Timeless retro hairstyles that you need to try in 2021

Every decade has its own unique, definitive hairstyles. In the 1940s and 1950s, old Hollywood waves were the most en vogue hair look. In the 1960s, sleek and straight hair with swooped ends were the must-have look. In the 1970s, shaggy, messy locks became the hairstyle of the decade, and in the1980s bold, voluminous hair was the most ubiquitous, trendy hair look. If you’re looking to hop into a time machine and recreate these retro hairstyles, strap on your seatbelt because we’ve got you covered.

1940s and 50s: Old Hollywood Style Waves

Popularized by legendary actresses like Lana Turner, Jane Russell and Veronica Lake, Old Hollywood Waves laid the groundwork for many of today’s trendiest curly hair looks. The 1940s and 50s were the eras of soft glamorous bouncy hair.

Retro Hairstyles

What You’ll Need:

To recreate this look you’ll need, a teaser brush, hair spray, hair clips, a rat tail comb, bobby pins and a curling wand or iron. Our Signature Curler is the perfect curling wand for long-lasting bouncy curls.

How to Achieve This Look:

Start by spraying hair spray onto your teaser brush then backcombing your roots to add volume to your hair. Next, you want to create a strong side part using the rat tail comb from our Application Kit. Once you’ve parted your hair to the side, use the rat tail comb to section off your hair and clip away the two front sections of your hair using the clips from our Application Kit. 

Next, you want to apply a heat protectant serum or spray before applying heat. Thoroughly brush your hair to make sure the product is evenly distributed. Grab one-inch sections of your hair and start curling each section with the curling wand facing downwards. You want to be sure to curl each section in the same direction to achieve sleek old Hollywood waves.

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Once you finish curling all the back pieces of your hair, you can unclip those two front pieces. You’ll want to clip away the back curls so they are out of the way and don’t get mixed up with your front curls. Using the rat tail comb, section off the bottom layer of the front section of your hair then clip up the top part of your hair. Apply heat protectant to the bottom layer, then comb through it once again so the product is permeating every inch of your hair.

Now you want to hold the curling wand horizontally and curl your hair underneath the wand, towards your face. Hold the wand for three to four seconds and make sure not to let the curl drop and hold it in your palm. Grab a bobby pin and pin your curls up into a loop. If you accidentally drop the section of your hair before pinning it up, simply roll the curls back up using your index and middle fingers on both hands then pinning it in place. Grab the next layer of your hair and repeat those steps throughout the remaining front sections by once again holding the wand horizontally, curling the hair towards you for three to four seconds then holding it up with a bobby pin. Now you will need to let the pinned curls cool down.

While you wait for them to cool down, apply a generous amount of hairspray to your back curls and gently brush them to slightly loosen them up. Next, you will remove the bobby pins from your front curls and use a soft brush to gently brush them towards your face. Our Loop Brush is the perfect tool to gently brush out your curls. Use your hands to fluff up your curls and get rid of any flyaways and then voilà, you’ve officially been transported back to the 1940s and 50s.

The 1960s: Retro Swooped Ends

Famously popularized by the likes of former U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and actress and singer Nancy Sinatra, retro swooped ends were a look that dominated the 1960s. This look definitely works best for shorter hair types, but still looks beautiful if you have medium to longer hair.

Retro Hairstyles 

What You’ll Need:

To recreate this look you’ll need a heat protectant, round brush, blowdryer, straightener, hair clips and a 60s-inspired headband.

How to Achieve the Look:

First, apply a heat protectant to your hair when your hair is slightly damp. Next, you’ll want to brush through your hair using your round brush while blow drying your hair. Use the round brush to get that swooshed shape at the ends of your hair.  Once your hair is completely dry, apply a heat protectant once again to prep to use a straightener.

Retro Hairstyles

Next, clip away your hair into individual sections and straighten each strand and swoop your ends up once you reach the bottom of your hair. Once you’ve straightened your entire hair, you’ll want to pull your hair back so there is no parting and place your headband on top of your head to top off this 1960s look. Run the straightener over your ends one more time, holding it for two to three seconds at the tips to lock in those swooshed up ends. Now you can strap on your go-go boots and party like it’s 1960.

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The 1970s: Shaggy Messy Laid Back Look

Shaggy messy hair was the name of the 1970s hair game. Actress Farah Fawcett was the blueprint for effortless bangs coupled with shaggy chic locks. This look is perfect for those looking for an understated yet eye-catching hair look.

Retro Hairstyles

What You’ll Need:

To recreate this look, you’ll need a rat tail comb, curtain bangs (you can purchase clip-in bangs if you don’t want to commit to a full-on haircut), dampening hairspray or water, a straightener, hair oil and a blowdryer.

How to Achieve This Look:

If you’re using clip-in bangs, you’ll want to part your hair right down the middle, then clip in your bangs. Next, you’ll want to dampen your bangs using a moisturizing hair spray or water. This will help them to have a robust fluffy shape. If you want to add a bit of extra shape, use your round brush to curl underneath your bangs while blow drying to lock in that shape.

Retro Hairstyles

Next, you’ll need to reapply your heat protectant before using the straightener. Now you just want to straighten your hair to smooth it out, using the rat tail comb as you straighten to get rid of any tangles. Next, you’re going to top off your hair with some Argan or coconut oil, which will get it to be super sleek. Finally, to add that extra dose of messiness, just run your fingers through your hair and give it a little shake and wiggle and you’re good to go.

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The 1980s: Voluminous Curly Hair

If 1980’s hair had a motto it would be: “the bigger, the better.” From Whitney Houston to Dolly Parton to Madonna, the 1980s were definitely the time to experiment with volume.

Retro Hairstyles

What You’ll Need:

To recreate this look you’ll need a set of hair extensions, thickening hair spray, teaser brush, hair clips, a wide-toothed comb, blow dryer, curling wand or iron, paddle brush and finishing/setting hairspray.

How to Achieve This Look:

First, you’ll need to start with getting your hair nice and damp. You can either style it after a shower or use a spray bottle of water to dampen your hair. Next, apply a thickening spray all throughout your hair then start blow drying your hair aiming it at your roots. Next, you’ll need to tease your roots, using the same backcombing method used to create Hollywood Style Waves. Now you’ll comb through your hair using a wide-toothed comb to smooth it out. 

Next section off your hair and clip in your set of hair extensions. Once you’ve clipped in your hair extensions, you can start curling your hair in sections away from your face, holding the barrel facing downwards. Next, apply hairspray starting at the bottom of your hair and working your way up to the top so you don’t weigh your curls down. Lastly, brush out your curls using your Luxy Loop brush to seal in the volume.

For days when you want to change up your hair routine, travel back to the past and try out these retro hair looks.

Written by: Ashley Inkumsah