Sunday, 14 December 2014

Princess Leia cinnamon buns hair

After the last blog post I came down with a bad cold and had to stay at home doing nothing for two days, that's why I didn't get the blog post up about what I was working with. I still haven't taken good photos of it, so it will have to wait. I can say though that it is a brand new classic senatorial princess Leia gown. Despite not feeling well I managed to finish it and wear it to the last troop, for me, of the year. And what a troop, but more on that will come when the photos start to crop up.

I was happy with the dress, and for the first time ever I was really happy with my cinnamon buns hairstyle, and I tried to document the way I did it.

Leia's hairstyle is one of the most iconic film hairstyles out there, and also what I've struggled with the most as long as I've done this costume. I've had problems with the buns being too big, too uneven, too droopy (looking more like spaniel ears than hairbuns), so this was the first time that I felt that I didn't have to pin the hood up to hide them.

First of all I would say though that if I don't think this is the best way of doing the hairstyle, I would like to buy a short, but parted wig, and then attach two loose buns to that wig, now instead I have a very long wig that I have to style every time I wear it.

This is where I start. One long, straight wig, two small balls of hair and a lot of hairpins.
The hairballs are fairly small, look at the hairpin for reference. One of my previous problems have been that I have started with hairball that were too big. These ones are simply some wefts of loose hair twisted and formed into shape with two or three long hairpins in the back.

As for hairpins, I use three different kinds of hairpins.

The longest one is a wig hairpin. It's hard to open, so I can't get a lot of hair in it, but when I get it secured it holds the hair very well. I use that kind of pin for making the basic attachments, for example when attaching the hairballs to the rest of the wig. The middle pin is the best one for keeping loose strands of hair in shape. It can't hold any heavy weights, but is almost invisible, so I use a lot of them to make sure that the finished buns don't fall apart. The smallest pin is my favorite for both attaching and shaping the hair, but you can't only use them since they are too short to secure thick strands of hair. It has taken me a while to get a feeling for what kind of hairpin is best for which function, and I need all kinds of hairpins to keep the hairstyle in shape. Also I've learnt that it's better to use fewer pins, but put them in the right position, as compared to using a bunchload of them.

The first step when I've put the wig on is to attach the small hairballs, that are going to form the foundation for the hairbuns. I try to put them just above my ear, and I make sure that they are securely fastened with both a hairclip and some hairpins. I put the hairball behind all of the hair of the wig.

The next step is to twist the long hair of the wig. I twist it fairly hard. A previous mistake of mine has been to not twist the hair hard enough. It is going to loosen up when it's put in place, so it is best to have it tightly twisted from start. My problem with droopy hairbuns can usually be traced back to them not being twisted tight enough.
Then I take the twisted hair and pull it under the hairball towards the back, and back towards the front over the hairball.

The last bit goes under the hairball again, and my wig is long enough that the tips can be tucked in behind the ear. Take a look at the reference photo I posted, the original hairstyle doesn't consist of row upon rows of hair. This is a step that would be easier with a third hand, but I just put enough pins on in this stage that the hairbuns stays in position. At this stage on your second bun you also need to check that you have managed to make it uniform with the first one. When it looks good it's time to start adding a lot more hairpins, both to keep them in shape, and make sure that there aren't too many loose strands of hair. The original hairstyle was kept in check with hairnets, they are visible on some photos, but I haven't found hairnets that have been big enough to handle the size of the buns. Thankfully it's also totally screen accurate to have a bit of frizz around the hairstyle, especially after she has been in the trash compactor. You can even see her adjusting the bottom of her hairbuns when she comes out of the trash compactor. My experience is that it is usually the bottom that needs some more pins to keep it nice and tight.

This last photo shows a lot of frizzy hair, but it was also taken after two full days of trooping. I managed to make the hairbuns sturdy enough that they could handle the wig getting taken off, and placed on a portable wig stand, and then put on again. I just had to add a couple of more hairpins the next day.

You can also see that a bit of my own hair has peeked through a bit. I have a problem in that my own hair at the moment is bright red, and it's hard to get it all in under the wig. I'm using a bit of my regular make up foundation cream to mask my own hair. The red gets dulled down enough that it looks brown from a distance, and I don't have to worry about temporary hair dyes or hair mascaras.

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