I am always on a quest to achieve bigger, better 18th century hair styles. Some hairstyles are super complicated, like the poufs of the 1770s. Some appear to be more simple, like the hedgehogs of the 1780s and 90s. What I’ve learned over the past several years of doing this, though…?
None of it is “simple.”
Take the hedgehog, for instance. It *looks* like just a big frizzy fro-poof-madness on your head, with a long tail down the back…but upon taking a closer look at period portraits, fashion plates, and particularly well-done movie renditions (hello, “The Duchess”), there are all sorts of other things going on. Here are my notes…
Some things to keep in mind about The Hedgehog:
- It is wider than it is tall
- The fro-poof curls come down around the ears, or cover the ears
- Longer, thicker curls or rolls accompany the sides, below the ears. Sometimes these are sausage curls, sometimes they are the more sculpted rolls, hanging down the neck.
- Very often there is an extremely long cadogan loop or ponytail down the back – sometimes curled, but very often straight.
I had an old wig I turned into a hedgehog some years ago, but have never really been happy with. I decided to give it a makeover, so I used a hair straightener to relax the too-tight curls I had gathered into a ponytail at the back. I then separated the now mullet-like, limp, fuzzy hair into three sections – back, left side, and right side – tying the back off in a ponytail, and creating two large loops on each side. The back ponytail is far too short for what I want, but luckily it’s easy to add super-long, super-cheap braid hair, just sewn to the base at the back, to create the long, puffy ponytail so popular in the late 1780s.
Here is my quick throw-together from this morning, to show the re-styled wig. To style this correctly, I would curl the front of my hair tightly, then tease it and blend it into the curls of the wig. Because my hair and my wig are obviously two different colors, I would then powder the whole thing (either with corn starch, or a spray-on white/silver hair coloring), to blend it all in as one.
For more hair inspiration, and 18th century everything, check out my 18th century costume Pinterest board.