Vintage Hairstyles

60 Vintage Hairstyles

Hairstyles have been an integral part of personal style since the ancient world (one hairstyle on this list was first used in Ancient Greece). In the last century, the social-acceptable possibilities have widened and differentiated by decade—until now, when we have a wide range from short to long for any gender identity. Dyes, curls, gel, once the haircut is decided on, the styling possibilities are nearly as endless. Check out our list of vintage style haircuts ready for your modern take!

The List

I) Vintage Hairstyles for Medium Hair

1. Rag-Rolled Curls

Period: 20th century

Rag-Rolled Curls

Rag-Rolled Curls

Rag-Rolled Curls
This style is an all-time favorite: easy to do, more comfortable to sleep on than pins, and a beautiful look that holds for days sans hairspray. 10-20 pieces of fabric in roughly 8×2” pieces and damp hair (not full wet), separate your hair into sections, wrap it in a roll around a rag, and knot the rag so it stays in place. Let it dry then shake out the curls.


2. Curly Bob

Period: 1920s forward

Curly Bob

Curly Bob
The bob—the notorious haircut of the flapper, a statement of equality—also an easy-upkeep vintage look for naturally or not-so-naturally curly hair (see rag rolling above). The bob is a straight cut that be a range of lengths, with or without bangs.


3. Pin-up Curls

Period: 1930s

Sort of the drastic version of the Swirled Fringe (below), this style is any of a number of elaborate curls and twists all neatly pinned against the head.

Sort of the drastic version of the Swirled Fringe (below), this style is any of a number of elaborate curls and twists all neatly pinned against the head.

Sort of the drastic version of the Swirled Fringe (below), this style is any of a number of elaborate curls and twists all neatly pinned against the head.
Sort of the drastic version of the Swirled Fringe (below), this style is any of a number of elaborate curls and twists all neatly pinned against the head.


4. Swirled Fringe

Period: 1940s

Swirled Fringe

Swirled Fringe
This is a particular style of pin curls, where the fringe hair is wrapped in a large swirl atop the head with the end tucked under and pinned. It can be worn with any styling but typically the rest of the hair would be pin-curled and let loose in curls.


5. Pin-up Bob

Period: 1940s

Pin-up Bob


Don’t want the commitment to short head that a bob haircut requires? Just curl your hair in a loose style and pin it up to fall at bob-length, typically at the jawline.


6. Ava Gardner Curls

Period: 1940s

Ava Gardner Curls

Ava Gardner Curls

Ava Gardner Curls
A side-part hairstyle where the fringe is rolled towards the part and the rest of the hair is curled in tight pin curls. This style was typical of Hollywood starlet Ava Gardner, catching on in the 1940s.


7. Marilyn Curls

Period: 1950s

Marilyn Curls

Marilyn Curls
This style is a bit looser than the typical hairstyle for this era, the pin curls are brushed out to waves and light-set with a spritz instead of full pomade (or hairspray).


8. Flick-Up Bob

Period: 1950s

Flick-Up Bob

Flick-Up Bob

Flick-Up Bob
Shag haircuts are a layered style popular in the rock-and-roll scene, the style would later slide into the grunge era. Fringe cuts left most the hair long at a single level but cut the fringe and bangs to frame the face, so two different styles of edgy looks.


9. Shag & Fringe

Period: 1970s

Shag & Fringe

Shag & Fringe
Shag haircuts are a layered style popular in the rock-and-roll scene, the style would later slide into the grunge era. Fringe cuts left most the hair long at a single level but cut the fringe and bangs to frame the face, so two different styles of edgy looks.


II) Vintage Hairstyles for Short Hair

1. Straight Bob

Period: 1920s

Straight Bob

Straight Bob
A curly bob, like mentioned above, requires a longer length of hair to account for the curls. But a straight, geometric bob requires even shorter hair. Whether you chose an regular or angled bob, it’s a very slick 1920s style!


2. Finger Waves

Period: 1920s

Finger Waves

Finger Waves

Finger Waves
Finger waves were an effort to mix up the typical straight bob styling. In this variant, the fingers are used to create indents and outdents in the hair that are pinned into place. Finger waves were also used to style only the bangs or fringe on otherwise straight styles.


