Review: Vintage Hairstyling

Dear Constant Reader,

Here’s your daily reminder to nominate The Boston Babydolls for Best Burlesque. You can vote once per day per email/IP address. Thank you.

I’ve run out of burlesque books to review, so I’m trying non-burlesque, but related books for a bit.

Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step-by-Step Techniques, 2nd Edition by Lauren Rennells (2009).

I bought the first edition of Vintage Hairstyling when it first came out and was quite happy with it. When the author asked for feedback for a second edition, I jumped at the chance, especially since she was offering a copy of the new version as thanks.

The first edition was the best book on retro styles around, head and shoulders above the once-much-sought-after Daniela Turudich book. Lauren Rennells shows how to create hairstyles using modern equipment like curling irons and velcro rollers. Even a hair dunce like myself was able to produce some great looks. With clear and beautiful photographs she demonstrates the styling basics, like finger waves, victory rolls, and pin curls before turning you loose on a vast array on styles, growing ever more challenging as you move deeper into the book. As an added bonus there is a section on finishing touches, like hair ornaments, makeup, and nails.

The second edition has even more details on the basics. I notice she added steam rollers and soft rollers to the arsenal of equipment. She has extended her time period and included some ’50’s and even ’60’s hairdos (with the popularity of Mad Men how could one not). I was particularly pleased to see that the hairdo staple, the French Twist, was taught as a stand-alone ‘do before being used as the basis of other styles, like “Beehive” and “Golightly”.

Some of the styles from the first edition have been rewritten. “Film Noir”, a style I liked, but hadn’t tried because it involved numerous wet-set pincurls, has been redone using velcro and soft rollers. She did edit out a couple of hairstyles, like “Casino Owner’s Wife”, from the first edition, so that volume will be staying on my bookshelf. She has introduced some new techniques, like working with fake hair and making marcel waves, and has expanded the “extra” information.

I do have one gripe with this book. It’s has a very attractive design and a lot of lovely photographs, illustrating each technique or style step-by-step, as promised. But it’s a poor workbook. It doesn’t lie flat while one is styling one’s hair. The perfect binding makes it look like a “real” book, but sometimes I wish it was spiral bound, so I could have it open on my vanity while my hands are busy with curling paraphernalia and pins.


Published in: on 6 February 2013 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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