Wet-Sets with Cacao Papow

Since my visit to the Lipstick and Curls hair master class last year, I have been experimenting with styling my hair more and more. A month or two after the hair class, I moved from heat-setting to wet-setting. This blog post is all about what I do with my hair when I wet-set. Please remember, that all hair is different and reacts differently to styling – this is just what works for my hair.

Preparation

First of all, I’d say a good midi-cut helps your hair to hold curl. Generally the longer the hair, the harder it is for curls to hold. This is what my hair looks like when it’s blow-dried straight.

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I always wet-set my hair after a shower so my hair is clean when I begin. Initially, I just used water as I curled but my hair ended up feel dry and frizzy. Now I use two products to keep my hair soft and smooth – Hair Custard from Lush and Suavecita’s grooming spray.

After I’ve towel-dried my hair, I’ll take a penny-sized amount of the Hair Custard, rub it on my hands and then run it through the length of my hair. Once that’s been brushed through, I spray my hair all over with the Suavecita grooming spray.

Curling

I curl my hair with pillow rollers – these are widely available (mine are a mix from Claire’s and Amazon). I normally part my hair to one side but I have also done middle partings. If you want a page boy style or bangs then you can section the front of your hair and roll it forward. On average, I use around 25 pillow rollers but I have played around with the number; basically the more rollers you put in, the curlier your hair will be. Make sure you curl AWAY from your parting and roll right to the root to get as much volume as possible.

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From my research, I’ve found that lots of people experience problems with their curls not drying properly. To solve this issue, I curl my hair when it’s slightly damp – not soaking wet. I also sleep in my rollers overnight, usually for 7-8 hours. Luckily, I’ve never had a problem with damp sets! To protect my hair overnight, I wear a glamorous cloth shower cap or a hair net – essential for keeping curls intact.

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Brushing Out

The next day, I carefully take out each roller – pulling and tugging will lead to frizz and pain! Once all of the rollers have been removed, I run my fingers through my hair to gently break up all the curls. Both of these photos show my hair after this step – the only difference is the number of rollers I used.

Sometimes, I just leave my hair like this but for a more polished look, I’ll need a proper brush out. My hair holds curl really well and I need to brush my hair thoroughly in order to mould it into various vintage styles. I take an ordinary paddle brush and gently brush through sections of my hair – this can take up to 25 minutes.

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When everything starts to look a little smoother, I usually take a little pomade and shape my hair with my hands around the front of my face and the back of my head. wp-1469306594287.png

Once I’m happy, I spray the whole thing liberally with hairspray and then I leave it be. I’ve had to train myself not to touch my hair!

Styling

Here are some different ways I’ve styled my hair when I’ve wet-set it.

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Maintenance

One question I’m frequently asked is ‘how do you make it last? When I wet-set, I get roughly 4 days out of it – sometimes up to 6. To get the most time out of my set, I brush out my hair every night before bed, I sleep with a hair net on and I re-roll my hair every other night.

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Day 1 Set
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Day 2 Set
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Day 3 Set
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Day 5 Set

I hope that this was useful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and please share your own wet-set tips!

 

Vivien of Holloway Jezebel White Blue Rose Dress

I am sure you all know by now that Papow and I are massive fans of Vivien of Holloway. Both of our wardrobes have contained Vivien’s pieces right from the very start of our journey into the land of vintage/pinup. There have been some exciting new styles and fabrics appearing recently, and I am sure I am not the only one keeping a close eye on the website…lusting over the new Emma and Nazare dresses. Exciting as this is, let us not forget the long-standing and much-loved Vivien of Holloway styles. The 1950s Jezebel has always been a firm favourite of mine from the word go and there will always be room in my wardrobe more! And so this week I wanted to share my love for this dress with you all!

Vivien of Holloway say:

“This dress has a wrap top which flatters any size bust and a slinky pencil skirt to put a wiggle in your walk. Vivien has added authentic touches such as the half peplum on the side and the elegant V-shaped back, to give that extra touch of old Hollywood glamour!”

