Fifties Hairstyles (2)

1950s hair for women
Photo: XH2/Shutterstock
Previous page
New things were happening all the time and before you could say Jack Robinson, everyone was putting peanuts in their Coke bottles and enjoying their drink with a sweet and salty flavor. Who in the world was this nut who started this craze? We may all go to the grave without ever knowing. Then, drag races were the latest craze and crowds of young people were going to see stock car racing on weekends. Schoolmates were getting caught smoking in the bathroom at school and receiving demerits, while the other half would skip school entirely, just for fun and to be able to say they did it. However, when they did skip, most of them didn't know what to do with themselves.
Then, there was that small, proud, and very popular group who bleached their own hair and, lo and behold, had discovered Ivory Snow Flakes and peroxide. What genius brainsicko started this idea is another one we'll probably never know. That is correct, they mixed up the laundry detergent with 20-volume peroxide and lightened their hair that way. As far as I know, none of it fell out.
The more knowledgeable and sophisticated young people would go to the local drugstore and buy a good oil bleach, like Helena Rubinstein's Turn Blonde, and the outcome of your hair would depend on what shade it was in the beginning. For example, if your hair was a light brownish strawberry to begin with, your hair would turn out to be a lovely strawberry blonde, or orange! Orange was in, back then, but it still looks better on pumpkins in the fields.
If you had a pixie cut, there wasn't any problem with it being orange, because you would end up cutting it all off again anyway. Because our brains usually do not mature into the "aha" stage until we are in our late forties or fifties, the youth usually ends up doing it all over again. The way they see it is as a heavenly shade of blush-carrot berry that can get any boy's attention, and it really did!
Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Jane Russell, Susan Hayward, Elizabeth Taylor, Esther Williams, and Ginger Rogers were all busy making movies, and the girls of that time were all busy, along with their friends, trying to look just like them. If they wanted to look like Liz or Susan, they would tint each other's hair black or red at a pajama party.
Beauty marks were so in vogue. Everyone penciled in a fake mole. Of course, if you went to the drive-in movie and made out with your boyfriend, the mole sort of disappeared. No matter how hard you looked for it, you wouldn't be able to find. Now we know why the boy looked so puzzled when he looked at you when all the lights came on and everyone headed to the refreshment stand to get some popcorn. Not only was your lipstick smeared and part of your eyebrow missing, but your mole had gone as well. Blame it all on your boyfriend's sideburns that went all the way down to his chin.
Short 1950s hair with permed curls
Photo: FPG/Photo Images via Canva
When girls wore their hair in ponytails, it wasn't just any ponytail. The hair was combed back and fastened into a rubber band. There weren't any of the protective bands that we have today. Everyone's hair was breaking off all the time because of those rubber bands, and no one thought anything of it. They would say things like, "Boy, your hair sheds a lot!" Many times, there would be small sections of the hair cut on the sides to create, you got it, spiral curls up and down her face. On the top of her head, there were two spit curls on each side of her forehead facing each other. That look was extremely cool with their collars turned up in the back.
Not only was it fashionable to have either a Cocker Spaniel or a Poodle pooch, but the Poodle haircut became stylish as ladies would have all their hair cut off to about one to two inches all over their head and get a perm, to once again convince the world they had naturally curly hair. The working women in the 1950s who had naturally curly hair usually kept their hair clipped up into a shingle in the back with closely clipped sides. If the hair was naturally quite wavy, sometimes it would be brushed back with a C-curl on both sides of the forehead. Straight hair was given permanents as straight hair was considered taboo at the time, unless, of course, you were a teeny-bopper and had a ponytail.
The older women used rinses instead of tinting their gray hair and would go to the beauty salon on a weekly basis to have their hair set. Hairdressers were called beauticians and wore white uniforms with a girdle, stockings, and nurse's shoes. What we call clients today were called patrons back then. The permanents were harsh with ammonia, unlike the alkaline and acid waves we know of today. When a head of hair was bleached, they wouldn't think of putting the head under the dryer, but rather accepted the time allowed to bring the lift up to the desired level needed. Afterwards, a toner was always applied to neutralize the hair and achieve the desired color.
The 1950s are gone, and with them went many memories for some, of a simpler nature of picket fences, playing marbles on the sidewalk, housewives who were truly housewives, double bubble gum, and George Burns and Gracie Allen on television. This was a time without smartphones, computers, iPods, or DVDs. How could we exist in such an era today? There was less clutter and perhaps more appreciation for the things they had. The older people who came out of the war years had a respectful gratitude for where they were in their new life, and their attitude was always to repair a radio and take their shoes to the cobbler before they would ever consider buying something.
With all this, we say farewell to the hula hoops, the music of The Platters, former presidents Harry and Ike, bobby socks and Bogie and Bacall, but the ponytail lives on.
See also: Vintage hairstyles