1940s Hairstyles- History of Women’s Hairstyles

1940s Victory rolls hairstyle on Japanese asian hair
1940s Victory rolls hairstyle on Japanese asian hair

1949 Victory Rolls Coiffure

Within the ‘40s, girls have been inspired to make use of their hair to ‘repair’ any flaws of their face. If she had good, shiny hair with a great coloration, she ought to use it to border her face. If she had a full face, she ought to use a 1940s coiffure that piled hair on prime of her head to distract from it. If a skinny face was her downside, her coiffure needs to be down and over her ears to make it look wider. All of those ideas contributed to a range to hairstyles in 1940s.

We even have an article on 1940s males’s hairstyles.

1940s Hair Care

It was necessary to maintain hair clear and glossy, washing it each time essential. A girl would additionally therapeutic massage her scalp and brush her hair twice a day. When shampoos grew to become scarce and of poor high quality, girls needed to steam their hair over a pot of sizzling water after which rub the filth and oil off with a towel. Hair care was a time consuming process. Most ladies turned to magnificence parlors to get their hair washed, reduce, and styled weekly — or as usually as she may afford.

1940s hair salon (permanent wave curl machine in the background)

1940s hair salon (everlasting wave curl machine within the background)

With so many ladies going to work in factories and taking time without work to get their hair executed, manufacturing facility managers put in their very own magnificence salons. This decreased the time girls have been away from work and improved the morale of staff. Magnificence was an necessary responsibility for girls to keep up through the battle years particularly.

Perfectly style salon hair, 1943

Completely styled salon hair, 1943

For time in between magnificence appointments, girls both wash and styled their hair at residence or coated up soiled hair with a shawl, turban, or massive hat. There have been many inventive methods to cover unpleasant hair, and 1940s girls used all of them.

1940sc black women, Rosies, Working women with longer hair pulled back

Working girls with longer hair pulled again

1940s Hairstyles

Hair was normally worn shoulder-length or a bit bit longer, reduce straight with no bangs. A little bit of layering on the ends gave flat hair extra quantity and helped obtain the curly look wanted for many 1940s hairstyles.   There have been a number of well-liked hairstyles through the ’40s, however all of them had just a few issues in frequent. First, hairdos have been completely styled – no messy look. Second, they have been by no means, ever straight and smooth. Curls and quantity have been in type, particularly above the brow and on the ends (rolled underneath). Hairdos virtually at all times began with moist setting pin-curls at night time and have been styled from there the following morning.

1940s Smoothed and gathered up black womens hair

Smoothed and gathered up hair

African-American and Caribbean-American girls turned to hair lotion and sizzling combs to show curly hair into the graceful straight hair. Hair was then styled into the identical cuts and shapes as white girls’s hair. Victory rolls, sizzling curler curls, and updos have been particularly well-liked and straightforward to type, in addition to the graceful pageboy. Wigs have been bought to girls who didn’t need the effort of frequent sizzling combing.

Black magnificence parlors and in-home stylists catered to girls searching for a bi-monthly therapy and the most recent hairstyles. In winter, girls might have gone into the outlets extra actually because the smallest little bit of rain would smash the straightened hair. Holding hair coated with massive hats and hoods was crucial.

Early Hairstyles

1940-1941 hairstyle- smooth finger waves on top, rolled curls to the back

1938-1940 hairstyle- easy finger waves on prime, rolled curls to the again

Within the first half of the 1940s, hairstyles have been slightly brief with tight ring-curls and a few waves forming across the face. Hair from the again of the scalp was pushed to the perimeters to deliver much more quantity to the tops and sides. The usage of quite a lot of waves in intricate designs had gone out of favor by the 1942.  The look was total brief, sensible, and curly, with possibly a wave or two to form the entrance. These kinds favored small hats and army uniform hats. They regarded nicely on mature girls and have been simply hidden underneath turbans when hair grew to become too soiled.

1943- short hair tightly curled and pushed from the back to create a frame around the face

1943- brief hair tightly curled and pushed from the again to create a body across the face

Late 30s/early 40s tight curls black women hair

Late 30s/early 40s  pure curls

Mature girls’s hairstyles favored lengthy hair (a convention since their childhood) that was gathered within the again in a low bun. The remainder of the hair was waved or curled on prime of the top. The coiffure regarded brief since all hair was gathered up away from the face. It was thought that this type saved consideration on her face and never on her silver hair.

1942-43 Mature women's hairstyles- long hair gathered up and away from the face.

1942-43 Mature girls’s hairstyles- lengthy hair gathered up and away from the face.

1942 hairstyles for shoulder length hair

1942 hairstyles for shoulder size hair

The half up half down coiffure dominated the 1940s. Many ladies brushed out the curls for a full and totally look whereas others tamed the curl into outlined rolls

1940s Japanese American woman in internment camps combed and pinned their hair half up and half down varieties.

Japanese American lady in internment camps combed and pinned their hair half up and half down varieties.

1940s Chinese hairstyle full and fluffy curls

Fluffy curls added quantity int he early years.

By 1943, the shoulder size reduce was most well-liked by most girls. Hair was set in pin curls, then brushed out within the morning. Half the hair was gathered up prime and with the ends rolled underneath to provide quantity above the brow (teasing and hair padding helped too). The decrease half was smooth and easy, with ends curled in in direction of the neck.

