Friday, 19 June 2015

On Your Bike: How to Keep Vintage Hair Whilst On The Move

Many of you know our head honcho has travelled the world and her plan when she left was to back pack around with her usual vintage style that she had at home, see her blog for more. Knowing this dilemma would be one other vintage styled ladies would have we thought we would share with you her top 7 hair styles she utilised whilst she was away and wanting her vintage look. These are the perfect styles for when you are away from your amities, including holidays but also think festivals, camping trips or even just the moments of "I can't be bother" on a Monday morning.

Before we begin...
There are a few things you will need in your tool box to make sure you can do these styles, they aren't not much but they will become your very trusty companions.

You will need:

  • 100 or so Kirby Grips/Bobby Pins. These will be your most loved and hated tool. Loved as they can really do any style you need, hated as you will never be able to find them, that's why we've said bring 100
  • 10 Hair bows/ties. Again great for most styles and also brilliant for a quick "I don't care what it looks like" pony tail. Number is again for losses.
  • Vintage Head Scarves. We've got a lot of love for these as they hide a multitude of sins and instantly vintage up an outfit. You can never pack too many.
  • Dry Shampoo. Perfect for freshening up your hair when its looking a bit lank, and you can get little travel sized ones which are perfect.
  • Hair Spray. This is great for finishing off styles and just making sure all your hard work stays. Again you can get it in small bottles.
  • A mirror. It doesn't have to be a big one, a compact can do but you just need to check all the bits are in place, a trusted friend could also do this job.
Other bits to note before we share the styles, we would recommend practising these before you leave for the trip of a life time or a weekend festivalling as although they are simple enough, it can take time and repetition to make them perfect and you don't want to be doing that in a damp tent without a large mirror.

The Styles
Pin Curls
These are a must to learn if you want curls without heating wands and magical electronic things. They are also great if you're lazy like us in the office and don't want to space the hour in morning with the curling tongs but still want beautiful vintage locks.

Pin curls are probably the oldest form of hair curling but they hit it big in the 1930's when everyone wanted the wave look. The number one reason, we think, they have survived so long is the fact they are so easy and relatively quick once you know what you are doing.

Step by Step:

The picture above is one we found on the net (originally from the book Vintage Hairstyling) and we've used it instead of doing our own step by step for the first part as it really is a comprehensive list to getting a good curl. Though we couldn't miss out adding a few pictures of our boss with her prep and curls.

At the end of the steps above:
Once your curls are set its really up to you how you style them. If you loosely brush the curls with your fingers you will get some tightish ringlets that look great swept to the side, like below to the left or you can brush them a little more vigorously and give yourself a perfect 50's wave which you can tease or add victory rolls to, like the right.

Note to remember:
These do take practise to make sure the curls are uniform and you don't make odd shapes, but do stick at it as once you've got it, these babies will become your lifesaver.

The Quiff

This style has certainly come back in fashion the last few years. From the catwalk to the high street, everyone is wearing one and its ease has got to be one of its perks.

It looks great mixed in with victory rolls (we're coming to victory rolls in a bit) but also with a pony tail, bun, hair down...the possibilities with this one are a bit endless. We love it because it's a great way to very, very quickly vintage up your hair.

Step by Step:
1. Section off the front of your hair. How we normally do it is to take the hair in between your temples and about an inch or so back. Or if you have a fringe normally, your whole fringe.

This next bit will be split in to two parts for long and short

2. Brush your hair upwards and hold it vertical. Start to wrap the end around two fingers, making a circle and then take out your fingers.
3. Roll the circle towards your head, it will widen as it goes down but you want that so your quiff is a good size.
4. When you have hit your head, pin into place with some kirby grips and hair spray if needed, voila. 

Too Short to roll?:
2. Brush your hair upwards, and back comb slightly to give you some shape.
3. Twist the end slightly and then pin back to your head, making sure you don't pull it too tight so the quiff isn't flat. Voila.

Note to remember:
This style actually works better on slightly dirty hair as its got a bit more give. If you need some more strength to it, don't be afraid to use some hair spray.

Victory Rolls up and down dos

You can't talk about vintage hair styles without mentioning victory rolls. They became popular in World War 2 and they are said to have got their name from two things, one from a manoeuvre from the fighter planes, where they rolled in the sky causing an exhaust trail in a roll behind then and two, that the style looks like a Victory V on ones head causing patriotic people to don them in their droves.

They are a such an easy way to vintage up your hair once you know how to do them, they are definitely the ones that need most practise but once you have them you will use them in so many styles that you won't know how you survived without them.

Step by Step:
There are so many videos online for these that we thought we would include our favourite beginner one instead of fumbling around and doing our own. 

