Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Halloween. Like, think about my costume all year round, watch The Nightmare Before Christmas on repeat, try to celebrate for the whole month of October kind of love. And, since I figure it's about time that you got to know me, too, I'll let you in on my obsession in the most intimate way possible--by showing you my lady beard.
Now I know what you're thinking: Haley, why on earth would I ever want to have a beard?
And I don't know, maybe you wouldn't. But maybe, just maybe, you're sick of the sexy Halloween costumes and you want to be Paul Bunyan or a freak show bearded lady or Ulysses S. Grant for Halloween. Or you're headed to ComicCon as Gimli from Lord of the Rings and want to be as authentic as possible. Or you've always wanted to know what having a beard feels like. Or you want to protect your face from the cold weather. Or you're hiding from the mafia. Whatever, the reason is up to you.
For me, it started with a stroke of genius. I was sitting in bed one night trying to come up with the Halloween costume to end all Halloween costumes and knew I wanted to incorporate some fun wordplay. After scratching some mediocre ideas out, it hit me: I was going to be Lumber Jackson Pollock and Jared would be Salvador Dali Lama. It was perfect--clever and slightly pretentious but mostly just super fun. (In retrospect, this was totally backward, since Jared had a beard at the time and Salvador Dali doesn't, but whatever, it's much better this way.) So I bought a flannel shirt and man jeans at the thrift store and some fabric paint and went to town:
I already had an ear flap hat, boots, and suspenders, so that just left the beard. I could have bought a costume one or made my own from some craft faux fur, but I figured it was 1) cheaper and 2) faster to just use my own hair, which at the time hit about halfway down my bicep. I didn't take pictures of the process at the time, but, lucky for you, I recreated them today for you. I currently have a long bob, which made the beard a bit trickier to keep in place, but it can be done, like so:
Step 1: Make Your Mustache
To do this, you'll want to grab hair from behind your ear. If you use the hair at the front of your head, it'll come down the side of your face at too steep an angle. Men's mustaches and the tops of their beards generally run roughly parallel to their mouths, leaving the tops of their cheeks exposed. So grab a strand from toward the back of your head and pull it forward. It needs to come past the middle of your nose when you pull it tight across your face, and should be roughly the thickness that you want your final mustache to be.
Do the same on the on the other side of your head, and then join them using a miniature rubber band (clear or in your hair color).
Now, pull on the ends to tighten everything up (the way you would tighten a ponytail) and then part your mustache by pinning the excess hair to either side. When I had long hair, the excess reached all the way back to the side of my head, so it was easy to pin it behind my ear. This time around, however, I had to stick bobby pins right in the middle of my face. But don't worry, we'll remove them later.
Step 2: Build Your Beard
The next step begins similarly to the first, but this time you'll want to grab the strands of hair from the front of your head and tie them together just under your mouth. This is the frame of your beard. You can play around with how thick the strands are--I just don't have enough hair to make them much thicker than this to start!
From there, use bobby pins to add additional strands of hair to start filling in your beard. (PS I DIED laughing when I saw how this photo turned out. Like, forget Lumber Jackson Pollock, I could have been Jesus for Halloween if it weren't so blasphemous. That light over my head is just too perfect...)
Repeat the previous steps as many times as you need to to fill in your beard to your satisfaction. I gathered all the ends and banded them one last time. At this point I also had a bit of hair at the back that wasn't long enough to be added to the beard, so I threw it in a ponytail behind my head for now.
Then, just like you did with the mustache, divide the chin-ponytail (eww) in half and use bobby pins to secure to the rest of the hair. If you don't want your beard to be this full, I suggest not using the hair from the front of your head and, as with the mustache, using hair from a little further back. You can tuck whatever you don't use into a hat or ponytail at the back of your head.
Step 3: Facial Hair Finishing Touches
To finish off your beard, I highly recommend a hat of some kind. It hides the fact that your "beard" hair is connected to your normal hair, and you can tuck any excess into it.
To remove the obvious bobby pins from the mustache, I grabbed some of my husband's pomade and used it to "stick" the mustache hair to itself. This time around I had a lot of visible bobby pins in my beard as well, some of which could probably be eliminated by using more pomade or gel (but I didn't want to put my hair through that today).
I also recommend a couple of coats of strong hair spray, which will help keep everything in place and smooth flyaways.
Lastly, this whole process works slightly better with unwashed hair. Not greasy hair, but not freshly washed hair either, which tends to produce more flyaways, which will tickle you like crazy.
Again, some of these visible bobby pins could probably be eliminated with the use of pomade, or if I had been more careful with their placement they wouldn't show as much. But, as part of a costume, and from a few feet away, no one's going to notice a few bobby pins!
For the record, this is how my beard turned out when I had long hair. Once the frame of the beard was in place, it was much easier to divide the chin ponytail and pin it back toward my ears. Then, I took long strands and stretched them all the way across my chin so that there was no part down the middle. The ear flaps on that hat were also great for hiding pins.
A word to the wise: Beards are WARM. Plan on being a few degrees hotter than you're used to all night while your beard is in place. Also, you won't be able to open your mouth all the way (or rather, you can, but hair will get in it). This makes eating and drinking at parties a bit of a pain, so forks and straws are your best friends.
And, since I know you're dying to know how our clever costumes turned out (okay really I'm just dying to show you):
We actually went to the Halloween party at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and I got to take a picture with a Jackson Pollock painting...dressed as Lumber Jackson Pollock. Pretty sweet, right? You could almost see the wheels turning in the heads of the museum staff as I stood there.
I also love how Jared's costume turned out. So simple, but so funny.
So there you have it! The how to make your own beard tutorial that you probably never even thought to want! Feel free to use my Halloween costume idea, but please make sure to tell everyone how cool I am if you do, and if you end up creating your own lady beard using this tutorial make sure to send us a picture of the final product at contact at jupedujour dot com!