Star Wars Franchise: Working With Synthetic Braiding Hair

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.

Hair Color:

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.)

Hair Texture:

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.

Tangling:

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.

Washing:

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:

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.

Resources:

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The Empire Strikes Back: Bespin/Cloud City: Leia Hairstyle

Breakdown:

Leia’s Bespin hair consists of a bun with two looped braids tucked underneath the bun, this hair style is most likely achieve with the addition of hair pieces and or hair extensions. This style is not hard to do, however, most tutorials don’t have the right preparations, even if they have good technique, to get the right volume and length most people will need to use synthetic extensions.

Bun:

Leia’s hair does not have a part of any kind; it is smoothed back into the style,

Bespin Leia hair 11
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: No Part)

Leia’s bun is a medium sized bun of un-braided hair that is wrapped into a bun with the ends hidden within the bun. Follow the numbers from 1 to 5 to see the wrapping pattern of the hair.

Bespin Leia hair 1
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Bun Wrapped Pattern)
Bespin Leia hair 2
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Follow 1-5)

The bottom edge of her bun is roughly in line with just above Leia’s eyebrow however, this sill chance from Leia to Leia.

Bespin Leia hair 7
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Bottom of Bun in Line With Eyebrow)

The top of Leia’s bun is roughly in line with the crown of her head, Leia’s bun should not be higher than the top of her head.

Bespin Leia hair 4
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Bun Top in Line With Top of Head)

Leia’s bun is placed in the center of her head; the width of her bun leaves an inch and a half at least on either side of her head. (Note: that a hair net matched to hair color should be put over the bun to finish it.)

bespin leia 18
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Bun Width)

Braids:

Leia has two, English, or three strand, braids that loop from underneath her bun, the braids come out from the sides of Leia’s buns, this is important, as there are several inches left between Leia’s braids.

Bespin Leia hair 13
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Braids Come Out From Under the Bun)
Bespin Leia 17
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Several Inches Between Braids, Braids Come Out From the Sides)

The bottom edge of the looped braids comes down to just above Leia’s shoulders. (Note: that Leia’s braids need to be about an inch in width if not a little more. They should also be a consistent width all the way through.)

Bespin Leia hair 3
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Bottom of Braids Comes Down to Shoulders)
Bespin Leia hair 6
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Bottom Of Braids Comes Down to Shoulders)

Curls:

To finish off this style, Leia has the hair in front of her ears are curled into a soft spiral curl, note: that these curls can be a little longer or shorter than the bottom of Leia’s ear lobe, however, they should not be much longer than this.

Bespin Leia hair 14
(TESB: Bespin Leia Hair: Curl in Front of Ear)

DIY: Bespin Leia Hair:

Version – 1:

Follow the steps in the video links, (Note: that this tutorial needs tweaking to be movie accurate.) Put your own hair into a ponytail on the crown of your head, if your hair is long enough leave it out to make the bun, if not then make sure to add in some synthetic hair to make the bun large enough.

Take synthetic pre-braided hair in a long enough length to loop down to the top of the shoulders. Pin this hair on the top of the ponytail, and loop the braids as shown in the video, however, make sure to loop them down to the top of the shoulders. (Also: make sure that the braids on hanging down from the sides, this is easy to achieve by pinning on the top of the ponytail, there should be several inches between the loops.) Hid the ends under the bun, make sure to wrap the bun following the pattern in the above picture with numbers. Make sure to position the bun in line with the top of the eyebrows and the head, also make sure that the bun is not too big. Finish the look with a hair net.

(Note: this video link has a bun that is note wrapped the right way and is too big, it also has loops that are too short and the braids need to be a little wider, it also leaves out the ear curls. However, the technique is good for achieving a movie accurate hair style.)

 

 

Version – 2:

Wigs:

If you are using a wig you may not need to add in any extra hair, follow the steps above with your wig hair to achieve the right look.

Version – 3:

Hair Pieces:

Like with End Ceremony Leia, you could make a hair piece that you pin on over your own hair, make sure to follow the proportions indicated in the pictures. If you have long enough hair you can add a little synthetic hair into your own to make the right width and use your own hair to make the loops and use a clip in or pin on bun (See Links.)

Things You’ll Need:

Links To Other Methods:

Tips and Techniques: Sewing Faux Fur

There are several costumes in Star Wars that require fur, faux fur specifically; the most notable are the Ewoks. Less noticeable is Queen Amidala’s Red Invasion gown from [The Phantom Menace], as well as the cape that goes with Amidala’s Senate Address gown from the same movie.

DIY: Video Tips and Techniques

Other Costuming Help Websites

The Padawan’s Guide (This link is resource to brake downs of the Star Wars costumes.)

Star Wars Fit For A Queen (This link is a resource for the costumes of Queen Amidala and her Handmaidens plus more.)

Rebel Legion (this link is a resource for all Rebel Alliance costuming and more.)

501st Legion: Vader’s First (This link is a resource for all Imperial costuming and more.)

The Dented Helmet  (This is a resource for specifically costuming Boba Fett and other Star Wars costumes.)

Cap-That.Com (This is a resource for good high-quality images of Stat Wars media.)