The Hair Rat Explained

Cast those visions of  small rodents nesting in your hair aside and instead enter the world of hair padding.  Hair rats have a rich history; used as the foundation for Victorian hairstyles and to achieve the beautiful maikos hair or as the helpful prop in achieving a Gibson roll in the 1940’s . Hair rats help a wearers otherwise fine hair achieve beautiful volume and fullness

Hair Rat History

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Vintage hair rats were a collection of your own hair shed while brushing. The hair would be collected from a hair brush and placed into hair receiver until the desired amount was collected to be shaped and placed into a hair receiver. A hair receiver is a decorative lidded pot with a hole in it and can still be often found in antique stores around the world.

A Victorian hair receiver paired with a hair pin holder.
A Victorian hair receiver paired with a hair pin holder.

Once shaped the hair rat is then placed on the head or in the hair and the hair molded around it to create the desired look.

Hair Rat updo
I used a large hair rat to create this hair up style on Rachel

You can make your own hair rat with your hair you have collected or if in a hurry you can use hair wefts or wig pieces placed into a hair net or fine stocking. Real or synthetic hair in a double hair net is great for shaping and easy to pin in place.

Sharon Blain Hair Padding

Modern day hair rats have made a resurgence ,often made from synthetic materials and found at most drug and beauty stores for a few dollars. The most popular are  a doughnut shape but can be modified into a long roll by cutting in one place and stitching the open ends closed. Make sure you select a hair rat that best matches your hair colour or you can thicken it up by rolling stocking around the rat in a sausage shape.

Happy Hair Styling!


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