One of the questions I get most often at special events is "did you do your own hair?" It gives me great pleasure to say - yes! Up-dos have always come naturally to me, very rarely do I have a hair sylist do my hair for an event that requires an up-do! I started styling my own special occasion 'dos in high school and have slowly perfected my routine while doing my hair for shows. You can see some of my party styles above.
There's no need to be afraid of styling your own updos for low key special events like charity galas, friend's weddings, black tie/cocktail parties, etc. (Please though, leave the high stress events like your own wedding, your best friend's wedding, or if you're receiving an award or honor, to a professional). I've come up with 10 tips to up-do perfection! Follow these, and you'll be styling your own hair in no time!
1. Be Dirty - dirty hair is the key for up-dos. Freshly washed hair gets slick and hard to manage. Dirty hair helps secure bobbi-pins. Don't worry if your hair is a few days dirty and has old product in it, it all helps! I usually like to style my hair for updos two days after I've washed it.
2. Don't be afraid of bobbi-pins. Bobbi-pins are your friends and you're going to need TONS of them. I use at least 20 when I rock out a pinned back curled style. As long as you hide them, no one will know. Make sure to purchase ones that are the same color or slightly darker than your hair. No gold bobbi-pins on brunettes!
3. Use a curling gel/mousse. If you want a curled look, use a gel or mousse that helps your hair curl. You can also wash your hair (a few days before, see #1) with a curling shampoo like Curly Sexy Hair.
4. Only blow dry what you have to. To avoid extra frizzies, don't blow dry what you don't have to. I always style the front of my hair when it is wet. It takes product really well, and is easy to manipulate. Wet hair is also more forgiving if you should make a mistake. Style what you can, then blow dry the rest, ie - what you want to curl.
5. Get a hand held mirror. You'll want to make sure you can see the back of your head when you're pinning and swooping hair into place. Get a small mirror that you can see the back view in. Face away from the large mirror and then find your reflection in the small mirror in your hand. you'll be able to see all angles of your hairstyle.
6. Don't rush. Give yourself plenty of time to style your hair. You don't want to be rushed at the last minute. I give myself an hour to style my hair for special occasions. It's better to be done up early, then getting frustrated that you're running out of time.
7. Call a pro for high stress events. Please, please don't try to do your own hair for the first time ever on the day of your wedding. Call a professional for events where they'll be extra stress or when your hair is extra important to you.
8. Find Inspiration. If you're not sure what to do, look at photos of celebs, royals, or vintage ads for inspiration. The 20s, 30s and 40s were a great time for hair. Look at photos and then try to recreate them. It's okay if it's not an exact replica, your interpretation is sure to be just as stunning.
9. Accessorize. Never under estimate the power of a chic hatlet, fascinator, or flower. Even little crystal or floral/feather hair clips can elevate a hairstyle from ordinary to extra special. Just make sure you design your 'do around the piece you want to wear. If you're wearing a tiny hat, make sure your curls cluster on the opposite side.
10. Overdose on hairspray. Once you've finished your look use lots of hairspray. Apply crazy liberally all over! This is one time it's okay if your hair gets a little crunchy. You want to make sure it stays in place so everyone can admire your work.
Most of all - relax and get styling!