So… I fancied a change for a while so the super talented @talulavonhula re did my colour! Hope you all like it! 💁 #lilachair #pastelhair #talulavonhula #lekeuxvintagesalon #vintagehair #retrohair #victoryrolls #pincurls #curlset #lekeuxcosmetics #pinuphair
How Curly Hair Has Changed Over the Past 100 Years
Curls are, first and foremost, a gift from the hair gods. But that hasn’t stopped non-curly women from faking it—or curly girls from manipulating their natural texture—for centuries. Take a look at the curl’s evolution, and be forewarned: the urge to perm may follow.
The ‘20s was a time of profound cultural change. After the late 19th century gave birth to the New Woman (a career-minded, independent feminist who laughed in the face of rigid marital and sexual norms), the flapper added whiskey to the mix and burned the corset. Her towering Gibson Girl updo was subsequently replaced with a freshly shorn bob, which ladies wore in carefully coiffed fingerwaves to emulate a sleek, elegant curl. A young Bette Davis modeled the look on the big screen, while scores of women (and, in particular, African American women) adopted the style IRL. On the right, we have an early female Cornell University student, Pauline Davis (class of 1931), looking fly as hell.
1930s: The Combed-Out Curl
Turns out that kind of precision was hard to maintain, though. In the ‘30s, ladies set their hair in curls and then teased out the strands, resulting in a slightly bedhead, “I woke up like this” look. (Must have been all the liquor and jazz.) Come to think of it, this probably required the same amount of effort. Beauty is pain, ladies. Ginger Rogers and Myrna Loy would know.
The next decade saw the rise of the deep-voiced, swoopy-haired femme fatale. It wasn’t just Veronica Lake and Lauren Bacall hair flipping all over town, though. More family-friendly stars like Judy Garland and Maylia Fong, an early Chinese American actress who starred in 1948’s noir flick To The Ends of The Earth, adopted the cascade of shiny pincurls, too.
1950s: Roller Curls
As morals tightened, so did hair: the long shock of mermaid mane was swiftly replaced by the shorter, more practical bob. Miss USA 1953 Myrna Hansen modeled this with her Betty Draper roller curls—but it couldn’t all be suburban lite. Bombshells like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and UK actress Diana Dors (on the right) portrayed the R-rated side of the coin, matching their voluptuous curls to their voluptuous figures.
1960s: Helmet Hair
Mod, geometric shapes didn’t just take over fashion in the ‘60s—they also took over hair. Women set their strands in voluminous coifs under the hood dryer, adding curled or flipped ends to the look for extra oomph. Also popular in the ‘60s? The name Barbara. Singer and TV presenter Barbara McNair (left) and Bond Girl Barbara Bouchet (right, of 1967’s Casino Royale) stand as evidence.
1970s: Afros & Perms
The ‘70s ushered in a new age, and by new age, we mean disco. If hair wasn’t painstakingly flat-ironed or feathered, it was curled: afros, corkscrews, and perms filled the clubs and the streets. For many black women (like Angela Davis), the afro signified an embrace of natural texture and rejection of societal pressure. Oh, and it was also gorgeous, as blaxploitation actress Pam Grier (left, of 1974’s Foxy Brown) proves. Big hair was in across the board, though. Right, Barbra Streisand?
The next decade only magnified the trend (hi, Whitney Houston!) and brought teased tresses into the fold. Along with giant socks and giant shoulder pads, there was giant hair. Meg Ryan circa When Harry Met Sally (1989) is a good example.
1990s: Barrel Curls
The ‘90s was all about the glamazon—as in, the full-bodied, broad-shouldered supermodels that dominated catwalks and dated Axl Rose. The hair, naturally, had to match—and that’s when big, bouncy barrel curls stormed popular culture on the head of Cindy Crawford. This was basically the preferred look at every promotional photo shoot for pop stars (see Selena) and every school formal till 1999.
2000s: Crimped & Spiraled
The aughts had a weird thing for crimping irons. Don’t believe us? It’s probably the only thing Britney and Christina ever agreed upon. Whatever the cause, Beyonce agreed that spiraled, wavy curls were in, too. Don’t even try and act like you didn’t buy a crimping iron in 2003.
Today’s hair do, with hair accessories from @rosiealia . My hair colour seems to be fading blue through my fringe and I think it’s super pretty! #vintagehair #vintageupdo #mermaidhair #pincurls #victoryrolls #rosiealia #pastelhair #diablorose #lekeuxvintagesalon #lekeuxcosmetics