Adventures in Hair Part 1

Lately I’ve been spending time with some very glamourous company: the lovely ladies from the Lindy Charm School for Girls, and the inspirational Ms Candice DeVille.

Now, I’ve always been a big fan of glamour – we can all benefit from that bit of oomph that a flattering dress or a nice shade of lipstick can give us, but my hair and make up was letting me down. I had this crazy idea that all my hair needed was a good cut, colour and the right product to make it look good – cut and colour was easy, a good stylist took care of that, but the product side just wasn’t working for me.

After years of trying, all I got was a cupboard full of expensive formulations and my hair, well, this is what my hair looked like (I’m almost ashamed to show you this photo that appeared on Candice’s blog in June:

Photo courtesy Super Kawaii Mama

It’s a bit like “one of these is not like the other” isn’t it? Candice and Miss Carly look fabulous and I, well, I’m letting the side down. I’m sure it was a source of frustration to my glamourous companions but I can tell you that photo is the last time I’ve gone out in public without styled hair because, oh yes, I’ve seen the light!

The following night we were all going out for my birthday and so Miss Chrissy of the Lindy Charm School treated me to hair and make up – the result was spectacular! I felt wonderful, got lots of compliments and it made turning 45 all so much easier.

…but the look was a bit too strong for every day and so each morning I would experiment, looking for something simpler, less structured and most importantly, took less time. Here’s a shot taken a couple of days after Miss Chrissy did her stuff – it’s softer but only took a few minutes to brush the curls and pin up. No longer the ugly duckling!

I found to my delight that the 1940s styles suit my face – and I really like that they don’t need a lot of work. Initially a bit more effort is needed, as I set my hair in hot rollers using setting lotion (which takes all the frizz out and gives me big sleek curls), then allow to cool, brush out the curls and pin up into place. I roll the curls around my finger to get a good shape – the curl dictates what I do with it. Once it’s in place, I might apply a little Brylcreen (yes, Brylcreem!) to smooth the loose ends and flyaways, and finally a good spray of old fashioned hair spray.

That’s it! My hair is set for the day and no more work is needed – and the following morning it only takes five minutes to get it back into style. The other thing that I love is that I used to wash my hair almost every day because after I had slept on it, it had lost it’s shape and needed re-doing. Now I can get a week out of my hair. Unbelievable: that extra time doing it at the start of the week certainly pays dividends.

So I was converted – and then went to the Lindy Charm school when they were last in town. Miss Chrissy asked me to be model, and she and Miss Kim styled me ala Andrews Sisters – the back was done with a few hot sticks and the front was just setting lotion, no styling tools at all except for a small wooden peg and Miss Chrissy’s finesse.

I can’t tell you how impressed I am at all this – I’m a great believer in the wisdom of our grandmothers, and I love that these techniques are simple and effective. What I really love about all this, is not only do I feel like I’m doing justice to my vintage wardrobe but I actually feel more like myself! Glamour has a bad reputation as something that is frivolous and perhaps a bit unnecessary or silly but it’s a powerful tool, surely anything that makes you feel better and more able to go out into the world is a very good thing!

Here are some more shots from the Lindy Charm school – it was wonderful to be surrounded by a group of ladies who were all there for the same purpose: learning how to make more of themselves and their look.

If you’re interested in learning how to transform into a glamourous vintage style goddess, there are still places available in the Lindy Charm’s workshop on Sunday September 12th and if you’re already a convert, Circa is now stocking the “Essential Setting Lotion”, made to the same 1946 recipe.

Coming up: Adventures in Hair Part 2, when Ms DeVille transforms me 1950s style!


  1. The soft curls look gorgeous on you Nicole. Suit you to a ‘t’. I’m intrigued that you’re finding them quite easy and non time-consuming to set/maintain. I’m a classic, wash/dry/bundle hair into ponytail type because I’ve never mastered “doing” my hair. At some stage that isn’t Family Month (so many ppl shag in January!) I will be signing up for one of the workshops. I love the idea of being able to create so soft and classic styles.

