes fall apart. If you do see some with the wire mesh, grab them. They are the best: more solid that the fabric ones, easier to set, and generally better made as many vintage things are.

These curlers are really easy to use. They are easily secured in place with plastic piks or metal pins, and because of the brush stay neatly wound which is important for air drying, particularity overnight. Another good thing is that at least one of modern versions of the curlers (Conair) are well made and easily available.

On the down side, the brushes are a little itchy which can be a problem if you have a sensitive scalp. Placing a folded piece of tissue under each roller can help, but its a nuisance. Also, depending on your hair and particularity if it is longer and has a tendency to frizz you can get entangled with with these curlers, ruining the effects of your set as you remove them. So a piece of advice is try them and see if they work for you. If not try something else. And never experiment on a day when you hair has to look good in case something doesn’t turn out as expected. Advice you will hear me repeat again and again!

Coming next: vintage plastic brush rollers, the best ever!

Vintage Curlers

To do a vintage wetset, you obviously need curlers aka rollers. Most types of curlers that were used in the 60s and 70s are still available in one form or another today, but like many things, are generally not as well made as the originals. The modern ones are also really meant for quick and easy use, certainly not for spending hours in as on typically does with a classic wetset. So my preference is vintage curlers if you can find them (and they all seem to periodically appear on eBay, occasionally in their original packaging). So for the next few posts I'll write about the the various different types of vintage (and modern) rollers, the pros an cons of each, and what to look for when buying them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

So what is a vintage wetset?

Wet hair is wound and secured in curlers (and the vintage types work best), dried either naturally or with a dryer, and then brushed and/or combed into place. A style done this way can last a much longer that with hot rollers or irons, and can be less damaging. This picture is from a vintage late 1960s or early 70s package of hair rollers.

These rollers are Wil-hold plastic brush rollers, probably some of the most popular curlers at the time for salon use but also for at home (and this package was intended for home users). They occasionally appear on eBay and in my opinion they are some of the best rollers ever made. (More about Wil-hold rollers later).

The most famous set hairdo ...

... was probably Farrah Fawcett's iconic hairdo from Charlie's Angels.

Her wonderful flowing waves look so natural that most people today wouldn’t even know it was done with a curlers, let alone that Farrah and millions of women who copied this style did a daily (or more commonly nightly) wetset. Farrah's classic hairdo and how beautiful styles like that are done is one of the inspirations for this blog.