Monday, 02 March 2015

How to Create a 1940s Updo: Tuesday

To celebrate the IWM exhibition, Fashion on the Ration, every day this week, vintage hair and make-up expert Sarah Dunn of Sarah’s Doo-Wop Dos will show you how to do elegant hairstyles from the era. Today, a vintage evening look

Written by Sarah Dunn
Hair-Mar06-06-176Vintage hair styling requires several things; patience, nimble fingers and a few select styling products. In my line of work as a freelance vintage hair stylist, make-up artist and owner of Sarah's Doo-Wop Dos, I regularly create many different looks from different eras for my customers, so the tips I'm sharing in this article are thoroughly tried and tested!

For this style a few accessories will be required. I have used a crocheted woollen snood, similar to the type that would have been worn in the 1940s, to dress the hair. Snoods were a great way of protecting a hairdo, either at home from the dust and dirt whilst cleaning, or from the weather while out and about running errands. These days the snood has become an item of decoration but its roots are deeply practical as, by keeping your curls in place, it helps the style last much longer. This is something a woman in the 1940s would have been keenly aware of, as spending money on yourself was a luxury few could afford so everything had to last. I have also put flowers in the hair for this style. Haberdashery items were not rationed during the war so these items could be bought freely, but only if you had the money. Where funds were tight, fresh flowers could be used and even brooches could be doubled up and used as hair accessories.

1. Start off the style by creating three decently sized sections across the front of your head. The middle section should be a little bigger than the two side sections. Use the back of your ear as a guide as to how far back to take each one. Backcomb each of these sections at the roots to give them some structure. It's best to use a rat-tailed comb and work on small areas of hair, as it'll give a much neater look.


2. You will now need to create a smallish victory roll either side of the main middle section. Victory rolls were a big staple of 1940s hair styling and are thought to be named after a manoeuvre made by planes during battle. To create these you will need to roll the hair tightly and in a backwards direction, pinning in place with hair grips. It's thought that during the 1940s women may have used padding to achieve this look. Hair rats, as the padding is generally known, could be made from old stockings filled with hair from your hairbrush to make a sort of oblong shape, a bit like the bun donuts and pads women can buy today.


3. Victory rolls don't need to be identical so don't panic if they aren't a perfect match and remember you can use accessories at the end to cover any areas you are not happy with. With this style it helps to close the back of the victory rolls by pulling the back end downwards, creating a tube like shape. The end can then be pinned shut with hair grips for added security. Tidy up with a little pomade (hair wax) applied with the finger tips or a spritz of hairspray.

4. Now it's time to work on the middle section. Have fun with this bit and use the hair to really frame your face with a pretty nest of curls. Curls in the 1940s tended to have a fluffy look as the hair was often fried from the harsh chemicals used for perms and the rudimentary curling tongs that were available. If the hair is too fluffy and starts to look messy, try running a little more pomade through on your fingers. Pomade is a waxy product that is great for slicking the hair and taming frizz!


5. Now you need to create the shape at the back of your head. Start by brushing the rest of the hair so it's neat and smooth. Again you can use a little pomade on your fingers to tame any fly-away hairs. Roll your hair up and under, towards your neck. To secure it you will need to pin it in place at the nape of your neck with hair grips. Cover the hair with a hair net as this will help keep the shape and stop hairs poking out and looking scruffy. Again, to secure it, use hair grips. You can pin into the back of the victory rolls to hide the grips and keep the style neat looking, then with the snood repeat the step and secure it with more hair grips.

6. Finally add a flower into the style. Here I positioned it in the nest of curls to draw attention to them. Hair flower clips are a great way of drawing the eye to detail you want to enhance or covering areas you want to hide. These ones are silk flowers taken from a vintage hat and used because they matched the dress well.

Article, hair and make-up: Sarah Dunn, owner of Sarah's Doo-Wop Dos

Model: Ava Aviacion

Photography: Jez Brown

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