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Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Carl Brown - Classic Hollywood Wig Class


(Wig styled for the beautiful Abbie Fenn)
If you have followed my blog or social media, you may know that three years ago I went back to college to study hairdressing. I have completed my level 2 and 3 and now moved on to media makeup. I'd always had an interest in hair and makeup, I grew up wanting to create the beauty I saw in my favourite old Hollywood films and to recreate the feelings they gave me. However it wasn't until you lovely lot started asking me more about doing yours, that I thought maybe I can do this, I went back to college and I've loved every moment of it. Another part i'd always wanted to learn was wig styling. Being a fan of Carls work and having previously done a class with him, I jumped at the chance to join his Classic Hollywood Wig Class.

Carl Brown is a Liverpool based hair stylist specialising in vintage hair, wig styling and education. Carl has worked with many big brands such as Revlon, GHD, L'oreal and London Fashion Week. He started his first hair salon in 2014, but has recently set up with his partner 'It's The Hair Studio' offering creative and classic cuts to all genders.

Vintage and Wig Styling is a large passion for Carls as well as sharing his knowledge in his educational classes which he offers online and in person. He teaches hairdressing skills and wig styling to other hairdressers, performers and vintage hair lovers.

The Classic Hollywood Wig Class, took place every Sunday for 4 weeks. Each class was two, one hour live videos, with a short break in between, in total 8 hours over the 4 weeks. It explored the iconic styles of the 1940's and 1950's, inspired by Hollywood stars of the time.
Week one started with an introduction to tools, products and techniques. We were taught how to properly block our wigs (ensure its sitting properly on the polystyrene head for styling) and how to set our first wig for the style we would create in week two. As the next three weeks we would be setting our wigs before class, this and a handbook written by Carl would guide us in preparation for making the most of our time. Carl also regularly did live videos on instagram where anyone could ask questions and would post videos on the WigClass instagram (Made for those taking the course) showing the set for the next week.

With the live Instagram classes, they are all interactive so you can ask questions as you go along and you could either watch and then style later, or follow along as the class was happening. If you can't watch live, a rewatched link is sent out after and is available for seven days.


On week two we created a style inspired by the iconic Marilyn Monroe. As we had already blocked, cut, set and steamed our wig in the previous class we were now shown the precess of dressing out. Carl showed us the best way to brush out and manage the hair, backcomb in the areas that needed more volume, smooth out the areas to create the shape we are looking for and to define the curls, though we had a choose to leave them for fluffy.

Lastly we took out the front section and learnt how to create the swoop and to set it in place. We learnt techniques to smooth out the roller marks and to set the hair spray, making sure the height created was set and had a very strong hold. Once we were happy with the shape, we set the whole looking and learnt how to use each product and tool effectively to smooth and trim away anyway flyaways and maintain the style for as long as possible.

On week three, our second look was a longer look inspired by the gorgeous Diana Dors, It is a longer bombshell style that meant we started off with a longer wig and trimmed it into the right shape before setting.

The roller set was a little different at the front from the previous week, but we were guided through it with our handbooks and a video before our class. The rest of the setting process was the same, and after steaming it was left to set ready for our live class.

In class we were again given a step by step walk through of how to dress out the set. We look down the curlers in sections, making sure to brush through each part properly. We again left the front section and added backcombing throughout the rest of the wig to create the desired volume. After the top layer was smoothed back and clipped at the first wave to ensure a smooth crown.

For this style we learn a new technique of adding shape with a custom cut. This was done at the sides of the wig and creates layering through the wig which allows the curls to be more defined and add move volume. This allows us to create the shape around the face and create the perfect 50's silhouette.

To finish we take down the front section, comb through and cut to shorten the bangs to frame the face. We backcomb through the section and create the shape by using a similar technique to the previous week, but with more height. We then smooth over and set the hair spray, using the product and techniques we had learnt to remove the roller marks and create a strong hold. This is a fun style and goes well with hair accessories and flowers.

Week four was a 1940's updo inspired by the fabulous Mae West. We blocked the wig and then cut the wig in a U shape but kept most of the length. Again this was done before class, following our handbooks. The set was a little different this week, we took three sections of hair at the front and braided them to keep them out the way. The set at the back was the same, but using all larger rollers this time. The two front sections at the sides, were divided into two and rolled only to mid length. The front center, was rolled toward the face using smaller rollers. Once set it was steamed ready for class.

This was definitely a trickier style to create, but again Carl made sure to show us each step, how to release the curls, add backcombing, smooth everything and gather the hair ready for styling. Once the base was created, the pin curls took time to prep, place and secure, but we followed the curl pattern and were shown the best way to use our products. Carl also showed us how to use sectioning clips to help shape the hair before pinning. There are many ways this look could of gone, but like most things creative it was down to artistic license and making it your own.

At the front of the wig, we released the side section and brushed everything through, we added some backcombing and smoothed over ready to create a a victory roll shape, this was repeated on the next side. The loose bits were moulded into curls to sit at the front. The middle section was the last to be released and was cut and pinned to create an arrangement of swirls and curls on the top section. The previously learnt technique was used to create the height at the front bottom section and to set the hairspray with a strong hold. This could then be turned into waves or more curls.
I have absolutely loved this course and it has made my love for wig styling turn into an addiction. The course is suitable for advanced and complete beginner wig stylists, each look is worked through step by step and Carl always takes time to make sure you understand the process of each set and look. He ensures that you concentrate on the methods and techniques and gives you the understand to carry on after the course has finished. I highly recommend signing up, if you are interested in becoming a stylist or just love vintage hair. Carl is a great teacher, being dyslexic I often worry I will not be able to learn the way others do, but he takes the time, explains visually and no questions are too much to ask him.

Thank you for reading, I have already signed up to Carls Next Wig Class - Drag 101, why not give him a message if you could like to learn more. You can find carl over on his Website, Facebook and Instagram.
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