I have just a “few” Jezebels in my wardrobe but here I am wearing the white blue rose version. I have teamed my white blue rose Jezebel with a variety of accessories. You can see it works well with either my nude or navy patent court shoes from New Look, light blue hair scarf from eBay, white cat-eye sun glasses from a vintage market, my pearls and Papow’s white parasol from San Francisco.

Despite my measurements being B34, W27, and H36, the cotton sateen fabric definitely has a slight give and I always go for the Vivien of Holloway size 10 in this style (B32, W24, H36). This is absolutely the perfect fit for me. I usually flit between a Vivien of Holloway size 10 or 12, however all of my jezebels are a firm size 10.

Don’t be concerned that the lack of bones in this style of dress. I always find Vivien of Holloway pieces to be extremely well constructed and this dress still nips you in at the waist for that hourglass shape we all love.

I’ve always been a fan of peplum styles because they add much needed curves to my slender frame and this dress is no exception, the peplum feature on the side of this dress does exactly that. Add this to the 27.5 inch pencil skirt and voila killer (yet elegant) curves!

The wrap top of the Jezebel has a higher neckline than other Vivien of Holloway dress styles and is the perfect alternative to the more busty halterneck designs.

I think this beautiful summery floral fabric here would be perfect for a day at the races, a summer wedding or Christening. The Jezebel is not currently available in this fabric, but rest assured there are a whole range of Jezebels to choose from, you really are spoilt for choice!

What are your favoutite Vivien of Holloway styles/designs/fabrics? Papow and I would love to hear your views…please do drop us a line!

Pinup Picnic In The Bar: Part 1 – Meeting and Greeting

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The British Belles (a group of British pin-up darlings) organised and hosted the first Pin-up Picnic last year in 2015. Sadly due to work commitments, Flo and I couldn’t attend. However, this year both of us were free and we weren’t going to miss such an amazing event! The weather forecast had been quite changeable so the picnic was moved from the park to Kanaloa tiki bar as a tropical and pragmatic plan B.On July 2nd we hopped on the train to London with my better half, ready to awkwardly mingle, fangirl and gawp over everyone’s outfits.

I have ridiculous anxiety about being on time so we arrived half an hour early – thanks for dealing with that guys! En route to the bar, we caught glimpses of folk in gorgeous vintage pieces and we knew it wouldn’t be long until we saw them again.

The bar was near Chancery Lane tube – not a bad walk from Waterloo station either. The entire place was a tiki paradise from top to bottom, just right for this occasion (even if the lighting was a little dark).

On arrival, we found a spot where we could people-watch which is my favourite thing about big social events. It was a little strange and, at times, overwhelming to see people that you’ve been following online for years right in front of you. I’m so glad we went though because we had the chance to make new connections with so many people – those we already knew and some brand new faces too.

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3244.jpgAmberrosetheron: Amber is a member of The British Belles and co-organiser of the picnic. We contacted Amber before we started our blog and she gave us such valuable advice. I found it really touching that someone, who had never met us before, had taken the time to contact and support us. She was so friendly and welcoming – it was lovely to finally meet her in person. Amber is also a new mummy and runs a Retro Mummies and Pregnant Pinups page on Facebook – check it out for helpful hints and tips.

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3212.jpgMisspeachykeen_jellybean: Amber’s fellow British Belle and wonderful host of the Pin-up Picnic, Charlotte has been in my Instagram feed for ages. Her love of true vintage undies was the reason I first started to follow her but she also introduced me to Freddies of Pinewood and Gingermegs Vintage in Birmingham. I just had to say hello!

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3220.jpgMammatwohoots: A fellow lover of pin-up and vintage reproduction style – I found her through Vivien of Holloway’s Instagram and now I lust over all of her outfits!

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3217.jpgDontletyourteagocold: I first found Lizzie on Instagram when I was hunting around for my first proper corset. She’s a What Katie Did fan and I can totally understand why – she’s the reason I bought my ‘Vamp’ corset. She also has cracking style and voluminous hair!

