Want to learn how to create rockabilly hairstyles? What about Marilyn Monroe’s classic soft curls? Or how about the 1940s top reverse roll? We all know the pin up style hair from the 40s and 50s is one of the hottest looks again. There’s something about these retro hairstyles that are just as elegant and classy as they are fun and sassy.

I wanted to share with you my three favourite hairstyles from that era. All of these looks are not only easy to do, they are guaranteed to turn some heads when you walk into a room.

Pin Up Style Hair 1: Rockabilly

True rockabilly hairstyles require hair to be cut into layers that are about 4 inches long all around, except for in front of the ear.  It should be about 3 inches long there.  Hair in the back can remain long—up to 10 inches long. If you don’t want to commit to the haircut, mid-length hair can be coaxed into a rockabilly hairstyle with some extra patience.

To begin creating a rockabilly hairstyle, section hair, and set in large rollers.  Hot rollers work great, as do regular foam rollers on hair that’s slightly damp.  Once your hair is cool (or completely dry) remove the rollers, and back comb the inside of the front curls to create volume. To do this, hold up a section of hair, insert a comb about halfway down, and gently comb it back toward the scalp. This will create pouf and volume. Create a roll from the hair at the very front. Using your fingers or a brush handle, roll hair under with the ends of the hair tucked inside. Use bobby pins to hold in place. Spray with hairspray and make sure pins aren’t visible.

You have some flexibility about how to style the sides and back. Rolls and loose curls will work. Set the back hair on rollers or in pin curls, spray with hairspray and let cool or let dry. Remove pins or rollers and arrange back and side hair with your fingers. Variations in rockabilly hairstyles for women include wearing mid-forehead length bangs rather than making a front roll and pinning it in place. There are also variations in the tightness of curl in the back hair.

You can learn how to do rockabilly hairstyles once you master the technique of curling hair on rollers or in pin curls. There are numerous variations in rockabilly hairstyles, but in general, they have height and volume on top, are shorter and closer to the head on the sides, and the longest hair is at the nape of the neck.  Women’s rockabilly hairstyles are curly—with the loosest curls being waves cascading down the neck.

Pin Up Style Hair 2: Marilyn Monroe’s soft curls

1950s star Marilyn Monroe often wore soft curls at an angle that framed her face.  This is one of the best vintage hairstyles for hair that is shoulder length or shorter. You can use medium sized foam rollers that you get at the drugstore, or you can use hot rollers.

To set hair, apply mousse to hair that is not quite dry, then comb it into several sections. Roll sections of hair under, and roll the sections framing your face so that they’re angled toward your face rather than horizontal. Once hair is dry or the hot rollers have cooled, take rollers out. Using only your fingers, arrange the curls in front so that they frame your face. Once you get it just right, spray it in place with hairspray.  This glamorous look is one of the most popular vintage hairstyles, and for good reason.

Pin Up Style Hair 3: The top reverse roll

The top reverse roll was a popular style for 1940s hair.  It is similar to a 1940s pompadour hairstyle, but easier to create.

Here’s how to recreate the top reverse roll.  Set hair in rollers with all rolls going away from the face.  Take rollers out, and make a part on each side of the head from front to back, and a third part across the back.  This will give you a rectangular patch of hair that you can hold straight up off the top of your head.  Brush this section forward and put pins on both sides of the section.  Roll loosely toward the back with the ends remaining inside the roll.  Pin roll in place crosswise with bobby pins.  Depending on your face shape, you may need to make the section of hair in the roll smaller or larger.  This is a style of 1940s hair that really shows off your face.

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