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Funky Vintage Hairstyles that were the Epitome of Cool in their Day

vintage hairstyles
vintage hairstyles

Vintage hairstyles throughout the years are filled with fads that come and go. Some go, blessedly and some favorite looks survive through different times. Here we would like to offer a few examples of both:

The Afro
In the 1960s and 1970s African American men and women let their hair grow naturally and some allowed their afros to become quite large—up to a foot or more above their heads. The afro is still an important hairstyle but in a much more reduced style.

The Afro. Photo by Steve-O CC by 3.0

Ringlets or sausage curls
In the 1800s, women, for the most part, wore their hair up. Some ladies wore ringlets on the sides to soften the face, but if one wanted to be a nurse at the time they were not allowed and seen as frivolous. In the early 1900s, according to Little Things, Mary Pickford wore sausage curls, and they enjoyed a brief comeback.

Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford

The long bob
Elizabeth Taylor made this famous when she appeared as Cleopatra in the 1963 film. Shorter bangs with shoulder length hair made the style, but in reality, it is believed that Cleopatra had curls and wore her hair up as it appears on coins stamped with her image. Still, the long bob has evolved over time can be seen in a variety of styles today as can be seen on Glamour.

Elizabeth Taylor on the film set of ‘Cleopatra’ directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1963. (Photo by API/GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Cornrows have become very popular among African Americans with some weaving them into long braids. According to Live Science, rock art found in Algeria from about three thousand years before Christ shows cornrows were just as popular in ancient times.

Corn rows
Corn rows.

The regular bob cut
This style is almost the same as the long bob but the length of the hair only goes to about the wearer’s chin or above. This was a popular look in the 1920s for “flapper girls”, and Egyptologist Dr. Colleen Darnell famously rocks this look every day.

Bob cut
The bob cut

The Pompadour
This may be one of the most varied hairstyles ever. Elvis Presley wore one in his earlier years in the 1950s, and it became popular for young men to wear a pouf on top of their heads sometimes with a ducktail at the base of the head. The style was named after King Louis XV’s mistress Madame de Pompadour who really didn’t wear her hair in that fashion. It started out as a woman’s hairdo but quickly became popular with men.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

The Ducktail

The ducktail is a variation of the male pompadour hairstyle that became synonymous with teddy boys, greasers and all sorts of cool in the 1950s. Men used a comb and thick hair grease to slick back their hair into a style that resembled a duck’s rear end. Hence the ducktail.

Ducktail hairstyle
The ducktail

The Bouffant
This style was a favorite of Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s. Backcombing achieved height and there was usually a little flip at the bottom. When she wore her hair in this style for the Inauguration Balls, according to Lisa’s History Room, women across the country rushed to have their hair done in the same way.

Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson rocking the bouffant.


A relative of the bouffant, the beehive involves piling up your hair on top of your head into a cone, or beehive, shape. It was popular throughout the swinging ’60s, and is almost synonymous with the word “vintage”, but you won’t see it on many women today — unless they’re going for a dramatic vintage look, like Amy Winehouse famously did.

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse and her beehive. Photo by Jonwood2 CC by 3.0

Queen Marie Antoinette of France was all about the latest style. She had her hairstyles puffed up so tall that when women copied it, Eden Hope Academy relates, they added touches from feathers to whole flower arrangements to a live bird in a cage.

Marie Antoinette
The Pouf of Marie Antoinette

Feathered Hair

In the ’70s and ’80s, fluffy and feathery looks were all the rage. Men and women alike feathered their hair into windswept masterpieces of the classic soap opera look. To get the look the hair was cut into layers then brushed back in big loose waves to frame the perimeter of the face.

Farrah Fawcett
Photo of Farrah Fawcett from the television program Charlie’s Angels.


Victory Rolls
Women curled their hair in a backwards roll around their faces in the victory roll which was popular in the 1940s and is now commonly associated with pinup girls.

Victory rolls haircut
The victory roll

The Gibson Girl
The Gibson girl hairstyle was created by artist Charles Dana Gibson in the 19th century as sort of a precursor to the messy bun. Gibson’s drawings were meant to show an image of the ideal woman with her hair loosely piled on top of the back of her head with long curly tendrils all around.

Gibson Girl
The Gibson girl look popularized by Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) who was among the most celebrated magazine illustrators at the beginning of the 20th century. Vintage hairstyles.

The Mullet
In the 1980s and 1990s a popular style, especially for men, was short hair in the front and long hair in the back—often referred to as business in the front, party in the back. Twenty years later it is one of the most parodied styles since powdered wigs. The comedy Joe Dirt is one of the most famous examples of this.

The mullet. Business in front, party in the back. Vintage hairstyles.

Very short bangs
Mamie Eisenhower made this look popular in the 1950s with tiny curled bangs and pin curled hair. This very dated look is no longer popular, and very short bangs are generally only seen when the haircut was performed by a pretty poor stylist.

Mamie Eisenhower
Mamie Eisenhower with the short, short bangs.

Times change, people change, and vintage hairstyles change. It would be interesting to know what people fifty or a hundred years from now will think of the hair people sport proudly today.

Check out more hilarious 80s hairdos: When Hairspray Reigned Supreme! Big 80s Hairstyles in all their Decadent Glory

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News