Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Beautiful Free Ballgowns!

I just stumbled across a fabulous fashion freebie for female avatars, and I decided to use it as an excuse to write up an entire blogpost about all the places in Second Life you can pick up a full-length mesh ballgown, for free! Clip and save for when you need something for a formal, black-tie event (or even if you just feel like swanning around SL in a full-blown battleship ballgown; hey, it’s your Second Life, express yourself any way you want!)

The freebie is from the newly-rebranded store, Dead Doll (formerly known as Dead Dollz), which has set up in a brand new location and is offering a gift to celebrate. If you join the SeraphimSL.com group for free and click the panel shown below, you can pick up the simple, elegant Etta strapless gown for free:

The Etta gown comes in a fatpack of sixteen colours as shown. Here, Vanity Fair models it with a black lace bolero from United Colors (not free; I purchased the fatpack of this bolero, waiting for the perfect gown to pair it with). Sheer perfection!

Another place where you can pick up some free gowns is the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil. Up on the third floor is a large display by VIPs Creations, where in the top row of panels are three different styles of full-length gowns:

This lovely strapless gown with a subtle pattern is by VIPs Creations, and comes in four colours as shown, and even includes the shoes:

Another place to pick up a simple, classic ballgown is the generous freebie store at Hilly Haalan, where you can find this Nadia gown in fifteen colours (you will need to join the Hilly Haalan store group for free to pick up all the freebies here).

While some gowns are the right length for high heels, the Nadia gown works best with flats. Fortunately, at Hilly Haalan you can also pick up a free set of Amy flats which come in a variety of colours to match this ballgown perfectly!

Another little-known spot where you can pick up ballgowns in orange, red, and blue is !Soul, a store which has set up shop in a skybox high above the newbie orientation centre called New Resident Island (here’s the exact SLURL). If you join the !Soul group for free, you can pick up dozens of free gifts of women’s clothing, hair, footwear, and system/Bakes on Mesh skins. Everything in the store is free!

The apparel at !Soul comes in standard sizes, but ballgowns are the kind of clothing that you can easily alpha out your pelvic area and legs anyway, so they will always fit! (You might have to adjust your bust size slightly, though.)

Here is the blue ballgown from !Soul, with the optional fur stole. Looking elegant for zero Linden dollars!

Of course, you can sometimes pick up free ballgowns at the entrances to many of the finer dance establishments in Second Life, such as this gown from the newly-reopened Frank’s Jazz Club (which appears to have started up again just to try and wrench business away from the upstart Frank’s (more information here):

And, of course, there are several beautiful ballgowns to be had at The Free Dove (remember that you have to join The Free Dove group for free in order to get these freebies). Palomma Casanova, the owner of The Free Dove, has reorganized her venerable freebie store by designer, so you will have to wander around a bit to find all the ballgowns. However, there is still a small women’s formalwear section near the back entrance (SLURL):

Nearby is a display by Lurve, which features two very different gowns:

And close by, the Tiffany Designs display at The Free Dove has a couple of lovely full-length ballgowns, perfect for your next swanky soirée:

In fact, you can also pick up a couple of free ballgowns at Tiffany’s main store location (one is mesh and the other is an applier gown; no group is needed):

Take a look at the shimmering, daringly low-cut Nia ballgown in champagne, one of the free gown gifts at Tiffany Designs!

So there you have it—elegance on (less than) a dime!

Remember that the Etta ballgown fatpack gift at Dead Doll is likely a time-limited offer, and that Palomma Casanova frequently rotates the stock at The Free Dove, so please don’t delay picking up these gowns and stashing them in your inventory for your next major event. Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Where to Find Free Women’s Hair in Second Life

Hair can be expensive! Today, inspired by the new hair wall at The Free Dove and by Cat Pink’s new video (appended to the end of this rather long blogpost), I decided to compile a list of all the places I like to go when I need to pick up some fabulous free tresses for my female alts! Some you might already know about, but some you might not.

The Free Dove

Palomma Casanova has completely revamped the free hair wall at the back of her venerable freebie store, The Free Dove (here’s the exact SLURL), so if you haven’t paid a visit in a while, why not pop in? It’s still the single best collection of freebie hair for men and women on the grid!