3. Audrey Hepburn Pixie Cut

Period: 1950s

Audrey Hepburn Pixie Cut

Audrey Hepburn Pixie Cut

Audrey Hepburn Pixie Cut
The pixie cut, popularized by Audrey Hepburn, was the next short hair cut after the bob faded through the ‘30s & ‘40s. This haircut is more layered than the bob, cut short around the sides and back of the head and left longer on top, often with short bangs or else hair styled forward.


4. The Artichoke

Period: 1960s

The Artichoke

The Artichoke

The Artichoke
Sort of a twist on the pixie cut, the artichoke is a layered cut fanning out from the top of the head (artichoke stem) in petal-like cuts. Generally, 2-3” long at most and teased to create dimension in the style.


5. Asymmetrical Bob

Period: 1960s

Asymmetrical Bob

Asymmetrical Bob

Asymmetrical Bob
In a twist on the 1920s classic, the bob made a comeback in asymmetrical style. One side longer, at or past the jawbone, and one side shorter, eventually as short as pixie-cut length.


6. The Wedge

Period: 1970s

The Wedge

The Wedge

The Wedge
Sharp angled layers slope from forehead-covering bangs to mid-neck length in back to form a wedge-shaped style in this popular 1970s look.


III) Vintage Hairstyles for Long Hair

1. Gibson Girl Topknot

Period: Late 19th century

Gibson Girl Topknot

Gibson Girl Topknot

Gibson Girl Topknot
If you can gather all your hair on top of your head, this supposed-to-be-messy hairstyle is for you. The easiest version requires an ear-to-ear part and two separate tucks. In front, you want a under-tucked loose coil to make a poof of hair. The rest of the hair goes in a loose coil in back, pin it down and you’re ready to go!


2. Gibson Girl Tuck

Period: Late 19th century

Gibson Girl Tuck

Gibson Girl Tuck
Two strands of hair twisted and pinned in back, with the rest of your hair gathered in a ponytail fashion and pinned around the strands—gives you a Gibson Girl tuck with all your hair tucked in at the nape of your neck.


3. Marcel Waves

Period: 1920s

Marcel Waves

Marcel Waves
These waves, sort of the big sister to the finger waves, were created with a special iron invented by one Francois Marcel of Montemarte, France. Initially used only by specially-trained technicians, the continued refinement of electrics allowed for commercialized irons by the 1920s.


4. Hollywood Glam Waves

Period: 1920s-40s

Hollywood Glam Waves

Hollywood Glam Waves

Hollywood Glam Waves
Quintessential waved hair, popular for Hollywood starlets during the Golden Era. This look takes a deep side part, a curler, lots of pins to set the waves right, and patience.


5. Side Bun

Period: 1930s

Side Bun

Side Bun
An asymmetrical twist on the classic bun, this one has the hair gathered to one side of the nape. (Finger-waved fringe on the same side of the head really makes this style pop.)


6. Reverse Rolls

Period: 1940s

Reverse Rolls

Reverse Rolls
Hair rolls were a popular trend in the 1940s, but reverse rolls are specifically rolled up or back, away from the face. Some slight teasing and a gentle finger-rolling technique (and bobby pins, of course) can give you a lovely reverse roll hairstyle with vintage appeal.


7. Back Bouffant

Period: 1950s

Back Bouffant

Back Bouffant
Bouffant hairstyles, with teasing and hair spray adding volume, don’t necessarily have to focus on the top of the head—some instead focus on the back.


8. Half-Up Curls

Period: 1950s

Half-Up Curls

Half-Up Curls

Half-Up Curls
Half-up hairstyles finished with curls were popular choices in the 1950s.


9. Rockabilly Roll

Period: 1960s

Rockabilly Roll

Rockabilly Roll
Rockabilly styles took the rolls of the 1940s to a whole new level with hairspray and added volume. This one is a large roll of long hair pinned at the crown for max height.


10. Beehive

Period: 1960s

Beehive

Beehive

Beehive
No list of vintage hairstyles is properly completed without the bouffant masterpiece that is the 1950s Beehive. Achieved with copious amounts of teasing and hair spray, the actual health of this hair-do is debatable.


