Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > Hair Stylists! Where Did I Go Wrong?


Jordan L Duncan

Posts: 207

Jacksonville, Florida, US

Sorry this is so long but I want to be as detailed as possible so you can help me! I really don't want this to happen again!

I am looking for some advice so this doesn't happen to me again. I am not sure what I did wrong so maybe someone can help. I admittedly am not the best at doing my own hair but usually at shoots the photographer provides hair styling or doesn't ask me to do anything more complicated than what most girls have been doing since high school. Usually when I run into something difficult I study a YouTube (or whatever) tutorial until I get it right and I have had a lot of success with that. Unfortunately I went wrong somewhere and I have no idea what happened.

Yesterday I had a pin up shoot and the photographer wanted me to do my own pin up hair do. I ended up doing the fake poofy bangs (Betty Page style) with the rest down in Marylin Monroe style soft, wavy curls. About 2 hours into the shoot my bang roll looked fine, but my curls were going FLAT. I have never had this happen before. My hair holds a curl really well. Usually my curls will last 2-3 days if I don't brush them, even if I don't use hairspray. Luckily I brought my hot rollers with me and between looks I was able to re-set my hair, but I had to do that 3 times and it still didn't look as good as when we first started. (We shot for about 3-4 hours, and usually my curls look the same as they did when I first styled them for 7-8 hours)

Now, the day before yesterday I had my hair colored, a deep conditioning treatment, and a blowout. I didn't wash my hair the next day before styling because my hair holds a curl better with second day hair. The stylist did use a smoothing cream on my hair before the blowout, so I am thinking either the deep conditioner or the smoothing cream was what caused the curls to fall out. Either the smoothing cream made my hair want to be straight or there was too much product weighing down my hair?

Another theory is that I used too much hairspray. I asked the stylist about pin up hair and she said to use a ton of hairspray and tease tease tease! I asked her what type of hairspray (flexible hold, hard hard hold, etc) and she said use a flexible hold while styling and then use a hard hold to set it in place when its finished. I may have overdone it and it weighed my hair down in the end.

Or could it be because I used hot rollers instead of a curling iron? I hate using a curling iron, especially in the back, and my hot rollers really seem to make a longer lasting curl... but in all the video tutorials I watched they used a curling iron. Does it make a difference?

Or could it be all a combination of all of the above? It was hot and kind of humid, but usually that doesn't affect my curls that much.

What should I do next time?

Jan 13 13 10:14 am Link

Makeup Artist

Jaime Criel Makeup

Posts: 149

New York, New York, US

Jordan L Duncan wrote:
What should I do next time?

Tell the photographer to get off his lazy butt and hire a hairstylist. I apologize for my bluntness, but this really bothers me that you, the model, were put through time, prepping, and stress doing a job that is not supposed to be your concern. Even if he/she didn't want to pay someone, he/she could have found a hairstylist willing to work for trade. They were just being lazy and putting too much responsibility on you.

But to answer your hair question, when I do freedom rolls, I curl with a curling iron but hot rollers would also work. Allow ample time to let the curl cool from the heat so it really has time to set. Teasing would have kept your curls from falling, in my opinion. Whatever part of the curl won't be showing and is underneath, tease tease tease and spray with hairspray. You recent coloring may have affected the ending results because coloring opens the shaft of the hair strand so significantly that sometimes it makes it difficult to style afterwards.

Jan 13 13 05:36 pm Link

Hair Stylist

Strands of meads

Posts: 2

Eastbourne, England, United Kingdom

I think this was a case of to much product, some conditioners and indeed smoothing creams weigh the hair down making the hair nearly impossible to hold the curl.

I agree with the above post though, that really isnt your fault.This isnt your area of expertise and you should not be required to keep resetting your hair.

Curling tongs do curl hair better if you have hair that dislikes being curled, but it can be harsher on the hair . I have to say you can never have to much hairspray when it comes to curling !

Hope this helps !

Jan 19 13 05:35 am Link

Makeup Artist


Posts: 3089

Washington, District of Columbia, US

Jordan L Duncan wrote:
...a curling iron. Does it make a difference?

