A few years ago, I went through a retro music phase. I listened exclusively to music from the “American Graffiti” era for months on end, falling deeper and deeper into the time jump until it was a total jolt to turn on the radio and hear Tinie Tempah’s “Frisky”: I had to ease myself back into listening to modern pop music as it was such a shock to the system. I decided that my Year 11 prom look would be early Sixties-inspired, and devoted myself to avidly researching the fashions of this era as much as possible (this would have been a lot easier if Pinterest had been in my life!). This is when I started wearing my now trademark winged eyeliner (literally a year or so before it fully came back into fashion!) and when I started longing for dresses and clothes fitted at the waist. However, there was one problem: I couldn’t do anything with my hair.
When I was in school, short bobbed hair was my thing. I was #teamshorthair so fervently that I would have had it tattooed on me if I had been so inclined. Everyone said it suited me, and I was proud at doing something slightly different and holding my own tiny protest at feminine beauty expectations. Here is what I looked like in 2012 (the last year I had short hair):
Fabulous, right? I certainly thought so. But then I got bored.
What do those two little stories have in common? I think it’s obvious. Fast-forward to 2015, and I have hair halfway down my back (and a twinge of guilt about supporting traditional beauty standards). I’ve moved on since my 16-year-old self’s vintage obsession, but the winged liner remains, as does the huge “Dreamboats and Petticoats” collection in my iTunes library. But as time moves on and you come to new people and pastures alike, it’s easy to forget your initial motivations for doing something, whether it’s as significant as reading for a degree or as trivial as growing out your hair. I certainly forgot my motivation, which was to be able to create a plethora of interesting and versatile hairstyles, and instead have been mainly rotating between loose hair, a ponytail, a bun, and pigtails since growing out my locks. This week, I realised how sad my younger self would have been to know that I now have all this hair and don’t really do anything with it, and so made my way over to my Pinterest board to remind me of what I was missing. Let’s have a butcher’s:
You’ll notice that I’ve only pulled out examples of one specific hairstyle, as I want to concentrate on that for now. I love the Sixties bouffant. I have a lot of very thick hair, which means people assume I have heaps of volume, but actually means root lift is very difficult to achieve and my hair often ends up lying flat on my head. Gentle teasing of the crown area seems like the perfect solution for those days when a burst of dry shampoo isn’t enough. But before I show you my experiments, I want to feature an actress who has recently become a TOTAL style icon for me. When I was 16, I wish I had been alerted to the sheer wonder of Sixties Bollywood: I started to feel disillusioned with the vintage look because nowhere could I find makeup tutorials for girls who looked like me, or hair tutorials for thick wavy Indian hair. I thought that this was just one of those things that, yet again, fair-skinned girls would always pull off far better than I ever could. I wish someone had shown me a picture of the ethereal, sublime Sharmila Tagore to prove that there were women who looked like me who absolutely ruled the decade.
These are just a small selection of the beautiful photos of her – hop over to my Pinterest board to see more pictures and videos featuring this stunner. Her bouffant and eye makeup (which she is said to have done herself) are simply iconic.
Bearing all that in mind, I took a little inspiration from the past for my hair and makeup on Friday. (I’m sorry about the phone pictures: until I move back to England and have my boyfriend as a stand-in photographer, nice quality selfies probably won’t be happening.)
For my hair, I took the crown section and lightly backcombed it, smoothing it out so it created natural volume as opposed to a Snooki bump, because all I was doing that day was having a Spanish lesson and doing food shopping, so I wanted something wearable as opposed to a costume-party look. I then took the front sections and tucked them under the rest of the hair, using grips to secure them behind my ears. Again, as I wasn’t doing anything special I opted against curling the ends of my hair, but that could look very pretty for a dressier occasion. It doesn’t look very dramatic in the photos – mainly because it was difficult to find the right angle to capture this properly – but it was pretty noticeable and different from my unstyled hair in terms of sheer volume. I feel much more confident when I know my hair isn’t sitting flatly on my head, so I’ll definitely be doing this again.
For my makeup, I went for a Twiggy-inspired look, with painted-on “lashes” on the bottom lid, white eyeshadow and a brown crease. To keep the look daytime-friendly and out of fancy-dress territory, I made the crease very slight and used a sheer, slightly shimmery shadow for the lid, rather than a chalky matte shade. I love using my NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk to line my waterline, really creating the illusion of bigger eyes. I can’t wait to have better quality photos so you can really appreciate the effect! I used my favourite NARS Sheer Glow foundation, and here is an outdoor selfie to show just how flawless the finish truly is (please forgive the face, I was expressing some kind of dismay in a message to my boyfriend):
I didn’t go for a Sharmila-inspired look, but if you fancy trying out her gorgeous eyeliner then here is an excellent video tutorial to help.
I really enjoyed taking inspiration from concrete sources to create an entire look, and will definitely be branching out into more adventurous territory in terms of hairstyles in the future. I’ve spared you all the horrendous in-between photos of when I had just started growing out my hair, but if you’re interested to hear about my (still ongoing) hair journey, then just let me know and we can all share in the embarrassment!
Do you have any style heroes on whom you’ve based looks? Let me know!