The Noncommittal '60s Tattoo Babe: Sexy Halloween Done Right

Plus a tutorial on how to get the hugest hair ever--no damaging tease action required.
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Annie
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Plus a tutorial on how to get the hugest hair ever--no damaging tease action required.

I'm so intrigued to learn more about Cindy Ray, whose photo I came across while flipping through a book on a cultural history of tattoos.

Australian tattoo artist and model, Cindy Ray. Photography shot with the Canon SL1. 

Australian tattoo artist and model, Cindy Ray. Photography shot with the Canon SL1. 

The book, 1000 Tattoos, has an entire chapter devoted to the midcentury, along with lots of photos of half-naked, or fully naked '60s babes covered in ink. I've been imagining up some sort of underground, rock and roll-type movement of hot Australian chicks covering each other in tats--most of the photos were of Australian women.

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Maybe this was due to Cindy herself and her prevalence in the Australian tattoo scene. Although the internet isn't ripe with information on her, from what I understand she was a model who transitioned into tattooing, and then later on became this celebrated tattoo icon. Brands used her name and photos to hawk products like guns and inks--all without her knowledge. She wrote a book at one point, The Story Of A Tattooed Girl, of which I could only find a "SOLD" Ebay listing.

Her look really struck me because it reads as rockabilly but softer. The hair is huge, but in an undone bouffant rather than glossy victory rolls. The clothing, if any, consisted of modest shift dresses or ladylike suits rather than polka dot and plaid sweetheart bustiers. It's the perfect costume because you get to dress as a really hot babe without looking overly sexed.

I always wanted to try a huge (and in this case really freaking huge) Bardot-like bouffant but never had a reason to buy a hair piece. I went to the beauty supply shop and didn't find anything that seemed right, so I improvised and bought a drawstring ponytail and a mesh chignon or hair donut. (You'll have to excuse the drawings, I didn't take step-by-step photos of the trial-and-error stage.)

On the underside of the drawstring ponytail, cut a slit in the base between the tracks of hair. You'll pull your own hair through this later. 

On the underside of the drawstring ponytail, cut a slit in the base between the tracks of hair. You'll pull your own hair through this later. 

Place the mesh chignon inside of the ponytail and pull the drawstring to tighten. Spread the ponytail lengths over the donut all around. Tease the lengths to make a huge mess of hair. (I stuck the center opening over the top of a vodka bottle to hold while I teased the hair piece.)

Place the mesh chignon inside of the ponytail and pull the drawstring to tighten. Spread the ponytail lengths over the donut all around. Tease the lengths to make a huge mess of hair. (I stuck the center opening over the top of a vodka bottle to hold while I teased the hair piece.)

Smooth the teased hair down and pull the ends up and back through the center of the donut so that they're not hanging out. 

Smooth the teased hair down and pull the ends up and back through the center of the donut so that they're not hanging out. 

I set my hair with steam rollers before I sectioned it. This will leave some nice curl for you to play with as you start to pin your real hair into the bouffant. Since my front pieces are a bit shorter and I wanted to style them separately, I sectioned out the front part of my hair to keep it separate while building the bouffant.

This is what the finished, huge custom donut will look like. 

This is what the finished, huge custom donut will look like. 

Style your real hair down and over the hair piece and pin. Be sure to cover the back, sides and front. 

Style your real hair down and over the hair piece and pin. Be sure to cover the back, sides and front. 

I used jumbo bobby pins to secure the hair piece at the base, smaller bobby pins to secure my real hair over the bouffant at the base of my head, and hair pins to stylize and secure my real hair into the hair piece itself. The large gator clips are perfect for sectioning out hair while doing a blowout or style like this.

Maybe even consider an industrial staple gun. 

Maybe even consider an industrial staple gun. 

For the fun part of this look, I ordered a ton of classic-ish tattoos from Tattoofun.com, which I think is brilliant for offering celebrity tattoo kits--you can order the Miley pack, or Amy Winehouse's full set, Gaga's, and even Michelle "Bombshell" McGee's tats in temporary form if you're still into 2011 celeb gossip.

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I have two huge tips for applying temporary tattoos, the first being to use plenty of water. Don't use a "damp" cloth, use a wet cloth to press onto the backing paper. This will help fully separate the ink from the paper so that it adheres onto your skin. Pull the backing paper off slowly and if you see that some ink isn't fully adhering, press over that section again firmly with your wet cloth.

My second tip is to apply translucent powder over the tattoos. Depending on how they were printed, some temporary tattoos can be rather sticky, and the translucent powder really helps with this.

Draw a thick cat eye, use plenty of false lashes, and find a glam sleeveless '60s shift to complete the look.

Or wrap yourself in mongolian sheepskin. It felt right at the time. 

Or wrap yourself in mongolian sheepskin. It felt right at the time. 

Cat eye glasses are essential. 

Cat eye glasses are essential. 

Place tats on your neck, chest, and legs--if it's cold out just wear sheer tights! 

Place tats on your neck, chest, and legs--if it's cold out just wear sheer tights! 

As far as removal of the tats, you're on your own. The best method I've tried so far has been using acetone nail polish remover, but even then the process is slow. It's been three days since I shot this look and I'm still dealing with crusty leftover tattoo flakes. Dude is sick of me having "Blake" printed on my forearm.