Yes... huge difference, albeit most issue I've noticed with talent attempting this is selecting sections to curl that are WAY too large...

Make sure you are using a barrel diameter appropriate for what you are endeavoring to achieve... 

Clip your hair back away from the area you're working on... select a small section, hit each section with a thermal setting spray just before you bring an iron to it... I'm a fan of REDKEN but I was trained on it so I'm biased... start wrapping hair at the the base closest to your scape, do NOT roll it up from the end (common mistake)...

Yes the trick is to know how hot to set your iron and how long to hold it in... only patience and practice works here...  I have to smile at the thought of mastering hot tools via Youtube... Jordan, if you seriously want to master this purchase a hair mannequin (a quality one) and be prepared to invest some serious time becoming one with your iron...

As for irons, once you have mastered a Marcel handle you laugh at those using the spring-loaded handles which are the most popular "retail" variant... go with a marcel, there are compelling reasons it is the workhorse of salons, on studio sets and for bridal stylist...

Another BIG mistake the naive make is not immediately catching the curl as you slip it off your iron... hold it in position while it cools otherwise the curl will fall out... trust me here... once  I learned this the results were superb...

best advice?  hire a really good stylist and pay them to tutor you on a Marcel iron...  they can/will accelerate your learning curve by an order of magnitude...

final thoughts? Your hair is THE most important item in your wardrobe... as soon as you get your head around this the more impressive your visual statement will be...

all the best on your journey...

Jan 19 13 06:30 am Link

Hair Stylist

rick lesser

Posts: 945

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

I hope you didn't offer an apology to the photographer for your hair not holding?  And I hope he/she paid your extra for your added work.  After all you were hired as a model not a hairstylist.  R-

Jan 19 13 07:08 am Link


Azimuth Arts

Posts: 1490

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

rick lesser wrote:
I hope you didn't offer an apology to the photographer for your hair not holding?  And I hope he/she paid your extra for your added work.  After all you were hired as a model not a hairstylist.  R-

From the OP's profile:

I am very comfortable doing my own hair and makeup and providing my own wardrobe for shoots. I have done my own hair and makeup and provided my own props and wardrobe in 90% of my port. I am also more than happy to work with MUAs and stylists.

While I personally prefer to have an MUA/hair stylist on all my shoots many photographers prefer to hire models who can provide the full service and there are many models on model mayhem who do this.  It is almost always cheaper for a photographer shooting personal work to pay a premium rate to such a model than to hire model and one or more people for styling.  I assume the OP has set her rates based on the full package she offers photographers.

I commend the OP on trying to improve her skills to remain competitive in her market.

Jan 19 13 07:45 am Link


Noir Cerise

Posts: 247

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Very likely the smoothing cream and deep conditioning treatment so close to this shoot was the culprit as it will smooth the cuticle on your hair and make it harder to style as you need texture in your hair to hold a style better (of course humidity never helps either but that's why we have a plethora of holding products).

Artistry Image is great and knows what he's talking about and pretty much covered everything. A curling iron is actually (usually) faster and penetrates the cuticle better and if you have any doubt about how long to hold it, just tap the outside of your hair to see if it's hot or not (also dependent on what your hair type is, you may need a more powerful curling iron that can get hot enough to actually work as intended). As stated, hold your curl after sliding it off, I tend to pin it to my scalp or wherever else it needs to be with a curl clip (any beauty store carries these in a single or double prong), spray it, and let it cool while I work on the rest.

Also for pin up styles, in addition to hair spray, pomade is also your best friend even for female styles.

My hair is naturally bone-straight and I can do several hair styles on my own but I -always- prefer it if an actual stylist is hired, never mind to get more people hired and I can often recommend someone I've worked with before and can guarantee the look (plus they always help keeping the hair/makeup looking perfect and can fix straps or other things without the photographer moving to do it). The ability to do my own hair does often weigh in my favor for freelance bookings but I always ask for what look they desire for hair ahead of time and if I have any shadow of a doubt that I can execute it perfectly, I insist upon a stylist as I refuse to promise what I may not be able to deliver.

Jan 20 13 07:29 pm Link