Firelight has generously donated different eight hair gifts, including the Leslie long hairstyle, which comes with a HUD with six colour options, plus a separate tinting HUD to adjust it to any shade you desire:

The Dolly hair, another gift from Firelight, comes in a sand brown colour:

The Marilyn hair, a gift from Alli&Ali Hair, comes in a light brown colour:

The blunt-cut Olivia medium-length hairstyle by Sintiklia is extremely versatile! It comes in a complete fatpack of colours, and a styling HUD with nine options:

The Rina hair-and-fedora combo by Lara AC is cute (it comes in just the brown shown, however, and you cannot change the colour of the hat, either):

D!va

One of my favourite places to go for free hair is D!va. Join the D!va store group for free and you can pick up this lovely Aria hairstyle from the panel right behind the front counter, which comes in a full fatpack of colours, plus a styling HUD:

And, if you walk around the narrow wall behind the front counter, on the back of it is yet another fabulous free gift from D!va: the Iris hairstyle, which again comes in a complete fatpack, with a styling HUD, and separately wearable parts for the long fall in the back, the front fall over the shoulders, and the braids! There are just so many ways you can wear this hair. The Iris package even includes the gown you see in the picture below!

The Stay at Home Club

Another wonderful place to pick up some free, high-quality hair is The Stay at Home Club website (check the Accessories section, and just click on the pictures to get the SLURLs of the stores). Here I show you three of the free hairstyles available for female avatars.

The curly Sugar hairstyle by Miss Canning comes with a HUD with 40 different colour choices:

Versaci, among a generous selection of other Stay at Home Club gifts, offers you a complete fatpack of this shorter, bobbed hairstyle called Beckie:

The long, wavy Rhea hair by Sintiklia comes in a full fatpack of colours, and includes a styling HUD to wear each side forward or back as you desire. The Rhea hairstyle package also includes two styles of bangs, which are separate attachments.

Note that, in addition to the Olivia hair at The Free Dove (mentioned earlier), and this Rhea hairstyle, there are a number of free hairstyles on the Free Gifts wall at the Sintiklia store, so be sure to take a good look around once you’re there!

NYNE

Visit NYNE, join their group for free, and you can pick up no less than thirty-nine free hairstyles from the shelves behind the front counter! Six newer hairstyles are in the bags on the lower shelf, and there are another 33 hairstyles from 2018 and 2019 in the gift boxes on the upper shelf. Seriously, no other store on the grid offers you so much free hair! (There’s also a Stay at Home Club hair gift nearby too, to make it an even 40 free hairstyles!)

Let’s look at a couple of the hairstyles, all of which come with a HUD with six or seven colour options, plus separately colourable streaks.

First up is the long, straight Anissa hair:

Next is Tivi, a fun, crimped hairstyle:

Finally, here is the Kim hairstyle:

Firelight

In addition to the free Firelight hairstyles you can find at both The Free Dove and the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil, head on down to the Firelight main store, join the Firelight group for free, and pick up the current and all the past group gifts:

The Emma braided hair comes with a HUD with nine colour options:

Lamb

Lamb has five free hairstyles as group gifts (the Lamb group is free to join).

This is the Angel hair, which comes in a fatpack of colours:

Navy and Copper

If you join the Navy and Copper group for free, you can pick up three free hairstyles from their store (here’s the SLURL):

Here is one of those three gifts, the Green Tea ponytail, which comes in a complete fatpack of colours:

Olive

Olive Hair has a wall with fifteen lucky boards, which do not require a group join. The letters change frequently, and there is usually a crowd of avatars waiting for their initial to appear, so your chances of picking up a free hairstyle are pretty good:

This is the White Rabbit hair, which comes in a blonde fatpack, with optional bunny ears:


Finally, Cat Pink SL (bless her heart) has just published a brand new YouTube video, with no less than twenty different places she goes to for free women’s hair in Second Life! Some of them I have mentioned up top, but many I have not.

If you visit the video page on YouTube (be sure click on “SHOW MORE” in the description text located below the video), she even provides a very handy list of the SLURLs to all the stores she mentions!

So, as you can see, lacking in Linden dollars does not mean you have to go bald in Second Life! Happy freebie shopping!

Pulling Together a Male Avatar Look Using the Free Catwa Freya Head: The Joys and Perils of a “Unisex” Head

You might remember that I was able to pull together a male look in my first blogpost about the Freya unisex gift head, using one of the Bakes on Mesh male skins from Digital Nude Art (DNA):

But like many others, I was curious to see if I could use a combination of the freebie Catwa Freya unisex Bento head with the Classic male mesh body from Meshbody, applying a Catwa skin applier from one of the many quality men’s skin stores on the grid (since no male skin was included with the Freya head, just female skins). Let me share what I learned with you.

So I ventured out to Birth, but I found that both of the skins I preferred looked terrible on the Freya head. It would appear most of the Birth skins are meant to work best on specific, more masculine models of Catwa male heads.

I then went over to Stray Dog, and tried on demos of dozens of skins, with mixed results, before settling on the one you see here:

Now, you might think that I needed the collar to hide the neck seam between the Catwa Freya head and the Classic body, but I was actually able to get a close match between the Stray Dog skin applier I used on the Catwa head and the skin tone of the Classic body.

