Hairstyle Evolution: Iconic Looks Through the Decades

From the ’60s beehive to the present-day man-bun, hairstyles are constantly evolving. In this article, we explore how each decade has created iconic hairstyles that leave a lasting impression in fashion and pop culture. From the classic French twist to the rebellious dreadlocks of the ’90s, we’ll take a look back at the hairstyles that defined each decade and how they have shaped the style of today’s generation.
Hairstyle Evolution: Iconic Looks Through the Decades

1. From Frizzy Fringe to Sleek Bob: The Ever-Evolving Hairstyles of the Decades

1920s: the Bob

The 1920s were a transformative period for hairstyles, perhaps most notably because of the infamous bob. Iconic figures like Louise Brooks popularized the haircut, with her shiny black bob depicting a modern woman who left traditional hairstyles behind. Inspired by the French actress Gabrielle Réjane, the hairstyle was short in the back and long in the front, either completely straight or wildly curly.

1930s: Finger Waves

The 1930s were a decade that favored a more classical and structured style – especially when it came to hairstyles. Starting with the sleek and waved look that was created with the help of curling tongs, the 1930s saw women embracing the dramatically formed finger-waves. The process required time and patience, as it was done strand-by-strand with a comb and hair gel. The equation seemed to be perfect, as it gave off a look of utmost sophistication.

1940s: Victory Rolls and Polished Pin-Ups

The current military climate in the 1940s naturally had its effect when it came to styling hair. The victory rolls, created to give volume to the sides and a faux part, were considered the embodiment of power and strength. Growing in popularity during the war, the look was regarded as a harbinger of hope and resilience. Eventually, these victory rolls gave way to polished pin-up curls and bouncy hair, courtesy of the quick-drying perms of the time.

1950s: Beehives and Poodle Cuts

The 1950s were inspired by the voluminous haircuts of both Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. The beehive – with its high peak and delicate feathered bangs – was one of the looks that reigned in the decade. On the other end of the spectrum, poodle cuts were the go-to style for upper-class youngsters. Showcasing sharp edges and tight rolling curls, the look had a distinct air of refined elegance that appealed to the young generations.

1960s: Hippie Hairdos

The Haight-Ashbury Summer of Love of 1967 brought a wave of freedom and creativity that spilled over to the styling of hair. Long and loose locks, beaded braids, and floral headbands were the informality of the hippie movement. Women were less concerned with pleasing others and, instead, followed their own intuition when expressing themselves. This laid-back attitude towards hair was a breath of fresh air at the time.

1970s: Disco Tresses

As disco fever took over the world, hairstyles followed the trend and embraced plenty of volume and texture. Farrah Fawcett-Majors popularized the feathered style; a long cut with layers that were teased up to emphasize the natural wave. This airy and bouncy look was often accompanied by fringe, meticulously curled and left to rest on the forehead in perfect curls.

Hair trends have a way of transforming a culture’s fashion landscape. There’s something fascinating about watching iconic hair looks evolution through different eras of time. Each decade produced a multitude of memorable, trend-setting hairstyles that made a revolutionary statement and jumpstarted a lasting impact in the fashion industry.

From curly bangs in the 1930s to mohawks in the 80s, some of the most iconic hairstyles of the 20th century still have influence over today’s stylings. Let’s look at some of the unique hair looks that broke the mold and defined a decade.

20s: Flapper Bobs

The flapper bob was an instant statement in the Roaring Twenties. Young, independent women moved to the city themselves and embraced a short, sassy and sexually liberated hairstyle. The flapper bob had fringe bangs, a bob that was cut to the chin or earlobe, and a layered look for added texture.

30s: Curly Bangs

The 1930s was a time for feminine hairstyles with added touches of glamour. Movies stars of the 1930s revolutionized the industry with their voluminous hairdos. Actress Jean Harlow popularized the look of the curly bangs, featuring soft curls and long body in the back. This style has become further popularized in recent years, thanks to female celebrities like Gwen Stefani.

40s: Victory Rolls

The 1940s introduced a more polished look that focused on an up-do. The additional height on the Victory Rolls was perfect for the era of pin-up fashion. With the help of hairspray and a few bobby pins, women of the 1940s could easily achieve a carefree and sexy look. Adding a bright red lip added a bit of color and flair.

50s: Beehive

A staple of the mid-century 1950s was the beehive. This high, skyscraper-style updo involved backcombing, moussing, and hair spray to create a bulging dome shape of the hair. Pop stars like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot were styling icons, and their beehives were imitated by those wanting to be fashion icons too.

