Similar to classic styles, vintage hairstyles are always trendy and offer women a retro approach to styling their hair for any special occasion. Clothes, shoes, home furnishings and HAIR rage into style, and then fade out to become a slightly different version the next year. Perhaps better and bigger, or sleeker and more refined. One thing is for sure, you can count on all styles to change…and come back again.
Insider how-to tips and product recommendations are included below, so have fun recreating these time-tested looks yourself at home, or in the salon.
Before your next hair appointment, check out these stunning vintage hairstyles.
Vintage Shine on Bob Cut
Shine your way through the glam life with this remarkable vintage wavy bob for short hair. The textured yet smooth and shiny waves will surely make everyone fall in love with vintage haircuts like this.
Short Vintage Curly Bob
A short vintage curly bob is a stunning style on most, but those with a slimmer or longer face would benefit from the widening effect this bob adds. The beautiful curated curls sit close to the face then fill out from the jaw area, giving width to faces that need strength in this area.
Pin Up Princess Style
This splendid pin-up work absolutely gives justice to the vintage ’40s fashion. You’ll need lots of hairspray and pins to achieve this pinup hairstyle and its staircase to perfection. This retro wave updo is perfect for ladies with medium to long tresses.
Vintage Elegance in Side Swept Style
This is a perfectly tamed side swept vintage hairstyle with a charming twist that takes lots of skills to achieve. Those perfectly created waves and twists frame and brighten the face beautifully.
Shoulder Length Hairstyle with Soft Curls
These cute little vintage rosy curls are a definite stand-out for any event you’ll go to! You’ll be sure to inspire everyone with this super lovable retro hairstyle with vintage pin curls!
Vintage Inspired Faux Bob
This vintage-inspired faux bob is a page boy. It was created by vintage hairstylist Asia Zamora of Las Vegas, NV. “I love the waves that frame the face and smooth details. This look is popularized in today’s vintage culture by the lovely Dita Von Teese,” explains Zamora.
For styling, Zamora used a 1-inch curling iron, long Duck Bill clips, a Denman brush, and Suavecita Pomade.
“The style is very suitable for any face shape,” she adds. “The best haircut to have for this type of look is a Middy haircut. There are different versions of the Middy at different lengths. It just depends on what length you feel comfortable with.”
Full on Glam for Long Hair
This hairstyle is full-on GLAM! It was created by bridal hairstylist Theresa Foti of New Jersey. “It has that old Hollywood/vintage vibe, but still looks modern and polished,” she states.
Foti’s favorite thing about this vintage downdo is everything! “The volume, the shine, the softness, and of course the drama. This has been my most requested hairstyle to date.”
Women that want this hairstyle should consider purchasing some clip-in hair extensions because length and density are key to making this look work.
“Styling begins with layering the right products to ensure your waves will last but the way the hair is set is the single most important step in achieving this look,” explains Foti. “Without a proper set, the hair will not fall into place and could wind up looking curled rather than waved. I always start off with a strong hold mousse, then layer flexible and stronghold hairsprays. When setting the hair, I start in the back and work my way forward, wrapping the hair around the iron in the same direction.”
1940s Vintage Beauty with a Modern Twist
“I would describe this retro hair as 1940s vintage style with a modern twist,” says stylist Amanda Kopitz of Southgate, MI.
“My favorite aspect of styling vintage looks such as this is the process,” says Kopitz. “Roller sets, wet sets, pin curls, smoothing brushes, and backcombing are no longer used daily, but I think they are the most fun.”
Kopitz says to keep in mind that this vintage roll updo takes a bit of time, curl setting, hairspray, and lots of backcombing.
“Don’t be afraid of big hair,” she adds. “That’s what this look is all about, those big and voluminous victory rolls! Anyone with shoulder-length hair or longer can rock this fun retro style.”
Old Hollywood Glam
This vintage hair old Hollywood glam was created by hairstylist Elisa Ramirez of Houston, TX.
“For the ones that struggle with an iron, try doing a good old-fashioned roller set,” says Ramirez. “I recommend prepping the hair with mousse and or a light gel prior to rolling. Once the hair is dried, brush it out with a boar bristle paddle brush. Hot rollers would also work to achieve this on already dry hair.”
