18 retro-perfect ’50s hairstyles to try

All Things Hair | 10 September 2018

Up your glam factor with one of these retro-chic fifties hairstyles…

We can’t keep this secret any longer: ’50s hairstyles are the ultimate in glamour! It’s safe to say the decade holds a special place in our hearts, so lucky for us (and for you), these vintage ‘dos are having a major revival right now. 

Embodying elegance and sophistication, these looks are the answer to all your woes, ladies. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a host of rockabilly-inspired looks from curls and quiffs.

And to show you how it’s done, we’ve gathered 18 stunning retro looks of all hair lengths and hair types – so you have no excuse not to give it a whirl!

Fifties hairstyles: 18 vintage ‘dos we’re living for


black and white photo of Marilyn Monroe with a 50s hairstyle - 1950s hairstyles
Icon Marilyn Monroe looks amazing with this 50s hairstyle. Credit: Instagram.com/lostinhistorypics

1. Curled short hair

Marilyn Monroe was a true pioneer of glamorous ’50s hairstyles for short hair and this stunning shot shows why! We love the tight curls that give definition to her shorter locks, keeping the style totally mesmerising.

Try your hand at this iconic look by putting heated rollers in your hair, then gently brushing out the curls once cooled. Just don’t forget the hairspray to keep it all in place! Credit: @lostinhistorypics

image of Audrey Hepburn with a micro fringe and drop earrings - 1950s hairsytles
Take a leaf out of Audrey Hepburn’s style book with a micro fringe. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

2. Audrey Hepburn’s wavy micro fringe

We couldn’t compile a list of classic ’50s hairstyles without including our mane gal, Audrey Hepburn. Not only are her tresses iconic, they’re also totally wearable even today!

You already know that micro bangs were big in the ’50s, but this look adds texture and definition by keeping the locks wavy. Totally adorable!

picture of Taylor Swift with a hair clip in her wavy hair on floral dress - 1950s hairstyles
Mix things up like Taylor Swift and add in a jewelled hair clip. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

3. The side sweep

Recreate one of the sweetest fifties hairstyles and follow in the footsteps of Taylor Swift with this flattering side sweep.

Create a deep parting on one side of your face, then take your hair and sweep it to the opposite side to your parting. Add some waves to the rest of your tresses, then keep your locks in place with a jewelled hair piece. Beautiful!

'50s hairstyles: Close up shot of a woman with golden blonde hair styled into classic pin-up curls, wearing spotted dress and posing against pink setting
What’s not to love about these glam curls? Credit: Verity Jane Smith

4. Glam locks

So you know by now that ’50s hairstyles for long hair were all about glamour – and nothing says this more than a set of big undulating waves!

Create your Hollywood-esque waves by using hot rollers, then gently brush out your hair and smooth in place with a little serum for some added shine.

TONI&GUY High Shine Serum Drops

Editor’s tip: Whenever we’re creating retro waves, we turn to the reliable TONI&GUY High Shine Serum Drops for giving a glossy sheen to our tresses.

women's 50s hairstyles with deep red wavy long hair and double quiff
This double quiff style looks fab on deep red tresses. Credit: Instagram.com/lovers_vintage

5. Long fiery waves

The first thing to know about 1950s hairstyles for long hair, is that it’s all about waves. Having wavy hair was crucial for most ’50s hairstyles and this half-up, half-down look is the epitome of retro glam.

Complete your look by adding a double quiff – one on either side of your crown – and you’ll really be channelling your those vintage vibes. Credit: @lovers_vintage

back view of a womans hair with pin curls up do 1950s hairstyles
Take your up ‘do to a new level with a 50s twist! Credit: Instagram.com/carlbrownhair

6. Pin curls up ‘do

If you’re a fan of pin curls, then this updo is sure to get your attention. It’s totally elegant, flawless and polished – yet it will take some practice to recreate at home. But once you’ve got it down, you’ll have curls that are clearly defined and hard to beat! Credit: @carlbrownhair

women's 50s hairstyles for short hair with drop waves bob and a faux fringe
Fifties hairstyles are much easier to create than they may seem. Credit: Instagram.com/cacaopapow

7. Faux bangs

Creating ’50s styles may look tricky at first sight, but they are, in fact, far easier than they seem. Take this ’50s hairstyle for short hair as a prime example: simply tie your hair into a low bun, leaving a large section loose at the front for your bangs.

Then fold your front section of hair under itself to create a faux fringe, and discretely secure. Pull the whole look together with a headband or bandana for the ultimate retro touch. Credit: @cacaopapow

VO5 Sleek Creation Hairspray

Editor’s tip: Keep your faux bangs in place and tame any flyaways by using the VO5 Sleek Creation Hairspray

women's 1950s hairstyles with side victory curl on mid length hair
This 50s hairstyle is a victory in our eyes. Credit: Instagram.com/missrockabillyruby

8. Victory rolls

Popularised in the 1940s, victory rolls transcended the decade to become one of our favourite go-to 1950s hairstyles, too! Characterised by large, voluminous curls of hair framing the face, victory rolls are closely associated with the pin-up look. Va va voomCredit: @missrockabillyruby

women's 50s hairstyles for short hair with pastel pink bo, curls and yellow sunhat
We are loving this pastel pink ‘do. Credit: Instagram.com/boogiebopdames

