Vintage Allure: Unlock Vintage Hairstyles

If you’re tired of the same old hairstyles and crave a touch of timeless elegance, look no further than the enchanting world of vintage hairstyles. With their undeniable allure and ability to make a statement, these classic looks have stood the test of time and continue to captivate us today. Whether it’s the glamorous waves of the 1920s or the chic updos of the 1960s, unlocking the secrets of vintage hairstyles is like stepping into a treasure trove of beauty and sophistication. So why not give your locks a captivating makeover and embrace the charm of the past?


Are you a fan of all things vintage? Do you love the elegance and charm of bygone eras? Well, one way to bring that vintage allure into your own personal style is through your hairstyle. Vintage hairstyles have a unique charm that can transport you back to the glamour and sophistication of earlier decades. In this article, we will explore the world of vintage hairstyles, from their definition and inspiration to the popular styles that have stood the test of time. We will also discuss the tools and products you’ll need to create these hairstyles, as well as step-by-step guides for achieving the perfect vintage look. Whether you’re attending a themed party or simply want to add a touch of vintage flair to your everyday style, this comprehensive guide will help you unlock the secrets of vintage hairstyles.

Understanding Vintage Hairstyles

Definition of vintage hairstyles

Vintage hairstyles are hairstyles that were popular in earlier decades, typically from the 1920s to the 1960s. These hairstyles are characterized by their unique features, such as intricate curls, waves, and updos, that were often achieved using specific techniques and tools. They exude a classic and sophisticated vibe, capturing the essence of the time periods that inspired them.

Time periods that inspired vintage hairstyles

Vintage hairstyles draw inspiration from various time periods, each with its own distinct characteristics. The 1920s embraced the iconic flapper bob and finger waves, while the 1940s saw victory rolls and pin curls as popular choices. The 1950s introduced the glamorous bouffant and Elvis-inspired pompadour, and the 1960s gave rise to the sleek and elegant chignon. Each era had its own unique style, providing a vast array of vintage hairstyles to choose from.

Key features and characteristics of vintage hairstyles

Vintage hairstyles are known for their attention to detail and elegance. They often incorporate intricate curls, waves, and updos to create a polished and sophisticated look. These hairstyles prioritize neatness and precision, with each strand carefully crafted to achieve a harmonious overall style. Additionally, vintage hairstyles often emphasize volume and height, giving the wearer an air of glamour and confidence.

Popular Vintage Hairstyles

Victory Rolls

Victory rolls are a classic vintage hairstyle that originated in the 1940s. This style features voluminous rolls of hair that frame the face, creating a glamorous and retro look. Victory rolls can be worn as a full hairstyle or used as an accent to complement other vintage styles.

Pin Curls

Pin curls are a versatile vintage hairstyle that can be worn in various ways. This technique involves creating small, tight curls by wrapping sections of hair around the finger and securing them with bobby pins. Pin curls can be worn overnight to set the hair and then styled into various updos or let loose for soft, romantic waves.

Finger Waves

Finger waves are iconic of the 1920s flapper era and exude a sense of timeless elegance. This hairstyle involves creating waves in the hair by molding it into a series of “S” shapes using the fingers and setting them with pins or clips. Finger waves can be worn in a variety of styles, from a full head of waves to accentuated waves along the front of the hair.


The beehive hairstyle gained popularity in the 1960s and is still beloved by vintage enthusiasts today. This style involves teasing the hair at the crown to create height and then smoothing it over to form a rounded shape, resembling a beehive. The beehive exudes retro glamour and is often seen on red carpets and at special events.

Gibson Roll

The Gibson roll is a timeless vintage hairstyle that adds a touch of sophistication to any look. This style involves rolling sections of hair along the sides of the head towards the back, creating a twist-like structure. The Gibson roll can be worn as a neat and polished updo or incorporated into a half-up, half-down hairstyle for a more casual yet elegant look.


The chignon is a classic updo that has been a staple of vintage hairstyles for many decades. This style involves gathering the hair at the nape of the neck and twisting or braiding it into a bun or knot. Chignons can be worn high or low, sleek or tousled, and are a versatile choice for both casual and formal occasions.

Poodle Cut

The poodle cut, also known as the poodle hairstyle, was popularized in the 1950s and features tightly curled, short hair. This style requires the use of hot rollers or a curling iron to achieve small, uniform curls all over the head. The poodle cut is an adorable and playful vintage option that adds a touch of whimsy to any look.

The Flapper Bob

The flapper bob is an iconic vintage hairstyle that originated in the 1920s and is still beloved today. This style features a short, blunt cut that hovers around the jawline. It can be worn straight and sleek or curled for added texture and volume. The flapper bob exudes a sense of confidence and independence, capturing the spirit of the roaring ’20s.

