Tribal Hairstyles

topic posted Wed, April 19, 2006 - 1:30 AM by  Ivy
While looking up how to make this or that part of the Tribal costume, I noticed there were no Tribal hair style FAQs. I found an interesting site about Chinese buns, but that's about it. I have shoulder blade length THICK hair. The kind that a scrunchie wraps around maybe twice, so I have a hard time getting my hair up. I can do a French twist if I have at least four hairsticks.... However, I absolutely love all the bangles, dangles, and falls. I've tried looking at pictures online (Rachel Brice et al.) but they're either too dark, or covered in so much stuff its hard to see how the base layer is arranged! Any suggestions?
posted by:
offline Ivy
  • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Wed, April 19, 2006 - 6:33 AM
    Good question! I'd love to hear some input!

    I'm in the same boat with long thick hair.
    What I have done is put my hair up in two buns on the top of my head, reasonably far forward - hair pins are amazing!!
    Then hang the cowries and beads and such off the buns - just loop the elastic around the whole thing at the base. Then I cover the whole mess with a hair fall - covers the buns and the part, plus gives me greatly needed height
    Problem is that a lot of the fun drapey stuff gets lost in the faux hair.

    I'd love to hear some other solutions!
    • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

      Wed, April 19, 2006 - 6:50 AM
      Easy. Get smallish (like 1/2") claw clips and pick up smallish sections of your hair. Twist up (over, around, wherever...) and clip. Keep going till you've got the messy do you want.

      (queen of the messy do, but can't get that sleeked back look for nuthin)
  • Ivy
    offline 3

    Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Wed, April 19, 2006 - 9:37 AM
    I forgot to ask: what makes a Tribal hairstyle?
    • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

      Wed, April 19, 2006 - 9:46 AM
      going a step further with the hair styles question....i was wondering about the flowers that you see some women wearing. They all seem so they have to be large? Is there a special meaning behind flowers in your hair? In Hawaii, if you wear it on the right your taken, if you wear it on the left your available and if you wear it in the middle, anything goes. =)
      • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

        Fri, April 21, 2006 - 7:27 PM
        Hispanic folk dancers wear flowers too.
        I don't know if either there's a meaning but a tradition?
        Anyway, you don't have to wear big flowers or any flowers at all.
        You decide what you want in your hair-unless your troupe wants you to be more uniformed for a performance but otherwise -just experiment.
        • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

          Sat, April 22, 2006 - 9:00 AM
          thanks for answering me erika. =)

          I think we are gonna play around with some little sprigs for fun....and if we like it well then we might try some larger ones....but all of our troupe has medium to short hair so we generally just leave it down free with a scarf for balancing things. I would like to experiment a little though and see what works hair is think and gets really hot.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Wed, April 19, 2006 - 9:48 AM
    I noticed in the RB Yoga DVD that Miss Rachel has her hair up in a big bun during the practice part, and in the performance part it's the same style except with the headdress. Not quite the same as a Chinese bun, it's further up the skull, but not as high as say a balet bun. For me, I've got a bump in the back of my head, and that's about where I put the ponytail, then twist my hair around it. The tiny claw clips or some good heavy duty hair pins keep things in place.
  • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Wed, April 19, 2006 - 11:21 AM
    Hey Ivy,
    We have a troupie who has very long very thick hair, and putting it all up in a bun or two is not an option. Remember you don't have to put it all up in the same way.

    Divide your hair into quarter sections, two high, and the last half hanging down. Put the two high sections into bun-buns high on the back of your head. You can use these to attach stuff to, tuck things into, etc. Use the other hbalf of your hair in any number of ways. You can put them into small braids, or one large one. Make a series of funky twists like Ali suggested. Mix in fake hair, such as streaks attached to toupee clips, to make your hair look funky and stripey.

    Work off of this "sections" idea and see what comes of it!
  • Unsu...

    Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Wed, April 19, 2006 - 1:33 PM
    i have the opposite problem. i have thin, slippery hair, and can never get it to look big and tribal-enough.
    i usually end up wearing dread falls, but they can get heavy with all the other cowrie falls and flowers and hairsticks and stuff stuck in.

    as for RB's...the Indigo etc's hair pieces, they are pretty much just a bunch of different pieces all added together.
    on one of the BDSS dvd's....either the MC solos or folies bergere (ill have to double check wich) theres a few little "behind the scenes" type things with Rachel and Sharon...and they kind of show you them in the middle of getting ready and they tell you about what pieces they are wearing, etc...its pretty cool.
  • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Wed, April 19, 2006 - 5:01 PM
    That's funny...I have a hard time getting a nice shape with updo's because my hair is so thin. But those claw things work great--I like one large one and littler ones to help hold the shape.

    We had a thread on the Ultra Gypsy tribe about hair...Jill (our director) has long, super-thick hair and has fabulous styles. Not as much stuff in the hair as Rachel, etc. but then again not everyone looks good with all that stuff on--I know I don't :)

    Check out the thread if you's on the second page of topics and it's called "Up do'" or something like that. I seem to remember it had some good suggestions...good luck!
    • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

      Thu, April 20, 2006 - 2:01 PM
      i have thin, fine hair, too, and that's why i'm addicted to extensions, to give me more bulk. especially dread extensions. of course, i'm in a position where i can wear my hair anyway i like, so dread extensions are okay for me. having them actually braided into my hair makes them easier to deal with that a fall. i'm always afraid falls will..well..fall out of my hair. plus, they are so uncomfortable.

      but that's not a solution for everyone. :)
      • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

        Thu, April 20, 2006 - 10:04 PM
        Ummm... my particular dilemma *as a tribal/fusion soloist* is that once I get all the stuff in my hair, I can't dance with it. I do way t oo much head movement, and it all either flies out or gets tangled in weird ways.

        I've started just braiding fuzzy yarn into my hair. Its not as fun, but at least I can toss my head... :(

        I definitly don't feel as "tribal," but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...
        • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

          Thu, April 20, 2006 - 10:39 PM
          I think this is an important distinction. The costume grows *out of* the dance style. The dance style does not emerge from the costume. There are a lot of folks out there trying to perform cabaret in tribal costume, and the tribal costume was not meant to accentuate or compliment cabaret movement. It was designed over years specifically for the style of movement that tribal favors.

          Kitiera, you have always seemed to be more of a gypsy fusion (when you do the head stuff), and a tribal costume doesn't work for that. When you do other fusion dance styles, I can't say for sure, having only seen a handful of styles you have done. But I would find it telling that if you are trying to do a lot of whipping head stuff, then the style you perform may be fusion, and not "tribal" or "tribal fusion".

          whatever you call what you do, I have loved it since the first time I saw you perform! I wish you weren't moving away! WAH!!! I think your hubby needs to find a job in Seattle, so you can be CLOSER!
          • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

            Sun, January 18, 2009 - 2:01 AM
            Very wisely spoken!

            Now, I have an inquiry that will probably sound completely stupid- but: Where does all the cowrie shells and divided-face-style makeup come from/connect to tribal bellydance? I imagine the line down the face is some sort of reflection of one of the many cultures Tribal style was inspired by/takes its cues from, but I don't get the cowries. (LOVE 'em 'cause I'm a total water baby- but still don't get it.) Is there a recource available anywhere that explains certain styles/methodologies that are intrinsic to Tribal dress/makeup/hair?

            Many thanks!
            • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

              Sun, January 18, 2009 - 8:16 AM
              I don't know about the cowrie *falls*, but cowrie shells for various adornment are used a great deal in Africa, and I'm sure in various tribal regions all over the world. I'm not very knowledgeable about the origins of various adornments, but this is certainly the place to ask. :)
  • Ivy
    offline 3

    Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Fri, April 21, 2006 - 3:10 PM
    Thanks for all the input! I'll try messing around with my hair some more and post what worked best :)
    • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

      Fri, April 21, 2006 - 7:21 PM
      Hi Shay!

