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Why Opt For 50’s Hairstyles?
Homecoming is the perfect time to show off your most gorgeous, unique self; so why not stand out from the crowd with a retro vibe? With the popularity of shows like “The Crown,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and “Master of None,” 50’s hairstyles are making a sassy and chic comeback. Bands like Postmodern Jukebox have adopted the 50’s style and made it their own as well.
The 1950’s was a time of celebration after the war years, when new fashions and beauty styles flourished. Women took chances and weren’t afraid to try bold shapes, vibrant colors, hair accessories, flowers, or scarves. 1950’s fashion and style embraced femininity and shape, and you can see it in the styles we present here. We have so much inspiration to draw from this era.
Whether you have long, short, or medium-length hair; it’s easy to pull off one of these feminine looks right out of Old Hollywood. Hair product is your friend for these looks. Always keep smoothing serum on hand and, for more elaborate looks, a tub of pomade. These iconic styles have a glamourous, architectural quality to them, so the focus will remain on your face. Take your time with these styles, be patient and experiment. We, of course, suggest you finish this look with a fabulous vintage dress. However, these looks are timeless, so you can wear these hairstyles with simple outfits as well.
We bring you five 50’s hairstyles that you can easily create at home with the help of a little hair product (smoothing serum or pomade), hair pins, curling iron or flat iron, rollers and plenty of hairspray.
Ideal for short hair, this quintessential 50’s hairstyle is versatile and can be worn several ways. The general shape was that of straight, flat hair on the top and sides with a tightly rolled bottom, and front edges facing the neck. In the 50’s, it was often seen with a deep side part to create a look that was smooth and manicured. The pageboy was especially popular in the early 50’s, but remained in use until the 60’s when it turned outward into the flip. You can see the flip on episodes of “Mad Men.”
It’s easy to create this look with short or medium-length hair using a curling iron or flat iron. Apply some pomade for this style, because you want a sleek finish. Curl the hair under in sections, and if you want more volume, back comb (“tease”) the hair sections you just curled, and then softly brush the top hairs over.
For an authentic pageboy, you want the straight part of your hair firm to the head and the curled under sections should form a “bump”. You can create this shape with the help of a hair band or several duck bill clips to hold the hair down. Spray, then remove the hair band or clips. Check out photos of Rosemary Clooney to see a good example of this 50’s hairstyle.
Ideal for ladies with longer hair, the ponytail, called a horsetail, was favored by teens and women in the post-war years. This 50’s hairstyle is low maintenance, simple, and chic. It’s a youthful look that can go anywhere, and it has lasted for decades. The difference between the pony tail of today and the pony tail of the 1950’s was in the shape.
Check out photos of Audrey Hepburn wearing this hairstyle, with a deep side part. The pony tail sits high on the back of the head and is full, with soft curls.
To create the iconic look, slowly curl your hair under in sections with a curling iron on high heat. Pull it up to the center of the back head and secure with an elastic hair band. Bangs and curls around the face are optional. Longer bangs or fringe are more flattering. Try to stay away from the shorter bangs that ride a couple of inches above your brow. The end of the horse tail should have soft and rolled edges. Cover the hair band with a thin ribbon bow or pretty hair clip.
For a slightly different look with more volume, back comb (“tease”) the back sections of your head with a teasing comb, softly brush the top hairs over, and then secure the horse tail. This will give you a red carpet look with a softer shape which may be more flattering to most faces.
The Hollywood Pin Up
This classic 50’s hairstyle is really a looser version of the pageboy. This Old Hollywood look is a modern twist on the renowned finger waves of the 1920’s and 1930’s. This look evolved because leading ladies in Hollywood who became famous in the 30’s and 40’s could not cut their long hair. This decade’s long hairstyles involved full curls all over or a sleek top with cascading curls to one side. Deep side parts made the hair look even more dramatic. Think “Jessica Rabbit.”
You can create these glamorous waves with the help of a curling iron or foam rollers. Remember to use high heat and curl slowly, up and away from your head. For the authentic pinup look, curl the front portion of your above your forehead and then style it up and away from your face. You can use your fingers to sculpt the hair pieces in a way that beautifully frames your face.
Betty Page made this 50’s hairstyle popular, and it has since been adopted by the rockabilly movement. After the war, 50’s hairstyles were designed to keep hair out of the faces of women who were working with machinery. This led to an influx of victory rolls and bumper bangs, which were stylish but also served a purpose. Now, this bold look is popular with the pin-up crowd to emulate Bettie Page.
To create the look, separate a large section of hair at the top of your head extending to your forehead. Using a large round curling iron on high heat, slowly curl the hair up and under, and spray in place. For more volume, tease the hair with a comb and then softly brush top hair over. The look to aim for is a boxy, heavy roll of hair that actually resembles the bumper of a car. This style seems to work best with dark, full hair. Apply a dark red lipstick to balance out your face.
Victory Rolls got their name from an aerobatic maneuver, and that makes sense when you put this look together. Considered an “updo” as well as a pinup look, this ornate 50’s hairstyle takes a little more time to accomplish. This style was created in the 1940’s and continued to be popular in the 1950’s. It became a glamorous look for those with long hair.
Many variations of this shape exist. You can achieve it by parting your hair into sections, rolling each section, backcombing, brushing and pinning into place. Create your own shape and use a lot of hairspray. You can see this look in action at vintage-era theme parties and on the swing dance scene. Looser variations on this style are used in present-day weddings. You will get best results by using day old hair. Don’t wash it before styling. Natural hair oils help sculpt the hair and keep curls together.
Not all 50’s hairstyles were flattering (Mamie Eisenhower bangs, anyone?), but we found the top five that are a celebration of beauty, femininity, and retro fashion. Any of these glam looks can be easily created at home, with helpful, inspiring video tutorials abound on YouTube.
The Pageboy style is great for short or medium length hair. This 50’s hairstyle is popular today, and rockabilly pinup ladies have adopted it. You can wear this style with anything.
The Horsetail (we call it a “ponytail”) is a functional, youthful look, and works best with a side part and some teasing to give your hair some volume. Dress it up with a hair ribbon for added retro flavor.
The Hollywood Pinup is the go-to for glamorous 50’s hairstyles. You see this everywhere today – on the red carpet, in the movies, and on television. It’s easy to create and the more dramatic, the better.
The Victory Rolls style is definitely the most time-consuming style because of the architectural feel and shape. It is perhaps the most iconic of the era, and we advise you to watch any of the available online video tutorials to walk you through the process.
For these styles, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Day old hair and smoothing serum will help give you the shine and luster you need for these looks
- A blow dryer is most effective on the highest heat but on the lowest setting
- Be sure you use a heat protector for your hair
Have fun with these 50’s hairstyles, and you will be a standout beauty on homecoming night.