Vintage Hairstyles: Do’s & don’ts from a styling master

Vintage Style

Vintage Style circa 1930s

A great haircut can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. But when you’re trying to channel a vintage goddess look, it can be hard to figure out how to pull it off or where to get started. We asked our resident styling expert for a few tricks of the trade to help us embark on our retro beauty adventure…


Meet Our Expert

Ashton Plummer

Ashton Plummer is an experienced makeup and hair stylist who specializes in vintage glamour. You can find her at the North Austin beauty institution, Pinup Salon. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/pinupsalonatx. What draws Ashton to vintage styling?

“I just really love how the styles of the past were not just hair; they were art. You can’t look at something like say Veronica Lake waves and not see sculpture. The fact that women put so much pride in their appearance at a time when modern convenience hadn’t simplified even the most intricate styles is really inspiring to someone like me, who grew up in a time of grunge, beach waves and messy buns.”


Ashton’s Top Advice
How do you tell if a hairstyle is a good fit for you?

The biggest question to ask yourself when you consider a new style is: how much maintenance are you willing to do? Styling schedules can have the most impact on the success of your new look. Be honest with yourself and don’t worry if the answer is: I want to only spend 15 minutes a morning on my new ‘do. Having a quick routine doesn’t mean you can’t discover a stunning new fashion. Find a stylist you can trust, keep an open dialogue, and enjoy the experience!

You should also consider your face shape. Ashton says the number one mistake her clients make when doing this is forgetting to pull all the hair away from their face first. Your forehead, hairline, chin, and cheekbones all play a strong role in figuring out your true face shape. This is the clearest guide we’ve found: http://thebeautydepartment.com/2012/11/finding-your-face-shape/

Once you’ve identified your face shape, here’s a handy way to find out which styles best complement your natural beauty: http://www.youbeauty.com/hair/haircuts-for-face-shape. These articles will get you started on the right foot, but you’ll want to confer with your stylist to get the perfect match.


Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake

Does the advice differ when you consider a vintage hairstyle?

The basic rules we covered above still apply, but outstanding stylists will customize your desired retro style, pairing it perfectly with your face shape and hair type. Ashton advises that we educate ourselves on vintage options before a trip to the salon. Read and investigate to uncover the best fit for you, but remember to keep an open mind. As much as we all want to embody our favorite icons, keep in mind that you want to individualize it to your amazing self. Audrey Hepburn had a special ‘do all her own and you will to with the right education and stylist! The book Ashton uses herself (and recommends to all her clients) is Vintage Hairstyling by Lauren Rennells. You can find it at the end of this post.

Keep in mind that most retro styles pull the hair away from the face. Be prepared to show off your dazzling features and if you want to frame your favorite details, you can do that with pinned curls. Ask your stylist for advice; they will be able to brainstorm ideas with you as your new look comes together.


Rosie the Riveter

Vintage Hair Style


Ashton’s favorite go-to vintage hairstyles

Victory Rolls

Developed during World War II so women’s’ hair wouldn’t get caught in equipment as they helped out with the war effort, this utilitarian style is getting re-imagined as a glam retro look! Ashton says that the biggest thing to remember with this style is teasing, teasing, teasing. The texture will lock in the style: take the front corners of your hair, tease, twist, and pin. Here’s a helpful tutorial: http://www.diaryofavintagegirl.com/2011/02/victory-rolls-in-jiffy.html

Finger Waves

While this is a difficult style to achieve, if you decide to go for it remember this helpful tip from Ashton: start with damp hair that has some gel or mousse combed in. For those of us feeling less brave, there is an easy way to pull it off: using a 3 prong barrel curler or 1” wide wand, make loose curls and be sure to do the waves in the same direction.

Pin Curls

What’s great about this look is that you can let it dry overnight and wake up to fabulous hair. Just comb and form the hair into the shape you want. (Be sure to use your bristled brush.) You can curl the hair that frames your face or you can do your entire head. Either way will look wonderful! To do pin curls, work with little sections of hair at a time. Curl your hair into a small twist and clip it in so it lies flat. Wake up, remove the clips, and gently brush out the curls to get the perfect retro wave.


Ashton’s Bonus Tip | Everything you Need to Know about Red Lipstick

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

That pop of color, that hint of intrigue – red lipstick has captivated us for decades. But how do you find out what shade works for you? It can be daunting to tackle this bold color, but Ashton helps us navigate like a pro.

Pick a shade based on your hair color. Warm hair colors pair with warm red tones and cool with cool red tones. Warm hair colors will have orange, red, or gold as the dominant hue while cool hair colors will have green, blue, or ash hues. Here is a useful illustration of this point: http://www.haircolorcode.com/hair-color-shades

Make sure your lips are moisturized. Ashton’s favorite trick: apply Chap-stick to your lips first then run a toothbrush over to remove any peeling skin. Red lipstick is not forgiving when it comes to chapped or peeling lips – in fact it magnifies the problem! Taking extra care of your lips is essential.

Keep the red color from running. Having the color run is an immense challenge, but it’s also one of the most avoidable. To prevent this fate you can either apply a lip liner or use a concealer pencil around your lips.

Add it to your collection


Cause A Frockus would like to thank our tremendous resources: Ashton from the Pinup Salon, the Pinup Salon: http://www.pinupsalonaustin.com/, the lovely style mavens at The Beauty Department: http://thebeautydepartment.com/, Fleur de Guerre from Diary of a Vintage Girl: http://www.diaryofavintagegirl.com/ , Anthony Anders and Hair Color Code: http://www.haircolorcode.com ,Grace Gold at http://www.youbeauty.com/hair/haircuts-for-face-shape , the great people at HRST Books, and the wonderful people who put their images up on Wikipedia Commons without restriction.

Ashton’s favorite vintage period is the 1920s look complete with finger waves, clipped cuts, and soft curls. The delicate femininity perfectly captured this decadent era! What’s your favorite time period? Do you dream of living like the Great Gatsby or maybe a character in a Jane Austen story? Tell us all about it and reach out to us in the comments below!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments will be subject to approval by a moderator. Comments may fail to be approved or may be edited if the moderator deems that they:

  • contain unsolicited advertisements ("spam")
  • are unrelated to the subject matter of the post or of subsequent approved comments
  • contain personal attacks or abusive/gratuitously offensive language