Vintage hair ideas perfect for summer party season

Jeanette | 23 April 2016

Nothing like a bit of retro hair inspiration to get the party started.

Whether it be the longer days, or the (appeal of) warmer weather, there’s definitely a lot to look forward to as summer approaches – not to mention the advent of party season (bring on the weddings, barbecues and alfresco gatherings in the garden!). So in preparation for this onslaught of events being added to our rapidly swelling calendars, we’ve gathered some of our favourite vintage hair-inspired styles from the ’90s all the way back to the decadent ’20s. This way, you’ll have no problem picking a pretty ‘do that’s perfect for just about every summer occasion.

7 Vintage hair ideas to try out now

brunette twisted chignon vintage hair
Gatsby-inspired chignon.

1. Gatsby chignon

Drawing inspiration from the flappers of the roaring ’20s and ‘30s, this utterly elegant chignon makes for the perfect companion to sumptuous wedding parties and uber glam soirees. The key to nailing this updo is to lightly curl your hair prior to assembling your loose chignon – and not forgetting to leave the front section of hair out. The results created will resemble a more modern version of old Hollywood-style finger waves. Pick out your favourite Art Deco elasticated hairband, place it on your crown (so it sits across the forehead) – et voilà!: a style that even Daisy Buchanan would be proud of.

headscarf updo black vintage hair
’40s-inspired updo.

2. ’40s ponytail

Time to do your best impression of Rosie the Riveter! Luckily, this pretty, practical and playful take on the ponytail is really quick and easy to do. The best thing about this hairstyle is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment and anyone – from novices to hair pros – can achieve it in a matter of minutes. And don’t forget to dress this ’40s-inspired ‘do up with a patterned neckerchief for the full effect.

vintage hair ideas the pompadour
The pomp is super versatile. Credit: Dvora

3. The pomp

If the ’50s (and Elvis) is more your thing, get ready to rock ‘n’ roll with a statement-making pompadour. What we really love about this hairstyle is that it works across all hair textures and can even easily be adapted for different lengths. For those of you who are currently sporting a short crop, try a quirky alternative that includes styling your hair into a pomp-meets-victory-curl sort of ’do.

As for ladies with natural hair, rest assured this head-turning style will keep your ends safe and sound, too. Just be sure to use some trusty VO5 Classic Styling Soft Moulding Wax (£2.99*) to help make the sides of your hair look sleek.

beehive-inspired hairstyle vintage hair
’60s-inspired bouffant beehive.

5. The beehive

It’s a common misconception that you need thick or long hair to achieve this ’60s-inspired updo, but you’ll be glad to hear it’s not entirely true. The versatile beehive, which can be styled with a prim Alice band or a long silk scarf, is a great hairstyle to consider if you’re looking to make a statement (if all that height doesn’t get heads turning, we don’t know what will!). It might require a little more time to get your hair looking beautifully bouffant, but it’ll be worth every minute when you see the end result. Remember to spritz your updo with a helpful dose of Toni&Guy Glamour Firm Hold Hairspray (£7.49*) to help hold it in place all night.

Tip: For those with very fine hair, it’s also worth noting that there are plenty of clever styling hacks (which don’t include hair inserts!) you can use to achieve this fabulous hairdo.

Hippie brown wavy long vintage hair
Embrace your inner hippie. Credit:

5. Hippy plaits

Not in the mood for an updo? Then this ’70s-inspired vintage hair idea may be the one for you. Perfect for casual summer parties and festivals, you’ll be happy to hear it requires very little prep and minimum styling efforts. Just work a small, standard three-strand braids randomly for a peekaboo effect, and team with effortlessly tousled waves for a truly bohemian look. Tip: for festivals, elevate this hairstyle to hippie-tastic new heights with a headband or a fresh flower garland.

80s-style, side high ponytail vintage hair
’80s-inspired side ponytail.

6. Side pony

The camps may be split when it comes to the ’80s, but there’s no denying this easy-peasy retro side ponytail can still pack a punch. If you’re worried you might look like an extra in Madonna’s Like a Prayer music video, don’t be! The trick is to keep the pony ultra high and adjust the angle according to how retro you want to go. Basic rule of thumb: the more acute your side ponytail is, the more ’80s it looks.

space buns 90s buns vintage hair
’90s buns. Credit: Dvora

7. Rave buns

Ideal for concealing unclean tresses or oily roots courtesy of second or third-day hair, these ’90s-inspired rave buns – the youngest of our vintage hair ideas! – are also perfect for dancing the summer away in. If you have a shorter crop, adapt the look accordingly and opt for a half-updo instead by creating mini buns at the front of your head. As for the piece de la resistance? Glitter. Apply some VO5 Classic Styling Mega Hold Gel Spray (£2.99*) to your parting, and then sprinkle colourful glitter all over to get this ’do to really shine.

Looking for more vintage hair inspiration? Head to our vintage hairstyles for beginners article and get yourself acquainted!

*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.