      Actually, I've been playing around with some old Fat Chancee moves and some of the newer "Rachel" moves, incorporating them into what I already do. I *do* think you could be tribal and still do head work. Its my favorite part of all dance styles, so its always a part of my dance. Problem with me is that I don't fit in anywhere. :( So, I'm working on coining a new dance style just for my own personal stuff. :)

      Anyway, thanks for your input!
      • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

        Sat, April 22, 2006 - 12:40 PM
        there is tons of info on these types of topics on some of the other tribes too
        makeup and hair for dancers
        tribal costuming
        and so forth
        what i like to do is watch movies that have wicked costumes and make up and hair and use that for my inpsiration.
        i also search the web and here on tribe a lot to again (not COPY, perse) get inspiration for my own thing by looking at pics.
        if you have uber thin hair have you ever considered having some of those braided or dreaded extensions added in. this is a semi permanent fix (and if you use human hair, possibly a permanent fix). if you have oodles of locks, use the hair to anchor stuff with not anchor the stuff into the hair, neccessarily. i have a ton of hair, past my bra strap, kinda coarse and thick. i can make a few buns to weave stuff into or as shay said, put up only half then use the rest to act as ties to weave in other stuff. i keep saying that we need to have some workshops on tricks of hair and make up. not the same old same old like what to wear for stage makeup and how to make cowry falls or yarn falls (which i still dont "get" BTW-yarn as hair...huh?), but how to get super funky huge assed craziness piled up on your heads without it weighing a ton and how to take tribal make up to the next level of freakiness and fantasy looks. it wouldn't be appropriate all of the time of course, as it isnt perfectly tribal, but it would be hella fun to do for special gigs and shows!
        • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

          Tue, January 20, 2009 - 8:25 AM
          That is a workshop I would love to go to. Hey Nicole.....weren't you talking about hosting a workshop around here?? hehe!!
          • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

            Tue, January 20, 2009 - 8:31 AM
            Yeah - the Makeup & Hair workshop we put on here in KC has a whole section on Fake Hair, Real Hair & All that comes between - including how to get that crap to stay on your head while you dance. LOL
            • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

              Tue, January 20, 2009 - 10:27 AM
              Who were the instructors??
              • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

                Tue, January 20, 2009 - 12:59 PM
                Me & my troupemate, Xira. I have extensive makeup knowledge (including a degree in theatre) & she has extensive hair knowledge. It's about a 4-hour workshop when all is said & done (or 2, 2-hour workshops) - it's quite extensive, tho.
                • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

                  Tue, January 20, 2009 - 1:04 PM
         far is KC from St Louis?? And when's the next workshop?? hehe!!
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Tribal Hairstyles

                    Tue, January 20, 2009 - 2:04 PM
                    LOL KC's only about 4 hours from St. Louis...totally do-able. :)

                    Don't know -- need to do another one soon, as it's been almost a year now. We were going to do it at a local workshop in March, but that whole workshop has been cancelled. So, we're gonna plan one of our own again. When we do, I'll let you know!
  • Unsu...

    Re: Tribal Hairstyles

    Tue, April 25, 2006 - 4:49 AM
    good luck to those who dont know what they are doing yet with thier hair and you guys that are pros at that, you are my heros.... But atleast you guys are not like me and need short hair for work... I cant do anything with mine. :(
    • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

      Tue, April 25, 2006 - 7:00 AM
      For anyone with short hair, have you tried a turban? I have hair that's short and gray. Up to this point, I've worn full turban with jewelry and flowers attached when I dance Tribal style. If you don't get the turban quite right the first time you try it, then keep trying. I wrapped a turban around my head three or four times a day for about four days in a row before I finally got it right. And, expect a mild headache the first few times you do it. That eventually went away for me, though.