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3241.jpgAmyblisspinup: Flo and I met Blaire during the Pin Up Academy modelling workshop last year. She has her own blog and has also written for several vintage publications. A gorgeous gal pal indeed!

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3205.jpgKellycupcakex and meg.c.s: I met Kelly outside of Vivien of Holloway on a huge sale day. We were all so buzzed about shopping that we didn’t really get a chance to talk properly. Fast forward to the picnic and we nattered about dresses, teaching and anything else that came to mind. I will forever be envious of her huge collection of Kitty dresses! Meg found me on Instagram after Flo and I guest-blogged for Miss Amy May. It was so strange to meet up with someone I’d only ever spoken to online but it was great to finally talk in person.

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3228.jpgVictoryrollsandmixingbowls: Both Flo and I follow Nicola on Instagram, however Flo’s love of sewing has turned her into quite a fangirl. Nicola runs her own Etsy shop selling her handmade clothes. Flo managed to have a good old chin wag and came back to our table with a huge grin on her face.

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3224.jpgEssbeedee and Holly Foster: Both Sarah and Holly are members of Most Marvellous group on Facebook. Sarah regularly shares her daily outfits and I have twinned an outfit with her on one occasion. I was so happy to finally meet! Holly was crowned Miss Vintage 2014 and she has an enviable wardrobe too.

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3231.jpgHaili Hughes: I first contacted Haili under her modelling name (Coco Fierce) to ask for advice about being a teacher and pin-up modelling. Haili is a fellow teacher, who dresses in vintage style full time and who has also modelled. Her advice was incredibly helpful and I follow it with every shoot. Seeing her in person, you could tell why she made a fabulous model – I’m still obsessed with that dress!

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3225.jpgmiss_srv: Jade is the owner of Scarlett Rage Vintage online and also in Crouch End. A lover of true vintage and classic style, she has a great eye for unique garments.I had the pleasure of picking up two dresses from her shop – I’m definitely going back. Jade was really approachable when I visited SRV and she was the exact same at the picnic.

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3215.jpgLipstickanddresses: Both Flo and I read Sarah’s blog. She reviews different vintage reproduction brands and she also encourages body positivity through her posts.

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3238.jpgKittiecostumes and Bolaobileye: Now Flo and I had never met these two before but it was wonderful to have a quick chat. We’ve now found both ladies on Instagram and both of them are very stylish!

pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3236.jpgThe Marvelettes: Flo and I are both members of the Most Marvellous group on Facebook – a lovely bunch of vintage lovers. Here we are with several members from across the UK.

All in all, it was a very glamorous event. We got to meet loads of people and soak up the atmosphere. Both of us would love to go to a proper picnic at a later date – if only to share cake with fellow pin-up and vintage lovers!

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Busy bar…
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The darling @bluebirdsjunk with her adorable squishy baby!
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Soaking up the atmosphere…
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Yummy cocktails!

I also got snapped by Pyramid Clicks and won best smile – you can see I was grinning from ear to ear!pinup-picnic-2016_IMG_3216.jpg

Flo and I will be sharing lots of these photos on Instagram and Facebook – @cacaopapow and @florenceflounce. If you’d like to use or share any of these images,  please credit @darktechsupport as photographer and use #papowandflo.

It’s nearly a year since our blog started and I can honestly say that I have the best little team to work with – even if I’d spoken to no-one else at the picnic, I know I would have had a wonderful time with them anyway!

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How to Solve a Problem like my Make-up bag…

A few months ago I took you through how I organise my ever-growing collection of clothes, shoes and accessories in “how to solve a problem of my wardrobe”. In this post one area that I didn’t touch on was my makeup collection. Make-up is obviously as important a part of a pinup lover/vintage goddess as is her wardrobe and so I thought it would be a good idea to take you guys through my make-up collection in a little more detail.

