The hairstyles of the 50’s were smooth, sleek waves and big curls teased high and smoothed and perfect pin curls. The key word here is smooth, no matter if it was loose waves or big curls it was smooth.
Getting It Smooth
To achieve these hairstyles, you will need a large barrel curling iron or hot rollers for the sleek waves and smaller barrels to achieve the pin curls. When I was in cosmetology school we had to use our fingers, a lot of gel and bobby pins for the pin curls, but you can get the same result with the small barrel curling iron or hot rollers. I use “Caruso” hot rollers, they are steam activated and I love using steam rollers when I want a smooth curl, the moist heat gives the hair a smoother look than the electric ones and the curl you get lasts, I mean really lasts, (plus they’re better for your hair.)
You can only do one curler at a time but if you put your next roller on while you are rolling the first section it will be ready; it only takes a minute for the curler to get hot.
Keeping It Smooth
Whether you are using an iron or rollers, using a glosser before you begin is the best way to get a smooth, sleek look. If you do try the steam rollers use water based pomade, apply it from mid shaft to ends then comb it with a fine toothed comb. Don’t start at the scalp or your hair will end up just looking greasy, and don’t use a lot, a little bit will do. I use the American Crew pomade because it is water based and doesn’t clump or leave a buildup on your hair.
When taking sections of your hair just remember if you are using a small iron do not take too big of a section because it won’t give you a good base and it will leave crimped lines where you don’t want them. When using a curling iron, you don’t want to roll it all the way to your scalp and just hold it as that makes a line at the base of the curl, after you have rolled the iron up to your scalp you want to open the iron up a little bit at a time as you unroll it, open it a little then close it leave it closed for a second then open it unroll it a little bit then close it, continue this until you reach the end of the strand. Here’s a good tip: put your comb in between the iron and your scalp so you don’t burn yourself.
When you have as many curls as you need just brush and shape the curls into the hairstyle you choose. You don’t want to use a high hold spray, you want your style to move with you, not stay with you.
Want big curls? Master the tease. To get those big smooth curls use large rollers or iron then leave a section of that curl out so you can comb it up and over your foundation, start backcombing (teasing) a small horizontal section of hair at the scalp, not in the middle. By teasing at the scalp you get a better cushion to build your curl on.
When you backcomb you use a down and back motion, if you just go straight down you won’t have enough support to hold your curls all night. Backcomb your section a couple of inches then take another small section and add it to your previous section and use the down and back motion, keep adding small sections using the down, back motion. You don’t want to go far out on the section you’re backcombing, just a few inches. When you have your section teased then bring up the loose hair, use a little hairspray and gently comb it up into the curl and smooth it out. Finish it off with a high hold, high shine hairspray.
When you are shaping the curl you want to make sure the section gets smoothed together before you use the spray. Another tip is to use the back of the comb to hold the hair together while it’s drying so it doesn’t separate.
Use a bandana for a headband, wear some capris with a big belt and some flats, cuff your sleeves, grab some liquid eyeliner and red lipstick and you’re ready to rock the glamorous 50’s style.