15 Vintage Hairstyles That Defined an Era: Timeless Looks to Try Today

Vintage hairstyles can be a fun way to add some retro flair to your look.

These classic styles have a timeless charm that continues to inspire fashion today.

From glamorous curls to edgy cuts, each decade from the past holds unique hairstyles that still turn heads.

Why stick to one era when there are so many cool options from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s? Discovering these vintage styles allows you to experiment with different looks and find one that truly suits your personality.

Whether you’re dressing up for a special occasion or just want to switch up your everyday style, these iconic hairstyles offer endless inspiration.

1) Gibson Girl

The Gibson Girl hairstyle was iconic at the turn of the century.

Created by artist Charles Dana Gibson, it symbolized the ideal feminine beauty of the time.

You’d see women wearing their hair in a loose pompadour or bouffant.

The style required long hair pulled back and piled high, giving the wearer an elegant and sophisticated look.

Many women aspired to this style.

It became a national beauty standard.

The Gibson Girl look was featured in many illustrations, magazines, and advertisements.

2) Victory Rolls

Victory Rolls were a famous hairstyle from the 1940s.

You would see women with their hair fashioned into big, voluminous curls that framed their faces.

The name “Victory Rolls” comes from an aerobatic maneuver and was meant to evoke the spirit of World War II.

Women wore this style to show their strong support during the war.

Creating Victory Rolls involves separating the hair on top into sections.

The most common look has two large rolls on either side of the head.

You can either leave the back part of your hair down or style it into a bun.

Victory Rolls also matched very well with the pin-up fashion of the 1940s.

It became a strong symbol of glamour and resilience.

You will find this hairstyle making a comeback today at vintage-themed parties and swing dance events.

It’s a timeless look that has been embraced by many over the decades.

3) Beehive

The Beehive is a hairstyle that rose to fame in the 1960s.

Known for its height and rounded shape, this ‘do became a symbol of elegance and glamour.

Margaret Vinci Heldt, a hairstylist from Chicago, introduced the Beehive in 1960.

She wanted a look that captured the decade’s bold spirit.

With its towering height and intricate structure, the Beehive was perfect for that.

To achieve the Beehive, you’d start with dry hair.

Then, you’d back-brush or tease the hair to create volume.

Hairspray was essential to keep everything in place.

Celebrities like Amy Winehouse and Adele have revived the Beehive in modern times, paying homage to its retro roots.

Even fictional characters like Marge Simpson sport this iconic hairstyle.

4) Finger Waves

Finger waves are a classic hairstyle that got their start in the 1920s.

They made a big comeback in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

This look is all about those defined, S-shaped waves that give your hair a polished and elegant feel.

You can achieve finger waves with some hair gel and a fine-tooth comb.

Start with damp hair and a good amount of gel.

Comb the hair flat against your head and shape the waves by using your fingers to pinch and push the hair into that iconic S-shape.

Celebrities in the 1980s often brought back the finger wave look for red carpets and glamorous events.

This style added a touch of old Hollywood to their modern, glitzy appearances.

It’s a versatile hairstyle you can wear for fancy occasions or just to feel a bit more chic.

Even today, finger waves remain popular.

You might see them at weddings, vintage-themed parties, or even on fashion runways.

Whether you have short hair or long locks, finger waves can add that extra touch of elegance and flair to your style.

5) Bouffant

The bouffant became a signature hairstyle in the 1960s.

It’s known for its high, rounded shape that added drama and elegance.

You might recognize it from photos of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who helped popularize this look.

Creating a bouffant meant a lot of teasing and backcombing.

You’d take small sections of your hair and comb them backwards to create volume at the roots.

Then, you’d smooth the top layer to get that polished, rounded finish.

Hairspray was key to maintaining the bouffant’s shape.

This style held up well throughout the day, making it ideal for formal events or a night out.

You’d often see it paired with accessories like headbands or ribbons for an extra touch of glamour.

Even though the bouffant required effort, it was worth it for the wow factor.

Many women embraced this style as a way to make a bold statement, standing out in a crowd with their voluminous hair.

The bouffant continued to be popular into the 1970s and 1980s, and you may still see it in modern retro-inspired looks.

