Knotting hair – Facial Postiche

In our first postiche lesson we were taught the basics. This included pattern making (see previous post) and knotting hair. We also gained knowledge on the different types of materials used to create facial postiche.

What is ‘postiche’?
Postiche is a term used to describe false hair pieces which vary from wigs to hair pieces and facial hair pieces such as: mustaches, beards and sideburns. Postiche is used in stage and screen but often has to be adapted to suit each category. For example different nets and hair types are used to create the most believable pieces fit for the specific purpose.

The process of making postiche can be painstakingly repetitive and takes skill and concentration. It involves knotting strands of individual hair onto a net like material in order to create realistic looking hair pieces.

The material used to knot hair onto can vary from an organza like material to a tough durable net. All of the different types of lace have their own advantages and disadvantages, as some are only suitable for stage productions as they are highly visible therefore not be suitable for the television and film industry. Some of the thinner lace however may be too fragile to be reapplied for each stage performance etc. Picking which net to use is vital. There are several aspects which you need to take into consideration such as: You clients or characters hair colour, hair type and skin tone, whilst keeping in mind what look you are hoping to achieve in the long run. For example if you need to create a thick beard out of yak hair you may need a stronger net which can hold a great deal of course hair.


Kathren Elizabeth make-up

First we set out all the materials and tools we would need. This included:
-Small hammer
-Wooden board roughly 1cm thick
– x40 Block points (small nails)
-Small sqaure of black card
-Chosen lace
-Sticky tape
-Hair of your choice
-Knotting hook

We first used two strips of sticky tape to attach the square of black card on the centre of the board this is to make the net more visible on the board. This step may not necessary if the board you’re using is darker or a contrasting colour to the net you are using. At this stage you would usually transfer the pattern onto the card or board before the next step.

Kathren Elizabeth make-up

We then used the block points and the hammer to pin the lace to the board. I left just under 1cm in-between each point as we wanted the net to be secure but not too tight on the board as this would be harder to work on. I found it easier to pin down each corner and then fill in each side afterward. After each block point is hammered into the board I made sure to flatten the points down for health and safety reasons as they are quite sharp and could course some damage.

Kathren Elizabeth make-up

Once all the block points are pinned and flattened down you are then ready to start knotting hair onto the net. There a a few good videos on Youtube to teach you how to knot hair as it is very difficult to describe it as it is quite tricky. But i’m going to try and explain anyways!
-Separate roughly 8 hairs and make a loop near the top of the hair, not near the tips of the hair as this could course knotting later on as the hair follicles rub up against each other and stick.
-Slide the hook under 1 of the bars of net.
-Run the loop of hair over the tip of the hook and collect a few hairs.
-Pull the hook back under the bar of net and bring the hair with you. Make sure to keep the hair taught and not let go on the hair.
-Slide the hair that is caught on the end of the hook further up into the curve or bend in the hook
-Wrap the hair that you have in the opposite hand to the hook around the tip of the hook once or twice.
-Then turn the hook away from you
-Pull the hair that you have just wrapped around the tip of the hook through the loop you had previously made.
-Pull the knot tight by pulling the hook away from yourself keeping the hair taught.

Kathren elizabeth makeup

This does take time to get it write. Practice makes perfect.

Thanks for readying 

Katy x

Reflection / Evaluation:
I found this really tricky and it look me a while to grasp the concept. I think the only way to improve is to practice as much as possible. I also need to improve on the neatness of my knotting as the hair can be quite spread out and stick up in different directions which does not give it a realistic look. I’m going to keep practicing until I am satisfied with my knotting as it is vital that I improve in order to achieve a good grade for this task. I also think this is a technique I would have to utilize in the industry as I would like to be a special make-up effects artists and postiche is a key part of this.


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