For the ones that swear by the iron, Ramirez says you could easily do this with either a wand or a traditional iron. “The key is to make sure you are curling all the hair in the same direction or mimicking a roller set, so when it’s time to brush out you get that finger waved look. Also, make sure the barrel size is appropriate for your hair length,” she adds.
Ramirez wants you to pay attention to where your part is. “For these hairstyles, you want to make sure make the part is pretty deep so you get that signature big vintage bang. If styling on already dry hair, you will need a texturizing spray, hairspray, a teasing comb, and a boar bristle paddle brush.”
She goes on to explain, “once the waves are put in, generously spray it with hairspray and more texture spray, then grab your paddle brush and brush out the curls until they resemble smooth, loose waves. The next step will be teasing. Take a horseshoe section starting from temple to temple and tease away, making sure the top layer remains smooth. Don’t forget to tease the bang area, too!”
Elegantly Vintage for Formal Events
This look is elegant and vintage with a modern holiday twist when accented with silver antlers. It was handcrafted by stylist and salon owner Tiffany Massey of Georgia.
“I used Sexy Hair Play Dirty Spray Wax prior to heat styling, Healthy Sexy Soy Paste to control ends, and Big Sexy Hairspray and Play Hairspray to finish,” says Massey.
The cool thing about this style is that it complements women with medium to long hair that are looking for a timeless look for any type of formal event.
Classic Structured Vintage Wave
This is a classically structured vintage wave on short to medium hair with blonde balayage that creates texture and hold in the hair. It was created by independent hairstylist Anastasia Xenos of Sydney, NSW.
To create this simple look, Xenos recommends you wash your hair the night before with two shampoos and no conditioner so it has a bit of grit. “I also recommend they dry it without any products,” she adds.
Retro hairstyles are great for any function from a birthday to a wedding and everything in between. They look stunning on every hair type and length. Even with thin hair textures, extensions are easily applied to create volume and length if wanted or needed.
Modern Victory Roll Style on Medium Hair
This half up modern take on a classic victory roll was created and styled by cosmetology student Tori Morton of Frederick, MD. “As far as texture goes, I opted for soft Hollywood waves. This is an eye-catching, unique style with vintage vibes for a medium hair length,” she explains.
Morton used a 1-inch Marcel curling iron and a teasing comb to create this half up vintage hair. Then finished with a generous blast of Redken 28 Control Addict Hairspray.
“I recommend this style to anyone who wishes for a unique retro look inspired by 50s hairstyles,” says Morton. “While many vintage styles are easiest to produce on thick and textured hair, I’m a firm believer in encouraging women to rock whatever style she chooses, regardless of face shape, hair type, lifestyle, and so on!”
Retro Betty Grable Hair with a Pin Curl Poodle Style
“I would describe this vintage hairstyle as 1940s Betty Grable hair,” says hairstylist Leslie Pacheco of Tustin, CA.
Pacheco recommends Lottabody setting lotion for setting your curls, diluting it with water in a spray bottle. “You’ll also need bobby pins and 3/4-inch curlers or curling iron. I like using dry shampoo to create some texture. I spray it in the root area after I undo the pincurls. R+Co Death Valley dry shampoo is my favorite,” she adds.
“Suavecita pomade is great to smooth any flyaways when you’re brushing the hair up on the sides and back,” explains Pacheco. “After I have finished pinning the hair and curls in a place where I want them, I use Kenra Volume Hairspray.”
Hair that is shoulder-length or maybe even an inch or two past the shoulders is ideal for this style. Naturally curly or straight hair works, and it’s easy to do this style on medium to finer hair.
Fingerwave Bun Updo
A finderwave bun updo is one of the classic vintage updos that will never actually go out of style. It always finds a way to change with the times!
How To Style a fingerwave updo:
- Starting with dry hair, section off a front top section and secure it with a clip. This is for your waves!
- Gather the rest of your hair and bring to the center back of the head. Smooth hair using a comb or brush and secure it into a ponytail with an elastic band.
- Wrap your ponytail around the base of the elastic band, creating a bun. Secure with bobby pins.
- Smooth out your front section. Using a deep waving iron, start towards the top of section and continue down through the length of hair. Arrange waves and secure them using hair pins and firm hold hairspray.
- Finish with your favorite hairspray.
The best hairspray for finger wave hair is Pravana’s Super Shape Hairspray. It’s a buildable hold spray, meaning the more you spray, the harder the hold! You don’t have to worry about buildup, however, because it’s water-soluble and washes right out.
