13 Gorgeous 1940s Hairstyles

It's glamour o'clock with these fun and flirty '40s hairstyles!

When you think about 1940s hairstyles, it’s hard not to think about perfectly styled Victory rolls and glamourous waves. Regardless of hair length, women in the ’40s were expected to keep their hair looking feminine and neat, to meet societal standards.

As mentioned, the most defining hairstyles of this era were rolls and waves. On the fields, rolls could be worn in a practical updo style, with a scarf to protect them. Off the fields, pictures in magazines and films, showed silver screen stars like Veronica Lake, Rita Hayworth and Ava Garder, with gorgeous waves.

To show you how influential ‘40s hairstyles are, we’ve dedicated an entire post to the 1940s hairstyles still worn today. Discover our favourite ones and learn how to achieve them, below.

Classic Pin Curls

image of Elsa Hosk on the red carpet with glamorous pin curls
Elsa Hosk looks stunning with classic loose pin curls. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

If you’re on the hunt for 1940s hairstyles that ooze glamour, this textured, bouncy look should be on your radar. We love that the tumbling waves instantly evoke the unadulterated glamour of the ’40s…. think Hollywood movie star from a bygone era and you’re there.

We especially love 1940s hairstyles for long hair for nights out, when you want to look oh-so alluring! Yet while it definitely takes a bit of patience and practice to achieve, once mastered, it’ll become your favourite party hairstyle.

Editor’s tip: Work a small amount of the TONI&GUY High Shine Serum Drops into your curls to enhance shine, and you’ll be ready to make your silver screen appearance!

Classic Pompadour

front view image of a woman with a pompadour hairstyle - blonde hair and 1940s hairstyles
Try your hand at the Pompadour! Credit: indigitalimages.com

1940s hairstyles are sometimes confused with other eras and the pompadour is one of them! This extravagant, voluminous look makes it perfect to wear for a fun night out.

To create this 40s-inspired pompadour, take a section of hair at the front part of your head and backcomb it to create a fuller look. Then comb the hair that’s underneath this section, and pin it in place over the fluffier cushion of hair you’ve just created.

Keep the rest of your hair down or style it into an updo, and there you have it: a stunning pompadour. This really is a sure winner when it comes to 1940s hairstyles for long hair!

Victory Rolls

1940s hairstyles: brunette model with medium length hair styled in victory rolls for retro photoshoot
Rock victory rolls for a fun twist on your party look. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

One of the most iconic 1940s hairstyles, this ‘do reflects the optimism and high spirits of the post-World War II era.

And while they might look tricky to recreate, it’s actually surprisingly easy to master. So if you want to have a go at this statement look, follow our step-by-step tutorial, here!

Editor’s tip: Don’t forget to seal your Victory rolls in place with the VO5 Invisible Ultimate Hold Hairspray to ensure it stays put all evening long.

40s Hairstyles with a Modern Twist

image of a woman with pink hair in a 1940s hairstyle
Give your look a modern twist with bright colour! Credit: Instagram.com/beautybymissruby

If you love the look of 1940s hairstyles but you want to give it a modern spin, why not try rocking a vibrant colour and vintage waves together? You’ll still look classically glamorous and polished while giving fresh energy to this retro-inspired ‘do. What’s not to love? Credit: @beautybymissruby

Smooth Pin Curls

front view image of actress Zendaya with retro hairstyle - 1940s hairstyles
Zendaya’s uber glamorous look is one to steal! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

We love this look because it’s super easy to recreate and the results are simply stunning. Unlike the classic pin curls or vintage waves, this style is mostly smooth and straight, except for one side of the hair.

Woman with medium length, dark brown1940s smooth pin curls hairstyle
Credit: Anastasia Oss

Separate the front section and curl it in the same way you would for classic pin curls. Keep the rest of your hair frizz-free and you’re good to go! This is a fab look to try if you want to experiment with 1940s hairstyles for long hair.

The ’40s Updo

front view of a woman's hair with victory waves and curls - 1940s hairstyles
We love victory rolls and curls! Credit: Instagram.com/thetootsies

So you’ve mastered victory rolls and you’re keen to move onto other, more intricate vintage hairstyles? We can help you there! Simply create victory rolls, leaving out a section of hair at the front, curling these loose sections and pin them into curls. Done and dusted! Credit: @thetootsies

Updos with Bangs

image of actress Fan Bingbing in a black dress with her hair up - 1940s hairstyles
Fan Bingbing’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ film premiere look is flawless. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

If you have bangs, or you want to create a faux fringe, this intricate updo is one to try your hand at. We love how elegant this ‘do is and it’s just perfect for formal events when you want your hair to be the focal point of your look.

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Vintage Waves

image of a woman with 1940s hairstyles Vintage waves curls
For instant glam, go for vintage waves for your next night out.

Channel your inner Veronica Lake with fabulous-looking, long, wavy hair. A deep side parting is essential to create this look, so sweep your locks to one side before styling.

Editor’s tip: Get this look by spraying your hair with the TRESemmé Heat Defence Spray, then use a large-barrelled curling iron to create defined curls through the length of your hair, working in sections around your head.

Keep each section wrapped into a curl, pinning it in place and spraying it with a strong-hold hairspray. Once you’ve curled all of your hair, wait 5 minutes before slowly releasing each curl, then teasing your hair lightly with your fingertips.

1940s Hairstyles for Short Hair

front view of a woman with 1940's hairstyles in an updo
Elegant 40s hairstyles have never looked so good! Credit: Instagram.com/beautybymissruby

Think because your locks are on the shorter side that you can’t get involved with retro looks? Think again, doll face, as 1940s hairstyles for short hair ‘do exist!

Try creating volume and adding a classic pin curl at the front of your hair. Then make waves, pinning your hair up and under at the nape of your neck, for a sophisticated ’40s finish. Credit: @beautybymissruby

’40s Curls

front view of a woman with curly hair glasses and 1940s hairstyles
Mix up your look with some fun accessories. Credit: Instagram.com/ohlalajoujou

Add an element of fun to your 1940s hairstyles by adding curls to the front and back of your ‘do!

Sweep all your hair up and off the face, and get your tongs out and play around. Then throw in a headscarf and you’ve got yourself a Landgirls look! Credit: @ohlalajoujou

Victory Rolls and Pin Curls

back view of a womans 1940s hairstyles - with pin curls and up 'do
If you’re looking for something more intricate – this is it! Credit: Instagram.com/pincurlsandpearlsvp

If you’re a dab hand at teasing your tresses into ’40s hairstyles, perhaps it’s time for the ultimate in retro updos!

This stunning look incorporates victory rolls, pin curls and a Gibson tuck updo. And if all that leaves you a bit confused, let us guide you through the Gibson tuck and work our way from there! Credit: @pincurlsandpearlsvp

Pin Curls and Flowers

1940s hairstyles: Back shot of a woman ginger red hair styled into pin curled updo with flowers in it
Pin curls and flowers go together like peanut butter and jelly. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

The best thing about ’40s hairstyles? You can give them an extra feminine touch with the addition of some flowers. Doing so will make your mane look picture-perfect!

Now that you’ve gotten the inspiration you need to try out a 1940s hairstyle, you’re probably itching to give one a go, right? Then make the glam roll you debut look and you’ll be a retro babe in no time! Simply watch the video above.

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