A Lady's 'Hedgehog' Hairstyle: A Tutorial

As most of us (if not all) should know, hairstyles for women in the 18th century were just all over the place in, size, style, decoration, ridiculousness, etc. This is especially true for the end of the century. I am particularly interested in the late 1770s through the mid 90s aka mostly the 1780s (which unlike the 1980s was a good decade for fashion! hehe).

I've had my hair in a 1770s style before, during my time at Colonial Williamsburg  where we did the full powder, flowers, feathers, pearls get up that was way over dressed for my beloved 'spotted like stars' cotton nightgown from our '2 gowns in 2 days competition' (oh the mantua making memories..)

I've also done my own version of this for the historical fashion I co-produced as a part of my final project with my work placement during my course at the University of Glasgow. So, alright, I know how to do one of these. It's fun. Let's get moving on.

I really...really...really...dig the 1780s and early 90s. Like...really dig it. And for the masquerade Fredrik and I are going for the early 90s late 80s look (he's more early 90s I'm more late 80s I would wager). The fun part of getting dressed for 1700s fun is always doing the hair. It's such a challenge. I knew that I wanted and needed to do a 'hedgehog' style for my hair. The problem is, is that I wasn't 100% sure as to what I was doing, and how to achieve the right look without looking too 'costumey' I want my hair to look real. I like being in an 18th century reality as much as I can, not a 21st centuy woman dressed up like her ancestors. I did some light research, mostly based off of portraits and some reading I was able to do before I was denied access to UG's library. I have had a lot of experience curling my hair, for various halloweens and theatre productions through my youth. I know the perks of hot rollers, curling irons, and their downfalls. I however, last year, made a discovery at my local Target (The rest of the world suffers for their lack of Targets.) They're called pillow rollers or curlers or something, and they're nifty, they're these little cotton rollers that have little square sponges inside the cotton casing along with wires to secure them. There is no heat, no pain (depending on how tightly they're rolled...Fredrik's strong...let's put it that way, but it was to the benefit of the hair!) I've used these before with great results for a wedding updo and a halloween hair. I also decided that these would be the best for my 'hog do.

The other products in my aresenal are as follows: Hair wax of extreme strength. I've used Redken stuff before, and Garnier Fructise products. This time I used L'oréal: Studio: Indestructible Sculpting Wax that promises 'Strong Hold, Elastic Resistance'. The second product that I am officially in love with is L'oréal's Studio Indestructible Creation Spray which promises, 'Style Memorizing Technology/Creative and detailed structure and Extreme Hold and Elastic Resistance' It's like a mix of hairspray and hair product styler thing. I don't know, but it's cool as hell. Finally, Hairspray. The best and strongest you can get. I'm currently using Fredrik's Swedish version, but at home in America TIGI BedHead hairspray is the best hairspray, ever. (A hefty price tag, but totally worth it for serious updos, etc)

Finally, your 'righthand man' sorta speak is a teasing comb, with a pik ending. (after a while that's all you can get in there, the tooth teasing bit just gets...um...stuck...just take my word for it..)

Here is what I can promise, from my experience: No heat involved, but just a lot of time.

Alright now on to the tutorial!

Hedgehog Hairstyle-A Tutorial:

Before. To give you all an idea of the length and texture of my hair. Fine and med-long.

Step 1: This is the night before you need your 'hog. Just shower and wash your hair per normal. I mean, don't worry about having 'dirty' hair or anything like that, just wash condition, etc. Once you're out just comb your hair out and dry it with a towel...only a little bit. You just don't want sopping wet hair. From there I added a lot of hair wax to my damp hair and combed it through trying to make sure my hair was evenly coated with the product. Use as much as nessecary until you feel like your hair is covered to your satisfaction.

Step 2: I suggest you having a partner for this, willing or not. Call in a hair favor to your bff, roomy, or give your boyfriend/partner/husband no other option on the threatening of not having a costume to wear to the party (guess my option..muahahaha). Have them roll your hair in roughly 1 inch (2.54 cm) sections around the rollers. The tighter they roll it the tighter the curl. Leave a large section of hair (however large you want your 'long' part to be in the back) and once the hair is up in rollers, twist that section of hair into a bun and pin at the nape of the neck.

