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Gibson Girl Hairstyle

For those who are interested in doing the big hair for your giant head eating hat. I bring the Gibson Girl hairstyle by AWS: Avonlea Hairstyle, or more accurately how to fake a Gibson Girl hairstyle. 


Create a Hair Rat

A piece of stocking
Crepe wool (Which can be purchased at costume shops or theatrical supply companies)
Needle and thread, pins

Step 1. Cut the stocking to the needed length.
Step 2. Unravel crepe wool, bunching it into need shape.
Step 3. Place along the center of your stocking, leaving ends empty.
Step 4. Fold the stocking around the wool in a sausage shape.
Step 5. Stich the fold and ends.


A tail comb
A brush
Metal Clips

Step 1: Comb the front section up from your head (so that it is stretched) and hold tightly between 2 fingers.
Step 2: Starting behind the hair at the roots, combing in little strokes, with the teeth pointing forward, work up towards the ends. This should force some of the hair back down.
If done right, that section of hair will stand up on its own.
Step 3: Put that section forward and take another one behind it.
Step 4: Repeat until reached the back.
Step 5: Do sides of your head, starting at your ears.
Step 6: Lightly brush top hair into your desired shape.

To Brush Backcombing Out:
Hold your roots flat against your head with your other hand. This prevents pulling your hair. 

Create the Hair Do

2 rats (Slightly shorter than the distance between your ears, back and front)
a comb and tail brush
Short and long hairpins, bobby pins
One covered elastic band

You may wish to backcomb all your hair before you begin.

Step 1: Brush the front section over your face and clip out of your way.
Step 2: Brush the rest of your hair down, pinning a rat across it in a curved shape, using bobby pins at the ends, placing them behind your ears.
Step 3: Loosen the hair in front of your face, making sure it is smooth.
Step 4: Pin another rat across the top of your head, the same as before, so that it is a mirror image to the first one.
Step 5: Check yourself in a mirror and make sure that niether is too far forward or back.
Step 6: In one hand, gather all the hair and smooth it over the rats, catching the end with an elastic band.
Alternatively, if your have shorter hair you may wish to do the two sections seperately. Use the hairspray on the first one, then do the second.
If your hair is pulled to tightly, it may squish the rats. If this happens, you can loosen it with the tail of your comb.
Step 7: Shape the ends of your hair and pin. Use hairspray to secure the entire do. 

Sources used by the website:
"Hair & Wigs for the Stage: Step-by-Step", by Rosemarie Swinfield
"Hair ~ A book of Braiding and Styles", by Anne Akers Johnson

Hair Rat can also be gotten from a beauty supplie place like here
A video tut on backcombing
Pictoral tut using a modern hair rat as requested by jaborwhalky . Link fixed.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 30th, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
this needs photos as I am so lost.
May. 30th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
May. 30th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
a quick tut i did a couple years back
and an alt if you leave a ponytail in the middle to make another bump
May. 30th, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)
Er...two of those links are to the backcombing video.
May. 30th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
two i've done:
picture tutorial-
if you leave a ponytail in the middle and do it twice-
May. 30th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
I'm working on something similar for an 1890's show I'm doing in August. I was fairly impressed with the results I got my first time out, without any practice, and with stick-strasight hair that defies most attempt to style it. I can highly recommend this method.


May. 31st, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
I actually get my own hair from my brush yes it takes like 2 weeks to get enough hair for a rat... Have been growing hair for true victorian hair for 3 yrs now.

Also look into Geisha hair setting as the geisha style was not what we know it until Gibson. Western influence also made the Obi resemble the bustle. Check out the books by Stanford University cultural anthropologist, Dr. Liza Dalby. Or if your in the area you really should hear her speak. She came to St Louis a few years back and I sat through the lecture twice, sick, just to gleam her wisdom.

I am not fond of the roll look as it was not gibson. It is more how the more practical women interpreted the pictures of the gibson for their needs... but it does not lift the top of the hair high enough to catch on the hatpins needed to keep the monstrosities called hats I love on the head. Mine are also not always top, bowler or edwardian hats... the one for my icon is a felt bobby hat.
Jun. 1st, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
Is this close to how the women of the time actually did their hair when they were trying to emulate the Gibson hair, or is this a modern interpretation? I have thick hair down to my waist, and I've been interested in seeing how Victorian women did their hair. Whether they used rats or not. How they got the poof and the hight. How they made it all stay the heck up without hairspray!
Jun. 1st, 2009 07:57 am (UTC)
From what I gleamed. They do use hair rats, but the rats are made their own hair and tied into old stockings or nets. Otherwise, that's how they used to do it.
Feb. 8th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
i LOVE your icon.... :D
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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