60s: Bouffant

The bouffant hair look of the 1960s redefined volume and teased hair. Women throughout the decade embraced sleek and full extensions which evolved from a beehive with added height above the forehead for an even larger look. Hairspray was essential to hold the hair in place and maintain the look. From Jackie Kennedy to Ann-Margaret, bouffants were a popular way to look stylish.

70s: Farrah Flicks

In the freedom-loving days of the 70s, Farrah Fawcett popularized the look of naturally curly and feathered locks. The ultra-long, luxurious layers and a hint of texture are timeless, still seen today on female celebrities like Zooey Deschanel. Adding clips or ribbons to the curls made it possible to add a pay of personality and flare to the Farrah Flicks.

80s: Mohawks

No other decade celebrated bold and daring hair looks more than the 1980s. Punk rock took on a whole new look with the introduction of the mohawk. This style featured sides of the head that were shaved or clipped close to the scalp while the middle section was cut longer, which allowed for color experiments with dyes and temporary hennas. Mohawk culture has had a resurgence recently with the revival of punk.

3. Tress Transformations: Exploring the Revolutionary Hairstyles of the Past

Anyone who has seen their favorite movie stars from past decades can easily tell that the most important way to stand out was with an incredible hairstyle. In many cases, standing out meant a radical departure from the norm. Everyone wanted to wear the most daring and exciting hairdos.

From the 1960s onwards, numerous hairstyles evolved with the changing cultural movements, influenced by music, TV, movies, and politics. Along with vibrant clothes and makeup styles, the hair became an imperative part of the look. Here are some of the most iconic hair transformations from the past.

  • The Bob: An ultimate classic that went through numerous evolutions, the bob is the epitome of 1920s hairstyles. Worn by male and female alike, the bob was sharp, geometric, and had attitude.
  • The Farrah Fawcett Flip: Famous in the 1970s, this flip was a chin-length bridal that cascaded to meet the collarbone. It was famousized by actress Farrah Fawcett, who was the epitome of modern glamour.
  • The Beatles Mohawk: This revolutionary and edgy style was an invention of The Beatles band. It was daring and not necessarily common, but the influence of the band made the mohawk a worldwide trend.
  • The Buzz Cut: A utilitarian and modern style, a buzz cut can be cut in various lengths and modified with an undercut, allowing a customized and individual look.

The styles of the past are making a comeback in the form of modern updates. Hairstyles from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s are being worn with a modern twist. Hairstylists and influencers continue to reinvent classic styles to create looks that will make a statement.

Tress transformations have made a revolutionary impact on hairstyling for decades. The classic looks remain as relevant as ever, proof that fashion is often timeless.

4. Hair History Unveiled: A Journey Through the Iconic Hairstyles that Shaped Generations

From the historical pixie cut of Audrey Hepburn to the wild beehive of Amy Winehouse, generations of iconic hairstyle have come and gone. Here’s a brief journey through some of the most notable styles:

  • The 70s Shag: Made famous by the likes of Farrah Fawcett and Jane Fonda, the 70s shag was a choppy, heavy feel layered cut blended with feathered sides for volume. It was often paired with a bang to create a classic, timeless look.
  • The 80s Mullet: Seen raised proudly on the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus and Bruce Springsteen, the mullet was a style that was focusing on the back with layered and short bangs up front.
  • The 90s Bob: This was one of the most feminine and subtle trends of the decade. Everyone from Julia Roberts to Tyra Banks rocked an angled, sleek bob with feathered bangs and a center part.
  • The 00s Extensions: Take a cue from the likes of Jessica Simpson and styling goddess Kim Kardashian, who often donned waves of cascading extensions down to their mid-back. A style that was as glamorous as it was versatile.

Indeed, it’s clear to see that different generations brought their own style to the trends of the day, and we could only imagine what’s to come in the ensuing years. From blow-out curls to sleek bobs, it will be fascinating to watch the hairdos morph over time.

Clearly, there’s an amazing history of iconic hairstyles that have helped shape the generations that preceded us. Each style is unmistakable and unmistakably female, and the journey of discovering our next must-have look around the corner is far from over.

From the Roaring Twenties bob to the classic glamour of the Fifties swirl, the changes in hairstyle over the last century have been many and varied. So don your favourite beret, grab some styling products and take a nostalgic journey into the past – just don’t forget the hairbrush!

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