9. Pretty in pink

Break the hair rules by colouring your mane a vibrant shade. Modern-day variations of 1950s hairstyles have seen ladies going for bolder and brighter hues, while still sticking to the classic styles at the same time. Who said you can’t have the best of both worlds? Not us! Credit: @boogiebopdames

'50s hairstyles: Close up shot of a woman with golden blonde hair styled into a roll with a silk headwrap around it
Pair your roll with silk scarf like this. Credit: Verity Jane Smith


10. Wrap it up

Fifties hairstyles that include accessories? Count us in! A hair wrap is one of our favourite hair hacks and let us tell you why…

In a rush and have no time to style your hair? Grab a hair wrap. Strands a bit greasy? Grab a hair wrap. Want to protect your mane from the elements? You guessed it, grab a hair wrap. It’s an all-round accessory that really has no downside!

But best of all, these multi-purpose accessories are the simplest way to update your everyday look to one of the many throwback ’50s hairstyles. We’re in!

women's 50s hairstyles for long hair with blonde top knot bun with pink and black ribbon
It’s not all about quiffs with 1950s hairstyles. Credit: Instagram.com/missrockabillyruby

11. Top knot

This top knot looks fab and is the subtlest way to dabble with ’50s hairstyles for long hair. Work your tresses into a high ponytail, twist into a bun and secure. Gently tug at your bun for added volume and complete the look with a pretty bow ribbon. Retro mane sorted! Credit: @missrockabillyruby

women's 50s hairstyles with bold blue curly hair and red flower pin up style
Go bold or go home! Credit: Instagram.com/thepinupregistry

12. Pin-up style

When looking back at 1950s hairstyles for long hair, you can’t miss the stunning pin-up styles!

When replicating these looks, don’t forget to give them your unique, modern-day touch (like this Instagrammer) with her eccentric blue hue. How will you rock your retro ‘do? Credit: @thepinupregistry

women's 50s hairstyles with double puff curly hair
The easiest style for you curly haired ladies. Credit: Instagram.com/theblackpinup

13.  Curly puffs

Have naturally curly hair? Don’t worry, there are plenty of 1950s hairstyles you can rock! If you want an everyday style – which can be created in minutes – why not give this double puff ponytail a try?

Keep the front puff just off centre and allow your curls to fall forward, and place your second puff at the back in the centre. This will tame your coils and you give a standout style in an instant! Credit: @theblackpinup

women's fifties hairstyles with classic wave bob hair and hair accessory
Classic wave a la Grace Kelly. Credit: Instagram.com/miss.rebeccarockford

14. Gracious waves

’50s hairstyles for short hair are aplenty and depending on which style you like, they can be easier to create than longer looks.

Just take a peek at how stunning this dropped waves style looks on a bob. So if your favourite 1950s icon is Grace Kelly, and you want to emulate the Princess’ look, this style is for you. Credit: @missrebeccarockford

women's 50s hairstyles with blonde wavy hair and dark roots and micro bangs
Micro bangs were a big hit in the 50s. Credit: Instagram.com/zoechurchilll

15. Micro bangs

Micro bangs were a huge feature of 1950s hairstyles and are still going strong to this day – yes, we are looking at you Kendall Jenner.

By making this simple style choice, this Instagrammer has added plenty of 1950s vibes to her look, while allowing her naturally curly hair flowing free. Credit: @zoechurchilll

image of a woman with a 50s hairstyle for short hair with a red headband and red lipstick- 1950s hairstyles
50s hairstyles for short hair look amazing with a simple headband. Credit: Instagram.com/femme.rose

16. Cute headbands

A simple retro headband makes ’50s hairstyles for short hair oh-so-cute. To create added volume in your tresses, use a volumising dusting powder on the roots of dry hair.

Scrunch through with your fingers to create body and texture, then get your curling tongs out and curl your ends under. Now just complete the look with a dainty headband et voila! You’re a ’50s babe. Credit: @femme.rose

TONI&GUY Root Lift Sculpting Powder


Editor’s tip: For added volume and lift, reach for TONI&GUY Root Lift Sculpting Powder.

front view of a woman with a 1950s hairstyles and a white flowers in her hair
Add some simple flower accessories for instant glam! Credit: Instagram.com/missbeeahaving

17. Curled bangs

If you have a long fringe and you fancy giving your style a vintage edge, then why not opt for this face-flattering style? Use a large round brush to create some mega volume and curl your bangs under.

You can even try out this ’50s hairstyle if you don’t have a fringe, by creating faux bangs instead. How’s that for versatile?! Credit: @missbeehaving

back view of womans hair with up 'do and pin curls
Re-create this stunning 40s meets 50s up ‘do. Credit: Instagram.com/carlbrownhair

18. The ’40s-meets-’50s hairstyle

So we know that the ’40s were all about pin curls, but this lovely updo takes things into the 1950s hairstyles realm, by sweeping those curls up and off the face, with a French twist thrown in there for good measure!

This is a stunning style to try if you have a formal event to attend, but perhaps it’s one to let your stylist have a go at – unless you’re a dab hand at updos that is! Credit: @carlbrownhair





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