Any face shape that is comfortable with their hair up can sport this classic style, while hair that is long enough to put up in a bun is a must to recreate.
Sleek Hippie Chick
Now is the time to resurrect a classic hippy look from the 70s and give it a fresh twist.
How To Style a hippy hairstyle:
- Starting with damp hair, apply a smoothing cream.
- Blow dry hair in sections using a flat brush. Make sure to keep air flow facing the floor to help prevent flyaways.
- Turn your flat iron to the lowest heat setting for your hair type. Working in small sections, glide the iron through your hair for a sleek look.
- Create a small to medium section of hair off of your part.
- Braid this section. The model is wearing a variation of the basic three-strand braid, but any type of braid will do.
- Add a cute headband and you’re ready to go!
A smoothing cream will help keep your style in place all day. Try Pravana ‘s Model Behavior. It’s light enough for finer strands of hair but can control even the thickest, unruliest hair as well.
Any face shape can wear this look, though some will feel better with a slightly off center part instead of a direct center part. Hair that is naturally straight (or straightens well) and is medium to fine in texture works best for this style.
Curly Victory Rolls Revisited
Your confidence will soar sporting these iconic, curly victory rolls of the 40s!
How To Style victory rolls:
- Starting with dry hair, use a 1-inch curling iron or wand to create curls throughout your head. The size of the sections will determine how strong the curls are. Smaller sections will create more volume, while larger sections will move you more towards a wave pattern.
- Part hair in center or slightly off center. Create sections from the front of the ear toward the crown.
- Brush hair straight up and smooth. Pinch at ends and begin rolling hair up towards scalp. This may take a few tries, so don’t get frustrated! Once it looks fabulous, use bobby pins to secure in place. Make an “X” pattern with your pins to lock them in.
- Finish off with your favorite hairspray and you’re ready to go!
To hold your curls and victory rolls in, PRAVANA’s Super Shape hairspray is a must. It gives more hold the more you apply. Diamond, heart, and round faces wear this look best. Hair that is medium to thick will make recreating this style easier, too.
1980’s Big Hair
The 80s brought us lots of things — and big hair is one of them! Bring back that retro big curly hair in a softer, more feminine version.
How To Style 1980s big hair:
- Before blow drying hair, apply a volumizing mousse. Comb through to ensure each strand is covered.
- Begin blow drying hair, holding your head upside down. This will help to give that great volume that you’ll need for this look.
- Once hair is completely dry, use hot rollers to set. Starting in the nape of your neck, take medium to small sections and roll hair. Make sure to alternate the direction that you wrap.
- If you run out of rollers, that’s ok! Simply pin the extra hair up while your rollers cool. Heat them back up and finish off your style. Rollers need to cool completely before you remove them to get the strongest bouncy curls.
- Once all youth hair is curled, flip your head back over and give them a good shake. No need to use any brushes, just your hands.
- Mist hair with hairspray and rock your big curls!
Pravana’s Full Volume volumizing foam not only aids in giving you big hair, but it is full of great ingredients that won’t dry your hair out or damage your color. Any face shape can wear these big curls, while hair that is medium to thick gives the best base for this style.
Rosie the Riveter with Bandana Revamped
Just about every girl loves the Rosie the Riveter hairstyle. It’s tough, yet feminine at the same time.
How To Style Rosie the Riveter hair:
- This is a great style for second-day hair! You will need a bandana, a ponytail holder, and some red lipstick.
- Smooth hair straight back into a ponytail and secure with a hair tie.
- Pull hair slightly right in the front to give a slight lift at the top.
- Tie a folded bandana (from underneath) onto the top of your head.
- Add a red lip and you’ve got this classic look!
For second-day hair that may be feeling a little too lived in, try a dry shampoo. Kevin Murphy’s Fresh Hair is great for giving a softer feel. Any face shape can wear this cute ponytail recreation, while hair that is long enough to fit up in a ponytail is a must for this look.
Go Greased Lightening
Lots of curls and a leather jacket take you right back to the ending scene of the classic Grease.
How To Style Grease-inspired hair:
- Before blow drying hair, apply a volumizing mousse. Blow dry hair using a small round brush.
- Using a 1\2-inch curling iron, start curling hair from the nape of your neck. Clip any hair not being curled up with a clip. Roll some curls towards your face, and some away from your face.
