Friday, 24 September 2010

Good Hair Days - recent vintage hair fun

Hello lovelies!

I just wanted to let you know what I got up to on my three days off this week. 

As some of you know I’m devoted to my bottle blonde hair – it’s my main beauty extravagance and though I keep thinking I really should try a cheaper alternative (a different salon, an easier to maintain colour...whaddeva), I just can’t break my blonde habit.  The evil dealer in this tale of addiction and woe is Billie Crago – colourist at my favourite salon, The Chapel, in Islington.  She is just too good and has recently taken my hair from Kelly Osborne grey to Mrs Slocombe pink and back to a lovely creamy blonde – which, to my chagrin, suits me much better.

Billie and her business partner Georgia set up the salon in 2007 (though I was a customer of Billie’s at her previous place of employment ) and the place has gone from strength to strength since, winning multiple awards.  The salon is based in Islington, on the Sadlers Wells side of Angel station, and is an absolute haven of tranquillity.  It has been designed to feel calm and airy – it really is a huge space - being on the site of a former pub – and even when busy the place feels spacious.  

Well, last time I was in getting my roots touched up and working my way through a few glasses of the house red, ahem, Billie asked if I’d be willing to be a hair model for their next training session on vintage hair.  Of course, I accepted, but I had to point out that I’d been cutting my own hair for the past year and that it might not be ideal for her to play with.  Well, bless the angel, she only went and offered me a free cut into the bargain (a benefit of being a long standing client) and lo and behold that where I ended up on Tuesday morning. 

Ironically, that morning I got up and styled my uncurled hair into probably my most successful quick victory rolls to date.  I really didn’t want anyone touching these magnificent beasts but hey – I’d promised...

The cut:
I took along my diagram of the middy cut (a little history to come) and asked the lovely stylist, Lucinda, to cut mine into the longest version of it she could manage with what hair I had.  Being a bit of a vintage fan Lucinda understood what I wanted straight away and she did a fine job, I must say.  Though I love cutting it myself it is nice to have a pro do it occasionally, I felt lighter afterwards!  Here is the cut in its unstyled state (scuse the tired face, its been a long, slow day at work here and I don't wear foundation in the week).

The middy is really the classic 1940's cut, you will see it referenced all over vintage sites and there is a whole thread devoted to at it on the Fedora Lounge.  In essence its heavily layered, which allows the curls to fully billow.  I managed to get hold of a scan of a certain famous vintage hair book by Daniela Turudich and so took in the pages from that.  I think mine would count as a middy plus (4 1/2 inches all over with an elongated U shape at the back).

I have yet to style it myself but that’s tonight's project and a future post!

The styling:
So, back I trotted on Thursday all ready to be thoroughly fiddled with (ooerr!) Unfortunately however, I’d made a bit of an error, and hadn’t managed to wash all the oil from Wednesdays effective, but very painful, massage from the back of my hair so poor Billie had to work around that.

In any case, she decided she didn’t want to do hair up, as everyone else was going along those lines with their models, but instead wanted to try and recreate a fingerwaved look with a curling iron.

With the help of a super hot curling iron and about 10 litres of Redken spray starch (yes, spray starch) we manage to coax my recalcitrant barnet into this wonder of wonders.  I’d have been quite happy to leave the salon like this but I think Billie wanted her clips back...

So, after it was left to cool for around 10 minutes it was taken down and gently brushed into shape.  We went for a sort of pageboy look with soft waves at the front and a little kisscurl.  Sadly the photos don’t really do it justice but I can assure you it looked lovely and I got lots of nice comments on the way home.

It was a really enjoyable day and the updos the Chapel team were putting together were incredible – sorry I didn’t get pics of those, I was being fluffed at the time.  There were lots of great victory rolls, rolls at the neck and a couple of quite spectacular Mad Men style dos.  Such a talented team.

I’m back again for my root touch up next week, I think they should give me my own chair.

I can’t recommend this salon enough – they really are wonderful.

Oh, AND you get a Tunnocks teacake.  <3 <3 <3


  1. Wow, your victory rolls were perfect! The new do suits you wonderfully. I go passed The Chapel on the bus every day and always thought it looked a bit trendy, but it's good to know they understand the vintage look too. Superb post m'

  2. Wow your hair looks amazing. Love the victory rolls you had as well. I'm still trying to master that myself ;)

  3. Gorgeous, the salon looks fab too, and I love the pic of you in curlers! x