Following on from my previous post about Ballroom makeup, it’s time to continue with Part 2 of mine and Rachel Macintosh’s collaboration; the Ballroom Hairstyle! This can be an ever frustrating topic and I’m hoping to shed a little light on the subject and hopefully help you on your merry way so that it’s not something that you dread but actually something you begin to enjoy 🙂 The main factors that contribute to a sleek and professional do are the products, the idea and the execution. All sounds easy peasy on paper but those of us that have attempted ballroom hair before know that this is a different story altogether in reality..
Let’s start with the tools as these are generally what you should (I hope) organise before you even try to start having a crack at that awesome hairstyle you saw on Pinterest the other day. Here’s a little list of the things I always make sure to have on hand:
- Strong hold Hairspray (I love Schwarzkopf Silhouette.. the BEST!)
- Hair Gel (optional)
- Bristle brush or any other brush
- Hair elastics
- Hair nets/ bun nets
- Hair pins (not bobby pins)
- Craft Glue (UHU is awesome if you can find it!)
- Diamontes (optional)
I listed Hair Gel as optional as I’m not a massive fan of using it as it will make your hair look darker than it is. Great if you have black hair but if you are blonde or red like me then it will alter the colour of your hair and can sometimes make it appear quite dull. Also, I feel you can create the whole look by only using hairspray (which won’t change your hair colour) and can make it even more immoveable than if you were to use gel! The trick is in the hairdryer.. but we will get to that in a mo. Avoid bobby pins and try to buy hairpins that are ‘U’ shaped as these hold much better and can be hidden easier too. With the hair nets make sure to buy thin nets that have small holes so that your hair stays within the net and you have no escapees! Don’t go for big thick nets as these can sometimes look a little granny-esque and the whole reason for the net is to hold the hair together whilst still being invisible. Which brings me to my next point of making sure to buy nets that are closest to your hair colour, sounds obvious I know but you would be surprised!! Lastly, if you would like to take your hair to the next level then try stoning it! This may be a little tricky on your own so try to get some help if you can. Apply some craft glue directly to the hair and then start with the stones. A little trick I learnt when stoning is to get a pencil and place a bit of blue-tac on the end and then pick up the stones face side up. When washing the glue out, I’ve found that combing through hair lathered in conditioner works best. I simply shampoo and condition my hair as per normal and slide the bits of glue down the hair whilst the conditioner is still in 🙂 ahhh the things we have to do huh!?
When creating your hairstyle it’s best to have a few visual aids of what you would like to create. I like to either have a couple of inspo pictures on my phone or even just an idea of something in my mind so that I can go in with a battle plan. This way I can also revert back to what I’m actually trying to do when I lose my way (often). When choosing your hairstyle, try to think about what will suit your face, body, dress and any other factors that might come into play on the dance floor. For me, I know that Steve and I have a little bit of a height difference so I always opt for piling my hair on top of my head to give me height and length. Also I feel the higher styles elongate my neckline which is great for Ballroom but might not necessarily be the right option for Latin. Beyond that, I often look to my dress design as I feel it always gives me clues on what is and isn’t going to work with the chosen image. If I have a headpiece I like to work around that or if there is something strong like line detail on the dress then I try to relay this theme into my hair. These are just some things to bear in mind when you are deciding as sometimes what you like may not be the most flattering for you or for your partnership.
Once you are ready to start letting your creative side loose, it’s best to start by sectioning the hair off into smaller sections. This way you can work step-by-step through the hairstyle and perfect each part along the way. I always try to leave some hair out at the front, closer to my face and have a section which becomes the ponytail/bun. I find it best to tackle the bun and ponytail first because doing this sets up the grounds for what everything else will work around. Once the bun is done then styling the smaller sections at the front of the hair is the easy part! Try to always do this bit with hair that has no product in it by smoothing the hair into the way you wish it to go first and then hitting it with the hairspray, hairdryer combo. This way the hair should turn into what I like to call Lego hair and coupled with a few pins, won’t be going ANYWHERE! No matter how fast your head flicks are 😉
For a little more detail and a walk through of how I do Rachel’s hair into a basic, sleek low bun watch the video below!
I hope these few little tips have been helpful and the best advice I can give on this subject is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!! This is not something that you will be legendary at straight away (if you are then damn you! ha ha) and it’s something that you will have to do over and over again to learn the way your hair wants to go. I’ve been doing my own hair now for around 10 years and sometimes it still gets the better of me! But that doesn’t stop me from trying new things and playing around with different ideas! Oh and one last thing, always make sure your hair is relatively dirty as it will hold better and give your self plenty of time before hand to avoid the pre-comp stress. Happy Hair-styling 🙂
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