Vintage Glam: 7 Roaring 20s Hairstyles

Whether you’re inspired by Boardwalk Empire’s forever beautiful cast of prohibitionist-era women, films like Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby or vintage classics such as Dorothy Parker, Gilda Gray or Clara Bow, one fact remains true: women of the 1920s were worthy of admiration. Not just on a fashion and beauty level, but on political and social levels, too. The 1920s represented a surge in “girl power” — it’s when women gained the right to vote, weren’t afraid to cut their hair, play with makeup or even (gasp!) drink and dance.

Today we pay homage to women of the 1920s. Try these roaring 20s hairstyles yourself and try not to feel brazen, emboldened and grand.

Glamorous Finger Waves

Glamorous Finger Waves hairstyle Instagram @publichairhouse

Q&A with style creator, Mel Mattison
Independent Hairstylist @ Public Hair House in San Diego, CA

How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

Finger waves are a glamorous and timeless sculpted look that shines different lights on color. This is a gentle way to style hair, requiring low heat and some patience for a dry finish.

I love the art that it becomes as it dries and appreciate the smooth shine that happens both wet and dry.

What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look?

This look requires help from your guest, as there is pushing of the hair against the scalp involved. Short hair is easier to maneuver, but most importantly, staying fluid through the sculpting is what makes this come together best.

Wet hair and a lightweight gel were used here. Utilize the fine tooth side of a comb for best results.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I recommend this look for anyone who would love to see themselves in a glamorous light. It’s especially great for guests who don’t want hair in their face. Truly, with a little makeup and lashes, finger waves really elevate an overall look. I feel extra beautiful when my hair is arranged like this!

Soft Finger Wave

Soft Finger Wave hairstyleInstagram @jenmchair

Q&A with style creator, Jen Kohlenberger
Hairstylist @ JMc Hair Studio in Tustin, CA


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a soft yet structured finger wave.

My favorite thing about this specific look is that it’s not your everyday wedding style, but this bride owned it. As a style in general, I love that it’s a classic look that can be given a modern twist and will last all day and night.

What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look?

Whenever I want to be able to comb through curls to manipulate them and keep them soft without losing their integrity, I use Kenra Thermal Styling Spray 19. To make sure the waves stay consistent and form together for the finished look, take small horizontal sections, spray Kenra Thermal Styling Spray from roots to ends on each section, comb through, wrap on the iron, and clip to cool.

When you remove the clip, comb through again and reform with your fingers. It’s a tedious process, but the end result is worth it!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I have found that this look works best on coarse hair. It tends to hold the shape well and can be manipulated easily to take on the wave structure that you desire.

This look is classic and can really be worn by anyone for a special occasion or just for fun.

Classic Retro Updo

Q&A with style creator, Danielle Ireland
Hairstylist @ Do or Dye in Robinson, IL


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a classic retro updo with the added fun of the victory rolls to make it stand out a bit more.

My favorite thing about this style would have to be the waves. I’ve always been a sucker for a vintage wave!

What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look?

There are really just a few tips that I think are most important for this style. First of all, I always curl all curls in the same direction and pin to really set the curl so that it’s easier to manipulate later. A great product to help with this is a soft working hairspray like AG Aerodynamics. Spray as curls are setting and they will retain their curl memory as you brush them out without being sticky.

Lastly, backcomb the underside of the curls to bring them together and stay where you want them as you create your waves!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I think this hairstyle can work on any client! You can adjust the length of the bob, add more volume, or take away the victory rolls for a less dramatic look. It is completely customizable.

Long haired ladies have no fear, my client had hair halfway down her back! Just roll up the underneath, pin it in place, and it becomes the perfect cushion to secure your waves!

This look is perfect for any woman willing to rock it.

1920 Inspired Faux Bob

It’s no secret that women in the 1920s rocked cropped ‘dos — it was monumental that they did so! If your hair is long and you’re craving the bobbed look, though, fear not. Hairstylist Darian from Toni and Guy shows you how to create a faux bob, complete with finger waves, in this video tutorial. Darian does an excellent job of breaking this hairstyle down into easy-to-understand steps.

Finger Waves on Dry Hair

YouTube user MakeupWearables teaches another method for recreating those classic, 1920s finger waves. This one still requires some time and patience, but definitely not as much as the traditional finger wave method. Additionally, you’ll be left with soft and touchable hair instead of helmet head (a common side effect of 1920s glam). This method works best for medium to long hair.

Gibson Tuck Hairstyle

The Gibson girl and flapper coexisted in the ’20s, but the two had differing approaches toward beauty and fashion. While flappers opted to bare more skin and rock cropped ‘dos, Gibson girls took a more refined and conservative approach to their aesthetic. As a rule, they showed less than 10% of their bodies and tended to keep their hair quite long. Speaking of hair, it was often plopped, tucked and pinned in a very romantic manner. This Gibson Tuck hair tutorial, provided by Victoria Stanell over at BeautyLish, is a modern approach to Gibson hairstyles and is super easy to recreate.

roaring 20s hairstyles

Glam, Modern-Day Pin Curls

Fashion and beauty blogger Chriselle was asked what her three favorite hairstyles of all time were. The first one that came to mind? “Glam Curls,” she says, because the “perfectly polished curls are not only timeless, but also a modern take on the 1920s flapper finger waved hair.” To create this updated version of the 1920s girl, Chriselle employed a little trick that includes wrapping warm hair around her fingers to form a pin curl.

roaring 20s hair pin curls

If vintage hair is what you crave, check out these retro pompadour hairstyles gone modern.