It’s a testament to its lasting appeal and iconic status in the world of hairstyles.

6) Pixie Cut

The pixie cut became super popular in the 1960s.

Celebrities like Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow rocked this look, making it trendy and chic.

A pixie cut is all about short hair, but with a playful and feminine twist.

It’s easy to maintain and adds a bold statement to your look.

In the 1970s, the pixie cut stayed strong, with even more women embracing the short style.

It represented freedom and confidence during a time of social change.

By the 1980s, the pixie cut had evolved to include more volume and texture.

People loved the fact that it was versatile, letting them experiment with their hair.

7) Shag Haircut

The shag haircut became a sensation in the late ’60s and ’70s.

This style is easy to spot with its messy and choppy layers.

It’s all about giving you that laid-back, rock-n-roll vibe.

Rock stars and celebrities, like Stevie Nicks and Mick Jagger, loved the shag for its rebellious and cool look.

The layers added volume and texture, making it perfect for anyone wanting that effortlessly stylish appearance.

In the ’80s, the shag saw another wave of popularity.

It worked well with the big hair trends of the time.

You could see shag haircuts on everyone from Hollywood stars to punk rockers.

Curtain bangs and piece-y fringes often accompanied shag haircuts.

These bangs framed your face and gave a soft, flattering look.

Whether you had short, medium, or long hair, the shag was a versatile choice.

Trying this vintage hairstyle can add a touch of the past to your look and give you that timeless, effortlessly chic style.

8) The Pageboy

The Pageboy haircut really made waves in the 1960s and 1970s.

This hairstyle was named after the medieval page boys’ haircut, featuring straight hair that turned under at the bottom.

It typically had a fringe (or bangs) in the front.

In the 70s, women loved this style for its sleek look and easy maintenance.

You could spot it everywhere, from casual settings to red-carpet events.

It gave off a chic and polished vibe.

By the 1980s, the Pageboy was still popular but had some modern tweaks.

Women started adding layers and experimenting with lengths.

It became a versatile option for those wanting both a retro and updated look.

Whether you wore it short, at chin-length, or with a longer fringe, the Pageboy offered a timeless style that could be adapted to fit your personal taste.

The iconic look of the Pageboy remains a standout in vintage hairstyles.

9) Marcel Waves

Marcel waves were all the rage in the 1920s and even saw comebacks later on.

They’re known for their sleek and sophisticated look.

These waves were created using heated curling irons, introduced by Francois Marcel in 1872.

This technique made it easier to get those perfect, lasting waves.

If you ever wanted to channel your inner flapper or classic Hollywood star, Marcel waves are the way to go.

They give your hair a timeless, polished appearance that works for both short and long styles.

You can try this look for a retro-themed party or just to add a touch of vintage glamour to your day.

Materials needed are quite simple: a curling iron and some hair spray.

The method involves clamping sections of your hair with the curling iron to form S-shaped waves.

It’s a bit like creating loose curls but with more structure.

After you’ve made the waves, a light mist of hairspray keeps everything in place.

This hairstyle is particularly great because it works for different hair types and lengths.

Whether you have short bob or longer locks, you can rock the Marcel waves.

Plus, it’s a style that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance.

Just some careful styling and you’re all set.

10) The Poodle Cut

The Poodle Cut, popularized by Lucille Ball in the 1950s, was a standout hairstyle from the era.

This look involved brushing curls into a voluminous pouf on top of your head, making it resemble a poodle.

The style was especially popular among women with naturally curly hair.

If you had straight hair, you might have opted for a perm to achieve the same effect.

The Poodle Cut was more than just a hairstyle; it was a statement.

Women wore it to show off their bold and fashionable side.

The tight curls and high volume added drama and flair to any outfit.

Maintaining the Poodle Cut required effort.

Frequent trips to the salon for trims and touch-ups were a must to keep the curls looking fresh.

Styling products like hairspray were also essential to hold the shape.

The Poodle Cut’s unique and daring appearance ensured its place as a memorable and iconic look.

It was both fun and functional, allowing you to stand out in a crowd while keeping your curls under control.

11) Bettie Page Bangs

When talking about vintage hairstyles, you can’t skip the iconic Bettie Page Bangs.

