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Vintage Hairstyles

We’re all inspired by the fashion and styling that’s come before us every day, taking tips and cues on looks from the 20th century and giving them modernity for anything from forties wedding hair to Saturday night beehives. But for some, the vintage look is anything but an occasional treat or subtle influence – it’s a 24/7 lifestyle. The vintage hair scene has taken off in a big way, following the growth of retro subcultures across the UK.

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Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection/REX

From twenties looks with Marcel waves and Louise Brooks bobs right up to 1980s crimps and perms, there’s someone out there who’s bringing it back and making it flawless. While the most dedicated vintage hair aficionados often recreate the cuts, colours and styling products of the time to perfection, there’s much to be said for treating your hair with a touch of modernity. Recreating the look of vintage, while maintaining healthy hair that will thank you in the long run.

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Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection/REX

Want to achieve that iconic 1920s finger wave? Check out our how-to guide. Try it on a bob length for a twenties and thirties take, or on the fringe section of long hair for a more forties vibe like Veronica Lake.

Stylist Tip: Once your finger waves and all over curls are set, run a wide tooth brush or comb throughout the hair to achieve Veronica Lake’s waterfall effect.


Credit: ddp USA/REX

Moving into the age of the 1940s screen sirens, and the 1950s teen rebels is where hair really starts to come into its own as a fashion statement. It’s no wonder so many modern day girls love to take off these eras, with Hollywood’s golden age, rockabilly looks and post-war styling a way of life for so many. It goes far beyond starlets like the legendary Marilyn Monroe, however. Try Lauren Bacall and Vikki Dougan (the original inspiration for Jessica Rabbit!) for unique bombshell inspiration. These curled looks take some time and dexterity to perfect. Ask your stylist how to get started doing pincurls, and you’ll have the building blocks for all these styles and more.

Not enough edge for you? Check out the victory rolls and suicide rolls of the fifties throwback gals. These big, bold pinned curls have evolved into an essential for rockabilly and psychobilly lovers in the 21st century, so perfect these before you don that A-line dress and head scarf. Don’t forget the hairspray!

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Credit: Associated Newspapers/ REX

Not a long hair fan, but fancy a throwback? Check out the mid sixties and the rise of the legendary Vidal Sassoon. From the moment he create Mary Quant’s iconic bob it was a meteoric rise for Sassoon, and everyone who was a hip mover in London or New York simply had to sit in his salon chair. His striking lines and out of the box cutting helped define the modernist girl’s look, sitting next to the Twiggy pixie as the hottest way to wear your hair. A far cry from the forties looks of their parents, that was exactly why the sixties kids loved it.

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Credit: Frank Hudson/ Daily Mail/ REX

If you’re not into the clean and coiffed looks of the early 20th century, however, check out the late ’60s and ’70s looks and the beginning of what we call boho today. From Brigitte Bardot’s enviously thick and textured beehive styles to the undone festival chic of Woodstock in ’69, this sixties also saw the birth of messy-on-purpose hair. Moving from Audrey Hepburn’s updo beehive in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the updos came down and the beehives got higher and more undone. Oh, and don’t forget the centre parting. Sultry hippie girl chic was the order of the day, going back to natural colours and wavy textures. After all, there’s no room for hairspray and bobby pins in the free love generation.

For more tips on retro styles ask your stylist for their favourite products to achieve your look.

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