When you think of “retro hairstyles”, what comes to mind?
Perhaps you’ve poured over old family photo albums and were fascinated by the ways your parents and grandparents used to wear their hair. Or maybe you love classic movies, and imagine what it would be like to style your tresses in victory rolls or a bouffant bun. Achieving a retro look can seem intimidating, but we promise: recreating beautiful hairstyles from the past is a piece of cake!
Here are 5 retro hairstyles you need to try, handpicked from 5 very different decades. Get your hairspray ready!
1920s: The Finger Wave
The 1920s were a time of rebellion, especially in women’s fashion. Gone were the days of constricting corsets and long hair—women sought out barbers to shear their locks close to their head, adorning their finished look with sparkling jewels and headbands to accessorize.
This short-haired look, called the “finger wave”, can be achieved in three easy steps:
- After applying mousse, section your hair into three sections, and blow dry.
- Using a 3/4” curling iron, curl each part of the hair first under, then over, creating an “S” shape in the hair. Secure each wave at its peak with finger wave clips and spray with hairspray.
- Use your curling iron to curl any pieces that have come loose. Allow the waves to set for about ten minutes. Then, take them out carefully, brush lightly, and spray again. Isn’t it the cat’s meow?
1940s: Victory Rolls
Victory rolls are a universally flattering hairstyle, even though they were popular over 70 years ago! Characterized by voluminous curls of hair that framed the face, victory rolls were named for the WWII war effort, which many women of the time were part of.
Victory rolls are very easy to achieve and are perfect for a swing dance class, a vintage-themed party, or any opportunity that allows you to channel your inner pin-up girl!
- Start by creating a deep left side part, leaving a front section of hair that is about two inches wide. Starting in the middle, roll this section around two fingers, taking care to tuck the ends in so it all rolls together, and roll right to the top.
- Once you have a tidy roll, pin the front and back with bobby pins, and make sure the roll is pinned down so you can’t see through it.
- Repeat this on the other side, creating another roll and pinning it down. Use hairspray to secure the rolls, and use a curling iron to add some curls to your remaining hair.
1950s: Sky-High Bangs
The higher the hair, the happier the gal! The 1950s were a prosperous decade, which was illustrated in women’s hairstyles—high bangs were all the rage, and scarves were colorful, chic additions to any look. All you’ll need for this style is a comb, some bobby pins, and of course, hairspray:
- If you have bangs already, you can back comb them to achieve volume, and also add in extra hair from near your crown for more effect. If you don’t have bangs, grab a section of hair about the width of your face and back comb.
- Pull hair backwards, twist it once or twice, and then push it forward towards your face. Secure it with bobby pins. Now, pull side pieces of your hair back as well, twisting and securing them with bobby pins like you did with your bangs. You know the drill—secure the whole thing with hairspray.
- Finally, you can add a colored scarf to your hair to complete the look! Grab the scarf of your choice and tie around your head, starting from underneath your hair. Tie a bow behind your backcombed bangs for an added punch!
1960s: Sleek Updo
Gloves, pearls, and sleek hairstyles abounded in the 1960s, a time when ladies played up their femininity. A popular hairstyle of the early 1960s was the updo. Easily achievable with (you guessed it) hairspray and bobby pins, this style has stood the test of time and can complete a dressed up look beautifully!
- If you have bangs, keep them separate from the rest of your hair. If not, create a side part and grab a two-inch section of hair near the front, just leaving it to the side for now.
- Gather a section of hair at the top of your head, near your crown, and backcomb it to create volume. Once back combed, brush it lightly so it’s sleek, and use bobby pins to secure it just behind the crown of your head.
- Brush the remainder of your hair up and off your neck, and twist it underneath your voluminous section just above. Secure with bobby pins and spray.
- Finally, for those of you who don’t already have bangs, brush that section of hair you left to the side earlier, so it’s nice and sleek, and pull it to the right, pinning it underneath your updo.
1980s: Voluminous Curls
Whether you lived through the 1980’s and sported a bold hairdo yourself, or know the styles from ’80’s films, one thing is for certain—this was a time of expression! Hot rollers were a girl’s best friend, and even though they’re a dated tool, we’ve put together an ’80’s look you can rock using your trusty curling iron instead:
- Make sure that curling iron is hot, and then divide hair into two sections, top and bottom. Starting with the bottom first, curl hair in two-inch sections, alternating the direction of the curling iron each time (clockwise and counter-clockwise). Spray with hairspray, and then repeat the process for the top section of your hair. Spray.
- Turn your head upside down and spray your hair again. Then run your fingers through the curls, making sure to maintain that curly volume.
- For the finishing touch, grab some dry shampoo and massage it into the roots of your hair. This will maintain your ’80’s volume.