How to create short 1950s hairstyles for some vintage flair

How to get a cute 1950s short hairstyle

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Want to try out some short 1950s hairstyles, or just are looking to see what they were like? Here, check out more than a dozen authentic retro ‘dos from the 50s!

Woman with a red short 1950s hairstyles

At home with your hair: Short 1950s hairstyles

By Dawn Crowell Norman, Beauty Editor of the Journal

With a home-permanent kit… a knack with scissors… and a way with ribbons and veilings, you can work at home to achieve a new and pretty hairdo.

At home with your hair: Summer short-cuts

Depending upon how short you wear your hair — and how quickly it grows — professional cutting and shaping are usually required from every three to six weeks. But for those in-between periods when ends become shaggy and unmanageable, here are some tips on trimming to help you maintain a well-groomed look all summer long.

Glamorous short 50s hairstyle - Brunette woman in blue dress

How-to rules for short 1950s hairstyles

Before you follow the steps illustrated, read these rules:

1. If your hair is straight, or only has a slight natural curl, shampoo and dry before you begin. Hair that is naturally curly or unruly after a permanent is easier to trim when wet. In either case, leave the use of a razor to the experts.

2. Part your hair and comb it in the directions in which you wear it.

Short 1950s hairstyles

3. Use a pair of sharp, straight scissors and a three-way mirror to allow you to see exactly what you are doing.

4. When you section off your hair and slide your fingers out toward the ends (as illustrated), you will find the shortest ends of the section fall back into place against your head. This means they do not require trimming. Cut only the shaggy ends lying beyond your fingers, which may be anywhere from 1/4″ to 1/2″ in length.

5. The front and sides will, naturally, be easiest for you to do yourself. In the beginning, it is advisable (and more fun!) to have someone help you with the back.

Pretty classic 50s hairstyle - Woman with blonde hair (1950)


Classic early short 1950s hairstyles for summer

Basic for a pretty summer hairdo; an off-the-brow, away-from-the-neck arrangement. This easy arrangement requires only the two rows of pin curls for the sides and back.

A classic early 1950s hairstyle for summer

Tips for fair and cooler short 1950s hairstyles

The prettiest warm-weather hairdos are purposely planned to required a minimum of “doing.”

Regardless of length, they never lie limply on the neck or shoulders, but are shampooed regularly — and brushed, combed, or pinned into a serene arrangement. They take to any trick you may perform with a ribbon or flower — provided it isn’t fussy or overdone.

1. A yard of veiling over your face ties in bow at center back. Pin on flowers.

2. 1-1/2 yards of ribbon ties at the side, keeps the hair off of the face and neck.

Tips for fair and cooler short 1950s hairstyles

Permanent and pretty short 1950s hairstyles

The model at the left gave herself a home permanent the day before her picture was taken. Her short cut called for seven curls on each side, ten in the back. “Just enough to look natural — and prevent my having to put up the ends at night.”

Smooth fifties permed hair

Want short 1950s hairstyles like this? Here are her permanent tips:

Read the directions each time you give yourself a permanent. They vary slightly with the manufacturer.

If your hair is short, give yourself your permanent just before it needs trimming. It’s easier to work with longer locks — and you can have too-tight curls trimmed and shaped.

If you work, an after-dinner permanent allows you to wake in the morning with a brand-new hairdo!

Plan your permanent a week before any special date. This gives you time for another shampoo and set to soften the effect.

Blonde-haired woman with fifties-style hairdo


1950s perm step-by-step

1. Test curl –major “must” for any permanent, to be pretty.

2. Perm only area of hair you wish to appear curly.

Vintage 1950s hairstyle how-to

3. As you progress, recheck directions for following steps.

4. When you have finished the permanent, set in large, loose curls.

1950s short hairstyle - Step by step directions


Reverse pin curls: How to create vintage curly & short 1950s hairstyles

For this cool arrangement, part hair on side and comb out smoothly. A row of reverse pin curls form waves at temples. The ends of the sides and back hair are set in forward curls.

Directions for the reverse pin curl hairstyle

Directions for the reverse pin curl hairstyle

1. For short front hair: section off 1″, going from part horizontally across had. Comb this forward.

2. Grasp section and slide fingers out from roots. Stop from 1/4″ to 1/2″ from ends. Trim ends.

3. For sides and back: part hair in 1″ vertical sections and repeat procedure described above.

Step by step directions from 1950 for the reverse pin curl hairstyle


Actress Elizabeth Taylor’s short brunette hairstyle (1950s)

Actress Elizabeth Taylor's short brunette hairstyle (1950s)


Short blonde hairstyle for a bride (1950)

Short blonde hairstyle for a bride (1950)


Glossy dark short hair (1950)

Glossy dark short hair (1950)


Cute 1950s short hairstyle with ribbons

Cute 1950s short hairstyle with ribbons


50s woman with short brown hair in stylish perm

50s woman with short brown hair in stylish perm

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