Step 3: Depending on the thickness of your hair and how quickly it dries, you might want to take a blast from the blow dryer. This is optional (thus sticking to my 'no heat' method). I was doing this before bed, so I opted to take a blast.

Step 4: Sleep. Chill. For hours. Lead your daily life as best you can before the party. You'll look ridiculous with those rollers in your hair so either come up with a way to cover them with a scarf or hat. I wear a black floppy knit hat..it looks a bit silly, but not as silly as going without. The longer you go with the rollers in your hair, the longer the results will last. I put my hair up around 10:30 pm the night before, and did not take my hair out of the rollers until around 3pm the next day.

Step 5: When it comes to being about time to fix your hair (give yourself an hour at least) take out the rolls keeping the curls in tact as best you can.


Step 6: After laughing at how stupid you look for a good 10 minutes, and having your partner or anyone else near you laugh at you, now it's time to start the serious part.  Get your hands full of hair wax, a nice coat, not clumpy just covered. That way if you're working with your hair you're not threatening to harm the curls etc (not like 12+ hours wont be your aid there). Flip your head over and just try and shake out your curls as best you can. This might be a bit difficult to do, but the point is, is start seperating all your tight little curls as best you can. This takes a lot longer than you think but it has to be done. You'll continuously be seperating thick curls throughout the teasing process. After doing this for a while your hair will look like this:

Step 7: Tease. Tease. Tease. Tease. Tease. The tightness of your curls will determine how frizzy your 'hog will become. My curls were so tight, that I had an extremely frizzy hog, which was very cool in comparison to the looser curls styles that seem to be easier to obtain in reenactor land. I literally teased for hours, but I think the next time I do this, it wont take as long simply because I know what the results will be and I can just go balls to the wall with the teasing. Make it as big as you want. If you look at images of women and their hair, any type of volume is permissble, even the amount of curl. Work with what is most flatter for you and what you are comfortable with. I have always been a fan of big hair so the bigger the 'hog, the happier I was.

When teasing, keep using the L'oréal creation spray to help hold the frizz and give your back combing something stickier to hold on too. Make you get actually spray into your roots, because once you start getting a nice 'fro it becomes difficult to actually get spray on anything other than the top layer. This will not be good later in the event you're attending as you will start to lose oomph, etc. Spray and tease, repeat. After a while, the teasing comb will be dangerous and you'll start using the pik instead. Just keep working and shaping your hair until you are satisfied. Don't forget to actually do the top and back of your head. It's easy to work on your sides, but don't forget those. Having 2 mirrors will be helpful just to check your progress. I didn't have these and it would have been helpful.

Step 8: After you reach your desired fullness, etc of your 'hog, take out your tail and shape and spray heavily. I had a bit too much wax on my hair, so it's a bit piecey. However the curl was perfect and the wax held up to it's word of elastic resistance and strong hold. Then, I sprayed the crap out of it with hairspray. You don't want it to go limp at the end of the night.

Step 9: Finish by unloading a ton of hairspray on your hog-making sure you're getting into the roots of your hair, etc. Not just the top layer! If you're going to powder your hair, I would probably do that with a layer of hair powder, hairspray, some more powder, some more hairspray. However, if you have never given bumble and bumble spray hair powder a chance, I would look into it. It is what I used for hair powder in the picture above and it adds an extra hold to your do. It's expensive, but it's easy and looks good.

Ta Da! You have a frizzy, edgy, hedgehog!



I changed into my shift and played around with my black ribbon to give an overall better visual effect instead of wearing my t-shirt and cardigan. I'm very pleased with the overall outcome of my hair, and there was no heat or hair pieces needed. You really only need your hair and some serious patience and product!

Any feedback would be appreciated and if anyone has any further tips feel free to post them here!



  1. Wow that is pretty awesome to see your hair before and after.

    I sometimes use the diffuser on the hairdryer after keeping my hair in two tight buns for a day. It really then poofs my hair out.

  2. Amazing! Great job. Thanks for an awesome tutorial. You look marvelous!


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