Now you don't need to curl your hair for these, it just makes it a little easier, like she says, in the beginning. If you haven't got curled hair, you still start the same with making a loop around your finger. 

Notes to Remember:
Try to keep your rolls small or tight and higher up on your head to stop looking like Minnie Mouse or that you've got a set of bear ears on.

The Rolled Head scarf style

This is our favourite style for early morning fairs and it never fails to get a compliment. It can be done in a matter of minutes and looks fabulous. It's got a definite 30's/40's feel to it but will look good team with any era, even 70's or later styles.

Step by Step:
1. Brush your hair flat and then place a pre rolled scarf (see later tips on rolling your scarves) on your head, bowing it at the top.
2. Take a 2 inch section from the front of you hair on the left hand side and loop it over and through the scarf. Do the same for the other side.
3. Now comes the fun bit, stuff the rest of your hair over the scarf so it all curls around, giving a roll effect.
4. Make sure you have no gaps and then secure into place with kirby grips/bobby pins, putting them in at a horizontal angle. Voila.

Note to remember:
Silker scarves make this style a little harder so try to use chiffon or cotton if you find it slipping too much.

The Rolled Beehive
This is a bit of an alternative to a beehive which still gives you the same height but its a little more eye catching. It's also a good way to practice your pin curl rolls or make use of curly hair that's become a little too wayward to leave down.

Step by Step:
1. Start with your hair down.
2. Grab your hair into a pony tail about 3/4 of the way down your head, and twist it for a couple of turns in your hands. Then turn it up so the end of the pony tail is now sitting on top of your head and pin it into place.
3. This will now leave you with an unruly mop on top of your head, perfect. 
4. Start by taking one piece of hair about half an inch thick, from the back section of your head. Pull it lightly away from your head and then curl it like you would a pin curl. Wrap the hair around two fingers and slowly roll in to your head. Don't pin it to your head like a pin curl though, just place it on the head, pinning it at the bottom so you can see the loop.
5. Continue this process for the rest of the hair, it's best to work from the back to the front and making the back slightly larger so you create a layered effect.
6. Once you are finished and you are happy the curls have made an even shape, pop on a head scarf and voila, your finished.

Note to remember:
This style is easiest when your hair is curly as the rolls are easier to make. It's a good style to do once your pin curls are looking a bit tired.

The bow bun
This style for us in the office has replaced the pony tail in our hearts for our favourite lazy day style. It's simple but effective and makes your look like you've made an effort when you haven't. We love it!

Step by Step: 

1. Put your hair up like you are going to do a pony tail but don't pull the hair right through so you have a bit at the end that's about 2-3 inches long and wide bun at the top.
2. Split the bun down the middle so you have two buns each side.
3. Take the end of hair that you have left out and pull in back in between the two buns and tuck it into the back under the hair tie you have used for the bun. Pin if needed. Voila.

Note to remember:
Make sure you don't pull the middle bit too tight as the shape of the bow will be off.

Head Scarves
This is for when all else fails and you just need an edge without having to give yourself one. The vintage scarf!

Not only will it hide a multitude of sins with any of your styles, it also has so many other uses (see the second on headscarves in our head honcho's blog about How to Stay Vintage Whilst Backpacking) and they can be teamed with so many of the styles above to add an even more vintage edge to them.

We have compile a picture board below for inspiration of all the different styles you can have with head scarves.

Our step by step for this one is how to roll a good head scarf thinly and thickly for all the styles above.

Thickly Step by Step:

1. Start by laying out the scarf on a flat surface.
2. Fold the bottom left hand corner into the square but not completely to the end.
3. And voila, your thick scarf fold is complete. Place the folded side on the base of your head with the 3 corners meeting just above your fringe and tie together.

Thinly Step by Step:

3. Start with step 1 and 2 of the thick scarf. Fold the top right hand corner into the middle.
4. Fold the scarf in half and then voila, you are ready to tie it. Just remember to have the fold edge at the bottom when you place it on your head.

Note to remember:
Iron your scarves in the folded shapes so they are easier to do when you need them, though only do this with material that won't melt under heat (chiffon is a no no).

And there you have it, 7 simple styles (well 6 and the scarves) that will help you look vintage and spectacular whilst on your travels or just in a rush. We would love to see you with these styles, either email them to shop@whatsyourtalenightingale or tweet us at @WYTNightingale with your stylish snaps.

We have tried to credit all the pictures we have used and link back to the site we got them from. If we haven't its or haven't done it right, let us know at and we will correct it straight away. 

This blog falls into our On Your Bike series which is all about adventures whether it's out on your bike, a vintage train day or even a themed day. It also has bike maintenance, hair styles for your adventures and more. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "On Your Bike" tab at the top of the page.