- When you reach the front sections, make sure to curl away from your face. When curling the bang or fringe area, hold hair out from your head and roll the iron down onto the base of the section.
- Let all of the curls cool completely before you use a wide tooth comb to pick through them. Don’t over-comb them though!
- Lift the front section and spray with hairspray, holding it in place while it dries.
Just like the 70s, a fabulous hairspray is a must for such retro curls. Give hair a good spray to hold it all night. The best part is that it’s water soluble so it washes right out!
Round, heart or square face shapes look fabulous in this rockin’ style with side-parted curls.
Pomp with a Twist
This James Dean-inspired pompadour haircut gets a modern edge with texture and pastel lavender.
How To Style:
- The first step in this look is the haircut. Ask your stylist for lots of texture through the top with a short crop on the sides.
- When styling, apply a volumizing mousse throughout the top while hair is damp.
- Use your fingers to lift hair while blowing drying. Be sure to direct the front section slightly back.
- Once hair is dry, use a texturizer to give separation and extra hold.
- If needed, add a little spray of your favorite hairspray.
There are many different types of texturing products out there. For this type of style, try Pravana’s Lived In Powder Potion. It’s a powder that transforms into a liquid, so it’s super easy to apply and gives amazing texture and volume!
Mod is Back
Long, straight hair paired with mod textured bangs brings this Austin Powers-inspired style back into play.
How To Style a mod look:
- Starting with damp hair, apply a straightening cream and comb through to ensure it is evenly distributed.
- Blow dry hair using a flat brush. Make sure to keep your blow dryer air flow facing the floor to help prevent flyaways.
- Once your hair is completely dry, turn your flat iron to the lowest heat setting for your hair type.
- Bring the flat iron through your hair in small sections. Give a slight bend toward the ends and fringe.
- Now rock this shagadelic look, baby!
Picking a smoothing cream that won’t weigh your hair down or give you a greasy look is so important! Try Pravana’s Model Behavior. It smells amazing and most importantly, it smooths your hair out, giving it shine and control.
Oval and diamond face shapes look smashing in this mod look with vintage bangs. Hair that is naturally straight and of medium density makes styling easy.
THE GIBSON GIRL
This vintage updo was popular in the 1890s. A frothy texture creates an angelic look for today’s woman.
How to Style Gibson girl hair:
- Spray on a texturizing product like Aquage Uplifting Foam and blow dry.
- Beginning at the bottom and working your way to the top, tease one inch sections of hair from root to end, and then flat iron.
- Be sure to spray each section with a heat protecting spray like RUSK Thermal Iron Spray.
- Brush hair out using a soft bristle brush.
- Sweep hair to the top of the head and loosely gather it and pin it in place.
The Salon Tech Flat Iron is great to use with durable titanium plates. For best results, choose lower temperatures for finer, color-treated hair and higher temps for coarse, resistant hair.
The Vintage Pixie
This short crop has made a comeback on Hollywood gamines and daring trendsetters.
How to Style a vintage pixie:
- Begin with a great cut from your salon professional. This cut is best when cut with either texturizing scissors or a razor to create a soft feminine feel.
- Apply a small amount of a thickening cream to damp hair and distribute well.
- Comb hair into place and allow to dry naturally.
- Use your fingers to loosen the shape.
Vintage Hollywood Waves
The “Veronica Lake” style is reborn as the most requested red carpet look for modern day starlets.
How to Style Hollywood waves:
- Build up body in the hair by blow drying a mousse into the hair.
- Curl one-inch sections around a one-inch ceramic curling iron and clip each curl.
- Allow hair to cool before removing the clips.
- Brush hair smoothly with a soft bristle brush.
Looking for a great soft bristle brush? Try Angelo David’s smoothing brush.
Vintage Blonde Bombshell
Go for a vintage blonde bombshell vibe! With this look, how can you not be a head-turner? This long hairstyle radiates a ’60s romantic feel. What makes it so retro is its beehive style at the crown, and the key to its bulky shape is back-combing the tresses. If you have platinum blonde hair and don’t think it’s vivid enough, try darkening the roots.
Smooth and Classic Chignon
Wear a smooth and classic chignon to achieve a sleek, neat hairstyle. Get inspiration from this updo made by a bridal hair artist from New York, Marcella Palumbo. “It’s customizable to suit any face shape, hair type, and personality,” she notes.
