What Were Popular Hairstyles In The 1940S

The most popular 1940s hairstyles for women remain a classic choice today. From victory rolls to classic updos, the timeless looks defined the glamorous decade.

The 1940’s era has inspired a lot of people to wear elegant hairstyles, mostly when someone wears a vintage hairstyle from the 40s era, it would most likely be for a formal gathering or special event like a wedding or a prom. If you look at some of the female celebrity hairstyles like Gwen Stephani and Judy Garland, it is not hard to find 40s hair style idea.

Pin Curls Hairstyles for Women

Pin curls, one of the most popular 1940s hairstyles, remain a timeless choice today. Women would gather their hair into a roll or bun at the back of their head, securing it with long pins to create small coil-like loops. These curls were achieved by using heated rods on wet hair, then allowing them to cool before combing them out.

The sleek pompadour updo, as seen on actress Betty Grable, is another iconic 1940s style. It involves slicking the hair down in a smooth curve on top of the head to create height and volume. Traditionally, women achieved this look by pomading or oiling their hair, while modern versions often use gel for a sleek finish.

Pin curls offer a touch of old Hollywood glamor and serve as a heatless option for defined curls. To recreate the look, divide damp hair into one-inch sections, wrap each section around your fingers, and roll up towards the roots before securing with bobby pins. Repeat until your entire head is filled with pin curls.

1940’s Era Pin Curls Updo Hairstyles for Women

Pin Curls 1940s Hairstyle Picture

Pin Curls updos were a great choice for a hairstyle in the 1940’s because they were easy to create and can be used on all types of hair textures and lengths. Pin curls can be used to curl the entire head or used partly in the hairstyle, such a for a bang or only the top and front sections of the hair.

Victory Rolls Hairstyles for Women

Victory rolls, a classic 1940s hairstyle, have made a comeback in modern times. Named for their V-shaped appearance, they involve rolling hair inward to create two loops on each side of the head, secured with elastic bands or clips.

Typically, the curls are pinned in place and set with pins or pomade. This style, popularized during WWII, was often created using heated rods.

1940s Victory Rolls Hairstyles
1940s Victory Rolls Hairstyles

The victory roll is synonymous with 1940s glamour, featuring hair rolled upward and pinned, often paired with curls or an updo. It was a beloved style among movie stars and working women alike. You can recreate the classic look or opt for a half-up variation to suit your preferences.

Inspired by Hollywood’s glamorous women of the time, victory rolls feature tight curls around the face and crown. To achieve this, tightly curl the hair around your face, then inward, securing with pins. Whether you choose a single roll, dual rolls, or multiple, it’s a versatile style for any occasion.

Another technique for creating height was to roll the sides around two fingers and pin them in place, creating a roll that’s iconic of 1940s hairstyles today.

Victory rolls weren’t easy to achieve, especially for a style that lasted all day. They were often saved for salon-styled occasions, as seen in vintage photos of women.

Variations of 1940s hair rolls included bumper bands, Gibson rolls, sausage rolls, and more. Women with short hair could artfully arrange small rolls all over their heads by gathering them on either side or from underneath the head.

Roller Curls Hairstyles for Women

Similar to the victory roll, roller curls were a popular 1940s hairstyle, distinguished by the use of hair curlers with a wire loop at one end. Women would pin the ends of these curls in place until they set and could be removed from the curlers. Women with long hair favored this style due to its minimal time and product requirements—simply using heated rods to create small coils, followed by drying them with an electric dryer. Additionally, African American women in the 1940s embraced this hairstyle enthusiastically.

Rolls With Long Hair Hairstyles for Women

Those with super long hair were known for sporting hair rolls. A chic way to keep hair away from the face, this style also works in your favor to show off your texture. Versatile in nature, it can complement almost any occasion on your agenda.

Split your hair into two even sections and clip the bottom half out of the way. Divide the section into two even parts and clip one side up. Create a pin curl and position the roll at the center of your head. Repeat on the other side. Once complete, unravel your bottom section, and your look is complete.

1940S Long Hairstyles for Women

Younger women or those who preferred longer hairstyles often chose a basic combed curl set or opted for a deep part to one side or center, with hair pinned back past the temples. This style was easy and youthful, easily achievable at home without the aid of a beauty parlor.

Silver screen stars also embraced long hair, likely inspiring young women to maintain their lengthy locks. Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamar, Gene Tierney, Lauren Bacall, and Rita Hayworth were among the stars known for their stunning long hair. While most had curls or natural waves, others, like Ms. Lake, epitomized sleek hair during an era that favored volume.

An increasing number of women began wearing their long hair in updos during the day. Long hair was braided into a crown, rolled into piles resembling curls, or swept up into a large victory roll. Another popular daytime updo was a large, wide, and semi-flat bun.

Mini Roll Updo Hairstyles for Women

What’s better than a large hair roll? Mini rolls, of course! One of the standard ‘40s hairstyles for many actresses, this look came right in handy to frame your face and put your gorgeous features on display. Start by parting your hair into two even sections and clip the bottom half out of the way. Create one to two-inch sections, roll as you usually would, and pin your hair in place. Repeat until the top part is full of mini rolls.

Next, release the bottom half of your hair. Brush your locks upward toward the center of your head. Using a hair rat or foam curler, roll your hair around the tool, and continue until you reach your scalp. As a result, your hair should be rolled toward the front of your head. Pin your hair in place, spritz with shine spray, and your mini roll updo is ready for a selfie!

