Spiking your hair: a guide to porcupine emulation.

A foreword: This node is not about why you'd want to be a card carrying, glow-stick waving, use too much gel, funny pant wearing, weirdo, it's about how... I've passed the phase where I'd spend an hour a day to have 9" liberty spikes - I've toned it down to 2" and 1 min...

Spiking your hair is a difficult process which can take a great deal of time and effort, depending on the length of your hair.

Let's take a look at the appropriateness of different stiffening agents:
  • Gel: Hair gel is great for short spikes - up to an inch with cheap no-name brand gel, but with something like Dep 8 or Dippity do #5 you can get upwards of 2 inches without a great deal of effort. Hair salon brands of gel usually aren't that much better, but cost an extra $10 a bottle.

  • Egg whites: Yeah, I know what you're thinking, and you're right... it's mostly true. Egg whites, though they can support up to 4" of hair, are icky and smell funny. After a day of regular wear, you'll get flaky white chunks in your hair. I don't personally reccomend eggs, but I know people who swear by 'em.

  • White glue: Again, I know what you're thinking, but white glue doesn't have that bad of a tendency to flake, and you can do some pretty crazy things with it. The downside is, it takes a long time to set, and it's hard to wash out. For the time it takes to dry, you might as well use gelatin.

  • Gelatin: This stuff is crazy. I've seen people use it to make 13" spikes that you can snap off and stab someone with (no kidding!). Gelatin is the base of hair gel, and is basically unflavored jello. You can find it in the canning section of your supermarket. The drawback here is that it takes half an hour to an hour to dry, and for that time you'll probably have to hang upside down. This is a treatment you probably don't want to repeat every day, so you probably won't wash your hair, and yes, you might have to cut holes in your pillow. This is the price you pay to have a pointy head. "The" brand to use is knox, and it comes in 4g (umm... aprox 1/8oz) packets. Mix one packet with a teaspoon of sugar, and some water, and boil till it turns to goo. Apply to head.

Once you've got your fixative, there's several approaches you can take. I'm lazy so I just work it into my hair and pull up sections of hair while twirling them between my fingers.
This approach is messy because your spikes will be of different sizes, and you most likely won't get it all, and will have stray hairs sticking out all over the place, or plastered to your scalp.

If you've got time you can divide your hair into rows by slicking it back, then splitting those rows one-at-a-time into little squares. This looks really good, but takes a significant amount of time. If you have thick hair, or hair over 2 inches long the gel will weigh it down and your spikes will fall, so if you want nice standy-uppy spikes, you'll have to hang upside down, and you might want to only spike a row at a time, hanging at the right angle and letting it dry before going to the next row.

By the way, conditioning your hair is out, and you should wash it with the most oil-stripping shampoo you can... in fact, I use soap.

If you read all that, you're probably wondering about that punk rock girl you saw walking down the street with foot-long spikes, and how much the so-called grungers care about their appearance.

But I digress... Happy pointy hair.