These bangs became a sensation in the 1950s and continued to influence styles in the following decades.

Known for their straight, blunt cut that falls just above the eyes, they add an edgy yet classic touch to any look.

Bettie Page, often dubbed the “Queen of Pin-ups,” sported these bangs, making them wildly popular.

The bangs perfectly complemented her jet-black hair and blue eyes, becoming a signature part of her image.

They were not just a hairstyle but a symbol of her bold and daring personality.

You could see the influence of Bettie Page Bangs in the 1960s and 1970s too.

Many women adopted this style to achieve a retro, chic look.

The bangs were easy to maintain and versatile enough to go with different hair lengths and textures.

Even in the 1980s, the Bettie Page Bangs made a resurgence.

Musicians and actresses wore them, blending vintage charm with modern trends.

These bangs have a timeless appeal, bringing a touch of old Hollywood glamour to any era.

So, if you’re looking to channel some vintage vibes, Bettie Page Bangs might be your go-to style.

12) The Flapper Bob

You’ve probably seen pictures of the flapper bob.

It’s that iconic short haircut from the 1920s.

Women who rocked this style wanted to break free from past traditions.

The flapper bob was more than just a haircut.

It was a statement.

It was straight, usually cut at jaw length, and often featured bangs.

This hairstyle was easy to maintain.

Women loved its simplicity.

It also highlighted their facial features, giving them a fresh, youthful look.

13) Hollywood Waves

Hollywood Waves have a charm that never goes out of style.

These glamorous waves became popular in the mid-20th century and still turn heads today.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, you saw this style on many red carpets.

Actresses loved this look for its elegance and sophistication.

To create Hollywood Waves, start by curling your hair in the same direction.

Use a medium-hold hairspray to keep the curls in place.

Brush through the curls to form smooth, sleek waves.

A deep side part can make this hairstyle even more dramatic.

It adds volume and balances your facial features.

Make sure to tuck one side behind your ear and secure it with hairpins for that classic look.

Hollywood Waves work for various hair lengths.

Whether your hair is short or long, you can achieve this timeless style.

The key is the smooth, polished finish that looks effortlessly chic.

14) The Veronica Lake Look

The Veronica Lake Look is all about those glamorous, vintage waves.

This hairstyle was super popular in the 1940s.

You start by making a deep side part.

The secret to her look is curling your hair, so grab a curling iron.

Once curled, brush through gently for soft waves.

Don’t forget the peek-a-boo bang that falls over one eye.

It gives a mysterious and captivating vibe.

This style was so influential that during World War II, women had to be encouraged to wear their hair up for safety in the workplace.

Veronica Lake’s waves are still iconic today.

15) Pompadour

The pompadour hairstyle is iconic and has had various revivals over the years.

In the 1960s, the pompadour made a comeback thanks to rock ‘n’ roll legends.

Elvis Presley made this hairstyle famous with his slicked-back version.

You can imagine the widespread gel use to keep it looking perfect all day.

In the 1970s, the pompadour evolved with a bit more texture and volume.

It wasn’t as sleek as before, as people started liking a more natural look.

Think less grease and more lift.

The 1980s saw the pompadour blending with punk styles.

People started experimenting with colors and even higher volumes.

This era fused the classic pompadour shape with the bold and rebellious spirit of punk rock.

By this time, the pompadour wasn’t just for men.

Women embraced the look too, often pairing it with bold makeup and flashy outfits.

This made the hairstyle even more versatile and exciting.

Whether you fancy the polished look of the 60s or the edgy vibe of the 80s, the pompadour remains a statement hairstyle that truly defined each era.

The Significance of Vintage Hairstyles

Vintage hairstyles reflect societal values and historical events, providing insights into cultural shifts and fashion trends.

Cultural Impact

Vintage hairstyles have always mirrored the culture of their time.

In the 1960s, the bouffant was popular, showcasing the era’s love for volume and glamour.

As the decade progressed, sleek, straight hair became a symbol of the youth counterculture and rebellion.

Moving into the 1970s, hairstyles became more relaxed and natural.

The afro became a powerful symbol of Black pride and identity.

