Hairstyling Products for Ladies

Dancing, especially competitive ballroom dancing, is very hard on hairstyles.  The combination of movement and perspiration can change an elegant updo into a swirling mess.  Only your body and certain parts of your costume should be moving…otherwise the eye is distracted from the beautiful lines and movements you are trying to create.  Here are some time-tested products to help tame the mane. Most drugstores or beauty supply stores will have these products, or search online.

  • Hair dryer with high and low heat as well as high and low blow speeds.  (This will help dry freshly gelled hair to help it look a less wet and give a little more lift).
  • Curling equipment.  Most updos start with freshly curled hair.  Curling equipment can help create more height and lift, especially on top of the head.  Steam rollers are gentler on your hair and hold curl better.  Or try electric rollers or a curling iron (rod diameter dependent on your hair length…1.5 inches for long or as little as 1 inch for shorter hair).
  • Fine toothed comb.
  • Hairbrush with natural bristles or rounded bristles, rubber or wood bristles, (if you have longer hair).
  • Teasing comb and/or backcombing brush (fine toothed, with slender tapered point at the end).  Comb or brush hair toward the root making a compressed mass of hair to create more volume and height.
  • Flat iron to straighten wavy hair, if necessary.
  • Regular hairspray (Sebastian Shaper Plus, Got2Bglued smooth operator, Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine). Softer hold hairspray is essential during styling, temporarily holding it in place until you get things just right. Sometimes just using enough of this type of hairspray will be enough to anchor your hair without going to the extra strong hold hairspray.  (Once styling is complete, a stronger hold spray is normally used).  Take this with you to the comp and reapply as necessary.  This spray is easier on your hair than the super hold type below and can even be brushed out when lightly applied and no other products are on it.  If you have a thick layer of regular hairspray applied, it make be necessary to wash it out instead of brushing it out, preferably applying conditioner before washing.
  • Extra super hold hairspray (Got2Bglued super, Aveda Firmata or Aquanet).  This is used as the final step to completely immobilize your hair after styling.  Excellent for difficult flyaway hairs near parts, and at the nape of the neck as well as cowlicks.  Take this with you to the comp and reapply as necessary. Caution: some hairsprays applied after gel can give a bedraggled look.  Do not try to comb through this once dry…it will need to be washed out, preferably with a conditioner applied beforehand.
  • Use one of these hair texturizer/volumizers to prep the hair for updos (optional):
    • Mousse (use a small amount while blow-drying to create volume).  Great for curly, fine or limp hair that needs lift.
    • Volumizer
    • Regular hold hairspray
    • Gel (no more than a tablespoon at this point…more can be added later if necessary).
    • Gel wax is a milky gummy-like substance that smoothes into a paste which has about half the holding power of a gel. Warm this in your hands before applying.
    • Gel spray.  A lighter version of gel and lighter weight…great for fine hair.
  • Extra hold gel (Garnier fructis, Got2Bglued regular gel, Aerogel or similar).  Adds shine and excellent control for even the thickest hair.  Often used for holding curly tendrils in place (with bobby pins).  Gel’s heavier weight can weigh hair down.  Those with fine or thinning hair should use lighter spray gels like Aerogel or just hairspray instead.  Start out with about a tablespoon of gel and see if you need more…too much looks messy and overly wet.  A hairdryer can be used to dry gel.
  • Tweezers for plucking out stray eyebrow hairs.
  • Nose and ear hair trimmer.  (Never use hair removal creams in these areas!)
  • Facial hair remover.  Remove all facial hair, especially above your upper lip using a hair remover cream, wax or devices like the painless “No-no” (which is very expensive).
  • A variety of bobby pins...regular, U-shaped wide, fat and heavy duty long ones.
  • French roll combs (multiple small ones or one large one).
  • Elastic bands.  Fatter black covered ones are great for securing a bun and smaller, thinner ones for smaller sections of hair.
  • Hair nets.  You will need one for every section of hair you are working with…2-3 is pretty typical for a bun that looks like a knot.  The large nets designed to cover the whole head work well for longer sections of hair that are being coiled around on the head and can be doubled to cover a bun.  You will need a lot of these, so stock up.  Local RiteAids have multipacks of these in various hair colors…blond, brown and black.
  • Hair ornaments (optional).  Though a ornament-free hairstyle is very desirable and appropriate, especially for syllabus events, you can judiciously place these items in your hair (less is more):
    • Silk or feather flowers are a great choice when light-reflective objects such as rhinestones are not allowed in syllabus events. This looks great nestled along the side of a bun…very popular with Latin dancers.
    • Decorated barrettes or combs with pearls and rhinestones.  Watch the weight of these…heavier ornaments can pull down your hairstyle or fall out.
    • Lace appliques dyed to match your dress can be decorated with pearls or rhinestones and pinned in place.

Important Note:  Always test products well before you compete, as some people are allergic to hairsprays and gels.  When you perspire, the product can run down into other areas and give you rashes in places where you did not spray.  Should you develop a sensitivity to any of these products, search the web for the latest recommendations or try thinned Knox gelatin which has great shine, but reportedly can look splotchy over the course of a day…so test, test, test beforehand.