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Barrel Curls: Casey Updo Look #1


Barrel Curls - Before Image

Barrel Curls - Before Image All Rights Reserved

An array of big beautiful barrel curls nestle elegantly into the back of this elegant and classic updo style.

This spectacular hairstyle combines sensual full volume near the hairline and crown and is embellished with a circle of perfectly formed fat round barrel curls.

Any hair which has a tendency to be stick straight can be fashioned into a similar fat curl style with the proper styling products and hot tools. Thin or fine hair may require extensions or pin-on tresses.

Getting Started Notes

Barrel Curls - Finished View #1

Barrel Curls - Finished View #1 All Rights Reserved

Casey’s naturally fine straight hair falls to her mid-back. This dressy style could be modified to work with medium to thick tresses which range from shoulder length to waist length.

The key to this curl enhanced hair design is to have enough thickness of hair to allow for a series of thickly rolled barrel curls to cluster in the back.

This style would work well for hair that is naturally straight or has been permanently or temporarily straightened before this style is attempted.

Barrel Curls - Finished Back View

Barrel Curls - Finished Back View All Rights Reserved

Short hair lengths could be transformed into this style through hair extensions or the temporary use of clip-on tresses.

Although Casey’s style was designed with a side swept fringe and a small angled part to show off her beautiful oval shaped face and gorgeous eyes, a variety of different parts and bangs could easily be incorporated into a customized version. This style could also be worn without either.

The style was created on previously washed, dried hair that was “aged” so that the hair’s natural oils had time to build up slightly.

Natural hair oils help the updo hold tighter and last longer.

Mei Fa - Hairstyx™ - Anniversary 4" Hairsticks - (Set of 2)Keep in mind that freshly washed hair may be overly soft and slippery, making it challenging to style.

If you prefer to work with newly washed hair limit your use of conditioners or other products that make strands slippery soft.

Before you start make sure that you have all the proper tools including plenty of hairpins, a good brush and comb. (Hairstyx from the Mei Fa Collection at

If you wish to add hair accessories be sure you have them ready to be added to the style at the end.

Barrel Curls - In Progress #1

Barrel Curls - In Progress #1 All Rights Reserved

Remember to use good styling creams, gels, sprays or similar products to give hair instant texture and stylability.

While less may be more, when it comes to creating dressy updo related styles, too little may not enough.

While this style might be accomplished at home with the help of some talented friends or family members, because the back involves the creation of fat curls, when in doubt, ask your stylist to craft the style for you.

If you do decide to do the style at home be sure to have several practice runs before the night of the big hair event.

Instructions - Steps To Create

1. Begin by using a soft boar’s head brush or similar natural bristle brush to make sure that all knots and tangles are completely removed from all strands.

2. Working from side to side with individual sections that are about 1 to 2 inches in thickness, smooth all of the hair with a hot flat iron.

Allow hair to cool completely before proceeding. Use a volumizing spray and apply to each individual section lightly. Then run a traditional or ceramic barreled flat iron through the tresses to straighten.

Barrel Curls - In Progress Front View

Barrel Curls - Front View All Rights Reserved

After you run the iron through each section the “hair will get sort of crunchy and flat, flat, flat” according to Robert.

If you elevate each piece high above the ears while ironing it you will achieve a super straight effect with lots of volume on the ends, which is one of Robert’s straightening secrets that he uses on his many celebrity clients.

Note: Super Volumizing Tonic is actually very good for your hair because it contains no alcohol and lots of Vitamin B. It also adds instant shine and manageability.

3. Using a rattail comb or brush, part off a section of fringe hair from the rest of the crown section. Clip out of the way.

4. Using your hands in conjunction with a comb or brush, gather a small section of hair approximately 4 inches in thickness at the top of the crown in the back section.

5. Hold the ends of the new section straight out from the scalp with one hand. Use a fine-toothed comb or small brush with the other hand to backcomb the hair towards the base in sharp sweeping strokes.

