Vintage hairstyles for dead straight hair or short hair.
August 28, 2015 11:58 PM   Subscribe

I love vintage/pin-up styles, and 1950s style fashion is what suits my body type. Great. I am going through a stage of convincing myself I want to keep my long hair rather than cutting it all off by trying to style it more and incorporate pin-up and vintage hairstyles to go with the fashion.

Only problem is I have REALLY straight hair - I can set it with hot-rollers and setting lotion and unless I lacquer my hair with spray to the point it is like plastic (and often even then) the curls fall out within an hour or two. My hair is currently nearly 18" long, but I have had the same problem when it was only shoulder length. It is also quite fine, so styles that need a lot of volume or 'oomph' fall flat pretty quick. And I am rubbish at using hair pieces.

So - are there styles that may be possible? Is there some magic setting technique that will work? (I live in Turkey, so if there is some magic specific product it will be very hard for me to get my hands on it potentially, but I am willing to try). Are there styles for straight fine hair that I could make work for the vintage look?

Or do I go super short and try some kind of vintage/gamine/punk mash-up? Are there examples of women rocking the vintage/pin-up look with short hair you can share (images most welcome!) I am especially interested in very short - like this - styles if I was to cut my hair.
posted by Megami to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think a lot of vintage and pinup comes from how you dress and how you do makeup. I have short hair, and also have very eclectic style so my style depends on what I wear and how I do my makeup that day.

One super fun, easy pinup style is to tie it in a bandana. Here's how to do it. And here's a pinup day or two that I had. (My hair is an undercut. The length on top is like the photo you linked, but pretty short/buzzed on the side and back.)

If you keep your hair long, you can still use bandanas/hair scarves/etc with a big bun in back. Which can also be a messy bun. Victory rolls may also work since it's done with pins.

However I am biased toward short hair since my hair is super unruly, thick, fluffy, and wavy. I've saved so much time with short hair and I can't imagine going back.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:13 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love that bandana option. My hair is frizzy and doesn't work in any style, but I probably should try being a bit less lazy....

In theory (I only just found this) this is easy
fast basic roller set
but I could see myself completely ruining any semblance of a style when brushing it out.
posted by ginoiseau at 1:01 AM on August 29, 2015

Try the blog Lost In A Spotless Mind - she rocks a vintage/gamine look and a pixie cut and has written lots about both. Very helpful articles!
posted by jrobin276 at 1:37 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hi, I have hair like yours...doesn't last long with hot rollers or curling irons....but have you ever tried setting it in pin curls overnight? That works really well for my hair. I don't have any links but I'm sure if you google pin curls you can find a lot of tutorials out there.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 4:21 AM on August 29, 2015

Check out the Instagram of midcentury_girl - she wears a very authentic vintage style with gorgeous 50s outfits, and she has a pixie cut. I think it really suits her.
posted by RubyScarlet at 5:21 AM on August 29, 2015

A pixie or similar modern haircut gives the classic clothing and make up a modern feel. So go for it.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:23 AM on August 29, 2015

I think the keys to "classic 50s" pinup hair are in those crazy bangs that start way up near the crown. They don't have to be big and curled; it's that smooth triangle shape.

But pixie cuts are just as 50s as oversized curls. Remember Audrey Hepburn's classic look. :)
posted by zennie at 5:43 AM on August 29, 2015

I agree with shadow boxer on the pin curls. Try for a damp set if possible. You might also want to talk to your stylist about getting a permanent and about options with your cut that could encourage curling. I have fine hair too and I remember from the '80s that it doesn't always hold a perm. They have probably perfected the process by now. I also have a ton of fine hair. My curls show up only when my stylist uses thinning shears and layers. Another issue that I have, that you may be suffering from, is that baby fine hair does not like product. If I put anything in my hair, it looks like a flat, unwashed mess after just a few hours. I skip product all together. When it's been styled for my work on movies, the hairdressers always do a nice shellac of hairspray after styling, to keep it all in place. It looks great on camera but it sucks to wash out. When they did my hair for a scene in the 1950s, the hairdresser put my rolled hair up into an amazing french twist. To do so, she teased parts of it, used 432,000 pins, and then sprayed it to helmet capacity. The thing that I noticed the most about the other ladies' hair was that it was flatter than what we wear now. Very flat on top with the waves or curls set in immobile clumps.

To streamline my ramble:

Try a damp set with pin curls.
Look into perms and cuts that help with body and curls.
Avoid product as much as possible.
Use lots of pins!
Learn how to tease your hair.
posted by myselfasme at 6:52 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here is an article with a gallery of 34 short hair cuts if you want to go that route.

Veronica Lake was known for her long fairly straight hair in the 1940's, and people imitated it well into the 1950's and beyond. Here's a step by step "how to" for a "dress up" version of the Veronica Lake look that seems like it might be an option if you want to keep long hair.
posted by gudrun at 11:28 AM on August 29, 2015

Just to echo what @myselfasme said: My hair is usually so straight that people ask me what kind of straightener I use. I ended up getting a bodywave perm, and now my hair holds curl like nobody's business. It's not crazy Dolly Parton curly, it's actually still kind of straight, but when I curl it or tie it up in a bun it'll actually hold the curl. A miracle! I got it done at a cheap Vietnamese hairsalon too, so you don't need to go to somewhere expensive and fancy. If they have that option in Turkey, and you're not into the pixie cut look (which is also wonderful), then I'd consider checking it out.
posted by thebots at 3:18 PM on August 29, 2015

It wouldn't be a pin up look, but you could very easily style short hair for a 60s look:

Jean Seberg
posted by kinddieserzeit at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I ended up going and getting my hair cut short today (not very vintage looking in this photo but definitely looking forward to styling it!)
posted by Megami at 7:37 AM on September 4, 2015

« Older What does his phrase on my bag mean?   | as recruitment software; how does it... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.