Marilyn Monroe Curls

Marilyn Monroe’s signature curls are a quintessential vintage hairstyle that instantly adds a touch of Hollywood glamour. This style involves creating large, voluptuous curls with a curling iron or hot rollers and then brushing them out to create soft waves. Marilyn Monroe curls are timeless, feminine, and perfect for any special occasion.

The Bouffant

The bouffant is a timeless vintage hairstyle that epitomizes elegance and sophistication. This style involves backcombing the hair at the crown to create volume, then smoothing it over and securing it in place. The bouffant can be worn as a half-up, half-down style or incorporated into an updo for added drama. It adds height and adds a touch of retro charm to any look.

Tools and Products Needed

Hot rollers

Hot rollers are essential for creating curls and waves in vintage hairstyles. They heat up quickly and provide long-lasting results, giving the hair volume and texture that lasts throughout the day or evening.

Curling iron

A curling iron is another must-have tool for achieving vintage hairstyles. It allows for more precise curling and can create a variety of curl sizes depending on the barrel size used. For vintage looks, choose a medium or large barrel to achieve those iconic loose curls or voluminous waves.

Hairpins and bobby pins

Hairpins and bobby pins are essential for securing various vintage hairstyles in place. These handy tools can hold intricate updos, victory rolls, and pinned curls firmly in place without slipping or falling out.

Hairbrushes and combs

Hairbrushes and combs are essential for styling and detangling the hair when creating vintage hairstyles. A bristle brush is ideal for smoothing and shaping the hair, while a fine-toothed comb can help create precise partings and teasing or sectioning the hair.

Setting lotion or mousse

Setting lotion or mousse is crucial for ensuring the longevity of vintage hairstyles. These products help set the hair in the desired shape and provide hold and volume throughout the day. Apply setting lotion or mousse to damp hair before styling for best results.

Hair spray

Hair spray is a staple product for finishing and holding vintage hairstyles in place. Choose a flexible hold hair spray that provides long-lasting hold without leaving the hair stiff or sticky. Apply hair spray after styling to lock in the shape and prevent frizz or flyaways.

Teasing comb

A teasing comb is essential for achieving volume and height in vintage hairstyles. This comb has a fine-toothed side for backcombing or teasing the hair at the roots to create lift and structure. Use a teasing comb sparingly and gently to avoid damaging the hair.

Step-by-Step Guide: Creating Vintage Hairstyles

Preparing the hair

Before creating a vintage hairstyle, it’s important to prepare the hair properly. Start by washing and conditioning your hair, then apply a small amount of mousse or setting lotion to damp hair. This will provide hold and help the style last longer. Blow-dry the hair or let it air dry, depending on the desired style and the texture of your hair.

Sectioning the hair

Next, section the hair based on the specific vintage hairstyle you want to achieve. Use clips, hair ties, or hairpins to separate the hair into manageable sections. This will make it easier to curl, pin, and style each section without getting overwhelmed.

Curling or setting the hair

Once the hair is sectioned, it’s time to curl or set the hair using hot rollers or a curling iron. Depending on the desired style, choose the appropriate size of rollers or curling iron barrel. For smaller curls or waves, use smaller rollers or a smaller barrel size, and for larger, looser curls, opt for larger rollers or a larger barrel size.

Start by taking a small section of hair and wrapping it around the roller or curling iron, holding it in place for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat this process for each section of hair until the entire head is curled or set.

Pinning and styling the hair

After the hair is curled or set, it’s time to start pinning and styling it into the desired vintage hairstyle. For styles like victory rolls, finger waves, or pin curls, carefully manipulate the curls into the desired shape and secure them in place with hairpins or bobby pins. Use a mirror or reference images to ensure accuracy and symmetry.

For updo styles like the beehive, Gibson roll, or chignon, gather the curls or sections of hair and pin them up and back, creating the desired shape and height. Secure the style with hairpins, making sure they are hidden and the hair looks polished and structured.

Finishing touches

Once the hair is pinned and styled, it’s time for the finishing touches. Use a brush or comb to smooth any flyaways or loose strands of hair, ensuring a neat and polished look. Apply a generous amount of hairspray to set the style and prevent it from losing shape throughout the day or evening. Take a few moments to check the hairstyle from all angles and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it looks perfect.

Tips for Achieving Authentic Vintage Looks

Research and reference vintage hairstyle tutorials and images

To achieve an authentic vintage look, it’s important to research and reference vintage hairstyle tutorials and images. Look for tutorials that provide step-by-step instructions and guidance on achieving specific vintage hairstyles. Reference images will help you understand the overall look and feel of each style, ensuring you stay true to its original design.

Practice and experiment with different techniques

Creating vintage hairstyles takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempt isn’t perfect. Take the time to practice and experiment with different techniques, such as curling, pinning, and styling. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will become in creating authentic vintage looks.