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First of all let me set the scene…Since graduating in 2010, I have worked in community pharmacy and in community pharmacy, healthcare and beauty go hand in hand. Walk into any pharmacy on the high street and you will more than likely find make-up alongside your first aid, cold remedies and pain killers. Any new make-up product on the market, I would soon hear about and more often than not I would be able to snap up such goodies at a discounted rate. This is not somthing I was expecting as I began my career as a pharmacist…but in my case it was a complete recipe for disaster. My make-up collection rapidly grew and soon I had bag upon bag full of unorganised products. I had hoards of eye shadows, lipglosses, brushes. You name it, I probably had three! I had so much so that I didn’t really know what I had to be honest. One day (with the help of my beauty therapist/ make-up artist friend) I took all of my make-up and emptied it out, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find it covered my entire living room floor. In all honesty there were only a few items that I really used, the rest rarely saw the light of day. It was time, I am sure you will agree, for some drastic action. So here is how I went about solving the problem of my make-up collection…

First and foremost I invested in a dressing table. I settled on the beautiful white Toulouse dressing table, mirror and stool from Dunelm Mill. It matched my existing bedroom furniture, had three drawers for storage and Dunelm Mill themselves even describe it as having a “vintage inspired design“. What was not to love?

Following this purchase, I took a good look at my make-up collection. I went through each item in turn and into the bin went all of the following items:

  1.  Anything that I believed to be beyond the recommended expiry date (based on when I had first opened the product and the manufacturer’s guidelines).
  2. Anything that I had rarely (or never) used.
  3. Any brightly coloured eye shadows and eyeliners (I have experimented over the years but let’s be honest, at the age of 28 I feel more comfortable with neutral eye shadow, eyeliner flicks, and my statement bold pout).
  4. Any duplicate items (how many clear lipglosses does a girl who only wears bright lippie really need)?
  5. Any make-up brushes that were beyond repair (due to their previous cramped conditions).

And so I was left with my make-up collection as it stands today, much smaller, but also much more manageable. The large central dressing table drawer is now home to the following products (most of which I use on a daily basis):

  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Concealor
  • Bronzer
  • Blusher
  • Eyebrow pallettes
  • Mascara
  • Lip liner pencils
  • Eyeliner pencils
  • Liquid eyeliner
  • Gel eyeliner
  • Eye shadows
  • Highlighter
  • Tweezers
  • Eyelash curlers
  • Fake eyelashes.

The two smaller storage compartments contain:

  • lipsticks
  • lip stains
  • lipgloss

Finally, on top of my dressing table I have two pots to store all of my makeup brushes, goodbye dirty makeup bags and destroyed makeup brushes!

This new approach allows me to store everything together. Rather than standing in front of my mirrored wardrobe and ferreting in and out as I try to get ready,  I can simply sit down and everything is in sight and within reach. This makes the process of doing my makeup so much more relaxed, but also enjoyable. Not only this but I also now find the act of actually sitting down to do my makeup is no longer rushed and the end result (I like to think) is a lot nicer. In addition, those of you who have never tried doing a vintage eyeliner flick while resting your elbow on a dressing table to keep your hand steady as you look down into the mirror, ladies I promise you will never turn back.

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Looking at my make-up and brush collection now, it is clear to see I have a few favourite brands namely: MAC Cosmetics, Le Keux Cosmetics, Benefit Cosmetics, Avon, NYX Cosmetics, Urban Decay, Eylure, Salon Systems and Real Techniques. I have everything that I need and every single item gets used. What is the point in having so much makeup that you simply cannot use it before it expires in 12 months time? Better to save the pennies for a dress that will last a lifetime right girls? So when a brand new sparkly exciting make-up product appears at work, before rushing out to buy it I now as myself the following questions:

  1. Do I need this?
  2. Do I actually want this?
  3. Do I already have something similar at home?
  4. Is it a brand that I actually like and trust?

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This approach has certainly worked for me and so that, my lovelies, is how I solved the problem of my make-up bag. Based on this success and our recent trip to the Lipstick and Curls Make-up Academy, Papow has recently has also caught the dressing table bug. I can’t wait to see what she does with her own collection!

On a final note, thanks to Sue Phelps of Sue Phelps Photography for the shots of myself and also to Papow’s other half Nick for editing the shots of my beloved dressing table!