Long, flowing hair was also a staple, embodying the free-spirited attitude of the decade.

The 1980s brought a wave of bold, big hairstyles.

The rise of rock and pop music influenced styles like teased, voluminous hair, and the mullet.

These bold looks matched the decade’s emphasis on self-expression and individuality.

Historical Context

Each hairstyle tells a story about the time it came from.

The 1960s saw dramatic social changes, and hair trends reflected this.

Women embraced more daring styles, moving away from the conservative looks of earlier decades.

The 1970s were marked by social movements and a push for equality.

The afro and long, natural hair became symbols of resistance and identity.

These styles represented a break from traditional beauty standards and a celebration of natural beauty.

In the 1980s, economic growth and media influence shaped fashion.

Hairstyles became over-the-top, reflecting the decade’s excess and love for pop culture.

Hair was seen as a way to make a statement, whether it was through punk spikes or Madonna-inspired curls.

Each era’s hairstyle spoke volumes about the people and their times.

Popular Fashion Icons and Their Hairdos

Vintage hairstyles were often tied to the celebrities who made them famous.

From glamorous waves to chic pixie cuts, these iconic looks left a lasting impression on fashion.

Key Influencers

1960s:
The 1960s brought bold and stylish icons like Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot.

Audrey Hepburn’s pixie cut in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” gave women a fresh, youthful look.

1970s:
Farrah Fawcett was a major name in the 1970s.

Her feathered locks from “Charlie’s Angels” became a hairstyle many women tried to copy.

1980s:
The 1980s saw Madonna leading trends with her wild and curly hair.

She often used bows and accessories that defined the era’s playful and daring spirit.

Iconic Looks

Audrey Hepburn’s Pixie Cut:
This short, neat hairstyle with its soft edges became a symbol of elegance and simplicity.

You could easily style it with a bit of gel for a polished look.

Brigitte Bardot’s Bouffant:
This voluminous style required lots of teasing and hairspray, making it look big and bold.

It gave a very glamorous and sexy vibe, perfect for a night out.

Farrah Fawcett’s Feathered Locks:
The feathering technique involved cutting layers around the face, allowing the hair to flip back in soft waves.

This gave the hair movement and a natural, carefree look.

Madonna’s Curly Hair:
Her curly, often bleached blonde hair with fun accessories became an emblematic look.

Bows, headbands, and even lace helped Madonna make a powerful style statement.

How to Recreate Vintage Hairstyles Today

Recreating vintage hairstyles from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s is a fun way to add a unique touch to your look.

With the right tools and some simple steps, you can achieve these classic styles at home.

Tools and Products

To get started, you’ll need some basic tools and products.

A few essentials are:

Hairbrush: This is key for getting smooth, polished looks or for teasing hair to add volume.

Bobby Pins: Use these to secure sections of your hair in place, especially for styles like updos and bangs.

Hairspray: A firm hold hairspray will keep your hairstyle in place all day.

Hot Rollers or Curling Iron: Perfect for creating those iconic curls and waves from the ’60s and ’70s.

Hairbands and Scarves: Great for adding a retro touch to your hairstyle.

Having these items on hand will help you easily achieve your desired vintage look.

Step-by-Step Tutorials

1960s Beehive:

  1. Start by backcombing your hair at the crown to add volume.
  2. Smooth the top layer with a brush to hide the teased section.
  3. Gather your hair into a high ponytail.
  4. Twist the ponytail and fold it forward, securing with bobby pins.
  5. Finish with a strong hold hairspray.

1970s Feathered Hair:

  1. Begin with clean, dry hair.
  2. Use a round brush and a blow dryer to create volume at the roots.
  3. Flip the ends of your hair outward using a curling iron.
  4. Tease the crown area slightly for extra height.
  5. Use hairspray to hold the style in place.

1980s High Ponytail:

  1. Brush your hair to remove any tangles.
  2. Gather your hair into a high ponytail.
  3. Wrap a small section of hair around the base to hide the hairband.
  4. Secure with a bobby pin and use hairspray to set.
  5. Add a scrunchie for an authentic ’80s look.

These tutorials will help you bring golden-era hairstyles to life, giving you a stylish and nostalgic flair.

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