Consider the shape of your face and hair type

When choosing a vintage hairstyle, consider the shape of your face and your hair type. Certain styles may complement specific face shapes better than others, so it’s important to choose a style that flatters your features. Additionally, different hair types may require different techniques or products, so be mindful of your hair’s texture and adapt accordingly.

Accessorize with vintage-inspired hair accessories

To enhance your vintage hairstyle, consider accessorizing with vintage-inspired hair accessories. From jeweled hairpins to decorative combs, these accessories can add an extra touch of glamour to your look. Be sure to choose accessories that complement the style and era you’re aiming for.

Seek professional help for intricate vintage hairstyles

If you’re attempting a particularly intricate vintage hairstyle, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Vintage hairstyles like the beehive or intricate updos may require advanced techniques and expertise. Booking an appointment with a hairstylist who specializes in vintage looks can ensure you achieve the desired style with professional results.

Modifying Vintage Hairstyles for Modern Looks

Combining vintage elements with contemporary hairstyles

One way to modernize vintage hairstyles is by combining vintage elements with contemporary hairstyles. For example, you can incorporate finger waves or victory rolls into a half-up, half-down style, giving the look a modern twist. By blending vintage and contemporary elements, you can create a unique and personalized hairstyle that reflects your own style and personality.

Adding a modern twist to a vintage hairstyle

Another way to modernize vintage hairstyles is by adding a modern twist to a classic style. This can involve incorporating modern techniques or products, such as using a flat iron to create sleek and straight sections within a vintage updo. Adding a modern accessory, like a statement hairpin or headband, can also freshen up a vintage hairstyle and make it more current.

Incorporating vintage hairstyles into everyday wear

Don’t limit yourself to saving vintage hairstyles for special occasions. You can also incorporate vintage hairstyles into your everyday wear. Opt for more relaxed versions of vintage styles, like loose pin curls or soft waves, that can be worn to the office or a casual outing. Vintage hairstyles can add an element of charm and uniqueness to your daily look.

Maintaining Vintage Hairstyles

Preserving the hairstyle overnight

To preserve a vintage hairstyle overnight, it’s important to take proper steps to protect it. Use a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent friction and maintain the style’s integrity. You can also loosely wrap a silk or satin scarf around the hair to further safeguard it as you sleep. In the morning, gently comb or brush the hair and make any necessary touch-ups.

Refreshing and fixing vintage hairstyles throughout the day

Throughout the day, you may need to refresh or fix your vintage hairstyle to ensure it stays intact and looks its best. Carry a small travel-size bottle of hairspray and some hairpins or bobby pins with you for quick touch-ups. If the hair starts to lose its shape or volume, use the hairspray to reposition and secure any loose curls or sections.

Protecting the hair from damage

To protect your hair from damage when creating and maintaining vintage hairstyles, it’s important to use heat protectant products when using hot tools like curling irons and hot rollers. These products create a barrier between the hair and the heat, minimizing damage and preventing breakage. Additionally, avoid excessive backcombing or teasing, as this can cause damage and breakage as well. Be gentle when styling and removing hairpins or bobby pins to minimize any potential harm to the hair.

Celebrities and Icons Who Rock Vintage Hairstyles

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is synonymous with timeless elegance and her vintage hairstyles are no exception. From her iconic updo in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to her chic pixie cut, Hepburn’s hairstyles continue to inspire women of all ages.

Dita Von Teese

Known for her love of vintage fashion and style, Dita Von Teese often sports glamorous vintage hairstyles that pay homage to the golden age of Hollywood. Her retro waves and perfectly coiffed updos make her a true vintage hair icon.

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth’s long, flowing locks and cascading waves made her a sensation during the 1940s. Her iconic hairstyle in “Gilda” remains one of the most memorable and sought-after vintage looks to this day.

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly exuded grace and sophistication with her classic 1950s hairstyles. Her polished and perfectly styled updos, often adorned with delicate accessories, continue to be a source of inspiration for vintage enthusiasts worldwide.

Marcel Waves by Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was known for her mesmerizing stage presence and iconic Marcel waves. This vintage hairstyle was a signature look for Baker, setting her apart and further contributing to her status as a groundbreaking performer and style icon.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor’s hairstyles were as captivating as her on-screen performances. With her voluminous curls and glamorous updos, Taylor embraced vintage styles with elegance and charisma.


Vintage hairstyles have a timeless appeal that can elevate your style and transport you to a bygone era. From victory rolls to beehives, there are countless vintage hairstyles to choose from, each with its own unique charm. By understanding the definition and key features of vintage hairstyles, and armed with the right tools and products, you can recreate these classic looks with ease. Whether you’re attending a themed event, want to add a touch of glamour to a special occasion, or simply want to embrace your love for vintage style every day, this comprehensive guide has provided you with the knowledge and inspiration to unlock the secrets of vintage hairstyles. So go ahead, try out different vintage looks, experiment with modern twists, and embrace the elegance and sophistication of eras gone by. Your vintage allure awaits!

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