Barrel Curls - Ponytail

Barrel Curls - Ponytail All Rights Reserved

6. With the other hand, run the comb down the length of the hair from the end towards the scalp in short sharp strokes. Continue to backcomb the section until the desired volume is achieved. Spray this teased section with a firm hold hairspray. Note: Backcombing should only be done for special events since the teasing of tresses can be stressful or potentially damaging for the ends.

7. Once the first section is completely teased, pick up the next section of hair and repeat the process until all of the back hair has been completely backcombed.

8. Use a firm hairspray to completely spray all of the teased hair.

9. Using both hands carefully smooth the teased hair making sure there is a lot of height at the crown.

10. Brush hair smoothly back from the hairline. Using your hands in conjunction with the brush, gather the back section of hair up into a mid-back ponytail making sure that the top section of the crown is pushed up to maintain maximum fullness and volume.

11. Secure the ponytail with a “hair friendly” Blax, Bungee or other elastic band. The gathered base of the ponytail should rest approximately 6-8" up from the base of the head.

12. Position bobby pins in the same hue as the hair around the outside of the base to act as an anchor for future barrel curls.

13. Starting at the top of the ponytail near the base, lift a 2-4” thick strand of hair from the newly formed ponytail. Clip the rest of the ponytail temporarily out of the way.

Barrel Curls - First Curls

Barrel Curls - First Curls All Rights Reserved

14. Using your fingers or a round brush, carefully form a smooth barrel curl around the base of your finger.

For extra hold, use a good setting gel to prepare each chunk of hair before forming the barrel curl. To add extra volume to each curled section, use Phytovolume Actif Spray or Robert Hallowell’s Super Volumizing Tonic and spray each individual section lightly before curling.

15. Position the new barrel curl against the scalp and anchor the curl at the tail section with bobby pins in the same color as the hair.

16. Spray the first curl with firm hold hairspray.

17. Continue to form a series of 2-4” barrel curls that nestle softly into each other in a well-balanced circular formation.

Barrel Curls - Layered Curls

Barrel Curls - Layered Curls All Rights Reserved

If desired, pin a few of the curls near the middle section of the strand allowing the “tail” to protrude freely from the curled configuration creating a flirty splay of hair.

Note: Ideally the updo should contain 6 to 8 same sized barrel curls. More or less curls can be created by separating the individual strands of hair into small or larger sections. The key to this look is uniformity. Strive to make all the curls the same size and tightness.

18. When all the curls are completely formed and arranged, spray well with a strong hold hairspray.

19. Release the fringe area. Lightly backcomb, spray and pin into a side swept position against the forehead.

Barrel Curls & Ringlet Curls

Barrel Curls & Ringlet Curls All Rights Reserved

20.Apply a drop or two of a shine serum like Phyto's PhyoLisse, Rene Furterer's Spray Gloss or Robert Hallowell's Love That Shine Drops to the palms of your hands. Rub the serum into the palms and then lightly glide over the top of the style to add instant shimmer and shine.

Spray well with hairspray like Phytolaque or Jessica Simpson’s favorite Phytolaque Soie made with real silk.

21. Attach any desired hair accessory. Remember to always attach accessories last after all styling products have been applied to avoid damaging delicate accessories. Jane Tran - A Multi-Layered Petal Flower Pin - Dreamsickle & White (1) (Shown to the side - Jane Tran - A Multi-Layered Petal Flower Pin - Dreamsickle & White (1)).

Finishing Touches

Eve Reid - Sequin Flower Chignon Pin - Hairpin/Pin (1) TurquoiseThis dressy barrel curled style is an ornate hairstyle. It works beautifully with any type of more simple fashion that does not detract from the elaborate beauty of the style.

This hairdo can be toned down or glammed up depending on individual tastes. (Shown above - Eve Reid - Sequin Flower Chignon Pin - Hairpin/Pin (1) Turquoise)

- Revised Publication Date: 11/21/12

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