24 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK: Beachy Waves

  1. Beachy Waves in period film look glaringly out of place. Not only bc they’re out of period but I want to yank them up with Bobby pins and put proper head gear on them. Like biggins, hats, wimples or worn up.

    Beachy Waves is the poly baroque satin/panne velvet of period film hair.

  2. My 2nd ex could look at any period movie and tell you in 10 seconds what year the film was made because of the hair and makeup. “Dangerous Liaisons” might have been an exception.

  3. Those “ladies” in the Wilton diptych are actually angels. I’m not sure you want to base an argument on their appearance.

    1. That’s the point — you have to go to mythical/religious/not actual people images to find ANYTHING like the long curls/waves you get in so many of these films, and even then, the curl/wave pattern isn’t the same.

    2. Thank you! Angels weren’t portrayed as female until the 19th century. Religiously, they were considered genderless and were portrayed with neither obviously male nor female features.

  4. Yeah, hair continues to be something many directors and designers just can’t face doing the historical way, even if otherwise they’re decent on the historical look. It totally is the sort of thing where you can date the production very easily by hair and makeup. I mean, I get it—I strongly dislike some of the historical hair styles. But… you can probably find some way to make it better.

    I did really love little women but apparently Gerwig was like, this communicates bohemian, and I hate bonnets… Girl, you’re so talented and attuned to so many things.. why you gotta hate on the historical reality?

      1. She clearly loves the original novel, so bonnets were no impediment to making it? And as the director she just stopped them. I am a hat wearer myself and I like bonnets, but I can understand how they’d be annoying. Still, there should’ve been more hats, even if the principals were hatless Bohemians… but they also should’ve had their hair up more. So… many things I loved about it, but costumes and hair were disappointing.

  5. The second Catherine Howard photo (from The Tudors) is one of the few examples of where you would see it in period “in public” – a queen wearing her crown and no veil. (And yes, it was a callback to depictions of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven.)

    It would have been neatened up/styled to impress though as you note in the portrait of Isabella, and it was for more special occasions.

    Just about everyone else needs hairpins.

  6. To be fair, the series Isabella later picture the Queen with the sypical veil, and all her hair and neck covered. She even wears a cap when she is at bed

  7. Yes! Historical hair done well helps us see the character in their time better. Beachy waves = fail.

    After watching Anne of Green Gables, I loved the idea of excitedly waiting to turn 16 so you could wear your hair up. And I love the wild and wacky 1830s hairstyles from Wives and Daughters.

    As someone with thick, past-waist-length hair, I cringe to think of a middle class woman in basically any historical time period doing chores or going out with her hair just down and loose. My hair gets so knotty and unmanageable if I don’t have it up or at least in a neat braid.

    1. “As someone with thick, past-waist-length hair, I cringe to think of a middle class woman in basically any historical time period doing chores or going out with her hair just down and loose. My hair gets so knotty and unmanageable if I don’t have it up or at least in a neat braid.”

      It’s like watching cooking shows with women chefs who won’t tie their long hair back. I always cringe watching them cook with their hair hanging loose over their pans and mixing bowls.

    2. I have almost waist-length hair, and I usually wear it in one or two braids. I rarely wear it down, and when I do, I last an hour or two before it annoys me and I braid it again. I don’t put it up as often, since I’m still figuring out how to do that without giving myself a headache, and most mornings I don’t have the time or patience to mess with it, but I definitely don’t like leaving it down all the time. It catches on things, it gets in my face…I like having long hair because it means I can braid it out of the way–when I had shorter hair for a while, it eventually irritated me that I couldn’t put it up or back the same way.

      1. Old timey ladies weren’t stupid, they knew loose hanging hair and cooking over open fires didn’t go together. Not to mention, cleaning and child care. Hair up and covered was safer and tidier.

  8. I feel compelled to mention that wavy/curly hair with straighter roots doesn’t always indicate intentional beachy waves, or artificial curls in general. My own wavy/curly hair has a tendency to be straighter at the roots the longer it gets, although the obvious cowlick and curls around my forehead and center part should be enough to indicate it’s a natural curl. It’s probably a matter of the weight pulling out some of the curl higher up, and it’s pretty common in general with curl type 2As and 2Bs (wavy to wavy-curly fine-textured hair). So yes, that mess on top of my head? All mine, and all natural, God (and Shea Moisture curling milk) help me.

    But most of the examples shown here? Yeah…not natural, and, of course, a severe Lack of Hairpins/styling in general. sigh

    1. Agreed! I have longish 2b hair, about as close to ‘natural’ beach waves as I think you can get, and my hair is pretty flat until around ear height. The images from “Banished” and “Nightfall” look reasonably like my natural hair texture, while the image from “The Tudors” of Katherine Howard looks more artificial to my eye.

      The point still stands that they should all have their hair tied back, though!

  9. Orson Welles once said you could tell what year a historical movie was filmed because no actresses would allow themselves to be clothed or coiffed in accurate period fashions. I still smile at Vivien Leigh’s 1940’s shoulder pads in “That Hamilton Woman” that was set in 1795-1815.

    1. Orson Welles should have known better (if he actually said that) — it was the studios (the farther back you go), the directors (& he was one of ’em), & the costume designers, far more than the actresses themselves. Under the Hollywood studio system, actors had little choice of what to wear on or off-screen! They were a totally packaged product.

  10. Much talk about out brushed hair, but when did the hair brush actually show up? I know of loads of finds of combs from 1000s of years ago, but brushes?

    1. This was going to be my question, too! Definitely no hairbrushes in medieval Western Europe. That is the limits of my knowledge, though.

  11. Fun fact: When I was getting my hair cut, the hairdresser asked if I wanted “Beachy waves”. I was so used to seeing them as a bad thing from this site that I almost said no automatically.

  12. Dont even get me started on Grace from Peaky Blinders! It’s called a hair curler. Use it!!!!

  13. i think the theory is that, when the hair is taken out in a casual or relaxed setting, it has retained it’s wave from being plaited and under a hood ( in tudor examples ) while in 20th century examples, particularily the 1910s and 20s, curls would be retained from being crimped, waved or plaited.

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