IV) Easy Vintage Hairstyles

1. Retro Headscarves & Bandanas

Period: 1940s

Retro Headscarves & Bandanas

Retro Headscarves & Bandanas

Retro Headscarves & Bandanas
Think Rosie the Riveter style bandana over pulled-back hair for an accurate take on popular work-a-day styles of the time. Thinner bands with larger bows gained popularity as the style became less about practicality into the 1950s.


2. Low Roll

Period: 1940s

Low Roll

Low Roll
A popular alternative to the bun, a low roll gathered all the hair in a roll style at the nape of the neck. It was often paired with victory rolls in the fringe.


3. Beatle Ponytail

Period: 1960s

Beatle Ponytail

Beatle Ponytail

Beatle Ponytail
The crown hair is either teased or something placed underneath to create height, before the hair is gathered into a high ponytail for an easy 1960s bouffant look.


4. Small Braids

Period: 1970s

Small Braids

Small Braids
Braid both sides of your fringe into individual braids, then pin them together on the back of your head for an easy, vintage look.


5. Perm

Period: 1980s

Perm

Perm

Perm
The classic ‘80s perm: big frizz and wavy bangs. It’s a style that, once done, can be upkept for up to six months.


V) Old School Hairstyles for Ladies

1. Victory Rolls

Period: 1940s

Victory Rolls
Oftentimes, 1940s rolled styles are indiscriminately referred to as Victory Rolls—that isn’t accurate. True Victory Roll are two rolls on the top of the head, rolled opposite to each other to form a V-shape.


2. Bumper Bangs

Period: 1940s

Bumper Bangs

Bumper Bangs

Bumper Bangs
Sort of the opposite of the low roll mentioned above, this style takes the fringe hair and rolls in a single roll above the forehead for a built-in vizor effect. (The rest of the hair can be either left down in curls or gathered in a bun, rolled bangs and low roll is a interesting but untraditional choice.)


VI) Vintage Hairstyle for Straight Hair

1. Overnight-braid Waves

Period: 1940s

Overnight-braid Waves

Overnight-braid Waves

Overnight-braid Waves
Go to sleep with your hair braided, shake out the braid in the morning for gentle waves.


2. Flared Sides

Period: 1970s

Flared Sides

Flared Sides

Flared Sides
Mostly straight hair with a single angled curl rolling away from the face, this was a popular style in mainstream 1970s.


3. Plaits

Period: 1970s

Plaits

Plaits

Plaits
Anything plaited or braided went in the 70s, associated with hippies but also used in mainstream culture. Whether a single French braid or small fringe braids pinned back or an elaborate blend, braids were in!


VII) Vintage Wedding Hairstyles

1. Loose Chignon

Period: Ancient Greece on

Loose Chignon

Loose Chignon

Loose Chignon
The Chignon was a knot or coil of hair gathered at the nape of the neck or back of the head—the bun is a simplification of this style first popularized in Ancient Greece. The Chignon was popular through the Victorian era before dying out temporarily during the flapper era, it made a comeback in formal styles during the 1930s.


2. Poodle Hair

Period: 1950s

Poodle Hair

Poodle Hair

Loose Chignon
Large rolled curls gathered up either at the nape of the neck or on the crown (the higher the curls, the better) is a beautiful style with an odd name popularized in the 1950s.


3. French Twist

Period: 1950s on

French Twist

French Twist

French Twist
An easy and yet elegant look, the French Twist has been popular for weddings and other formal events since the 1950s. It’s easy to dress-up with accessories or a wedding veil as well.


4. Reverse Tuck

Period: 1950s on

Reverse Tuck

Reverse Tuck

Reverse Tuck
Usually, a tuck ends with the hair tucked underneath, a reverse tuck ends with the hair tucked over and in. This can be done in either a bun or a Gibson roll.


VIII) Vintage Hairstyles for Men

1. Double Undercut

Period: 1920s

Double Undercut
An update to the original 20s look, the sides of the head are faded out at two different lengths of undercuts, while the top is left slightly longer.


2. Combover w/ Undercut

Period: 1920s

Combover w/ Undercut

Combover w/ Undercut
Combovers aren’t always to hide something, this look is a styling asymmetrical do with an undercut on the short side.


