I've gotten a few questions from you guys about how I do my hair each day. Well, it was about time for me to get a perm, so I figured I would photograph the process to show you guys the "base" of my daily hairdo.
I LOVE having short hair. I know it's not as common in the vintage community, but this "baby" cut was the military standard for women in the U.S. in WWII, and it's super easy to deal with. I just pin curl my hair at night, and it takes 5-10 minutes to brush out and hairspray in the morning. I highly recommend it! This is what it takes to get this 'do:
First off, the haircut! My hair is pretty short, about 4-5" long all the way around, and naturally VERY straight. I forgot to take a picture before my perm of what it looks like in its natural straight state, but the picture below is pretty close. I think the only differences are that my top layers are a bit shorter and my part is on the side.
The stylist called my layers "round layers," should you need that information in getting your own cut.
In a previous trip to a stylist, I took the 1940s baby middy chart that I had seen floating around the interwebs. An older stylist with a lot of experience said the chart was not very helpful and was missing some important info. He said, though, that most haircuts had a similar technique in shaping and layering up until the 1980s, so... basically I've found the phrase 'old lady haircut' quite helpful in describing what I want, ha! It never hurts to bring in more sources to help your stylist, though, especially if they may not be used to vintage looks. I will oftentimes bring the chart and a bunch of reference photos to help.
These are some of the photos I brought in to help my stylist understand what I wanted in a cut and style:
Next is the perm! Here is all the relevant information I have about the type of perm I get:
- I use the gray rollers; these are the second smallest size, I believe. I have a lot of baby hairs, so the stylists used whatever perm paper technique on each roll that kept all the little hairs in.
- The set is a basic one with all the rolls going downward. Nearly all of the rolls are the normal length with a couple half-size ones used where necessary.
(For this particular set, there was a bit of "contouring" at the side back sections just to accommodate the necessary tightness needed on the roller to get a good curl.)
After the perm, this is what my hair looked like:
It was really curly and already started to show the shape that I wanted: volume around eye level and at the top, tapering down to the neck, with a side part.
After getting a perm, you aren't supposed to wash your hair for a day or two to help it really set in. I just wet it a bit and set it in flat pin curls. (I'll have a video about my pin curl set in a couple days!)
After the pin curl set has dried and I have brushed it all out, this is my finished style:
The perm makes a huge difference to the longevity and volume of my style. Before this perm, my hair wouldn't cooperate at all. Curls wouldn't set well, my hair wouldn't wave properly, and that's why I have been wrapping my hair so often lately! The perm does wonders!
I also asked the stylists about which kind of perm would work well for those of you vintage ladies with highly textured hair. They said that it depends strongly on the texture and coarseness of your hair, but you can do one of three things to achieve this same kind of look:
- A perm, like what I got
- A relaxer then curly-perm combo
- A curl reformation
A professional stylist should be able to help you determine what would be best for your hair texture in creating a vintage 'do.
Okay, one last bit of insight about my haircut: the length of time since a perm and trim makes a big difference in the "bounce," volume and longevity of my hairdo. Since my hair is short, even small trims can have a big effect on how the hair falls around my face. It just takes a bit of getting used to after long hair, but I roll with it and it's okay! You may see subtle differences in my upcoming pin curl set tutorial and post photos in how my hair lays even though it's the same set, and this is the reason why.
Have you ever gotten a perm? Does your hair routine require any special work to get your locks into a vintage look?
Other vintage hair posts:
Lavender & Twill: Middy Plus cut
Bobby Pin Blog (vintage hairstyle blog)
Vintage Current: My Middy Cut
Styling Coarse and Curly Hair