In the 1930s, the major trends for hairstyles were all about waves. With a softer look than the sleek bob and tight ringlets of the 1920s, women began wearing their hair in more feminine styles with parts sweeping to the side or down the middle. At the beginning of the decade, short hair still reigned for men’s hairstyles as well as women’s hairstyles.
But as the 1930s fashion trends marched on, women started opting for longer hair. Lengths would reach to the shoulder length with some choosing to pin their hair underneath. Bangs also took the spotlight as women wore short fringe at the front. We absolutely love these retro hairdos, and we hope you do! Discover vintage images of 1930s hairstyles below.
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1930s Hairstyles on Actresses
Despite short hair being all the rage, in the 1930s, long hair was a popular hairstyle too. Women often wore hair in a ponytail or loose and commonly curled.
Stars like Vivienne Leigh showed off wavy tresses that ran down the back. But to cheat a short look, a faux bob would be pinned underneath. The look is great for formal events.
Most women wore their natural hair color as dyes were not well-advanced during the 1930s. However, some stars like Jean Harlow dyed their hair. In fact, Harlow is how we got the term platinum blonde with her shockingly light tresses.
Short hair was quite popular in the 1930s. The bob was still a common style, and a woman could wear it in various ways. It could be curled or straightened, parted down the middle or off to one side, and worn loose or pinned up. In addition, short hairstyles could feature chic bangs. Stars like Carole Lombard and Marlene Dietrich were famous at the time for their finger waves and bobs.
In order to get that curly and wavy look, women would place their hair in pin curls overnight so the style would stay in place. Wearing one’s hair straight wasn’t a popular look. Taking the pins out so the curls fall, women could comb their hair out so that not all the hair was tightly curled for a looser option. Another popular way to style the hair would be by using finger curls. Popular in the previous decade, this style would continue with 1930s hairstyles.
Bobby pins became popular a decade before, but when it came to 1930s hairstyles, they were still an excellent way to keep hair in place. During this time, bobby pins were often worn on their own or as part of an elaborate hairstyle. Stars like Dorothy Lamour would use hair accessories and pins to adorn the hair and add to the overall look. Pins would also be a good way to create a faux bob hairstyle.
Clips & Accessories
Clips and accessories were the perfect way to add some glamour and sparkle to any vintage hairstyle. Many different types of accessories were available, including hair bands, combs, headbands, and even hats. This would be a good way to dress up even when one wore their hair straight.
The most common type of accessory was a simple metal hair clip that could be used to secure a section of hair back from the face or hold it in place above one’s ear.
Hair clips were often decorated with rhinestones or other embellishments, and some had small mirrors attached so that a woman could check her makeup while wearing them. This would look great with classic finger curls.
More Hairstyles from the 30s
1930s Hairstyles Now
The wavy hairstyles of the 1930s live on today, although many women wear their hair in less defined waves compared to decades past. In fact, even for guys, many of today’s modern hairstyles and haircuts for men are based on old-fashion trends and styles that have just been updated and brought back into the mainstream.
Films like “The Aviator” and “Water for Elephants” also showcased curly coifs of the decade. In modern times, finger waves are often only seen at formal events and red carpet settings. Often, the hairdos will have a smooth flat top with curled ends, a great look for long hair. See modern examples of 1930s hairstyles below to get that vintage vibe.