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Swell & Groovy Hairdo's of the 1950s & 60's

Hair, clothing and footwear styles of 1950s (no sound)

Starlets 1950 - 1957

Virginia McGraw (1950)

Virginia McGraw (1950)

Lana Turner (1951)

Lana Turner (1951)

Ruth Roman (1953)

Ruth Roman (1953)

Bridget Bardot (1953)

Bridget Bardot (1953)

Marilyn Munroe (1954)

Marilyn Munroe (1954)

Audrey Hepburn (1956)

Audrey Hepburn (1956)

Jayne Mansfield (1957)

Jayne Mansfield (1957)

Who's That Girl With the Beautiful Hair? It's Barbie!

Barbie's long golden, tied-up hair is a perfect compliment to her stylish poodle skirt and saddle shoes! She's the belle of the Barbie Ball and queen of the sock hop!

Barbie's long golden, tied-up hair is a perfect compliment to her stylish poodle skirt and saddle shoes! She's the belle of the Barbie Ball and queen of the sock hop!

Swell Hairdo's of the 1950s

Ah, the 50's. James Dean, velcro, hula hoops, saddle shoes and Beatniks. Buddy Holly and Richie Valenze had their records on the jukebox, and the carhops roller skated around with trays of food. Meanwhile, the world was recovering from war and a surge of scientific and technological advances were taking place.

Though the hydrogen bomb was being born and there was a drive to round up Communists, It was also a time of innocence and censorship. Desi and Lucy slept in separate beds, Elvis could only be filmed above the waist because the way he moved his hips was scandalous. That wasn't swell, but they all had good hair.

Here in Canada, the birth rate was escalating at a furious pace like the rest of the free world. By 1955, our population had reached over 15 million. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but all of our fashionable babies were adorned with sausage roll hairdo's. My mother would have given me one....if I'd had any hair up until the age of 2. What were they thinking?

Yes, times were different, and naturally, the hairstyles of the day reflected that. They were swell.

Generally speaking, do's of the 50's were soft and they featured curls. A stark contrast to the dark and heavy make-up the ladies wore, and to those cat's eyes glasses that the vision impaired sported.

Naturally, the beginning of the decade was still dragging remnants of the 40's along. Hairstyles still reflected some of that look that actresses like Joan Crawford were known for - curly, poufy and often parted in the centre. Somehow, it managed to look that way, even when tied back and pinned up. They always had vertical hair. Perhaps they wanted to appear taller. In all likelihood, it was due to the popularity of 'Permanent Wave' hair treatments the women went to the hair salon for. Those who couldn't afford a professional used either the Toni or the Bobbi Home Permanent Kit, which included smelly, caustic chemicals and perm rods.

North America in the 1950's was progressing rapidly, and as morays became more relaxed, so did the popular hairdo's. They evolved, getting shorter and < ** gasp - spell it, don't say it! ** > s-e-x-i-e-r. While the ever classy and classic Audrey Hepburn managed to pull off both at once, Marilyn Munroe sometimes wore her hair at mid-length. Women like Bridget Bardot and Jayne Mansfield stayed with longer styles. The tight curls of 1950 had given way by the later part of the decade to a more relaxed and accentuating sultriness that transferred well to the screen. They also lost a lot of that high helmet-head appeal that carried over from the previous decade.

As North American women looked to the actresses and starlets of the decade for their style cues, they soon followed suit with their own hair, adapting the celebrities' styles as their own as closely as they could, ever changing to keep pace.

If you'd like to emulate any of the swell hairstyles of the 1950s, you will need to get a perm. Sorry ladies, but it's a fact. For women with curly hair or those who just want the pin curls, simply get a mountain of bobby pins, wrap individual hunks of hair around your finger and then press to head and pin securely in place. The tighter of curl you want, the thinner the strand of hair you should use, and the tighter you need to curl it. Keep working until the whole area you want curled is done. The curls hold best if the pins are crossing each other like an 'X'. You will likely be more satisfied with the outcome if you use this process on wet hair, and add some Dippity-Do to each. You may leave in overnight, or all day. When ready, remove pins and style. Don't worry about frizz, that's part of it.