A year ago one of my Youtube subscribers gave me a request for a Katara hair tutorial. “Sure it’ll be right up!” I said, because I had been thinking about it.
… one year later, it’s finally here, haha. It initially gave me problems because her rolled bun was difficult to achieve in real life (animated hair doesn’t have to follow our rules after all). Around the time I finally figured it out, television season was in full swing (Vikings, Game of Thrones, and Outlander all going on at the same time so it was necessary to be timely and add those tutorials first). But now I’ve gotten some time to film it and post it, so here’s my inaugural Avatar hair tutorial!
Hair Length: at least collar bone length
Materials: elastics, large hair tie, blue beads/hair decorations, bobbypins, topsy tail
Skills needed: English braid
Time cost: 5-20 minutes
ideal hairtype: straight or wavy
Step 1) Grab little bits of hair at your front hair line and attach blue decorative beads near the roots (I used an elastic under the bead to hold it in place).
Step 2) Make a low ponytail with all of the rest of the hair (for the full bun) or braid the lower half of hair and make a low ponytail with the rest (for the half bun / half braid look).
Step 3) With a topsy tail tool, pull the ponytail inside out (going from underneath to above) over and over until you don’t have enough hair to make another full wrap. Then bobbypin the hair ends underneath the bun.
Step 4) Pin the hair loops from the front of your head into the middle of the bun with more blue decorative pieces (like a bead tied to the end of a bobbypin or a fancy blue hair pin).
Fun fact: Katara’s signature hair loops are inspired by a similar element in traditional Inuit hairdressing. This still is taken from the movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001). It’s an artistic and fascinating film in its own right (it won at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002, among many other awards), but for our purposes here it’s an excellent look at cultural hair expression without the Western stylistic lens that we usually see other cultures through in artistic media. You should check it out! Obviously the true Inuit side loops don’t depend on all the hair tools I used in my video, but I made that choice deliberately in order to achieve as much visual similarity between my style and the animated version Katara wears (Katara isn’t an Inuit girl after all, but a member of the Water Tribe!) It’s interesting to see though all the subtle ways the Avatar show creators drew inspiration from our world.
Got any other Avatar favorites you’d like to see tutorials for? Tell me in the comments section!6 by