Harnessing Hair - pt. 1

[illustrations pending]
Babe Lab Disclaimer : Non-proprietary photos and illustrations featured on Babe Lab appear for the sole purpose of review.

A woman's hair is as much a form of self expression as it is an image booster. Essentially a frame for the face, it can either enhance the features or wash them out. Attractive hair is key in creating positive first impressions from 360 degrees, from crown to bangs (sometimes called "fringe") and around to the nape of the neck.

Genetics, age, nutrition and preening all play a part in how a woman's hair looks and behaves. Kept in good condition, hair is incredibly pliable. Care is taken to avoid damaging it with heat and chemicals, as frizzy hair is harder to control. Further, weighing it down with products can make hair static and lifeless, like a helmet or a wig. Movement and "bounce" attract the eye!

Hair is affected by...

-gravity -- Gravity wants to pull hair down.
-body motion -- Hair flow is influenced by the directional movement of the body. Think of it like streamers on a bike.
-body contact -- Hair will be redirected where it meets the body. Hair at rest can help define the forms underneath it (forehead, neck, shoulders, back), acting as surface lines. Hair by a squashed area will appear squashed.
-air current / water current -- Hair gets swept around by wind and water. Think of it as a particle effect, like smoke.
-moisture/humidity -- Hair becomes heavier and slicker when wet. Strands consolidate like seaweed. It tends to cling to any part of the body it comes into contact with.
-static electricity -- Brought about by dryness and friction, staticy hair sticks to itself and can appear to stand on end.
-heat -- Dryers, straighteners, flat irons, curling irons and crimping irons all use heat to make hair behave in certain ways.
-products -- Sprays, gels, shampoos, conditioners, clays, oils, waxes and putties serve to make hair behave in certain ways.
-peripherals -- Pins, scrunchies, combs, pony tail holders, barrettes, headbands, ribbons and rubber bands create cinch-points that either stabilize or redirect hair.

Hair has volume.
Also referred to as "body" and "lift", this is the shape the hair takes on. Sometimes natural, sometimes accomplished with products or peripherals, virtually any shape is possible, no matter how bizarre. Horizontal, vertical or diagonal, if you can think of it, it probably exists.

Hair has various surface properties.
-straight -- fans, folds, drapes
-wavy -- loose, low frequency curves
-curly -- tightly wound spirals or springs -- high frequency
-fine -- thin, wispy
-coarse -- thick, tangly or otherwise unwieldy (the term "nappy" is sometimes subbed)
-lustrous -- high specular sheen, typical of longer styles
-matte -- typical of shorter styles and conducive to texturing

Hair has various lengths.
-short -- These cropped styles fall just at the jawline or higher. This is the most we'll see the ears.
-mid length -- These typically fall below the jawline, but rarely pass the neckline. 50/50 chance of seeing ears.
-long -- Considered the most glamorous, (Some women will even go so far as obtaining extensions.) these styles fall below the neckline. Long hair in front of the shoulders can be used to lead the eye down to the bust, or behind the body to draw attention to the neckline, or keep clear of an outfit. Ears tend to disappear in the mane.

Hair is parted...
-symmetrically -- vertical, straight and down the center -- parting waves in two different directions
-asymmetrically -- slanted, curved, off-center
-zigzaged -- combo of the above
*note : you may see some scalp depending on the severity of the part

Hair is cut.
-blunt -- These severe, high-precision shapes are less soft (and consequently less feminine). Bangs are often sawed off with cleanly defined lines. There are little to no stray hairs.
-textured -- Textural cuts feature more noise, more stray hairs and have a more nebulous shape. Layers give movement and airiness, and are accomplished by cutting pieces out from under each other to create different lengths, sometimes crisscrossed.

Hair is sculpted.
-flipped -- brushed out away from head
-teased -- drawn outward, upward, or otherwise bumped forward to create lift
-poofed -- pulled back and pushed up to create lift
-curled -- via curlers and perms
-bunned -- hair is pulled up, wound around itself and pinned into place
-braided -- divided into thirds and woven
-ponytailed -- An easy, go-to style, top-knotted ponytails add height, show the face and keep hair out of the way.
-pigtailed -- a doubled variation of the ponytail

Hair is dyed.
-color -- Color is used to enhance natural skin tone and pop features. Warm skin is complimented by warmer dyes. Cool skin is complimented by cooler dyes. The idea is to create an overall look that doesn't wash out the features. The name of the game is contrast.
-highlights -- These strips lighten to enhance texture and dimensionality.
-lowlights -- These strips darken to enhance texture and dimensionality.
-chunky -- Bigger pieces or "placements" are loud and obvious.
-subtle -- This is the opposite of chunky. Lots of small, subtle variation. Broken color blends together at a distance.

Hair styles fit occasions.
-bridal -- ornate, elegant, hyper-girly -- lots of curly tresses
-formal/glam -- for red carpet occasions
-casual -- manageable, everyday solutions that are easy to maintain without a stylist

Hair adds an element of mystery.
Depending on its style and thickness, hair can act as an opaque or translucent veil, framing the face in a variety of ways. It can conceal eyes, ears and breasts. Hair overlapping the face and other features helps sell dimensionality, so don't be afraid to obscure! They eye will fill in what's underneath.

Notes on drawing:
-Draw head and face first, hair second! This will help in keeping the hair tethered to the scalp.
-Consider overall abstract, angular perimeter. Think of tree foliage.
-Consider points of origin. Hair will flow from these points according to outside influences.
-Consider cinch-points.
-Consolidate strands!
-Introduce a variety of small pieces, medium pieces and large pieces.
-Show differeing heights.
-Small side/large side - beware of mirroring!
-Show movement wherever possible! To deny a woman's hair movement is to eliminate one of the things that makes it alive and sexy.
-Hair is at the same time highly structrual and seemingly random. Make it work for your composition.