Glamorous 40s Hairstyles: 3 Must-Try Looks

1940s Hairstyles

As we enter the 1940s, hair care and styling for women takes a practical turn but still lives up to social expectations of femininity.

Keeping hair clean and shiny was time consuming, particularly as shampoo became scarce during the second world war. As a result cuts became a little shorter, with hair pinned away from the face in a way that sat comfortably under a head scarf or service hat.

But war time didn’t stop young women looking for a touch of glamour. Here are three of the most popular women’s hairstyles for you to try at home.

The Pompadour

Ava Gardner Pompadour Hair

Worn by everyone from Ginger Rogers to Carmen Miranda and named after the famous Madame Du Pompadour, this easy but glamorous hairstyle was a hit among British and American women in the early part of the decade.

Recreate the basic pompadour by setting the front and top sections of hair in curlers overnight. The following morning gather the same sections of hair, twist backwards to touch the crown and then push forwards for the classic pompadour height. Fix in place with pins and spray, leaving the bottom sections of the hair loose.

Victory Rolls

Coleen Gray Victory Rolls Hair

Popular towards the end of the war thanks to actresses like Lena Horne, Victory Rolls were a tricky style to keep smooth and tidy throughout the day, making them more commonly seen for special events or in the movies.

Voluminous pinned rolls of hair frame the face, on the top of the head or either side. Pinned at the sides this style could also be worn under a services hat, making it slightly easier to maintain.

Relaxed, Natural Glamour

Linda Darnell Natural Hair

Styling becomes more relaxed as the decade moves on and fashion steps away from the practicality of war time. Hair could be worn loose with less product, a deep side parting and brushed out curls, as sported by actresses such as Linda Darnell in 1949.

A version of this look known as the ‘Peek-a-boo’ first became a hit when worn by Veronica Lake in 1943, before falling out of favour because of fears that women were catching their hair in factory machinery.


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