Hair is one of the most stunning pieces of costuming in the Star Wars franchise, however, sometimes working with synthetic hair can be difficult. Here are some suggestions that might make working with synthetic hair easier.
Why Synthetic Hair?:
Synesthetic hair is a better option for making hair pieces for achieve Star Wars hair styles then human hair in most cases. Often times human hair is unethically sourced so avoiding it is a good idea, unless you know it’s origins. That said, if your human hair can he ethically sourced then it can also work well, however, it is always going to be a less affordable option.
Some articles that break down the ethical issues of human hair extensions
Synthetic hair is also more affordable, for many of the hairstyles in Star Wars a lot of hair is required, and that can become very expensive. Synthetic hair like Kenekalon Braiding Hair and other brands like it are typically a more affordable option when buying a lot of hair. Synesthetic hair can also hold up longer then human hair when taken care of
Another alternative to human hair is horse hair, buying horse hair extensions, they are less affordable and depending on the sealer may also be unethically sourced. However, as an option, the hair is natural and looks so.
Weight, real human hair can be heavy, synthetic hair is often times lighter weight then real hair and can be worn longer because of this.
Styling products, when styling with synthetic hair, styling products such as hair spray or moose, are not needed, because the hairs are all the same length unless altered there are few if any fly-always that need to be smoothed.
When using synesthetic hair for a costuming it can be hard to find a matching color, this is partly due to the fact that natural hair is not one color, humans have several different colors making up teach individuals hair including high-light and low-lights. Synesthetic hair is typically one color, and it’s hard to match and make it look natural right out of the package. For a more natural look blending 2 too 3 colors of hair together will help, see video for tutorial on blending. (Note: for making hair look more natural, using more of the base color and chose a smaller amount of your high-lights and low-lights.)
2 of the main textures for synesthetic hair are natural or yaki and silky, both will work great, however, most Star Wars hairstyles in the movies use a silky finish, this is not as important when doing a hairstyle such as Classic Leia (a.k.a Political Gown Leia), however, most of the headdresses that Queen Amidala wears require silky hair finish to be used, such as her Red Invasion Gown headdress.
Synesthetic hair can tangle easily, so to untangle it start by brushing or combing depending on the need, at the ends and slowly working up the tail of the hair. Starting at the top and going to the ends will only make the tangling worse and more difficult to get out. Sometimes using fingers to come the hair can be easier then a brush, and if using a brush a wig brush would probably work better then a normal hair brush. For general untangling and styling a wide toothed come works grate.
For some people synthetic hair can be itchy right out of the package, to remove the coating the hair comes with make a bath or water and vinegar and let the hair sock a while, then rinse and let dry. This processes might be easiest if the hair is still in its loosely braided form that it comes in right out of the package.
Storing the synthetic hair for reuse, put a fabric covered elastic at the center of the hair bundle and loosely braid the hair. Coil the braid into a circle and place inside a hairnet. See Alexa Poletti’s video on storing wigs.
According to Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy, Luke’s puttees or leg wrappings are made out of soft suede. and unlike WWI puttees, Luke’s leg wraps do not appear to be held in place by a ribbon tape, instead double sided adhesive tape may have been used.
Luke in the New Expanded Universe movies, The Force Awakens, wears what appear to be short puttees. Short puttees typically go around the ankle, Luke’s appear to go a little higher then short puttees usually go, but they are not full length or long puttees.
What Are Puttees:
Puttees are a wrapping around the lower legs that became very common for militaries to wear at the turn of the nineteenth century. There are two kinds of puttees, long (that wrapped all the way up from the ankle to the knee) and short puttees (that only wrapped around the ankle and a little up the calf.) The long Puttees that were worn during the turn of the nineteenth century were roughly 3 ½” to 4” in width and around 9 ft. long. Puttees help keep the elements out of boots while also protecting and supporting legs.
Blood Stripes appear in several Star Wars costumes (blood strips are the different colored stripes that go down the sides of paints.) The stripes appear in all of Han Solo’s costumes, which is likely why in the Legends EU, they are called Corellian Blood Stripes.
However, blood stripes also appear on Leia’s Commando outfit in (ROTJ), Luke’s end metal ceremony pants in (ANH) and also in the battle handmaiden outfit that Padmé as well as her handmaidens wears in (TPM).
