Fabulous ’50s Hairstyles
After the Great Depression and World War II dominating the 1930s and ’40s, the ’50s was a decade when increased prosperity meant more time was devoted to artistic pursuits like films and fashion. As a result, the ’50s is one of the most well-known decades for its iconic stars and the glamorous hairstyles they made popular. Women were ready to let their hair down, especially after WWII, when hairstyles had to be work-appropriate and industries were focused on the war effort instead of manufacturing beauty products. If you’re looking to put some vintage flair in your next hairstyle, the ’50s is the perfect decade to grab some inspiration. Many popular cuts were shorter than shoulder length, making pixies and short glamorous curls all the rage, while younger women with long hair started wearing their locks in high ponytails. These 30 hairstyles inspired by the ’50s show how easy it is to work some vintage chic into your modern hair.
1Grace Kelly Bob
This classic ’50s style bob takes inspiration from Grace Kelly, and is a sophisticated way to dress up hair that lands above the shoulders. To get these curls, set hair in pin curls or rollers, then brush out and tame with serum or styling cream.
2The Italian Cut
A modern version of the ultra popular Italian cut worn by ’50s stars like Gina Lollobrigida and Elizabeth Taylor, this pixie is a great option for thick haired women. Natural curls add lots of volume, while baby bangs keep things clean around the face.
In a decade when long hair was for young girls, above the shoulder cuts signalled grown-up sex appeal. Scarlett Johansson’s look here reminds us that the idea of longer hair being more feminine is far from universal truth.
4Brushed Under Style
Unlike modern styles, where we usually see loose ends of hair whether it’s styled straight or curled, a brushed under style like this leaves long hair looking extra polished, with every strand perfectly in place. Stock up on hairspray before you try this look at home!
5Flower Pinned Updo
Inspired by the poodle cut popular in the early ’50s, this updo has lots of natural curls piled up on top of the head. The rest of hair gets pinned at the back and adorned with a flower, reminding us of Billie Holiday’s signature hairstyle.
6High Glamour Ponytail
For women who didn’t opt for short hair in the ’50s, high ponytails were the trendiest way to wear your longer locks. Reese Witherspoon’s red carpet look proves that this retro inspired style continues to be a glamorous choice today.
7Piecey Bang Pixie
Inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s iconic pixie, this short style is perfect if you’re looking for a dramatic way to change up your look while keeping your hair in a classic style. Pixies like this are especially flattering on women with oval and heart shaped faces, and the piecey bangs can help to minimize a larger forehead while being easier to style than bangs that are thick or bluntly cut.
8Double Rolled Updo
There’s something endlessly appealing about a prim and proper updo, especially when paired with well-tailored clothing and a dark berry lip. This vintage-inspired double rolled updo is one of the most elegant ways to wear a throwback style, either for an everyday occasion, or for your vintage themed wedding.
As the most iconic star of the ’50s, Marilyn Monroe’s platinum curls continue to be a way to ooze sex symbol style. To get these curls, you can set hair in rollers, or use a standard curling iron, but be sure to lift hair up and out for maximum volume.
10Multi Rolled Updo
This intricate style is a great option if you’re looking for an updo that’s outside of the norm. Featuring many, perfectly pinned rolls, you’ll probably need to practice this style before your big night out.
11Brushed Back Pixie
Another style inspired by Audrey Hepburn, this pixie is styled with hair brushed back and away from the face. This classic style puts your face completely on display, and requires a lot of confidence to pull off. For first time pixie wearers, we’d recommend a style with longer pieces in front before graduating to a look this bold.
12Curled Bob With Deep Side Part
Copy Taylor Swift’s vintage style for the perfect mix of youth and Old Hollywood glam. This deep side part with a soft wave is a good choice for balancing and framing your face without the commitment of adding bangs to your style.
13Half Up Rolled Style With Bangs
With short, Bettie Page bangs in a deep indigo hue, this look is a perfect example of how vintage trends can be used in a modern style. By only placing half of hair up in rolls, the overall look is playful but edgy.
For short haired women who aren’t interested in the demure pixie style, why not try a pompadour as made popular by the greaser subculture of the ’50s. When mixed with this platinum hue and a modern, edgy undercut, this pompadour looks stylishly crisp, and definitely not stuck in the past.
15Finger Wave Bob
This style sneaks in some vintage flair with finger waves near the roots, but allows the ends of curls to fall in a more modern, spiral curl. Perfect for when you want a dash of ’50s without going full on retro.
16Bumper Bangs Updo
This bumper bangs and headscarf style became popular in the ’40s when many young women began working in factories during WWII, and continued to be seen in the ’50s. Think of it as Rosie The Riveter gone chic!
17Long Golden Curls
Proving that long, blonde hair never truly goes out of style, Blake Lively’s curls and deep side part are the perfect way to bring ’50s style to your modern black tie event or wedding.
18Wrapped High Ponytail
This is a sweet and simple style that’s easy for anyone with long hair to wear. Wrapping the pony with a ribbon or scarf elevates this everyday style, and is an easy way to tie an outfit together, or add an extra splashy pattern to the mix.
19Soft Finger Wave Glam
Much like Dita Von Teese epitomizes the modern woman with a vintage heart, these soft finger waves and curls are a ’50s inspired style that’s endlessly chic, and doesn’t look like it’s meant for a Halloween costume.
20Short And Golden
Another way to wear curls inspired by Marilyn, this look features hair that’s on the shorter side, for an overall look that’s a little more subtle and mature.
21Curled Pony With Bow
Another ’50s way to wear a pony, this style features curled hair that you can set in rollers the night before, or style with a curling wand for a quicker fix. The bow in front ties everything together with a playful nod to the past.
These big brunette curls are inspired by voluptuous starts like Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor. This modern style is long enough to put in an updo if needed, but has tons of vintage glam when it’s worn down.
23Ponytail With Short Bangs
While Audrey Hepburn might be most known for her iconic pixie cut, she also popularized a high ponytail with short bangs when she wore the style in the 1957 film Funny Face. The bangs seen here on Penelope Cruz are a little bit longer than Audrey wore, but still land above the eyebrows for instant face framing and eye-popping appeal.
Another take on the ultra short pixie that was popularized in the ’50s, this gamine style creates an amazing contrast between “boyish” hair and soft, feminine features.
This high-piled style was a glamorous, more mature way to wear hair in a 1950s updo. To get maximum volume, use extensions or a hair donut as a filler in your bouffant.
26Bettie Bangs And Long Curls
The epitome of pin up glam, Katy Perry’s raven hair with short bangs makes her a dead ringer for ’50s pin-up icon Bettie Page. In addition to being edgy and stylish, these bangs will make your eyes pop like crazy.
Unlike modern bobs that often feature blunt or heavily texturized ends, this vintage style bob is all softness and romance, with the ends of hair being styled inward. Try setting the ends of your shoulder length hair in rollers to get this look on your own.
28Bouncy Pin Curl Bob
Another example of retro styling that uses setting techniques instead of curling irons to add texture to hair, this vintage glam bob can be created with rollers or pin curls.
29Pin Up Bouffant
For a sassier, less dressy bouffant, try this updo with rolled bangs and a bandana or headscarf to keep everything in place.
30Long Vintage Curls
Even When Katy Perry isn’t wearing Bettie Page bangs, she loves vintage styles like these big curls worn with lots of volume and flipped out at the ends.