1943, hair gathered and waved with some curls on top, rolled under into a chigon on the bottom

1943, hair gathered and waved with some curls on prime, rolled underneath right into a chigon on the underside

Many Pachucas, feminine Zoot Suiters, adopted this look, including much more top to their hair. This, in flip, was known as a bouffant type, though ‘bouffant’ additionally simply meant hair gathered on prime.


The voluminous hair on prime was at its peak in 1944. Rita Hayworth sported this new type in Covergirl, along with her curly hair creating pure top. The type was additionally known as a pompadour coiffure, particularly when hair lacked pure curl and quantity was created by making massive rolls as a substitute.

Rita Hayworthin Covergirl, sporting the pompadour or bouffant hairstyle

Rita Hayworth in Covergirl, sporting the pompadour or bouffant coiffure

Victory Rolls

1942 half up half down hair

1942 half up half down hair Victory rolls on either side (the R roll exposes the ring whereas the Left is hidden behind the waved bangs.)

One other approach to collect hair up excessive was to roll the edges round two fingers and pin them in place, roll and all. This was a way coined Victory rolls and might be essentially the most iconic of all 1940s hairstyles at the moment. They weren’t simple to realize, a minimum of in a mode that lasted all day. Taking a look at classic pictures of “actual girls,” the Victory roll was saved for salon styled days.

1940s hairstyles- Double Victory roll with ethnic hair

Double Victory roll

Victory rolls may very well be single however normally double with one on either side of the top. They may be rolled to the very prime of the top. If left on the aspect,  the highest of the hair was styled with equal fullness. The underside was left down and rolled inward in direction of the neck, or gathered in a low bun or chigon if the hair was lengthy.

Coleen Gray wearing double Victory rolls on top

Coleen Grey carrying double Victory rolls on prime

Roll variations included bumper bands, Gibson rolls,  sausage rolls and others. Rolls have been simpler to type with attempting to realize the open curl on the prime.  Rolls may very well be collect on both aspect on the top or from underneath the top (gibson.) Small rolls all around the head have been utilized by girls with brief hair and organized in a really clever manner.

Vintage Hairstyling by Lauren Rennels, showing off a Pompadour style on the

Classic Hairstyling by Lauren Rennels, displaying off a Pompadour type on the quilt

By 1945, hair got here again down off the highest of the top. In truth, the alternative was now well-liked. Fully easy hair on prime with rolled medium long-hair from simply above the ears down. The highest hair may very well be pulled fully again or with a aspect half. Many ladies continued to have some Victory rolls or different prime and aspect quantity, but it surely was not as grand as the sooner years. Easy was in. Straightforward was in. These kinds achieved each.

1945- smooth top with full rolled longer bottom

1945- easy prime with full rolled longer backside

The remainder of the last decade embraced simple hairstyles. Tops have been easy, waved, or flat. Sides and the underside have been full. Hair was usually parted deep to 1 aspect or down the center, and longer hair may both be rolled or left in a naturally curvy/wavy state. By 1948, hair shortened up once more to shoulder or chin size. Curl was much less important and quantity minimal. An increasing number of girls began to put on there hair in an updo throughout the best way. This polished look would grew to become an iconic coiffure of the 1950s.

Mid 40s hairstyle with soft curls framing the neck

Mid 40s coiffure with delicate curls framing the neck

Lena Horne, 1946 black hair and makeup

Lena Horne, 1946


1940s Lengthy Hairstyles

Youthful girls or those that favored longer hairstyles selected a primary combed curl set, or opted for a deep half to 1 aspect/heart with hair pinned again previous the temples. This was simple and youthful. It may very well be simply achieved at residence with out assistance from a magnificence parlor.

1940s hairstyles. Young teen and women's long hair with a simple center part.

Younger teen and ladies’s lengthy hair with a easy heart half.

1948- daytime up do's

1948- daytime up do’s- buns, milkmaid braids, and headbands for teenagers


Silver display stars additionally favored lengthy hair, which in all probability impressed younger girls to maintain their hair lengthy.  Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamar, Gene Tierney, Lauren Bacall, and Rita Hayworth have been only a few stars who had wonderful lengthy locks. Most have been filled with curl or pure wave, however others, like Ms. Lake, made smooth hair horny through the period that favored quantity.

1948 long hair with ringlet curls

1948 lengthy hair with ringlet curls

Veronica Lake had the sexiest long hair

Veronica Lake had the sexiest lengthy hair

1940s Night Hair Kinds

Within the night, hair was gathered up and off the face and neck. Within the early years, hair was piled excessive on the crown, similar to daytime appears. It may be rolled in a single or a number of buns or braids for a smooth look. And if a lady had stunning lengthy hair, by all means, she may put on it down as nicely.

Styling Your 1940s Hair

There are various good tutorials, guides, and tricks to 1940s hairstyles on-line. I’m not going to aim so as to add my very own ideas (I’m actually not superb with hair) however I do wish to level you within the route to what I imagine are the perfect tutorials.

Start with this text on simple classic hairstyles. All of us want to begin with the fundamentals that look good and nonetheless work with a contemporary haircut.

Start with creating Pin Curls:

Make a easy aspect part- quick and straightforward for many hair lengths

Add Victory Rolls ( a should for the 1940s! )

A again roll doesn’t require pin curls and is simple to do with medium size hair.

The poodle, is a good type for naturally curly medium to lengthy hair. I’ve executed it once I had lengthy hair and it was simple and exquisite.


While you don’t wish to type your hair or want a Rosie the Riveter look attempt a head scarf or turban

Add hair equipment like flower clips, combs, headbands, and pins. Study extra right here.

1940s Hair Equipment:

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