3. Finger Waves—For Men

Period: 1920s

Finger Waves—For Men
The finger waves more commonly associated with flappers were also borrowed by men to style sideswept bangs over a slicked-back or short cut.


4. Relaxed High Part

Period: 1920s

Relaxed High Part
More of a relaxed take of older styles, this one features a high part (one side shorn short) with the hair left to do as it wills instead of gelled into place.


5. Slickback Greaser

Period: 1940s

Slickback Greaser

Slickback Greaser
A look associated with both Hollywood stars and gangsters; this look was usually a mid-range length all combed towards the back of the head. (To be fair, the gangster look was usually longer than shorter…)


6. Pompadour

Period: 1940s

 Pompadour

 Pompadour
“Pompadour” was sort of the equivalent to women’s rolls, achieved with gel and intended to add dimension to the hairstyle.


7. Slickback Up-top

Period: 1950s

Slickback Up-top

Slickback Up-top
This is the symmetrical version of some earlier listed styles, where both sides are cut short while the top is left long and slicked back—greaser style.


8. Asymmetrical Quiff

Period: 1950s

Another version of the symmetrical look above, this one features long enough hair up-top to comb over one side, creating an asymmetrical styling-illusion.


9. Presley Pompadour

Period: 1960s

Presley Pompadour

Presley Pompadour

Presley PompadourThis guy really made pompadour into a new thing, pushing it up and beyond what it had been before.


10. Short & Curly

Period: 1960s

Short & Curly
A first on this list, this is an unstyled-style. Naturally curly hair cut around the jawline level, this hairstyle was left to its own possibly unruly behavior.


11. The Man Bob with Bangs

Period: 1960s

The Man Bob with Bangs
Straight-cut, average of jaw-length, long bangs to cover the forehead, we’ve seen this style before on this list. But this time, it’s for men!


12. Rocker Messy with Slick Sides

Period: 1960s

Rocker Messy with Slick Sides
Like the messy look, but also digging the smoothed-back Greaser take? Don’t worry, there’s a rocker look just for you! Leave the top messy, and slick back the sides for the ultimate two-in-one.


IX) Retro Hairstyles for Men

1. Shag

Period: 1960s

Shag
We’ve covered shag for the ladies, but guys were getting in on the chopped, layered style too! (It often overlapped with the mullet… see below.)


2. Gel-back (Bangs on the Side)

Period: 1970s

Gel-back
The gelled back look with the hair all running to the back of the head—popular since the 1920s. But this one added some dimension with bangs that are brushed in a windswept look to the side instead.


3. Mullet

Period: 1970s

Mullet

Mullet

Mullet
Another classic hairstyle no retro list can be completed without. All the same, consider leaving the mullet to the 1970s.


4. Shoulder-Length with Bangs

Period: 1970s on

Shoulder-Length with Bangs

Shoulder-Length with Bangs

Shoulder-Length with Bangs
Another edgy style, this one was rocked by bands from the Beatles to Queen (does that make it a British-inspired style?).


5. Long & Straight

Period: 1970s

Long & Straight

Long & Straight
Long and straight, this hairstyle is … straight-forward. Pun intended. Another outbreak from the old norm, this is a look associated the non-mainstream.


6. Perm

Period: 1980s

Perm

Perm
It wasn’t just women getting their hair permed in the 1980s, this was a low-maintenance (albeit high-commitment) style for men too.


7. Buzz-cut

Period: 1980s

Buzz-cut

Buzz-cut

Buzz-cut
Another low-maintenance option, minus the big hair look, popularized in the ‘80s was the military buzz-cut. Easy to do a as a home job with a set of clippers, this is an extremely short one-length haircut.


8. Mohawk

Period: 1980s on

Mohawk

Mohawk

Mohawk
Buzzcut with a high-rise twist, this one was technically around before the ‘80s. But it was popularized during this time by Mr. T before being adopted by the punk movement into the ‘90s and ‘00s.


9. Spiky

Period: 1980s-90s

Spiky

Spiky

Spiky
Ever wanted to look like a bleached hedgehog? Here’s your look! This short-cut style uses gel to create a spikey look across the entire head, sometimes with dyed or bleached tips for an extra pop of color.

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