This is Stray Dog skin tone 5, which matches up almost exactly with the Classic body’s skin tone 11, and the included neck fades in the Classic package make it look almost completely seamless! There are even step-by-step instructions on how to apply the appropriate neck fade to the Catwa head. It works well.

No, I needed the collar to hide this rather ugly side view of the neck:

No matter how much I fiddled with the neck sliders, I simply could not avoid a neck that was noticeably thinner at the top than at the bottom. Increasing the neck width or the neck length made the problem even worse.

Another problem was the quite noticeable bulge where the Catwa head meets the Classic body at the front (see the red arrow). It’s a much larger bulge than can be explained away by a man’s Adam’s apple. The best course of action was to cover up the area completely.

So while yes, you can select Male or Female on the included Master HUD for the Freya head to work with both male and female bodies (see the red arrow in the image below), you should be forewarned that the neck area can still look a little weird on male avatars.

So you need to keep in mind that the Freya head, while “unisex” in name, might not work very well with many store-bought male skins that would look okay on a Bento mesh head with more masculine features. So demo, demo, demo before you buy!

I used the eyebrow shaper that came with the Stray Dog skin applier package, and for my starter male shape I used the free, full-perms gift shape from the NoYourOtherLeft sim, one of the three spots where you can pick up the Catwa Freya gift head (just look for a large box opposite the row of kiosks). I made the jaw more angular and square, and the ears a little bigger; the rest I left unchanged. (I noticed in particular that it wasn’t advisable to make too many changes to the nose shape.)

Here is the overall final look for my avatar, which I am quite pleased with:

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Freya unisex Bento mesh head (free group gift from Catwa; the Catwa group is free to join; more details here)

Mesh Body: Classic male mesh body (L$1 group gift from Meshbody; The Shops! group is free to join; more details here)

Skin Applier for Head: Surman by Stray Dog (L$590 per skin tone)

Hair: the Chris hairstyle in ash blonde is a gift from Alli&Ali Hair (this freebie comes from the free hair wall at The Free Dove; I tinted it a darker brown here)

Collar: Nina unisex choke by RxK (available for free from the main floor of the freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil; comes with a HUD with four colour choices and two metal choices)

All the clothing is specifically designed for Classic mesh bodies (remember to look for The Mesh Project or TMP on the packaging before you buy):

Shirt: Pepe shirt (free gift from KingalStores, available at The Free Dove)

Jeans: Stone jeans (free gift from Dreams, available from the men’s section on the third floor of the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil)

Sneakers: Jumpov sneakers by VERSOV (free group gift; the VERSOV group is free to join; these sneakers come with a HUD that allows you to change the colour of every single part of the shoe)

Animation Override: Tuty’s Daily sLIFE Free Bento AO (free from the Tuty animations store)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR LOOK: L$591 (L$590 for the Stray Dog skin applier, and L$1 for the Classic mesh body)

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Freya Unisex Bento Mesh Head from Catwa!

Shots fired!

Well, Catwa has officially entered the thick of the battle of what in what I used to call the Bento Head Wars, but which I am now officially dubbing The Great Bento War of 2020. Never can I remember a time in Second Life when so many great Bento mesh heads and bodies are being made available for free or next to free!

Catwa has just released a free group gift of a Bento mesh head, called Freya! Please note that despite the name, this Bento mesh head is intended to be unisex, usable for all genders of avatars. Like all Bento mesh heads, you should be able to use the sliders to get as masculine or feminine (or non-binary gendered) a look as you desire.

To pick up this group gift, you must join either the Catwa store group (^;^CaTwA^;^) or the CATWA HEAD Friends group. Both groups are free to join.

To pick up your free group gift, you then must teleport over to the Catwa store, and click on the black circle with the name of the corresponding group:

Once you unpack it, here is what you receive:

The Freya head comes with two recommended starter shapes (“boy” male, or female) an eyebrow shaper, some talking animations, a face light, and three HUDs: a master HUD, an animations HUD, and an eyes HUD (the package comes with rigged mesh eyes).

The “BOM Skin A Makeup Alpha Pack”, when unpacked, contains a complete set of alphas in various combinations (head, eyes, body, full avatar), plus a huge set of Bakes-on-Mesh blush, brows, eyeliner, freckles, hairbases, lipstick, and neck and ear tattoos. The folder includes a complete set of Bakes-on-Mesh skins from TheSkinnery (in a range of eleven skin tones, with and without eyebrows) and a couple of skins from Deetalez (again, with and without brows).

Note that there are no male skins included in this package; if you want a male look, you’ll have to go do a little shopping around! However, if you want a female avatar, you should be able to use these included skins with any Bakes-on-Mesh compatible mesh body (such as the still-available dollarbie Classic body from Meshbody) to get a good look without having to buy anything else!