Pageboy Hairstyles for Women

Can’t resist a bouncy and flowy hairstyle? It’s time to get acquainted with the pageboy ‘do. This look is all about flaunting smooth strands that are curled underneath. Typically suited to medium and long lengths, this style is perfect for those who love face-framing hairstyles. Simply use a curling iron to give your straight strands a chic curl at the ends to get the look.
An iconic look, the Pageboy style included a long, smooth curled under roll that went around the entire back and sides of the hair. This style was perfect for medium length hair.
To create a pageboy look you will need to roll your hair under toward your neck and set with a little hairspray.

Pompadours Hairstyles for Women

Another 1940s hair look we can’t get enough of? Pompadours! That’s right, the voluminous ‘do is a retro hairstyle that continues to stand the test of time. Featuring a large reverse roll that sits high on your head, this look is all about playing with height and adding a bit of sass to your style.

Starting with damp hair, apply a curl mousse, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Elastic Curl Mousse to your strands, scrunch, and let air dry. Once your hair is fully dry, part your hair into two even sections, making sure that the top half is a bit smaller than the bottom. Clip the bottom section away. Gather your strands and backcomb your hair to amp up the volume. Pin your hair in place to keep the volumized strands in place. Release the bottom section of your hair and fluff your curls.

Chignon Hairstyles for Women

Chignon  Hairstyles for Women
Chignon Hairstyles for Women

Classic and sophisticated styles are your forte? Well, you might be surprised to learn that the chignon, was a ‘40s hair staple! Back then, the look was typically paired with two hair rolls at the front of your head for a style that gives your hair an elegant yet vintage touch. Once you have your hair rolls in place at the crown of your head, click through to our article, How to Master a Chignon In 5 Easy Steps to complete your style.

Voluminous Curls Hairstyles for Women

In case you haven’t noticed, ‘40s hair was all about curls and volume. With that being said, you can never go wrong with voluminous curls. A true beauty classic, this style can take you from day to night with ease. We also dig that you can pull this look together all on your own—no salon visit required. Learn How to Create Voluminous Curls On Any Hair Type to pay homage to the ‘40s!

Full Curls Hairstyles for Women

Prefer a more sultry approach to 1940s hair? We have a feeling that full curls will meet your standards. Featuring thick, gorgeous spirals, this look is perfect for those who love thick and defined curls. All you need to do is grab a small section of hair and use a curling wand to build your curls. Pretty easy, right?

Editor’s tip: If you need more instruction on how to create full curls, visit our article, How to Use a Curling Iron or Wand, for some pointers.

Short And Curly Hairstyles for Women

In the mood for short curly hair? We’ve got you covered! Take a page out of the ‘40s hair rulebook and use hot rollers. Hot rollers were ideal for bringing well-polished curls to life without a ton of fuss. Simply take a section of your hair, place the roller at the end, and roll upward toward your roots.

Secure the roller in place and repeat until you have a mane full of rollers. Leave in for about 20 to 30 minutes, and then remove the rollers. Spritz your hair with the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray, and your look is complete.

Bumper Bangs Hairstyles for Women

If you’re game for giving your bangs a taste of 1940s hairstyles, you may want to try the bumper bangs hairstyle. Instead of allowing your fringe to fall over your forehead, this look rolls your bangs up at the front of your head for a bold look. Using a hair tool known as a “rat” (made out of a spongy roll), roll the ends of your bangs under the tool and roll up until you reach your scalp. Pin your hair in place, and you’re all set!

Tip: Don’t have a hair rat? No need to fret—we know it’s a bit niche. Use a large foam curler to get the job done.

Double Rat Updo Hairstyles for Women

For those who are most interested in ‘40s updo hairstyles, consider stepping out with the double rat style. A nice change of pace from trendy pretzel buns and braided updos, this look uses a hair rat or large foam curler to keep your strands stylishly tucked away just like the ladies of the ‘40s. To start, simply create a bumper bang at the front of your head. Next, pull the rest of your hair toward the nape of your neck. Using a large foam curler, place the roller at the end of your hair and start rolling it toward your roots. Secure the roller with a few bobby pins and ta-da: a double rat updo!

1940S Evening Hair Styles

1940S Evening Hair Styles
1940S Evening Hair Styles
1940S Evening Hair Styles
1940’S Evening Hair Styles

During the 1940s evening, women styled their hair by gathering it up and away from the face and neck. During the 1940s evening, women styled their hair by gathering it up and away from the face and neck. In the earlier part of the decade, they wore their hair high on the crown, echoing daytime styles. Additionally, women could create a sleek look by rolling their hair into one or several buns or braids. And if a woman had beautiful long hair, by all means, she could wear it down as well.

Turbans/Snoods (Accessories)

Women also utilized accessories to secure their hairstyles. Turbans or snoods, crafted from various fabrics, were common choices and often adorned with lace. Snoods, particularly favored by older women seeking to conceal thinning hair, effectively hid it while maintaining the desired style.

Turbans, originating in India but gaining popularity in the Western world, served as head coverings and were often paired with a veil when necessary to conceal the face and hair outdoors. However, they could also be worn as standalone accessories.

Over all

Hairstyles in the 1940s were as varied as the women who wore them, and hair did not rigidly adhere to a dictated fashion, as seen in previous decades. For example, hair could be short, long, or mid-length, and styled according to an individual’s situation, tastes, and hair type.

Regardless of the chosen hairstyle, hair was always feminine, soft, and styled away from the face (except for fringes). If there was a parting, hair was generally parted to one side, though occasional center partings can be seen in old photographs.

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