The Hair-Raising Experiment

Yo waddup, my peasants? It’s ur gurl feeling like a zombie after two days of hardcore extroverting.

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It’s mid busy season for me which means I am bombarded with concert after concert– and I love it tbh. I get to dress up and be pretty, sing, make people laugh, and teach history all in the span of a few hours. The all day concerts are pretty much a marathon of singing and hardcore extroverting to get people as excited about history as I am and–thankfully– my enthusiasm is contagious which means my goal is accomplished.

Because of the sheer amount of shows I have to do, it makes absolutely no sense for me to take my hairdresses down every night only to wake up at nope thirty to do it all over again. It’s wasteful and I’m running low on hair powder so I can’t afford to repowder my hair twice in a weekend– not to mention I was doing someone else’s hair for one of the shows– so for the sake of economics, I did a little bit of experimental archaeology this weekend. I kept my high roll in all weekend. Now, it’s not the first time I’ve ever slept in my high roll, and it won’t be the last, but this was the first time I had slept in it twice and it was the longest time I kept in a single hairstyle. It gave me some inspiration to do some more research into American and British women sleeping in their ‘dos because I know they’re not gonna get up at the crack of dawn to do their hair every day!

So I begun my hair-raising adventure on Friday when I powdered my hair as I normally would to do a show, but I was in my regular clothes, so it did look super weird. I feel like Marie Antoinette would have totally rocked this style today with winged eyeliner, flannel shirts, and black leggings.

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button down shirts were a must this weekend for obvious reasons!

I then went up to north Jersey with Erik for the weekend ready to ba-roque and roll. As per usual, I wrapped my hair in saran wrap to preserve the style… And looked like an alien… Not a pretty look, but it works! All I have to do is tuck a few flyaways up with some pomatum, do the curls, and add pieces then I’m ready to rock! What I didn’t realize is how itchy wearing a horse hair covered high roll in my head for three days straight would be… It made me want one of those wig-scratchers from the 18th century something awful!

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British Museum 1770. The PERFECT stocking stuffer for your historically-haired friends

Going through with sleeping in the high roll for three days made me realize a few things about the time period as well as some misconceptions; while fleas were totally a thing that happened, a lot of the itching probably came from the material that the high rolls were made from. The materials could be itchy; wool, horse hair, and tow aren’t the most head-friendly materials in the whole world and I’m not sure how the silk covered ones work, tbh. Women were probably scratching the high rolls as opposed to the lice and fleas with this handy-dandy little device. I had to use a chopstick and it worked.

It was no secret that women kept this hairstyle in for at least a week, maybe longer than that, so they would often wear some sort of large cap to bed. The journal of Mary Frampton recalls her sister wearing massive hair cushions in 1780 and the things she dealt with in order to remain fashionable,

My sister, Phillis Wollaston, now between sixteen and seventeen, was beginning to be produced a little in the world. At the time everybody wore powder and pomatum; a large triangular thing called a cushion, to which the hair was frizzed up with three or four enormous curls on each side; the higher pyramid of hair, gauze, feathers, and other ornaments was carried the more fashionable it was thought, and such was the labor employed to rear the fabric that night-caps were made in proportion to it and covered the hair, immensely long black pins, double and single, powder, pomatum, and all ready for the next day. I think I remember hearing that twenty-four large pins were by no means an unusual number to go to bed with on your head.

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One of these days, maybe next year, I’ll make myself a night cap so I won’t look like an alien when I sleep in the high roll! Maybe not in green like this print, but I’ll make a hella cute frilly one.

Day two of the high roll experiment entailed going to the Dey Mansion for their Dutch Christmas celebration to bring in some historic holiday cheer.

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Photo from the Dey Mansion

I wore my obnoxious pink levite gown because I haven’t worn it in a hot minute and I love how obnoxious it is! I wrote a blog post about its construction last year and if you want to read some of the research behind it, you can check it out here! It’s a light silk and it’s hand dyed, which is super cool! I took a little bit of inspiration with the neckerchief from a few levite fashion prints from Galerie des Modes and it totally pulls the look together!

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I also got to live out my dream of my portrait hanging in a museum  WHILE I’M STILL ALIVE! I had a portrait done of me and I finally got to collect it (thanks mom!) and the staff got a kick out of it so they hung it next to some of their original portraits, which was hilarious! The guests had to do a few double takes when seeing it then seeing me! I got to be Carlotta Guidacelli for the day and truly embrace being the prima donna that I am.

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For those of you curious, the artist is the lovely Tina Ishihara. I cannot thank her enough for capturing my resting bitch face/side eye to be immortalized forever!

As usual, the Dey Mansion’s halls were decked to the nines; they truly outdid themselves this year.

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I got a good candid shot of the bae

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#baewatch

All in all, day 2 of the Hair Raising Experiment was a success, the hair was still powdered, the roll was still in, and I still looked majestic! On to day 3!!

After getting a full forty minutes of sleep, it was off to East Jersey Olde Towne where I was scheduled to do a hair demonstration. The stellar Lily from Albino Shadow Fire Cosplay volunteered to be my guinea pig through the power of peer pressure. She was low-key apprehensive about it, as anyone is– I know I was hesitant to try it at first– but she took the plunge and wound up looking like a rockstar.

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Her hair was an absolute treat to work with because it was thicker than mine which means I got to do more to it! She made a beautiful Italian gown that shimmered in the light.

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Photo by Cathy Dennis
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Photo by Cathy Dennis… Andrea, you’re NEXT!

With her newfound height, Lily had a few struggles, but they were truly real struggles..

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While the guys were drilling (in the cold) we trolled about and took some photos! She had this gown done in June but didn’t get to wear it until now, so she needed those pics!

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Closeup of the hair!
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What a queen!

Naturally I needed a few photos #fortheblog because I need to document the nonsense I put myself through on a weekly basis.

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“Bar-keep? I’ll have a glass of something pink and sparkling, please”

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Also, we were chased by Slenderman’s ancestor!

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the Hearts of Oak did a terrific job drilling and patrolling the little “town”, though I didn’t stay out too long to see it for myself. I did get a future album cover shot of them, though!

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The day had gone far too quickly, it felt like the blink of an eye! But… I WAS FREE! I was free to take the high roll down and scratch my poor little scalp!!

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That freedom was a sweet, sweet freedom!

Well, I’m off to now do some serious introverting and get some rest. I’ve got a ton more concerts to do and more things to sew. Love you guys and I’ll post again soon!

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2 Comments

  1. I love hearing about your experimental archeology, especially when related to hair care! When I have to wear later ’80s hair multiple days in a row, I remove the cushioning and re-roll my hair for the night, then put it up the next day while it’s still pomatum’d and powdered, but I don’t know how accurate that is.

    Liked by 1 person

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