When we look at films, pictures and fashions of the 1930s, there is a sensuous elegance that the Roaring Twenties seemed to lack. This is despite that during the 1930s, the average person was living in the worst economic crisis in history. What people wanted was escapism from the Great Depression — two hours out of their lives where they could look at a world that had no worries of money or unemployment. Sound familiar to today? Well, here are some tips to give your hair some 1930s glam and escape back to the good days of Hollywood.
Musicals were the perfect escape route for many in the 1930s and are renowned for Busby Berkeley iconography and the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals. As there was a lot of dancing in 1930s films, ladies’ hair had to look perfect from all angles. Finger waves carried through to the 1930s, but the short flapper styles of the ’20s had grown out and most women wore there hair mid-length with curls sitting on their shoulders.
The curl is all important in vintage hairdressing and can be utilized in so many ways. Here we will talk about the pin curl. There is the traditional way for all those vintage addicts who really want to give it a go, and some quick cheats for those of you who would just like to add a hint of vintage to your style.
You will need:
Setting agent/curl spray
Pin curls are probably the oldest form of hair curling and as the name suggests you use a pin to hold the hair in place. Sizing of a pin curl can vary especially depending on the style, the tightness of curl wanted and the texture and length of the hair. We suggest starting with a 1×1 inch section, and remember, the smaller the section the tighter the curl. Start with sectioning off a one-inch line across the head roughly mid ear to ear. On the average person you can roughly split that section into three.
Each section should roughly look like a square. This can take a lot of practice to prefect but it can be done. The more you practice the better you’ll become. Spritz your section and comb through. As you comb through, pull the hair taut against the direction you will curl (this is important). To help stop flyaways when you get to the ends of your hair, place your ends in a sheet of end papers and fold in half. This will hold all your hair in place and prevent flyaways and frizzing.
While holding the hair taut, wrap hair around one or two fingers depending on desired size of curl and continue to roll keeping hair firmly between thumb and fingers until you reach the scalp. Secure then with a bobby pin.
When you get to the scalp be aware of what is called the pivot point! This is where the curl lies. For example when you have rolled your pin curl up to the top of the 1×1 inch section, you do not want the curl being pulled from the middle but from the bottom left or right. This is why holding the hair taut while rolling is so important. If the pivot point is in the middle when the curl is taken out it will not sit correctly but will fall out ward rather than down ward. Also it is good practice to use two pins in the shape of an X to keep curl secure especially if you are doing a wet head and sleeping on them.
The base shape is very important with pin curls. To create the rippled wave effect into a bed of tight curls that women like Ginger Rogers wore, the shape of the pin curls needs to be correct. Start at the nape of the neck and if the first pin curl you do is rolled to the right, then make all of that row face the right. The next line of pin curls you do should be to the opposite side, so if the first was facing right then the second row all should face left. Continue these alternate rows. When the hair is combed out the opposite curls will create a wave effect. To create this around the hairline of the face, the same thing is done except using a triangle shape rather than a square — hence starting with the section just above the ear. Your last layer of pin curls should go no higher than your temple to create the 1930s look, as volume on the crown of the head was not popular then.
Depending on your own choice you can either blow dry the hair or tie a scarf around your head to protect the hair while it air dries. If you are air drying your hair be completely sure the hair is dry before taking curls down
When taking the pin curls out start, with the first pin curl you rolled. Its good to lightly rub some pomade on your hands while you do this it will give your hair shine and help stop frizz. Once pins are out lightly pull curl around fingers and leave in place. Once you have done this to all curls you will use your tail comb to lightly comb into place. This may take several attempts but don’t worry it will happen. You should think of your hair as the sculpture and your comb as the tool. The tool needs your guidance to create your sculpture!
Setting agent/curl spray
A quick way to create a pin curl type style is to use tongs. Sprizs hair with protective curl spray and curl hair with tongs. Like with the pin curls, we suggest you curl in roughly 1×1 inch amounts with each line curling in the same direction.
Release hair from tong, and while it is still warm, roll back the hair into a curl starting from the tip and pin it to the head. Hairdressers still do this today. It gives the curl time to set which gives it better staying power.
When head is done allow hair to go cold and follow the last set of instructions from the pin curl tutorial above.