Typically blood stripes are made out of one continuous piece of fabric; this is how the stripes on Leia’s commando pants are done. However, Han’s stripes are done differently, instead of being a single stripe of fabric; Han’s stripes are actually embroidered in a dashed line.
Blood Stripes Tutorial:
Though sewing would be more secure, this method would also be a good one for Leia’s Endor Commando Pants. Leia’s Endor Commando Pants have a traditional blood stripe that is one continuous contrasting color. Whereas Han’s are an embroidered dashes line and this method would not work for them.
“Silk crepe de chine, from the French “crepe of China”, is a famously versatile silk, possessing a very glossy luster and a subtle texture, as well as a surprisingly light weight and truly excellent drape. The fabric, slightly more textured than silk 4-ply woven crepe, is made with tightly twisted weft yarns, or filling, running in reverse directions from left to right. These twisted yarns produce both the crepe texture of the material and its flexible drape. Silk crepe de chine is probably the most durable of cultivated silks – those woven of single, reeled strands – and is found to be exceedingly even and uniform in texture. Silk crepe de chine is popular for bridal and formal evening wear, and also works well in blouses and men’s shirts. Also used in home décor, the fabric lends a light and luxurious feel to any project. Silk crepe de chine is also an exceptionally forgivable silk when it comes to sewing, as it takes thread well and will typically not fray overly when cut. Dry cleaning is the recommended method of care for this fabric”.
The body of Leia’s political dress is very simple; the dress seems to be cut out on a ‘T’ pattern, the fabric being folded in half fully length ways and then again width ways.
Because of the way the fabric is folded before cutting there are only 2 seems one on ether sides. There is no front or back seems, there are also no shoulder seems and no seem on the top of the sleeves. There are really only 4 seems on Leia’s dress, the 2 side seems which are continuous up through the underside of the sleeves, 1 seem for the collar and the seem for the keyhole back opening.
The side seems are left open from about the knee down, to allow for ease of movement, this split in the dress does no go any high then Leia’s knee, (roughly just below the knee cap).
Leia’s political dress is self lined, meaning that the same fabric that was used to make the dress is used to line it. Leia’s dress has the raw seams enclosed between the lining and the body of the dress.
The bottom hem of the dress comes down to break at the top of Leia’s foot and is a folded hem that is secured down with invisible stitching, possibly sewn by hand.
The top of Leia’s dress is blouses and appears to have elastic ruching used to gather in the waist. (Sadly there are no pockets).
Though different necklines where plaid around with in the concept art faze for Leia’s political dress, the approved design has a turtleneck collar (possibly more of a mock-turtleneck since it does not fold over). This turtleneck collar closed in the back with what appear to be hooks and eyes that are sewn on the inside of the collar so they are not visible from the outside.
Princess Leia’s political dress closes with a series of hooks and eyes closer at the neck, and a keyhole back opening. This opening is more or less a strait cut opening down the center back that goes no lower than mid shoulder blade.
Leia’s hood is made out of a single layer of crepe de chine (so it’s not lined), the hood comes down to roughly just below the top of Leia’s hips. The hood seems to be likely cut out on a trapezoid shape and gathered on the edges before being sewn under the collar.
The hood is attached under the turtleneck collar and the hoods hem is a rolled hem which is stitched down by hand with an invisible stitch. The hood is also left open in the back and is not a closed hood, the fabric for the most part lays over the top of the head.
Leia’s political dress has open wide cut sleeves, Leia’s sleeves at the widest point, the wrist, appear to be more than 14” long (Pam’s Costumes: suggests 14″ inches in length for the sleeves). The image below shows Leia’s hand at shoulder level and the sleeves drops down to roughly Leia’s waist. (Perspective in the image has to be taken into account when figuring out the proper length of the sleeve.)
Note: that for movies there are lots of the same costume made, and often times those used during action sequences will have shorter hems and less full skirts and sleeves. It is likely then that Leia’s dress will appear slightly different throughout the movie and promo stills.
There are no shoulder seems or seems on the top of the sleeves, [some of the patterns that were released had raglan sleeves; however, this is not how the screen dress is constructed]. Since the dress is cut out on a ‘T’ pattern, the only seems that exists are on the underside of the sleeves where it’s the continuation of the single body seem on the side of the dress.
