Art of Finger Waving — Recreating Vintage 1920s and 1930s Hairstyles
(c) 2007 by Bramcost Publications
There are few techniques in the world of vintage fashion that inspire such confusion as finger waving. The go-to hair setting technique of the 1920s, finger waving, sometimes called water waving, seems to be a lost art. Though cosmotology students are taught the art of finger waving these days, it is not an often used or requested style in the salon, and the practice slips away into obscurity.
However, there are those of us who obsess on vintage fashion, and *need* to learn how to do these things, and so for us we have books as resources, like Art of Finger Waving. This is a re-publication of a textbook from the 1920s, complete with handy pictures, and fancy, archaic descriptions.
Art of Finger Waving contains quite a lot of information to not only explain how to create finger waves, but illustrate with drawn diagrams and photos. Part One covers preparation, curling fluids (like Lottabody), and the most important part of the book, the basic technique of creating waves.
Unlike other sources, this book makes no bones about how to do the waves, and also how hard finger waving is. It instructs you to practice, practice, practice, and makes note that really swell wave sets are (were) done by professionals in salons. Don’t be discouraged, though – practice the basic wave technique illustrated, and you will be amazed with the results. Never have I found a book so exact in teaching how to finger wave – it pays to go to the original source!
Part Three of Art of Finger Waving covers twelve different hairstyles with cute names – The Varsity Bob, The Billie Dove Bob, The Whoopee Bob – with instructions on not only how to set them, but what face shape they will best suit. Each hair style has photos showing the steps to create the style.
|The waves in the front of my hair here were created with the wave technique in this book. I haven’t had much practice, and with a better setting lotion, like LottaBody, these waves would hold their shape better after combing out.|
For as small as Art of Finger Waving is, it’s rather daunting. It is quite descriptive, in a formal manner of writing we are not used to these days. The descriptions can seem confusing, but I suggest going through the “lesson” while working on your or your friend’s hair, kindof like following sewing pattern directions as you are sewing the dress. It will make a lot more sense if you have a head there to practice on.
This book will take some de-coding and must be taken as a primary source from the 1920s. It does not have recommendations for specific curl-setting fluids, or types of combs, so you have to think like a ninety-year-old hairdresser, and use your best judgement when selecting tools at the beauty supply – some items are obvious, like a rat-tailed comb, a spray bottle, and a curl setting lotion, but you may find you like a wider-toothed comb better, and fancy using clips of various types.
This is a great little book for vintage lovers who want to get in to styling their own hair with period techniques. Finger waving with water is difficult, but this book illustrates the technique clearly, and with practice, you will learn to create correct waves just like were worn in the 1920s. I highly recommend this little manual! It is available through Amazon for about $17: