I spent my girlhood wearing holes in my Toughskins, not learning about hairdos, so I'm at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to making myself look fancy with curls and braids and those fluffy French-sounding hair roll things.
I once had my hair professionally worked into an updo for a wedding. I was more bobby-pin than hair when I left that shop. My simple-looking updo was actually a framework of pins strategically placed and a thick coating of hairspray to hold everything in place. I dripped hairpins all night and I still managed to pull another 84 out of my hair that night back at the hotel. My hair is straight and fine and by golly, that's how it wants to stay!
But you guys, Steamposium is coming up.
Seattle's big steampunk event, host to just oodles of people who've lost hold of the handbrake on elaborate Victorian-esque fashion, with frills and ribbons and tulle, feathers and sequins and spangles -- outfits carefully constructed for maximum visual impact. And the hairstyles! Heaped up curls and all those other hair words I don't know because I was a tomboy. It's impressive to see!
And I have my day outfit, and it includes a terrific hat (and you will see it in another post so I'm not going to talk about it here except for this once) so I don't have to worry about doing anything dramatic with my hair. Ponytail or bun at the back, hat on, done.
But at night, there's the Masquerade Ball. And I wouldn't usually attend because it's so not my thing, dancing. But I found this great dress (which will be another part of that future post so I'm not gonna tell you more about it, either, except for this one thing) for $15 at thrift, and one thing led to another and suddenly I have to make difficult choices about the top of my head.
Adding to the difficulty are my Personal Standards About Steampunk Outfits:
1. No useless gears and cogs
2. No corsets
3. No goggles
4. No fascinators (those wee little tophats or bits of fluff that end up on women's heads as decoration)
Why? Because everyone has those things. They are ubiquitous and typical and show a tremendous lack of imagination.
But because I shun miniature hats, and I lack basic hairstyle skills, my fine, straight hair runs a tremendous risk of ruining the elegant look of my evening attire.
What's all this leading to?
There were bunches on display at the thrift shop (Halloween is coming) and I suddenly realized I could just buy fancy hair. I could get any length I wanted, any style, any color..! So I looked at the wigs and quickly realized that they were crap.
Man am I fussy.
But seriously, they were like twenty dollars and sparse -- there was nothing to them! I knew if I got one, I'd be trailing bits of shed plastic hair and it would look wrong and not at all elegant like I want. Alas!
Then in one of the back bins I found an actual wig, a real one, like you'd buy in stylist shop and it was four dollars. And it was pink, but that didn't scare me.
I didn't get a picture beforehand (of course) but this picture I found online is excruciatingly close.
So I bought it and went home to see how it looked.
Who looks good in pale pink hair? Super pale waifs like the plastic lady in the picture, I guess -- but not me. I looked ... well, let's not linger. It just wasn't a good look on me. Pink, oof. But that's why there's hair dye, my friends! Except a quick internet search assured me that hair dye does not work on wigs (unless they are human hair, which this is not) so I'd have to find another way.
Know what I found? Alcohol ink. Scrapbookers apparently use it for ... something. It comes in brilliant shades, works fast, and stains like the dickens! And I found an online tutorial that showed how you could put it all in a ziploc bag and squish it up. So that looked nice and tidy and doable, and let's not lie -- fun.
I bought a three pack of colors from Ranger/Adirondack Inks because it's what I could find, and used the one called "Stream" which is a nice ocean-y looking blue (which is important, but you'll find out why later on). I put the whole dang bottle of it (half an ounce!) into a plastic bag with maybe a quarter cup of water, tossed in the pink wing, and got to squishing.
See how none of it is on my hands? See how my utility sink is still marbled grey and white? Yeah. That won't last.
In the tutorial, they advise leaving it for what, five or ten minutes? I let this thing stew for half an hour, squeezing and squashing it every few minutes to make sure everything was getting dye to it.
Results! The whole thing doesn't look terrible, and I don't mind the variations in tone, but I'd like the color overall to be more vivid. So tomorrow I'll go buy another bottle of ink and spray it on, full strength. Then I can style it and add the decoration -- which will be in that upcoming post I keep promising -- and if everything goes according to plan, I'll have a terrific hairdo for the ball!