What miracles a little hot water and fabric softener can do...
Doll hairstyling, to be honest, was never my strong point as a kid. I wasn't massively interested in brushing their hair for hours on end - far too many interesting adventures and games to play! So when it came to styling 'rescue’ Barbie hair and making it look well-cared for and beautiful again, I didn't rally know much about hair restoration. Looking at re-rooting pages made me wince, so I ignored those and concentrated on simply restoring and re-styling hair.
|The wig as seen from behind. Notice how it pulls back at the side|
As you can see from the reference pictures, Christine’s hair is quite something! The actual wigs used in the performances have to be restyled after every show, so it's a labor-intensive hairstyles. As you can see from these screen caps of the lovely Sierra Boggess from the 25th anniversary concert, some of these curls are already dropping in the second picture below!
|'Oops... where did my ringlets go?'|
It varies in productions across the world with subtle differences. Some wigs have a more pronounced styling at the back, some curls are more frizzy, others are smooth. But it’s nearly always gorgeous brown waist-length ringlets cascading down her back, with two pieces pulled back.
|Sarah Brightman and the original hair|
Perhaps my favourite version (for sheer silliness) is one Phantom fans have named the 'Mickey Mouse' do, where the hair at the top of the head almost becomes two 'mouse' ears
|The 'Mickey Mouse ' wig version|
Making the hairdo in miniature
My first actual problem was the curls themselves. I looked up tutorials online, and the one I found most useful for getting Christine's highly sculpted curls was this very useful guide on getting ringlets for ‘Masquerade’ Sindy’ here at http://www.mysindy.com/enter/. This gave me the right idea for achieving the look I wanted, and had a very helpful step by step guide! I took photos of my own process as I went along, just to remind myself of what I did:
I used warm (and later on, boiling) water, some basic fabric conditioner - a magical secret ingredient where styling and unsnarling doll hair is concerned! And some pipe-cleaners to do duty as curlers or perming rods, along with a doll brush for styling. I used the wonderful salon atmosphere of my kitchen sideboard for my 'styling area.' I also got my hands on some of these very useful little things - miniature rubber bands! I found these in Claire's Accessories. They're the tiny rubber bands called Fun Weevs that people use for making bracelets, but they're just the right size for doll bobbles and are very useful for styling. They come in several different colours as well as clear, and are nice and cheap at £1.99 a packet. These were a super find for styling concerns as I didn't expect to find these outside a specialist hair-shop.
Hairwash:First of all I gently washed my Belle's hair to get rid of the snarls and dropped curls.I didn't use fixative the first time round to make sure the curls stayed in place, and they dropped - much like Sierra's - when I was taking measurements and fittings for the costume. So I had to give her a thorough few dunkings in warm water to make sure I'd got the old styling residue out. On an average 'played with' doll, this would probably take less.You need to make sure it's well soaked., and to brush out the snarls.
The Sindy tutorial recommended using wig shampoo, but I didn't manage to find any (and this project is supposed to be 'Christine on a Budget', after all!) So I simply rinsed it well, using a little washing up liquid, and once I thoroughly rinsed it a few times, I used fabric softener as a conditioner.
Then comes the brushing. A lot of brushing. Even having more patience than I did as a child, I found this took easily over an hour to get out all the snarled hair the first time I styled Belle, simply from having been played with so much and then simply dropped back in a box. It was easier the second time. I found it easier to take it one section at a time and comb out any knots or tangles.
I then cut up my pipe cleaners into usable 'perming rods' - about 2.5 inches, and then began to wind the sections of hair around them, section by section.Eventually, my end result once all the sections were done was the supremely inelegant 'argh, stripy worms are attacking my head!' look with all curlers firmly wrapped in Belle's hair.
|'This hairdresser is not getting a tip!'|
|You're right Buzz - I haven't!|
|Before - ringlets everywhere, lots of fluffy bits!|
All in all, this was a definite success!