Leia’s political dress belt was made to have a medieval look, the belt itself is made out of leather with aluminum medallions. Leia’s belt also has a clear line of stitching around the entire border.
There are 7 to 8 medallions depending on the belt (the belt worn in ANH has more medallions then the belt worn in ESB). There are 6 to 7 rectangular medallions and 1 center diamond medallion (though more rectangular medallions can be added as needed as long as there evenly spaced). The medallions are made out of aluminum and snaps are used to close the belt in the back. In some versions of the belt, such as the one worn in ANH, a medallion covers up the snap closure, however, the belt worn in ESB appears to only have 7 medallions, leaving the snaps uncovered. (This picture pattern below for the medallions is a rough pattern and may have to be adjusted for each individual Leia, figuring out proportions helps.)
(Note: crepe de chine is most likely the fabric used for the dress, as the other construction details in Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy seems to check out with what is known about the dress from other sources.)
Leia’s end ceremony hair is rather simple and can be achieved in several different ways to get a movie accurate look.
Leia’s hair is pulled back into a high ponytail on the crown of her head, the tail is braided in a three strand or English braid. The tail of the braid that hangs down Leia’s back should have at least 6” to 12” inches left un-braided.
The bun has three English braids wrapped around the outside, the bun is very large, the bottom edge towards the back of the head starts around the top of Leia’s ears.
the height of the bun is roughly 5” inches, measuring from the crown of the head to the top of the ears is about the same height as the bun. Play around with it to see what looks best for each individual Leia, in some cases this measurement may exceed 5″ inches, but it is advised to keep the height of the bun 5″ inches or under. The Bun is also clearly viable over the top of Leia’s head and the width of the bun does not go past the edge of Leia’s head, and infarct is smaller then the width of Leai’s head.
DIY Leia’s End Ceremony Hair:
This hair style will need hair help, for shoulder length and long hair two packages of synthetic braiding hair can be used to achieve this look.
It is important to note that often the techniques used in the tutorials for Star Wars hair are good, however, often times the proportion are wrong for movie accurate hair.
Version – 1:
Put your hair into a ponytail on the crown of your head; add some synthetic braiding hair into the ponytail and braid. All of Leia’s braids are think and the width if even all the way through, the 82” synthetic hair might work better for adding the right length to the braid down the back. Make or buy a clip on bun, make it by taking two hair daunts and sewing or gluing them one on top of the other. Cover your clip on bun with the hair and stitch the three braids around the hiding the ends inside the clip on bun. Once finished, clip the bun over the top of your long braid that hangs down your back and you’re all done. If you’re using a wig then putting the hair into a long braid and adding a clip on bun would work well, for security it’s recommend sewing instead of gluing the when attaching the built items in this style.
Version – 2:
Follow the steps in the video tutorial above, however, the style needs tweaking, the hair is not long enough so make sure to use the right length of hair to achieve the look. It might be a good idea to use the 82” synthetic hair, or, if you have short hair and can’t make as large of a bun braid only half of a bundle of synthetic hair, use the unbraided half to make your bun larger and then wrap t he braided half around to make the first of three braids. To make the braid that hangs down the back, use a separate bundle of synthetic hair that is the right length and pin it to the bun before wrapping the three braids around the bun.
Another video tutorial, has a similar technique the the tutorial above, and like the above mentioned style needs adjusted to be movie accurate. However, the technique has helpful methods.
Version – 3:
Follow the steps of the video tutorial above, only make sure to smooth out the hair, and to get the right volume and length consider adding in a second bundle of synthetic braiding hair. One for the braid that hangs down Leia’s back, and another bundle to split into three and wrap around the bun.
Remember that in all of these ways of making this hair style, a hair net should be placed over the bun. The hair should also be smooth as possible and try and keep the volume and length as close to movie accurate as possible.
All Lucas era Star Wars movie makeup generally follows two trends, it is semi reflective on current trends (in the time period that the film is made) and it is more or less in the natural/neutral rang.
Below are the approximations of what Leia’s makeup was like in A New Hope, from analysis of the photos. These are the basics of Leia’s makeup and can certainly be plaid around with to get the perfect look for each individual Leia. This is a general guide line for movie accurate Leia makeup colors and application. (Note: Leia wears the same makeup throughout the entirety of A New Hope.)
