a muffinThe Avoidable Muffin-Head Effect

by Cynthia du Pré Argent
© 2000 Cynthia Virtue

You've probably arrived here via the page on how to keep your veil on.  This is a photo essay on the dreaded Muffin-Head effect, which is obtained by trying to keep a veil on solely by the friction of a circlet (or ribbon) crammed onto the head.  Think of the shape of a large muffin whose top has overflowed the muffin-paper, because the veil has gotten too loose.

I have recently been told that there are people now using the term "muffin-head" as a perjorative in the SCA.  Shame on you, if you're one of them.  Offer to work with the person in question to get a smoother look, don't snark!

bandstoo snugThe ideal shape of the top of the veil should be as if it were just lying on your head like a tablecloth -- with apparently natural folds and ripples from around the temples downward.  There shouldn't be a lot of angularity above the veil, nor should it be perfectly smooth and tensioned across the top and back of the head, showing your skull's shape.

Over the course of an hour or more, if the veil is not attached to the head somehow, the circlet will tend to shift around and up, bringing the veil with it.  One then tends to pull the circlet or ribbon down harder, and when the tension relaxes again, you get even more veil above the circlet than before.  Fairly soon you have a lot of fluffs of veil above the circlet, or your circlet or ribbon is crammed so low on your brow that it's resting on your eyebrows.

If you try and tie your veil on tighter, you'll probably get a red line across your forehead, and possibly a headache.  I know a few people who have figured out a way to prevent this by tying their ribbon or cord right above their eyebrows, and around in back to the bulge above the neck.  In this maneuver, the tightness of the veil conforms to the skull, so that you get an excessively rounded shape above the ribbon.  (It should be noted that the lady in red in the medieval illustration has on some sort of caul or wrapped veil; that's not the outline of her head you're seeing at the back.  It might be like the all-over caul/nets on my Cauls page.)

Men, and women without veils, can get muffin-head with just a circlet and their hair.  And it really snarls your hair up.  The solution is fairly easy: periodically take your circlet off and smooth down your hair.

I should mention that there are a few lucky souls who do not tend to get muffin head.  I can only assume it is due to some unique property of their hair.  If you're not one of the lucky few, you should use fabric bands or the alternatives listed on the bands page.
Muffin-head, mild version

Note how the veil above the ribbon has started to pouf up and out; it's not a smooth drape; it's getting a mind of its own.

Muffin-head, after several hours

On the left, the effect with a stiffer veil -- it stands upright; on the right, the full muffin-top effect with a less stiff veil.

Don't let muffin-head happen to you!  Use bands!

All material © 2000 Cynthia Virtue Email Author with comments
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