      Or, another dancer in my tribal group who has short hair simply wraps anywhere from one to three scarves around her head (headband style) and usually attaches flowers and / or jewelry to that. I may try the scarves some time myself.

      If your hair is very slippery, some gel or hairspray before the scarf / turban may help it stay put.
      • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

        Tue, April 25, 2006 - 11:38 AM
        Turbans or wraps work IF you have enough of an occipital shelf (the ridge where your skull meets your neck/spine) to get it to "hook" onto. If the back of your head is too flat/smooth, and you don't have long or rough enough hair to pin the hell out of it to stay, then it will come flying off on your first spin.
        • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

          Tue, April 25, 2006 - 12:22 PM
          Of course another trick I found to hold a turban on as well with a small occipital ledge, as well as start the "cooling" process is to have wet hair.

          I have very thin fine, soft hair with a minimal occipital on the back of my head.

          So, because I sweat horribly, I knew I need to start the cooling process first - which the bonus was the cotton fabric used to make the turban now had some thing to grab onto, since cotton is very absorbent . Remember how difficult it is to untie wet cotton skirts, t-shirts etc.

          So, if you suffer from heat (and they wear these in the desert to help stay cool in the day's heat and warm at night) then wet your head, and then the turban will stay in place too.
      • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

        Sun, January 18, 2009 - 1:53 PM
        I'm with you, Cindy. My hair is so thin, even when it's long I can bunch it up into a ponytail that's only about a 1/2 inch thick. I keep it mid-length, to the bottom of my ears, so that's not much to work with. I almost always dance in a turban. There are lots of anchoring things you can do to anchor a turban: put ponytails or buns low at the back of your head to make up for a small occipital ledge, or gather a pony at the crest of your head to create something for the turban to stretch over, then pin into it.

        I am always so envious of my troupe sisters who can get away with narrow wraps, hair sticks, and all sorts of decorations that, when I apply them, just slide right out of my hair. I wish I had an alternative to the turban for hot days, or long days, or just days when the turban just isn't rockin'.
        • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

          Mon, January 19, 2009 - 3:58 PM
          here's my response from an old thread...

          practice, practice, practice. sit yourself down infront of the mirror with lot's of clips and rubberbands and just go for it. i usualy create the shape i want by starting with ponytails that are pulled part way through so they create a pouf and then adjust from there. i do lots of pulling hair around and tucking it back in. claw clips are my favorite. i play with it enough so it doesn't look like a bird's nest landed on top of my slicked back hair.


          once you get enough hair clipped in nice and snug you can clip anything in to it.

          this method will work on lots of hair types(with a constant rotation in and out of dancers and UG holding steady with 13 members, i helped a lot of girls with really different hair types, from thick and straight to fine and flyaway).

          as far as the cowrie falls i think we all have mardi to thank for those- i've seen the flower shaped strands of cowries on antique indian armbands and we can all attest to how much indian jewelry and textiles show up in tribal/tribal fusion. the cowries with yarn and feathers as hair falls are as far as i know mardi's unique version...
          • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

            Wed, January 21, 2009 - 9:52 AM
            I saw that at the upcomiong Cues and Tattoos festival in Seattle they have a workshop called "Tribal Hair on and off the stage" taught by Keli Helzerman of Fiercelocks. They also are holding a "theatrical makeup" workshop, too in addition to all the fab dance workshops! (Disclaimer: I'm teaching sword there, so I'm biased, but the hair workshop and makeup one sounds cool!)
            • Re: Tribal Hairstyles

              Mon, January 26, 2009 - 1:56 PM
              Keli, also known as Dreadful Jonquil, is da bomb when it comes to hair! I sponsored her in a hair workshop as did Martina up in Vancouver BC. If you're going to Cues & Tattoos ya gotta take her workshop! Many many people here in the Seattle area will vouch for her work!

              You can check out her work in Fierce Locks photo album and her profile.


Recent topics in "Tribal Bellydance"