“My friend/I have quite short hair, will I be able to do anything with it?”
That’s one of the most common questions I get asked when at events like Great Yarmouth library, or at the Historical Sauces hair workshops. So I have decided it’s time for a blog to answer that question once and for all and show you how to create some vintage styles for short hair.
If you’ve cut your hair into a gamine Audrey Hepburn-esque crop then you need to be realistic, probably the most you can hope for is to comb it a different way, get a bit of bounce in it and learn to tie a headscarf. What most people actually mean when they say this though is that they have a short bob, sometimes asymmetric with heavy layers. If you have any kind of length around your face it’s always possible to do something with your hair to get a “vintage” style. I think anything from around jaw length should have no problem at all, even cheek length is still workable, depending on your style.
Actually, when you look at old photographs, shorter hair was popular for large parts of the 20th century. Bobbed hair was extremely popular in the 20s, 30s and 60s, and in the 50s women often wore their hair very short and set.
So, here are 3 ways to get vintage styles for short hair. Whether you’re going for authentic or cheesecake pinup is up to you, and some of these ideas will work for a more “authentic” look than others. How to do them is a whole other post on it’s own, so if you’d like to see more on this then do let me know!
Pin Curls are the way to go for short hair, rather than curlers. When my hair is freshly cut into a bob I can’t get rollers in the shortest bits at the back, so I literally just bend them round into a small curl and secure with a grip to get a bit of bounce and curl.
You’ll find lots of setting patterns for different looks, but the smaller the roller the tighter the curl. On short hair a larger roller or stand up pin curl will give smooth bounce, a smaller roller or tighter flat pin curl can give a mass of curls. Experiment with what works for you, and don’t forget the importance of brushing out in the finished style. You can get a very 20s or 30s look by tightly setting bobbed hair and experimenting with finger waves, or a more 50s style with a looser set and more volume.
If you have enough length at the front of your hair to play around with twists and rolls, then you can always cheat at the back. Many modern asymmetric bobs are very short at the back of the head with a lot more length at the front. Sometimes layers might make it more tricky, but you can still create fringe rolls like this one, or twists like these, or even create more elaborate styles if you have more length at the front and top of your head. At the back of your head, where the hair is shorter you can use a selection of hair flowers to decorate at the nape of the neck or wear a headscarf bandana or “rosie the riveter” style.
Pin Curls or Kiss Curls
No setting required. If you have a bit of length around your face you can twist it into kiss curls using wax or pomade and pin in place.
I often use 2 or 3 on the larger side of my parting and sort of layer them over each other. You can combine this with a wet set at the back of your head to add a bit of wave if you chose. You can make them very tight and smooth and flat to your face, as in the original vintage picture below, or sat slightly looser, like in the picture of me, will still give a 30s bobbed look.
This video will give you an idea on how to create those pin curls.