The “HD Lips Pack Freya” package includes high-definition lips and a lips HUD.

Here is what the Freya head looks like straight out of the box, with the included default female body shape and eyebrow shaper, default skin and eyes:

After applying my favourite Daria skin applier for Catwa heads from TheSkinnery, and adding the HUDs, here’s what we’ve got:

The HUDs on the Freya are the full-blown versions you would expect to find on the full-price Catwa heads. The eyes HUD gives you twelve different colours (here, I picked one of the brown ones). The Catwa HUDs are quite complicated, with many features, and I would strongly urge anybody who is new to them to read through the comprehensive user documentation available on their official Catwa website. There’s even a “crash course” video on Catwa Bento mesh heads by former mesh body über-blogger Strawberry Singh, now better known as Strawberry Linden since she got hired by Linden Lab!

According to the group notice that was sent out, this is a limited-time offer, so I would try to get down to the Catwa store as soon as possible! Here are the SLURLs provided in the original group notice:

As you might expect, the Catwa sims are absolutely jam-packed with avatars picking up the Freya head, so I would advise you to either wait a while for the crowds to die down a bit, or use a tool like the handy free Teleport Hammer to fight your way in. (Also remember that Premium accounts get priority access to sims that are full.) Good luck!

P.S. I forgot to mention that, if you are looking for some free skin appliers to use with the Freya head, there are currently generous group gifts available at both Amara Beauty and at Essences for skin appliers for Catwa Bento mesh heads. Happy freebie shopping!


IMPORTANT UPDATE May 4th, 2020: Due to extremely high demand, the Catwa store has sent out the following announcement:

CATWA GIFT UNISEX HEAD Freya
[LIMITED OFFER 3rd to 24th MAY 2020]
The gift is is NO LONGER at CATWA mainstore!
Activate any of the CATWA groups before going.
Detach meshes so you can rez quicker.
Please give chance to other by leaving the sim after getting the gift.
Gift locations:

1. Sensual Romance
2. NoYourOtherLeft
3. LV Designs

Also, I spent some time playing around with the Freya head and the dollarbie Classic mesh body from Meshbody. I found that, once I was able to match the included skin tones between the Catwa Freya head and the Classic mesh body as best I could, I was able to use the included neckfades in the Classic Meshbody package to achieve some pleasing results without any noticeable neck seam (and there are clear, step-by-step instructions on how to apply the Classic neckfades to Catwa heads).

She is looking fabulous at Frank’s Jazz Club tonight! This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Freya Bento mesh head by Catwa (free group gift; group is free to join)

Lipstick: HD Lips Pack Freya (included in the Catwa Freya head package)

Mesh Body: Classic mesh body by Meshbody (dollarbie group gift; group is free to join; more information here)

Hair: Gigi hair by Yomi (free group gift; group is free to join)

Dress: Kay dress in blue and gold by Tiffany Designs (free gift at The Free Dove; you must join The Free Dove group for free to pick up gifts there)

Shoes: Scarlett shoes in gold by Nala Design (free gift at the excellent freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil; the shoes are meant for Slink feet and I had to adjust them a bit to fit the Classic feet on this avatar, but they worked)

Animation Override: Lessie AO by GoldSquare (free group gift; group is free to join). The ankle lock, an essential add-on, is a free gift from Baby Monkey (just grab the blue bag at the reception desk).

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: Only L$1! (for the Classic Meshbody)


UPDATE May 6th, 2020: I have been tinkering around with the Freya gift head over the past couple of days, and I must say that I am impressed at just how versatile this head is! Here’s a couple of completely different looks I put together.

This princess look consists of the Freya head paired with a Maitreya Lara body, using the starter female eyebrow shaper and female shape that came with the Freya package, and the Madelyn skin applier in olive from Amara Beauty (a free gift!):

And this completely androgynous drag queen look uses the Freya head with the Altamura Romeo mesh body, with the high-definition Freya lips and some makeup from Dotty’s Secret! The male eyebrow shaper and male shape for the Freya head were a free, full-perms gift from the NoYourOtherLeft gift pickup spot listed above (just look for a large box opposite the row of kiosks).

And finally, here is a male avatar I created using the free Freya head with the dollarbie Classic male body from Meshbody. I used the same male eyebrow shaper and male shape for the Freya head from NoYourOtherLeft as my starting point, only making the jaw a little more square, and using one of the Bakes on Mesh male skins from Digital Nude Art (DNA) that I picked up here (a store which, unfortunately, appears to have now closed):

So, as you can see, you can pretty much take this free gift head and go in any creative direction you want with it! Be sure to pick up the Freya gift head before this offer expires in May 24th, 2020. In addition to the three pickup spots I listed above, you can now also buy the Freya gift head, for free, from the SL Marketplace!