Falls are the quick 'n' easy way to achieve colourful or oddly-shaped hair. Worried that your hair will all drop out if you bleach it, or just can't face scrubbing purple hair dye out of the bathroom walls? Like dreadlocks, but don't like the idea of having to shave your head when you get sick of them? Want bizarre hair for the goth club, but not for the 9-to-5 office job? Falls may be for you.

Essentially, falls are a much more temporary method of hair extensions. They are to twenty hours' worth of braiding as spray-on, wash-out hair colour is to permanent dye. Falls are ponytail-shaped hair-like things, often found on the heads of goths. If you see a goth with two ponytails perched high up on her head, and some kind of headscarf, feather boa or goggles covering her scalp, chances are she's wearing falls.

Construction and Wearing: Falls consist of something hair-like on some kind of attachment. The three most common ways of mounting them are:

  • On a hairband (we all know rubber bands rip your hair and tend to snap in half, right? Good good)
  • On a strip of lace (lace isn't slippy like ribbon, and is therefore good for tying in knots)
  • On a claw clip.
To wear them, you need to put your own hair up in a (or two) bun(s) or ponytail(s) (if your hair is short and the falls are thick, you'll get away with ponytails) as high up on your head as possible. Now, tie the lace or wrap the hairband or clip the clip around the base of the bun/ponytail. You'll probably need to experiment with getting the fall to fall (sorry, no pun intended) over the bun/ponytail and tying ribbons/scarves around it to conceal your real hair as much as possible.

What they look like: Limited only by imagination and access to materials. Falls may be made from synthetic hair, wool, or pretty much anything: foam, rexlace, plastic tubing, wire, feathers, artificial flowers...

If made from synthetic hair, the falls could be loose (like big ponytails), a mass of braids, or dreadlocks (either home-made, or bought, like Elysee Star Dreads). I suppose yarn could theoretically be worn as loose falls, but IMHO it would look a little silly. You'd also need a lot to get decent coverage. Wool tends to be braided or worn as dreadlocks - either using thick yarn as dreads, or felting wool roving into dreadlock shapes. Plastic tubing, wire, rexlace, foam, etc. all can look stunning, but obviously nowhere near natural. If you're using these, you're moving away from willing suspension of disbelief and into confidently making a spectacle of yourself. I've seen some gorgeous industrial/cybergoth falls made of foam and plastic tubing painted to look like rusting metal, but obviously you need the confidence and outfit to carry it off.

Practical considerations: The two main ones are how heavy it's going to be, and how you're going to cover your real hair. (I've got falls made of eighty waist-length black and purple braids which look fantastic, but give me a splitting headache after ten minutes.)

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