Vintage hairstyles are eternally popular for weddings, but a too-literal interpretation can leave a bride with a serious case of helmet head. So what's the key to borrowing from the past without looking stuck in it? Texture and movement. "The perfectly coiffed updo is outdated," says Dani Weidner, a stylist at Robert James Color in San Francisco. "Imperfect is best."
To balance contemporary trends with a retro influence, Weidner designed this '20s-inspired updo. A defined curl and thick roll give a nod to the past, but the overall look feels fresh and current. It's an ideal style for brides — and it's one you can do at home. To get the look, read on for pictures and step-by-step instructions.
Prep and dry
1. Apply a volumizing spray to the roots of the damp hair. (Weidner swears by Sebastian Volupte.) Next, apply mousse to the hair from midshaft to ends. Weidner prefers Sebastian Mousse Forte, using the same size as half of a golf ball. Blow-dry the hair.
2. Run a leave-in treatment such as Sebastian Potion 9 through the dry hair for manageability and shine. Brush the hair with a paddle brush.
Curl and secure
3. Drawing from the natural part, separate a two-inch square section of hair at the front of the head. Using a 1½-inch iron, curl the hair back. "Since we want volume, curl back, not forward," Weidner says. Secure the curl with a two-prong pin.
Separate and anchor
4. Divide the remainder of the hair into three sections: left, right, and back. Create a ponytail from the back section and secure it with elastic. This will be an anchor for the rolled hair.
5. Lightly mist the hair with Volupte spray, then grab a half-inch section of the hair from one side. Twist a flat iron halfway every half-inch down the hair; the idea is to create textured waves. "Think of the motion of driving a motorcycle," Weidner says. When you've finished one side, repeat on the other side. Finish with a misting of hair spray such as Wella Dynamic Fix.
6. Using a paddle brush, brush out the waves. If you like, you can tease the hair lightly for more texture.
Roll it up
7. Pull each side of the hair back to form a wave around the ponytail, then secure the hair with bobby pins. "There's no limit to the number of bobby pins you can use," Weidner says. Once this is done, hair should be flowing past the ponytail (as seen in the left picture above).
8. Now for the curl. Roll the hair in an upward motion, then secure it with bobby pins. Use hair spray for added hold.
9. Release the curl at the front of the hair, then lightly backcomb it. Run a small amount of Sebastian Craft Clay through the curl. ("It gives a little bit of 'stick' without weighing the hair down," Weidner says.) Pin the curl to the side of the hair.
10. Optional: finish the look by pinning netting to the top of the hair.