1930s Hairstyles

Short 1930s hair with finger waves
Photo: Everett Collection/Shutterstock
In the beginning of the 1930s, women tired of fighting against their female forms and decided they no longer desired to look boyish and ignore their wholesome bodies. Instead, they began to wear more tailored dresses that would bring a softer appearance and expose their small waistlines. Gone were the cloche hats that once hid their foreheads and were replaced by button-top hats exposing the whole of their faces and all the hair surrounding it.
 
Times were indeed changing, as lounging in the sun became the in thing. Women could display their rich new tan under their new backless dresses. Quite daring, to say the least. The snood made its historic appearance at this time and Hollywood seized the idea. Before you knew it, you saw such stars as June Allyson, Joan Crawford, Linda Darnell, Greta Garbo, Merle Oberon, and Barbara Stanwyck, to name only a few, wearing the most attractive designs of custom-made snoods. Some were knitted or crocheted with fine, sparkly yarn.
 
Having a handmade snood was indeed in fashion. Male hearts melted in their presence, as these young starlets came along in a most respectful and tasteful expression of their womanhood.
 
Hairstyles were still quite close to the head with the deep set, finger waves. Some were parted in the center, others on the side. Around 1932, the styles began to soften a bit more; as a play in the waves arrived and some volume appeared on the scene. Suddenly, women had full, lush, deep waves and started to look sexy. The best part of it all was that this new style still accommodated the large-brimmed hats and the other smaller hats they would wear. Around the middle of the 1930s, the main fashion was waves and more waves; just, "Be sure and give me my waves!"
 
Many hairstyles were worn with a center part and deep waves, and the hair pulled back into an array of small curls on the neckline, secured with bobby pins or hairpins. For styles such as this, the hats were sometimes tilted diagonally on the side of the women's head, hence the ever-lasting snood would once again make its appearance.
 
Curls were having a real kick-off around this time as women would wrap small portions of their hair around their finger, quite tightly and secure it with a pin. The curls were placed quite firmly and close to their head, whatever size curl was desired. Some styles were parted in the middle and pulled back and up on the sides with a roll formed, while the back was rolled under or knotted together in tight sausage-curl type curls. In the latter part of the 1930s, the hair was sometimes pulled back into one roll while the back was either turned up or under. At the time, it was of the utmost importance for the hairstyles to be able to accommodate the latest and most fashionable hats.
 
1930s woman with finger waves wearing a backless bathing suit
Photo: The Everett Collection/Canva
These were the years of intense finger waves with small rolled and pinned curls fastened closely underneath the waves to add even more waves. For a dressy affair, an addition of a braid would be worn to give the appearance of a lovely band dividing two sets of waves, with a bunch of curls found on the bottom.
 
These were years of hardship, if you think about it. The 1929 New York City stock market crash spilled over into the 1930s, and some people ended up losing everything they had worked for. Family men left their homes to make money to send back to their families. There were four to five million unemployed men in America during this time.
 
This was the era when women began to wear backless bathing suits, always smiling of course. Think of the beginning of such freedom. In 1938, Walt Disney's film of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came onto the scene and everyone was singing "Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work we go." But everyone wondered where the work was. Troubled times sounded the distant rumble of war.
 
Through all those hard times, hairstyles still made a statement, and when the ladies went to the hair salons, they were serviced with a color as Hollywood dared to set the trend once again. Celebrities such as Jean Harlow stirred a boldness in the hearts of those in the thirties, as the mothers of the day began to ask themselves, "Why not?"
 
Before long, there were many war widows bleaching and tinting their hair as if they had been doing it for years; although, this gave the older and more seasoned ladies something to whisper about. As if that wasn’t enough to gossip about, thin eyebrows were in. Many a lady would pluck practically all of their eyebrows off and then, with her face ever so close to the mirror; with her tongue sticking out on the corner of her mouth, artistically draw a thin rounded line above their eye; believing this made them appear more alluring. Think of how thin Betty Davis's eyebrows were. Remember the song; She has Betty Davis Eyes.
 
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By Penny | Updated | ©Hairfinder.com