Curlers were used for many retro hairstyles.

Old Hollywood Hairstyles From the 1940s to the 1950s

by Pamela Miller

Hollywood starlets of the 1940s and 1950s made their mark in fashion with glamorous hairstyles that are still being replicated today. From pin curls to sleek waves, the hairstyles of the 1940s and 1950s are timeless and chic. Many vintage hair styles featured short hair coiffed to perfection -- a stark contrast from the long, effortless layers of today.

Retro Waves

As haircare industry leader Schwarzkopf points out, big waves were part of the glamour of the '40s and '50s. These hairstyles donned uniform color and were sans the streaks and highlights of today. The luscious waves were often accompanied by a deep side part. The deep side part makes way for a canvas ideal for pin curls and fingerwaves. Waves were often accomplished by setting the hair in fingerwaves or curlers when wet and allowing it to air dry. Next, the fingerwaves would be brushed out. For a modern take, use a curling iron or curls, allow the hair to set for 20 minutes until it cools, then brush out for a finished look.

The Curly 1940s

Bodacious curls that gave the hair volume and va-va-voom were an important aspect of the essence of 1940s hair styles. The peekaboo bang, made popular by stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, featured a side bang that was often curled elegantly sweeping away from the face. Fashion-forward men of the 1940s may have donned the pompadour, a slicked back do that featured lots of volume in the crown.

The Poodle Cut

Lucille Ball, in all her funny-girl grandeur, made this look a classic hit. The poodle cut features full, voluminous curls concentrated in the crown area of the head, while the sides are tight and combed back. The back of this haircut is usually pulled into a tight, elegant French twist, but it may also be cut short. Short, curled bangs accent the front of this look.

Short Bangs

Siren Bettie Page made short, thick bangs cut straight across the forehead look glamorous. Her signature raven hair color made these bangs stand out against her milky complexion. Many hair stylists of today are still replicating this look for their edgier clients. The bangs bring a hint of vintage appeal to modern-day styles. Other popular starlets of the 1950s incorporated short bangs into their looks, such as Audrey Hepburn's baby bangs. The bangs were short and wispy, making for a soft look around her petite, delicate features.

About the Author

Pamela Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for seven years. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication from MTSU.

Photo Credits

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