A Day of Glamour at Betty’s Beauty School Workshop

I’m back! The move went pretty smoothly and I’m just about beginning to feel settled in my new home. However, I will ramble on about all that in a later post as I am just bursting to tell you about the day I had on Tuesday.

Bettys Beauty School Workshop

During the four days I spent moving and unpacking I lived in the same pair of jeans and random tops I managed to find in one of the boxes. I wore no make up, broke every nail, created about twenty new bruises and by the end of it I felt a complete mess. I also felt very disconnected from my vintage self and the word ‘discombobulated’ was used a lot when people asked me how I was. So what better way to initiate myself back into the world of old time glamour but to head to the fabulous Betty’s Beauty School Workshop.

Smokey Joes

The workshop was held in the very cool Smokey Joe’s restaurant and coffee shop in Cheltenham. The whole of the inside of the building was filled with retro furniture, lighting and unusual finds and was just perfect for any vintage event. Pin-up model and burlesque star Missy Malone held a vintage fair there not so long ago that I had planned to go to, but unfortunately didn’t make, so there’s always something vintagey going on.

Smokey Joes

Our area was tucked at the back of the restaurant which gave us a little bit of privacy away from the diners. Although they did occasionally come and sneak a curious look at what we were doing and there were several young girls who looked desperate to join in!


The workshop was put together by Hannah and her team at Betty Noir Photography who specialise in pin-up and boudoir photography and was the first of its kind for them. Complete with her own demonstration model, Hannah began by showing us quick tricks to add a touch of vintage to your hair when you’re in a hurry, such as both faux and real victory rolls as well as ‘Betty Bangs’. Of course I was exempt from the last one as I already have a short fringe so it was a great excuse to watch everyone else attempt theirs.

Creating Betty Bangs

We were all given with our own goody bag to keep filled with helpful hair and make up guides, useful tools such as hairspray, bobby pins, a black eyeliner pen, a head scarf and other bits and pieces. There were also tools and make up galore that we could all use and once we’d got started the whole area ended up looking like a vintage gal’s idea of heaven!

Gibson Roll

Once the victory rolls were mastered (and yeah I can do then now!) it was onto a Gibson Roll. Now this is something I have wanted to do ever since I started watching Foyle’s War as I completely fell in love with Samantha’s gorgeous hairstyle.

A big thanks goes to Lisa who managed to get my rather-too-long hair up into this beautiful roll. I tried it myself a couple of times but my arms just weren’t long enough! It has certainly got me thinking that I may venture to the hairdressers and get a few inches chopped off of it. I just have to find one first as I haven’t been to a professional in over two years!

Curling Hair

Next it was on to the part I was most looking forward to, curling the hair. If you read my previous post Five Classic Vintage Hairstyles then you’ll know I am utterly useless at this so I really needed someone to show me how to do it properly. I bought both pairs of tongs I own, and have never mastered, but was advised to use the smaller of the two to get a more vintage look.

Hannah demonstrated the best direction to curl it, how to pin it to let it cool and which sections to do first. It really is quite easy when you know how and I even managed the back of my hair on my own. I was so chuffed.

Leaving the curls to set

Don’t we all look gorgeous?

Leaving the curls to set

After everyone inhaled enough setting spray to fill a house, and left their curls to set, we got on with the make up. This section I wasn’t so concerned about as I paint myself vintage just about every day but I did learn a few tips and loved using their different brushes. I’ve already placed an order at Superdrug for a small collection of new ones.

The part I appreciated the most was the eyebrow styling. I have always used a pencil before but Hannah showed us how to do it using an angled brush and eye or brow shadow. This is great because I can match them to the colour of my hair a bit better to give a more natural look. Why can’t you get ginger eyebrow pencils?

Teasing out the curls

So finally, once we’d put our faces on, it was time to tease out the curls. I have always been terrified of doing this before as it always looks so brutal and it worries me that I end up just brushing out all of my hard work. Thankfully Hannah showed us exactly how it should be done by sectioning the hair and brushing it over your hand to make it sit in the direction you want it to go.

The finished result

I personally think I wasn’t rough enough on mine and would prefer to tease the curls out a little more next time but I loved my final look. I felt so glamorous and was actually worried about the looks I would get outside looking so perfectly quaffed!

Our very own Dita

We also had our very own Dita Von Teese!

Glamour Girls

Once we had curled, teased, painted and sprayed everyone just looked so amazing and I love this shot of us doing our pin up poses, although I think I need a little guidance on that one too!

Frenchy Petite

And at least we had the beautiful Frenchy Petite on hand to show us how it’s done!

It truly was a thoroughly enjoyable day. I am so pleased I managed to master the curling technique and I definitely feel confident to try creating the many looks I have always dreamed of at home. A huge thanks goes to Hannah, Lisa, Frenchy and everyone else who turned up. It was such a fun thing to do and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is feeling like they don’t quite know how to achieve that vintage look. The next one is in Forest of Dean so go and book your slot now!


Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.


  1. Wow, what an amazing event! I wish there was something like this nearer to where I live. Thanks for sharing your day. 🙂

  2. That looks like a fantastic workshop. I’ve bookmarked it and will keep checking back in case they come anywhere near where I live.

    • It was so much fun! You should definitely go if they have one near you.

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