(Note: Leia’s makeup is done using 1970’s makeup techniques so applying it will be a little different then most people may be used to.) Links at the bottom.
Leia’s foundation is done in a very natural way, and any average well color matched foundation with a setting powder over top should work well, if needed use a little concealer. The key here is to keep it light and as natural looking as possible.
It is also relevant to mention that there are most likely high-lights and low-lights added to the makeup for the purposes of movie magic which aren’t important to cover for the average Leia. (Note: Leia does not have any significant contouring in her makeup.)
Leia’s eye-shadow is more or less blush-pink, the shadow is only applied to the back of the lid up to the socket and eye crease. (no smoky eye for Leia).
(Note: the color of Leia’s eye shadow is blush pink but the shade is an acid pink color in the movie, however, other tones may have be to plaid around with for each individual Leia’s makeup.)
(Note: According to Vintage Makeup Guide in 1978 “The new trick – think of your cheek colour as an eye colour.”)
Above the eye crease and below the eye-brow there appears to be a light taupe color on the brow bone.
(The brown/taupe eye-shadow tone is a dusty and warm color in shade and tone, again like with all of Leia’s makeup the colors that are used in the movies may not work well for every Leia, and there may have to be some adjustment in color and tone for each individual Leia.)
The lighter line that sometimes appears above the black eye-liner on Leia’s makeup is most likely caused by the edge of the black eye-line blending slightly with the eye-shadow. (From applying the makeup it seems this is the most likely reason for this appearance in the makeup sometimes.)
(However, white eyeliner was sometimes used in the 1970’s. “White eyeliner worn directly behind black…” ~ Hair & Makeup Artist Handbook) however, this dose not appear to be the case in Leia’s makeup it is important to understand makeup trends from the time period in which the movies where made.)
A powder eye-shadow for both is most likely, however, creams where also used in the 1970’s.
The eyeliner that Leia wears appears to be black, though brown would also work; a very, very thin line of eyeliner is applied to the top lid, that is later almost completely covered by mascara. Below the lower lashes a thin line of eyeliner is applied under the eyelashes, (Note: eyeliner is not on the water line, but below the lashes). The liner does not extend all the way to the tear duct, but instead stopped close to 2/3rd of the way to the duct.
(Note: Leia’s eyeliner dose not have a wing or anything fancy, it is simple eyeliner that runs along the lashes both above and below.)
(Note: The light or white color that may appear on Leia’s eyelid could be white eyeliner. “White eyeliner worn directly behind black…” ~ Hair & Makeup Artist Handbook)
(Note: Black mascara is worn on the lashes, which are natural look lashes, nothing special or extra.)
An eyeliner pencil is most likely, (liquid eyeliner is general glossy and would not be as accurate.)
Leia’s blush is close to, if not the same color as, her eye-shadow, the blush is applied to the entire apple of the cheek. In one large oval section from the cheek bone to the apple of the cheek, keeping at least two finger widths away from the mouth.
(Note: According to Vintage Makeup Guide in 1978 “The new trick – think of your cheek colour as an eye colour.”) this may explain why Leia’s eyeshadow and blush are similar in color.
Powder blush, though cream was also used at the time
A ruby pink lipstick with a slight gloss to it, the line follows the natural outline of the lip, overdrawing the lips was not done for Leia’s makeup.
Regular semi gloss lipstick in the right color,
A non glossy lipstick in the right color with a clear gloss over the top
A good material to use for Leia’s belt medallions is aluminum flashing, it is inexpensive, (around 6.00$ for a 6X10 roll). The Flashing can be cut easily with hand scissors, and requires little or no sanding to finish.
The round center part of the medallion can be made with cover buttons, (these are buttons that you cover with fabric yourself, however, when left uncovered they make good centers for the belt medallions.) Pam’s Costumes says that 1 1/8” size works well. The Costumes and Art Work blog, uses thread and a curved needle with a backing button to go through the cover button shank to attach the cover buttons to the medallions. Pam’s Costumes, used epoxy glue to attach the cover buttons, she removed the shanks and filled the backs with resin, hot glue could make a good alternative for filling the backs.
