View Full Version : How to protect hair onstage

March 12th, 2009, 01:53 PM
I'm in the opera program at my school, and I'm in the chorus of an upcoming production. I know that this usually entails curling my hair before getting into costume, to give it volume, and then styling it however the period demands (ex. high volume and ringlets with lots of pins and hairspray for La Boheme and Les Contes d'Hoffman). I'm worried both about the amount of hairspray I'll have to use, and also whether or not steam rollers are overly damaging to hair. It's just not feasible for me to rag curl my hair for the entire tech week/show, way too much work and time.

Any suggestions of how to attempt to protect my hair?

March 12th, 2009, 02:00 PM
Maybe you could talk to whoever's in charge of costume/makeup about using a wig or fall?

March 12th, 2009, 02:04 PM
As a mere chorister, the chance of getting a wig is pretty low, unless I don't have enough hair on my own for what they want. I've had pieces added to my hair before, but the surrounding hair usually needs a ton of spray to stay through the show.

March 12th, 2009, 04:43 PM
How unfair that if you chose to have short hair they'll give you some, but if you chose to have long hair they want you to risk damaging it.

If you absolutely can't avoid using those styling methods, it is *only* a week, so while it may be a terrible week for it it's not long term. Maybe just get loads of nice treatments ready for when it's over and baby it.

Pins should be fine, and maybe for extra volume use rats or some fake hair, rather than backcombing your own hair.

March 12th, 2009, 07:21 PM
I'm with enfys -- if you baby your hair and give it good treatments, you should come through this OK. No backcombing!

I suspect with the hairspray, you'll do better if you can wash it out each night. Probably best to just remove the pins, step into the shower, wet it, dump dilute shampoo all over, and try to wash the spray out, rather than trying to comb it and potentially damaging the hairs where you tear them away from the spray droplets. You can detangle full of conditioner afterward. (Wish I could say anything about steam rollers. My initial inclination is to say that anything hot is potentially damaging, but I don't have any experience with them.)

It might be worth picking up a wig or two on your own that can be used for this sort of thing. You could style that (or have it styled) and plunk it on your head without fears of damaging your hair.

March 12th, 2009, 10:45 PM
1. My hair is very coarse, so I don't find hairspray itself to be damaging. (That may not be the case for you since I see you have F/M hair. ) It's the tangles it causes when I sleep on loose hair with hairspray in it that are a problem. If you can manage to preserve the style by wrapping it in a scarf, perhaps your hair won't have to be styled every day.

2. Around where I live, you can get a decent synthetic wig at the Black hair and beauty stores for about $30, if you have the cash to spare. A drawstring ponytail might work too, if it's put on the right way, you shouldn't need (much, if any) hairspray to hold it in. And as long as you get a really long one, you should have enough hair to pin on your head to make those tall hairstyles. Get a pre-curled synthetic (cheaper) or a natural hair one (can be heat styled).

3. Steam rollers are not too bad... way way gentler than a curling iron. This is one case though, where I'd put some kind of heat protectent in my hair.... maybe coconut oil? that would make the steam set a little more like a mini-treatment, plus slightly greasy hair does hold styles better. Worse to worse, I'd put in some silicone spray.

4. Something like this for volume instead of back-combing? http://www.bighappiehair.com/instructions.html I've also seen ones at Ulta that are little foam bumps covered with hair and attached to bobby pins. You could also use a foam roller.

March 13th, 2009, 01:54 PM
Thank you so much for the responses! Hopefully the hairstyles for the upcoming show won't be too intense (takes place in a small town circa 1920) but I like all of your ideas for volume without backcombing. Maybe even if I put hairspray on it and then poofed it out with my fingers... I also wash my scalp daily (either with diluted shampoo or conditioner, depending) so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for me to wash the hairspray out nightly.

I'm also happy to know that steam rollers are ok! I think I've got some heat protectant around somewhere...