BIG HAIR! The Tutorial
Every time I post a photo of my younger self with enormous gothy hair, I get a flurry of questions about HOW. How can someone achieve immense hair? Hair big enough to obscure someone’s face in photos, hair big enough that if you unwisely fall asleep in class, someone will hide pencils in your hair and ask you if you can find them. (The answer, for the record, is no. Not until I washed my hair out. On the plus side, I had three extra pencils.)
So here, my Snarklings. How your Auntie Jilli did her hair, 1986 – 1997(ish):
IMPLEMENTS NEEDED: A fine-tooth comb, a hair pick, and extra-super-hold aerosol hairspray. Yes, aerosol. I know, I know, horrible for the environment, hole in the ozone layer. But pump hairspray doesn’t provide as even of a mist, which is needed to build up the layers of hold.
A word about hairspray: NOTHING made today comes close to the magnificence that was the original AquaNet Extra-Super-Hold Unscented. I am still angry that the formula changed, and I will always be angry. Nowadays, when I do Big Hair, I use the Big Sexy Hair aerosol Spray and Play Harder. Ridiculous name, but it gets the job done.
- Start with dry hair that hasn’t been washed for a few days.
If your hair IS freshly washed and dried, gently spray ALL of your hair with a
texturizing spray or a light coat of hairspray.
- Sit down, flip your head upside-down, and grab a section of
hair. Hold the hair with one hand, and take the comb and start backcombing it
as if your life depended on it. (Backcombing is exactly what it sounds like:
combing the hair in the opposite direction, causing a teased clump near the
- Do this until all of your hair is teased. Head upside-down, upright,
whichever position is easiest for you to get everything backcombed. You should
have a bunch of teased clumps of hair with longer tendrils coming out of them.
- Spray a fine coat of hairspray over all your hair. Let that
dry for a minute or so, then start spraying the individual teased clumps.
If you miss a few at the back of your head, don’t worry; the other sections
will work as a scaffold for it.
- Alternating between the fine-tooth comb and the hair pick,
start combing/teasing/fluffing together the sections of hair to form the shape
you want from your big hair. (If you are going for the classic Robert Smith
electrified cotton ball, just fluff it all together.) As you get a section molded
into the shape you want, hit it with another coat of hairspray.
- Once you’ve got the enormous style you want, add another
layer of hairspray, and do one last check with the hair pick to make sure the
tendrils are fluffed to your liking.
- Now lacquer the bejezus out of your hair with the hairspray.
Hold your breath, spray your entire head, then wait a minute. THEN REPEAT. For
your magnificent thicket of hair to stay up, you should apply at least 4 coats of
hairspray during this final step.
TA-DA! Hair to make Siouxsie, Robert Smith, and Patricia Morrison proud of you. Go forth! Don’t get tangled in low-hanging tree branches! Don’t set your hair on fire by leaning too close to candles!