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June 27, 2010

How to: Hair Dress for Figure Skating Competitions

Ok I'm gonna start by saying this post is not going to be of interest for guys. I'm sure you all know how to gel your hair, or whatever it is you do on a daily basis. This here post is for the ladies, and skating mums needing inspiration and guidance. 

So, let's get crackin'!

Girls with short hair aren't going to have to think about hair dressing very much, much as they probably don't in their day-to-day lives. Longer haired gals (that's my category) need to think about how they will dress the hair itself, before thinking about adornment. First of all, we'll take a look at ways to add bling and/or colour to the head, which is applicable to both long and short hair, and later on we'll think about the hair itself and how to turn it into something beautiful and secure (this is crucial)!

 Bling-Bling! 
If you want to add pizzazz to your hair, there are plenty ways of doing so! Hair-bands can be a great accent, but are only really going to work for compulsory dance events, seeing as the moment you jump or spin it's probably going to fall off (don't even think about trying a layback, unless you want to injure someone with a flying hair-band!).

That said, for a few years now embellished elasticated headbands have come back into fashion and seem to be everywhere! These can be pinned into the hair more easily (by using kirby grips round the back of the head, so as to stay as discreet as possible) and will stay in place better. I recommend the type with a thin strip of see-thru silicone on the back, which helps the band grip to the hair. Just be sure to try your accessories out in practice before C-day for maximum confidence.

You can buy them with coloured flowers, feathers (although beware they don't fall out as this is
a sure fire way to be penalised for endangering other competitors), crystals, beads, sequins, the list is endless. Make sure the elastic is tight enough for your head size, but not so tight you're uncomfortable.

Fascinators are very popular these days, particularly for weddings and high society events, but why not wear one for your competition? The number of models are endless and they come in a range of different attachment designs; combs can be inserted into a sturdy hairdo (such as the pleat of a French roll), but the majority of fascinators come on headbands, which poses the same problems less extravagant headbands do, in terms of security.

Embellished hair pins can look beautiful and are more subtle than the above options. You can used them to add a little bit of discreet sparkle to a pretty hairdo (but aren't very suitable for short hair). They come in diamant√©, pearl, with flower shapes, stars, hearts, etc. I buy mine in packs of 4 or 6 from eBay, the best suppliers tend to be Hong Kong based, so be sure to check them out well in advance of your next event so you have time to wait for the shipping. The prices are fantastic and I've never been disappointed with the quality. I used wear mine to every event I skated in, either in the pleat of my French roll or around the base of a bun (and also when going out for dinner!).

Glitter hair gels and sprays are also a classic option and can be had for cheaps from almost any good store. Claire's Accessories glitter spray cans come in a multitude of colours but be prepared to pay more than cheap drug-stores (I usually try and shop around for mine, but when time is running out, I know that Claire's has what I need if I really don't find a cheaper option).

{NEWSFLASH: I also bought my hair pieces (one comb, and one tiara) from eBay for our recent wedding! That's how much confidence I have in buying my hair bling online. And I wasn't disappointed! }

♥ Hairstyles 
Well all those accessories are very well but what about the actual hair? Fret not! Depending on your hair length you can go for a multitude of looks. Some skaters (mainly dancers) wear their hair down, free and flowing. I've never gone in for that personally as it would just annoy me. That said, my hair is very long. If you want to wear your hair completely down, maybe you can pin the front sides back to ensure you don't get all your hair in your eyes (even though the ends are inevitably wispy and will fly over your face at some point). Curling the lengths can look sweet, especially for a classical piece of music (Romeo & Juliet, anyone?) or a waltz.

The next step up from "down" hair is the ponytail. At this point I must admit I don't like to see skaters with plain ol' ponytails. Once it's in an elastic band, it's really easy to twist into a sweet bun, and (I personally feel) it looks more polished. Ponytails also have the hair-in-your-face aspect. If this really is your favourite style, why not dress it up with ribbons, glitter spray, or crystals?

Your 'do needs to feel secure to your head, so you don't have to be wondering whether your hair is coming undone (confidence under-miner). Using fresh elastic bands bought for the occasion always used to give me a sensation of real security, and you can pick up packs of 10/20 for just a few £/$. Use as many grips and pins as you need to make your style feel tight, and when you're done dressing your hair, give yourself a good shake (jump up and down a bit too!) to see if anything comes loose (if something comes undone on the warm-up it really adds to a skater's stress levels).

A bun is the most classic look and goes well with every style. Go high on a young child for a very cute look, keep it sober and low if you're older, for a more demure look. Take it off to one side and add a huge red flower or flamenco comb for a Spanish theme. Add ribbon, flowers, glitter, crystals, netting, etc. for more flair. This is such a versatile style. Here's a YouTube video on how to do a great bun:


You can also use a bun donut to get that lovely full volume (I think of it as an air-hostess bun). 

The "French Pleat" is another huge classic, and many variations on a theme are possible. This is quite a hard style to master, and it's probably easier if you have someone help you out (or if you're a skating mum, do it on your daughter for her). Here's a good how-to:


The truth is the variations on style are endless, and it's likely you already have ideas of what works well for your hair, and what makes you feel confident and pretty. Don't be afraid to experiment, and be sure to try out any crazy creations on your practice ice prior to your event.

I'll leave you with one last video I found randomly on YouTube, it's an integration of coloured ribbon into a regular bun:


Until next time, keep practising those pleats and braids!
XOXO


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