  2. You look gorgeous Nicole! 40s hair is perfect on you.

    Very excited about the prospect of setting lotion, I’ve never tried it as it always seemed impossible to find…

  3. Dear Nicole, I too have been so impressed with my hair after doing the Lindy Charm. You are so right, a little effort on Sunday night setting your hair pays dividends for the whole week. You look gorgeous! Maria (Vintage Suburbia)

  4. Well Miss Nicole you certainly do look glamorous! but what particularly interested me was your comment about no longer having to wash your hair every day. are you serious?! don’t toy with me now…. I wash my hair every day to get the gunk out of it, there’s no way I could brush he curls out and keep on going. However I am intruiged, and very happy that I’d already booked myself in for a workshop in sydney in october.

  5. Wow! What a difference! Your whole face and posture, even your smile shows how much better you felt with your new fabulous do! Very inspiring, making a Christmas wishlist as we speak- divine red lipstick, setting lotion, clips for pin curls…now where is my husband to play Santa lol

  6. The 40’s style certainly suits you & you can tell how beautiful you feel by your smile & the way you are standing tall. Well done.

  7. Nicole you look beautiful. Love those thick curls on you. I have straight hair and big bangs and I find even with straight hair a good wash, treatment and blow dry start of the week I can get 5 days out of my hair with only a little need for some dry shampoo (do you use this, godsend for blondes!) to freshen it up on the 5th day.

    A little effort goes a long way to making you feel amazing!


  8. Amber: I recommend it. It’s amazing what a difference a good setting lotion makes – you’ll be pleased with the results and the Lindy Charm ladies are downright inspiring.

    Claire: come and see us at Circa, we’d love to show you the setting lotion. As a kid in the ’70s I went to a costume party and my mum ringletted my long straight hair using an old fashioned setting lotion. I’ve been looking for it ever since, but it’s mostly fallen off the radar. Thankfully the LCSG found it again!

    Robyn: I’m totally serious! I have oily hair and previously couldn’t get more than 2 days out of my hair before it was flat and icky, but something about the hot rollers, the setting lotion or the hairspray (or maybe all three) seems to keep the oiliness at bay. You can definitely feel the products in there but it’s worth it for not having to kill my hair with constant shampooing.

    This week I wanted to see how long I could go for, and made it through 8 days before it started to flatten and become limp. I feel like I’ve found the holy grail of good hair!

    Just think about it: this is what our grandmas did. They set their hair once a week and so why can’t we? I wonder now if some hair products are designed to make your hair need more frequent washing because my hair is doing very well without and even on the 8th unwashed hair day, I still got compliments!

    Francesca: the great thing is that none of these things cost much money, just a little extra effort. It’s so much easier to be confident when you feel good!

    David: thank you. I knew you’d understand *smooch*

    Megan: you’re so right!
    I used talc in my hair when I was in high school, and it works, but I really didn’t like the feel of it. I’m keeping it as a back up plan in case it’s needed, but so far all has been dandy 🙂

    Everyone: thank you for all the lovely compliments!

  9. Nicole, you look amazing! Those 40s styles really suit you and finish off your vintage outfits perfectly. I too washed my hair every day as it is fine and can be quite oily, but now that I ‘do’ it, I find I can get 4 days out of one wash, so liberating! I’m booked in for the September Charm School, and I’m looking forward to picking up some more tips.

  10. Piroska – lovely to see you here! You’ll have a wonderful time at the Charm School – glad you were able to get in.

    Helen – lovely to see you here too! I’m so tempted to book in for a bit of your pin up magic after seeing the wonderful work you did with Miss Candice. Fabulous stuff!

  11. Nicole, you look great – these styles suit you so perfectly! And it has been an inspiration – I have experimented with hot rollers before, but just for special occasions. Haven’t found a setting lotion yet, but am trying something else – let’s see how long my hair is going to hold up. I just read your post now – otherwise, I would have gone to the hairdresser for quite a bit of shortening… *g*. I have just been on a “online 40s shopping spree”, so I had better get used to these kind of styles. It looks nowhere as perfect as yours, but I think it’s none too bad for starters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *