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how to do a sixties hairstyle: setting

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  • Look at the illustrations in the links in the last post for how to arrange the rollers. If you want a fuller, more bouffant style, use the rollers on all your hair. If you want it sleeker on the sides, only put the rollers on top.
  • You should use enough product that when you take the rollers out, your hair stays in the same shape. If your hair is kind of straightened out and flops over, the rollers are too big. Comb the product through before putting in the rollers. And then after the rollers are in I like to spritz a little setting lotion into my hands and run them over the rollers, just for one last shot of product. If you have setting tape, use it to tape down your bangs and the curls on your cheeks. Or if you use enough product, you can just sort of plaster it down.
  • When the rollers come out, starting at the back of your head, backcomb in small sections to make it stand up. I like to pull the comb down three times for each section, and then wiggle it back and forth a little on the third time. Then I hold that bit of hair up and spray hairspray at the base of the hair. Try to blend together the chunks your hair naturally falls into from the rollers. In other words take one bit of hair that was one one roller, and another bit of hair from another roller, and backcomb them together.
  • When you've got the shape you want, cover it with hairspray. Use lots more than you normally would. You're definitely not going for touchable hair. The effect you want is that you could ride in a car with the windows down and your hair would be fine. I like to smooth it back with my hands while it's damp from hairspray. Unfortunately that tends to mush it down a bit, but then you can use the pick to lift it back up.
  • The best part of this style is that if you're careful, you can make it last for two days. Just wear a shower cap to keep it dry, and then gently reshape it with a round brush and comb. Don't add any more product; it will look gross. Trust me.

how to do a sixties hairstyle: supplies


There's been way too much politics on this blog lately, and it will probably continue until the election. So let's take a break with something fun and frivolous: step by step instructions on how to do a mid-sixties hairstyle.

When I decided to start doing my hair in a sixties style, I had a hard time finding out how to do it. It took a fair amount of searching to find a few websites with setting instructions. These are the ones I found most helpful:

This style is my favorite. Think Vidal Sassoon. I printed this one out and took it to my hairdresser, but she talked me into going longer on the sides. Next time I'm going to tell her to cut it just like this.
This page shows several curly styles. Think Goldie Hawn. Drawings only.
The classic bubble flip. Think Hairspray. This style is a lot heavier than the look I was going for, and also a lot more work. I haven't tried it but the instructions look good.

I asked my hairdresser to cut my hair specifically for a mid-sixties bubble flip, but that really isn't necessary. As long as your hair is moderately short -- from chin length to mid-neck when wet -- you can do this style. You just need a few supplies, which will be the topic of this post.

Necessary Supplies

  • Rollers. They should be big, depending on the length of your hair. When my hair was longer I used 3" and 3 1/2" rollers. Now it's shorter and I mainly use 2" and 1 1/2". Get a variety of sizes so you can experiment. I like the Velcro kind, they're comfortable and stay in place well. If you already have smooth plastic ones they'll work too.
  • Clips. I use plain old bobby pins, but they're kind of a pain and I'll probably get better clips soon. Still, bobby pins are cheap and thus good to start with.
  • Setting Lotion. Get this from Sally Beauty Supply. It's a blue liquid that comes in a tall bottle, and you mix it with water in your own spray bottle. One bottle will last forever.
  • Comb. I have a nice one with uneven teeth for back-combing, and a pick on the end. But any comb will do.
  • Hair Spray. The strongest, most shellac-like hair spray you can find. Aqua Net is the classic but anything marked "ultra hold," "extreme hold," etc., will do. It's a good sign if the packaging looks like it's aimed at goths.
  • Hand Mirror. Big enough to see the back of your head.

Not Necessary, But Make Life Easier

  • Vintage Hair Dryer. You can do without a hair dryer, but your hair will take 2-4 hours to set depending on its thickness and length. So I recommend getting the dryer unless you really like to linger over your beauty rituals, and you never ever run short on time getting ready to go out.

    Your modern hand-held hair dryer is not going to work here. Vintage hair dryers are readily available on Ebay. Or your mother may have one in the back of her closet. They come in 2 main types: bonnet, and helmet. The bonnet style has a plastic cap you put over your head, with a hose attached. The helmet style is like a salon hairdryer, but sits on a tabletop. I have the bonnet style because it's lighter and travels better. The bonnet and hose stow inside the dryer. Plus it's got a cute handle and "Lady Sunbeam" written on the side. Also space is an issue in my house and I wouldn't know where to set up a helmet dryer.

    Some stores sell a bonnet attachment for a modern hair dryer, but I do not recommend this. I tried it and it was a total pain. The bonnet had elastic so tight that I always messed up some of the curlers just getting it on, and then it left a red itchy mark on my forehead. And the hose was cheap plastic which melted with the hairdryer on "warm." The vintage hairdryer has a loose bonnet with a drawstring, much easier to put on. And it isn't as hot, so the hose doesn't melt. And it's more compact. Best of all, the vintage dryer cost less on Ebay, including shipping, than the crummy bonnet attachment.
  • Thickening Spray/Gel. Thick hair is essential for this style. Unfortunately, I don't have it. I don't know if these thickening products work or not, but two unrelated hairdressers swear they do, so I'm giving it a try. I've used Bumbble & Bummble "Thickening Spray," and Rusk "Thickr" gel. I guess every salon line has a product like this.
  • Other Styling Products. Whatever you have already. Just go for the "strong hold" products.
  • Round Brush. Not absolutely necessary but my bangs would look pretty bad without it.
  • Setting Tape and/or Straightening Iron. For your bangs and the curls over your ears, if you're doing them. Neither of these is really necessary if you're any good with a round brush. Or you can use a big roller but I think this makes the bangs look more girlish than I like.

    Setting tape is sold in the African American section of the hair care products. It's expensive, and basically just tape that won't pull your hair out. If you have gentle tape lying around the house (like painter's tape or surgical tape) you might try that instead. The straightening iron is only used for a minute or two so I don't recommend buying one if you don't already have one.
  • Pomade, Styling Wax, etc. If you happen to have it already, this is nice for the curls over your ears.
  • Hair Roll. I hear that this is a hairpiece you hide under the hair at the top of your head, to give you more height. I'd like to try it but I haven't found one yet.

I think that's it for supplies. Next time, setting the rollers!

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