1940's Hairstyles



Veronica Lake hairstyle 1940
Veronica Lake

1940's hairstyles were very glamourous. Perfectionist styles with sophisticated waves and curls. 

The hair was voluminous and longer than hair from the last two decades. 

Fabric was being rationed at the beginning of the decade so women made the best of things by emphasizing on beautiful feminine hair.

veronica lake victory rolls
Veronica Lake was a popular fashion icon and actress during the 1940's and sported lots of the glossy hairstyles we now associate with the 1940's pin up actresses.


Hair accessories were also popular:

Women covered their wavy long hair with decorative snoods that added a sense of mystery and finesse to their overall look.
For evenings out, hairnet snoods were decorated with crystal, ribbons or flowers.

Rita Hayworth 1940S hair

To achieve the wavy and curly styles, women would use the rag-curling method.

The method would be used to curl the ends of the hair and add that fluffy full shape to ends of the tresses just as you can see in the picture of Rita Hayworth (right).

These days you can use heated rollers or a curling wand to achieve the same waves and ringlets you see in the 1940's hairstyles.


Ava Gardner Hairstyle

Many of the looks popular during 1940's decade took several hours of planning and styling to achieve, representing total glamour.

(See: Ava Gardner Left)

The Second World War took place during the early 1940's and men were drafted to fight in Europe against Nazi Germany. Because of that women who remained behind had to become the workforce.

They learned new skills and took up traditonally male roles in ammuntions factories and generally all areas of employment.

Posters and advertising campaigns came out encouraging women to 'make do and mend' also that they could be the back bone of American industry and economy. 

Great Selection

The term "Rosie the Riveter" was first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. Below is a poster of 'Rosie the Riveter'.

Rosie the riveterThe song was recorded by numerous artists, including the popular big band leader Kay Kayser, and became a national hit.

The song portrays "Rosie" as a tireless assembly line worker, doing her part to help the American war effort and economy.

All the day long,
Whether rain or shine
She’s part of the assembly line.
She’s making history,
Working for victory
Rosie the Riveter

Women adopted the 1940's hairstyles seen on 'Rosie' such as Polka Dotted scarves covering bouncy curls, tied up in an updo.
1940s scarf hairstyle

Curly hair worn in two braids with a scarf are also representitive of that time. Pictures of women seemed more fuller figured and robust. 

A marked difference from the skinny boyish look of the 1920's style.

By now women showed off their browner tanned skin and hair was as always a true expression of how women felt about themselves.

Victory Rolls hairstyle While “victory rolls” were originally the name for a fighter plane manoeuvre, women adopted the term for the rolls of hair to celebrate victory in WWII.
The victory roll hairstyle was wildly popular in the 1940’s — and not just for the name, but for their ease in creation. 

Any hairstyle in the 40’s had to be created without modern styling products — including blow dryers.


How to create the Victory Roll Hairstyle

  1. First, part your hair from ear to ear, and put the hair in the back in a pony tail.
  2. Part the loose hair down the middle. You can make a part straight down the middle, or slightly to the side for a different look. Pin half of your hair down.
  3. Back comb the loose hair and then comb the front layer over the teased hair, and smooth it with a product.
  4. Wind the hair around your fingers a couple of times and form a loop. Slip your fingers out, and tuck the ends of the hair inside the loop. Hold the hair secure while you roll inwards towards your head.
  5. Once you reach your head, spread the loop out to achieve the "roll" shape. 
  6. Pin so that the rolls are secure.
  7. You should now have one roll. 
  8. Repeat on the other side.
  9. Take your curling iron, and curl the back of your hair. 
  10. Let the curls cool and then comb them with your fingers, spray with holding spray.
VOILA! There you have a classic 1940's hairstyle.

Modern Examples of 1940's Hairstyles


Dita Von Teese 1940's Hairstylevv brown victory roll
       Dita Von Teese                  V V Brown Victory Roll

1940's hair  Megan Fox with Rita Hayworth hairstyle
Victory Rolls                              Megan Fox

Tyra Banks 40's hairstyleVictory Roll Hairstyle
Tyra Banks Chignon               Dita Front Victory Roll

1940s hairstyleAguilera 40's hairstyle
Rita Hayworth Style                  Christina Aguilera

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