Hair Styles of the Last 100 Years
An interesting retrospect on some of the hair styles of the last 100 years.
This decade saw a transition in hairstyles, from the more confined styles of the Victorian era to looser, fuller hairstyles. Curiously, both long and short styles were popular, with longer, free-flowing hair slowly gaining more converts as the decade progressed. Volume was the theme that ran through most of the popular hairstyles, regardless of hair length. Longer hairstyles featured hair parted in the middle (with a noticeable part), and long wavy tresses hanging below the shoulders. Shorter hairstyles generally began around the ears and ‘poofed’ up over the head in several updo styles, often held in place with barrettes and adorned with bows, or large, wide hats.
The Gibson Girl hairstyle circa 1900:
Evelyn Nesbit, in this photograph taken in 1901, has some of her wavy hair swept up to the top of her head, with the rest of her hair flowing past her shoulders in curling tendrils.
Topknot hairstyles circa 1900 – 1906:
During the early 1910’s, styles were long hair either pinned up elaborately or flowing and wavy. Popular accessories were big bows, jeweled pins, headbands, often adorned with fancy beads and stitch-work designs, and hats.
During the mid-1910’s, Irene Castle’s “bob” hairstyle was becoming very popular, a trend that would explode and be very controversial in the 1920’s.
One hairstyle that gained a lot of popularity (and some notoriety) was called “curtain hair.” This entailed parting short hairstyles down the middle, then letting the hair fall across a headband worn around the middle of the head, just above the ears. For more elegant hairstyles, women often constructed ringlet curls all along the headband.
The 1920’s saw the invention of the bob. Sleek short or wavy bob cuts, Eton crops, heavy fringes, waves, kiss curls, headbands, floppy bows, feathers.
Jean Harlow curls, the high drama Hollywood starlet look, severe partings, pin curls, the use of pomade, the Marcel wave look, finger waves, snoods.
Veronic Lake look, Victory rolls, pin curs, barrel curls, snoods.
Adding cocktail hats to short waves and curls, the Audrey Hepburn look. Pony tails and short fringes (like Betty Page below). Sleek chignons (a knot or coil of hair arranged around the back of a woman’s neck). Hair was worn flat to the head. Long hair in a Fifties French pleat.
Early 50’s Looks:
The Italian Boy:
Bouffants, beehives, roller sets and backcombing (teasing), flick-ups, afros, Vidal Sassoon started the revolution of the inverted bob, the wedge and the asymmetrical cut, Mia Farrow crops, long flowing hair and headbands.
Roller Set 1:
Roller Set 1:
French Coiffures 1962:
Curls of Paris:
1969 Unisex Looks:
70’s styles tended to be more natural and got away from using accessories popularized in the 50’s and 60’s. Flick fringes, layers, center partings, braids, crimping, the shaggy layer cut, crazy colours, spiky gelled hair, the ‘gypsy’ cut, flicks and off-the-face curls.
Early 70’s Looks:
Eighties hair was either high maintenence – big, sprayed, curled, permed, highlighted, or easy care like Dianna’s mouse-coloured layered cut, or the wash ‘n leave perm. This era saw the popularity of the mullet haircut, we all know how well that one went over.
Volume & Height
Permed & Teased
Romantic Style with Layers
Short Graduated Cut
New Wave Style
Layered Spiky Cut
Short Nape Cut
Spiky Style with Graduated Layers
The hairstyles of the 90s weren’t as big as the extreme styles of the 80s. Many were still large, but they were more sexy and natural looking. Supermodels often played up their hair to great effect either to promote the fashionable clothes for Versace and other top designers on the runways of New York, Paris, Milan or London–or to sell fashion magazines. In 1995, Jennifer Aniston skyrocketed to fame as women everywhere clamored salons to get the now infamous “Rachel cut”.
Various 90’s Styles:
Never before have so many hair styles of the past are revisited and updated as in the last few years. Everything from finger waves to bobs to pixies to shags, etc, etc. The newest and boldest styles are coming out in the emo rock scene in the last couple of years. Most consist of contrasting colors, precise and well defined cuts, sometimes even choppy, and can often be mixed with past styles. Many of these cuts take out the bulk of the hair past the ears. This creates a larger looking head area and a slimmer area past the shoulders, like so:
This one is an updated 50’s style.
This one combines bouffant, asymmetrical and layered cut.
April 15, 2014 @ 12:21 PM
1. Only caucasian representation?
2. Why super large sections of some decades, ie 40s and beyond, but extremely small examples of the 20s?
3. The final hair section, the post 2000 stuff, pretty much no one wore they hair that way other than a small faction of society.
This site needs work.
April 18, 2014 @ 5:53 AM
I appreciate your comment Brian.
1. There isn’t only caucasian representation, though I would agree the majority of it is.
2. The representation per decade was based on what I could find on the internet.
3. The post 2000 stuff was primarily to show the more extreme styles and how they incorporated many different techniques into them.
Also, I don’t plan on putting any more work into this article, it was a pain doing it over 3 or 4 times to get the pictures right.
June 3, 2014 @ 8:02 PM
just found your blog, and wanted to let you know what a great job you have done in creating this collection.
Although most are a stylised version of what was seen ‘on the street’,(and that’s a whole other collection!) it is a great representation of each decade.
As a long time hairdresser, and film/tv hair & makeup artist & trainer, I commend you. I especially like the trip down memory lane with the pics from the 1980’s; all of those pictures were in our style books in salons.
The images for the 2000’s are spot on in demonstrating the styles of that age group; I know because I teach hair & makeup to that age group.
Again, well done. Jo
September 28, 2014 @ 7:50 PM
Great job on the last 100 years. #Brian Edwards is in need of a history lesson. It would be difficult to find beauty pictures of non-caucasian folk prior to the 60’s.
January 2, 2015 @ 11:53 PM
The only that I hate about this is that most people didn’t wear their hair like that in the early 2000s. If you want it to be more accurate, show more Britney, Christina and Kelly styles and beach waves and all kinds of fring/bangs.
August 18, 2022 @ 6:16 PM
I was looking for the savage cut . With its layers for long hair , late eighties early nineties.