One of the common myths about hairstyles in the Star Wars universe is that these intricate styles are achieved with a person’s own natural (often times long and thick) hair. In reality a combination of wigs, hair pieces and hair extensions, among other techniques, where used to give the length and volume needed for these styles. Princess Leia’s and Queen Amidala/Padmé’s hairstyles are commonly attributed to this myth. However, both Leia’s and Padmé’s hair is achieved through the for mentioned hair help. Within universe the characters achieve these hairstyles with wigs, hair filler and forms among means other than their own natural hair. In [Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Season: 3 Episode: 11, Pursuit of Peace,] a short scene near the end of the episode shows Padmé talking with her handmaiden Teckla Minnau. In the scene Teckla is holding Padmé’s senatorial wig/headdress which Padmé wears with her (blue and gold) senate dress from the Clone Wars TV show.
A behind the scene photo of Padmé’s [Star Wars: ThePhantom Menace] (black Coruscant) wig/headdress from [Padawan’s Guide] shows that the wearers real hair is tucked beneath the wig/headdress.
The hair in Star Wars is some of the most fantastic hair in Sci-Fi, possibly the most famous hairstyle is Princess Leia’s classic cinnamon buns from Episode IV A Hew Hope. A common myth about these buns, (as well as most of the hairstyles in Star Wars) is that they are achieved with Leia’s own naturally long hair. This of course if a myth, (Carrie Fisher) had short hair while filming Star Wars, Leia’s buns are most likely achieved through hair extensions. The volume and length required for Leia’s buns are almost impossible to achieve without hair extension.
Breakdown of Leia’s Buns:
A breakdown of Leia’s cinnamon buns reveals that they are not likely to be a wig or a hair piece. The shape and placement of Leia’s buns change almost every scene, although only slightly, and the hair can be seen coming unraveled after action scenes. Also note that the hair of Leia’s buns are slightly different color then (Carrie Fisher’s). The shapes of the buns also change from very round, to slightly oval throughout the movie.
When the buns are more oval this is because the tail of the bun is starting to come out from behind the other coils. Or sometimes it has been pinned in that shape instead of a round shape. Leia’s buns are twisted and coiled in one layer into a large bun that is shaped like a snail’s shell (fallow the numbers from 1 outwards.) Leia’s buns covers the entire ear and almost none of the check.
Leia’s buns are also pined flat against her head; there is no space between the hair and the side of her head.
The placement of Leia’s buns as seen in the images above have the top edge of the bun come to about an inch above Leia’s temple. The lower edge of Leia’s bun comes down to about the bottom on her lower lip, (though this changes slightly throughout A New Hope, depending on the scene). The center of Leia’s buns starts roughly around eye height and behind the shell of her ear.
The part of Leia’s hair goes from the center (or very slightly off center) to the base of her neck in one strait line. (Note: that all of these aspects of Leia’s buns will change slightly from person to person.)
(Methods That Should Not Be Used For Movie Accurate Buns:)
Buns on the back of the head,
Buns that are above or behind the ears,
Braided buns/braided hair,
Buns that cover the cheeks,
Buns that have multiple coiled layers,
Hair with visible bangs,
Hair that is parted on the side (or other then center),
Buns that have not been twisted before coiling,
Buns that are not smooth.
(Note: that all of the above mentioned don’t method for Leia’s buns are specifically for making movie accurate buns, and are all fine methods for Leia inspired buns.)
DIY Application of Leia’s Buns:
To achieve Leia’s buns there are many methods, (Kayley Melissa’s) video tutorial shows one of the best ways to achieve Leia’s buns in a movie accurate style.
Tips When Using Kayley Melissa’s Method:
Before putting the natural hair into an elastic tie use hair spray from 10” away to coat the hair and brush through, this will keep the hair smoother with less frizzing. (Note: that all hairspray should be used from a distance of about 10” for best results when a little flexibility is desired.) (Also Note: that hairspray should not be used on the synthetic hair.)
The kind of pins that should be used in this style are large hair pins, there are a lot of pins for hair out there but large hair pins will work the best.When the buns are pined in place use bobby pins to tuck any stray hair that might need it, (this may happen more with shorter hair). Then add a hair nets over the top of the buns to finish the look.
(Note: that Kanekalon hair tangles easily when loosed from the ties and packaging and should be handled with care.)
(Note: Kanekalon hair tangles easily when combed, if the hair needs untangled, gently finger comb until more smooth.)