Hints & Tips: Adding a bit of character with different hairbases

Hints & Tips: Adding a bit of character with different hairbases

One of the things about leading a freebie or cheapie life in SL is that, when a great new free/cheap skin becomes available and is blogged all over the place, you see a lot of people wearing that skin. And while it’s not as bad as turning up to a party where two other people are wearing the same dress as you, when a skin is quite distinctive and you’ve fallen in love with it and it’s just so you that you want to keep wearing it, it can be rather mortifying to find yourself looking at clones of you all over the grid!

The shape that you wear goes some way toward making that skin look different on you than it does on other avatars with different shapes, but there is a handy little trick that you can use to give yourself just a bit more individuality, and that is to try on different hairbases. Take a look at these pictures of Mar:

In each of those pictures Mar is wearing the same skin and hair, and no extra makeup. Yet she looks different in every one. Why? Well, in each picture she’s wearing a different hairbase.

If you’ve read this (or any other tutorials blog) you might know by now that hairbases get rid of the horrible default ‘grown’ hair (the stuff that looks like it’s erupting from your head like something you should go to see the doctor about!) so that it doesn’t poke through any prim hair that you’re wearing. But did you know that hairbases can also shape your eyebrows?

Most skin and hair creators include their own hairbases in with their wares, so if you’ve been trotting around the grid for a while you’ve probably acquired quite a few of them, and yet it’s something that many of us don’t think to change much. We were ‘born’ wearing a decent hairbase (at least, those of us who signed up after the old, original ‘grown hair’ avatars were phased out) and since it’s not an obvious thing to change, in the way that skins, prim hair, and clothing are, we don’t bother to try on different ones.

If you’re wearing a skin that a lot of other people are wearing, though, different hairbases can make quite a difference when teamed with unusual hairstyles and layered makeup; to the point where you can make the skin look totally unique! It’s worth having a go with different hairbases, just to see if you can give your avatar a bit of individuality and character. What’s more, if you don’t already have one you like you can even make your own hairbase!

There are, though, two things in Second Life that you will find called ‘hairbase’. Hop behind the cut for a guide to the difference between them and a quick tutorial for making your own.

There are two types of hairbase in Second Life. One has an icon like a profiled head with some hair on it, and the other has an icon that looks like a pink dragon. There’s an important difference between the two!

The ‘profiled head’ hairbase (sometimes called a bald base, bald cap, brows, or hairbase) is what shapes your eyebrows. It’s this that you want to look for when making your avatar look different, as in the pics above. The ‘pink dragon’ hairbase is a tattoo layer that puts a hair texture onto the bald skin of an avatar, giving a softer look to prim hair where it meets the head. Creators often give these away with their hair packs, in the same shades as the hair itself.

Here’s a visual guide. (The icons are a bit pixelated because I had to blow them up fairly big.)

When you’re looking for a hairbase to change your eyebrow shape, look for the ‘profiled head’. You might find it easier to type the following words/phrases one at a time into your inventory’s search bar and try on the different ‘profiled head’ hairbases that com up each time:

hair base

Tip: Before you do this, look in the Current Outfit folder of your inventory and make a note of the ‘profiled head’ hairbase you’re currently wearing. If you don’t like any of the ones you find in your search then you can always search for the name of this hairbase and put it back on again. Also note that you can’t take off a hairbase; you have to replace it with another hairbase.

Making your own hairbase

This is really easy! First of all, note down the name of your current hairbase (as stated in the tip above), just in case you don’t like the end result of your experimentation and you want to go back to the hairbase you began with!

First, either begin with a modifiable hairbase that somebody else has made, or in your inventory click Create > New Body Parts > New Hair. Give it a name (such as My Hairbase) and right-click > Wear.

Don’t scream! Yes, that horrible helmet that just appeared on your head is what the ‘grown hair’ looks like! We’re going to get rid of all that and give you a bald head and then we’ll shape your brows.

Next, right-click on your avatar and choose Appearance. You’ll go into a starjump pose and a new window will pop up. Look in that window for the Hair tab, and click it. Your window may look a bit different than mine, because I’m using a third party viewer instead of the official Second Life viewer, but the settings will be the same as shown.

Helmet Head. Ick!

First, click the ‘Style’ button and send that ‘Volume’ slider all the way over to the left. Phew, that’s better! Click the ‘Save’ button.

Next, click the ‘Eyebrows’ button. You’ll need to use your Camera Controls (View > Camera Controls) to move your camera so that it faces you. Play around with the settings you have there until you get a look that works well with your skin.

Note: The first two settings (Eyebrow Size and Eyebrow Density) won’t make a difference to what you see, as those only affect the eyebrow settings on the original default skins (the ones that look as ugly as the grown hair does!). The other settings, however, will make a difference. See the pic below.

Once you’re happy with the result, click the Save button and then the OK button. After a few seconds you’ll come out of the Appearance window and can start trying on different hairstyles (because those will also make you look different than other avatars wearing the same skin as you).

Here’s Mar modelling her new, self-made hairbase (with her hair pulled back in a bun so you can see it better).

Have fun making your own hairbases!

2 thoughts on “Hints & Tips: Adding a bit of character with different hairbases

  1. Just out of curiosity, why do we see the back of your head in the eyebrow settings window? For me it shows my face and shows the effect the sliders will have.

    1. I’m not sure, actually! I thought it was because I have ‘unseat avatar when in appearance mode’ checked in Phoenix, but unchecking that doesn’t seem to change it, so it must be some other setting that I’ve enabled.

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