“To mimic the style, you’ll need an oil or wax spray along with a medium hold hairspray,” Palumbo advises. “Once your hair is secured into a ponytail, tease it to get a full-shaped chignon bun. If you wanted to have this exact style, but bigger, you can achieve that with the help of hair extensions or hair padding.”
The Blunt Bob
1920s flappers like Louise Brooks bobbed off their long locks in favor of this style that is equally trendy today.
How to Style a blunt bob:
- Apply a few drops of smoothing serum to your hands and distribute through lengths and ends.
- Beginning at the bottom and working your way to the top, blow dry hair in small sections.
- Pass over lightly where needed with a flat iron to eliminate frizz.
- Mist hair with light shine spray like Aquage Beyond Shine.
Looking for the perfect flat iron? The Salon Tech 1-inch Titanium 450 Styling Iron provides optimum smoothing results. The heavy fringe in this style gives great balance to long faces.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Vintage Soft Curls
Longer hair takes on a new look when pinned to create a faux bob.
How to Style soft curls:
- Distribute an egg-sized amount of a volumizing foam like Aveda Phomollient through hair and blow dry.
- Curl hair on a 1 1/4-inch ceramic iron. Secure the curls with clips and allow the hair to cool.
- Brush hair with a smoothing brush.
- Twist and pin ends up to create the desired length.
A faux bob length can be securely pinned with bobby pins from Sally’s. This style is so versatile! It works with every face shape and hair density and it a great style to make fine hair look fuller.
Vintage Marilyn Monroe
Using a pastel color like lavender gives this classic Marilyn Monroe style a modern twist.
How to Style Marilyn Monroe hair with color:
- Professionally pre-lighten your hair color to pale yellow. Shampoo, condition and dry.
- Apply a fun color of choice and process. Shampoo, condition and dry.
- Curl small sections on a 1-inch ceramic curling iron. Clip each curl and allow to cool.
- Lightly back brush hair, smoothing the top into a roll.
This style is so versatile! It works with every face shape and hair density. This shape is especially flattering for a face with a small forehead.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Vintage Hairstyles
Who wouldn’t love this modern twist on a timeless upstyle?
How to Style an upstyle:
- For the easiest styling, curl hair with electric rollers.
- Part hair from ear to ear to separate the front and the back.
- Create a deep side part in the front and sweep hair low across the forehead.
- Twist remaining hair up high, allowing curls to tousle.
- Pin to secure.
Calista Tools create body, which makes the perfect foundation for any updo. This style is great for thicker hair and the low sweeping fringe gives balance to long faces.
Easier (and much less expensive) than a facelift, this upswept vintage hairdo will take ten years off.
How to Style a quiff for women:
- Starting with dry hair, use a tapered curling wand and wrap one-inch sections around the wand.
- Lightly tease hair on top to create height.
- Smooth back the top and side sections and pin to secure.
- Back comb ends for extra texture.
Oribe Dry Spray will give incredible volume and sexy texture to this pompadour hairstyle. This style is so versatile! It works with every face shape and hair density and is super easy for those with naturally wavy hair.
Classic 1960’s Asymmetric Bob
This is a fresh version of a cut made popular in the 1960s.
How to Style an asymmetrical bob:
- Go to your professional stylist for a precision asymmetric haircut.
- Apply a small amount of a smoothing serum like Moroccan Oil Treatment.
- For extra shine, blow dry hair in a downward motion to smooth the cuticle.
- Pass over ends with a flat iron to slightly turn the ends under.
The Keratin Complex Stealth Stretch Flat Iron offers professional-grade styling for all hair types.
Vintage Milkmaid Braid Hairstyle
This style is fast and oh so feminine.
How to Style a milkmaid braid hairstyle:
- Starting with clean, damp hair, part hair down the middle from front to back.
- Beginning low and tight in the nape on one side, plait a classic three-strand braid and secure with a small elastic.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Drape the braids across the head, pin on the opposite sides and accessorize with flowers.
For extra control, lightly mist hair with a great leave-in conditioner like Redken Extreme Anti-Snap. This style works best on longer hair with no layers and looks good on all face shapes.
Yves Saint Laurent says, “Style fades but fashion is eternal.” Each of these vintage-inspired looks are time tested and ultra feminine. As you wear these vintage hair styles, you can feel as beautiful and confident as the celebrity that made each look so iconic.