1940s hair


1940s hair is probably the easiest vintage style to recognize and recreate. Victory Rolls are so very 1940s and once learned can be modified into many different down and up styles.

Victory Rolls owe their name due to World War Two. Women had grown their hair longer from the 1930s as they could put it up into coils. This was easier to keep than the pin-curled high-maintenance styles of the 1930s.  As their men were away fighting, many women took on the jobs their men left behind. Rolls became important as they were economic to keep because they didn’t need to wash and groom their hair every day and it kept hair their out of their faces.


 The peek-a-boo wave was made famous by the sultry Veronica Lake. It was so popular many industrial accidents took place due to women’s hair getting in the way that Lake had to make a pre-screening advert to ask women to keep their tied hair back in their work environments for safety!

Although the peek-a-boo was a 40s style, we won’t be explaining it today as it is exactly the same as the pin curl tutorial with very long hair to pull the curl down into a wave.



 Here we will be explaining how to create victory rolls and a Pompadour look.  You will need:

  • Hot rollers, tongs, wand, GHD, a curling item of your choice
  • Comb
  • Styling brush
  • Bobbly pins
  • hairspray and curl spray
  • Pomade

 Mary Beth Hughes victory rolls

Victory Rolls

  1. Hair is easier to roll especially if you have straight thin limp or lifeless hair. Curl your hair first in large sections as you don’t want ringlets but a light wave with a little hold in it. Lightly run a pea size amount of pomade through your hair to give it that healthy vintage shine.
  2. Split your hair: a middle split is well known with victory rolls but it’s hard to get them symmetrical so perhaps a side split until you’ve gotten some practice. To get the larger style “Victory Roll” you will make a split vertically from about four fingers width to the front of your hair.
  3. You need to make another split about an inch up from the last. Starting from the base of the head comb the hair up ward and hold taught then from your head upward begin backcombing quick up down movements to create volume again about four fingers in depth. Repeat this until you only have the front layer left. You won’t be backcombing this section as it will give a smooth outward look.
  4. Once you’ve backcombed your hair, spritz with hairspray and allow a few moments to settle.
  5. Using your brush and holding all your backcombed sections together taut and vertical, lightly tease your hair upward and over the back of your hand. Smoothing out the front of your hair but don’t tease the back as that’s what gives your roll its height. This is where the previous curling helps as your hair will naturally curl into itself.
  6. Holding your teased hair above you held by your thumb, roll your hair up to your thumb following the curl. It has a similar feel to making a pin curl.
  7. Place the wrapped-up curl down and pin in place. At least one pin should be placed from the back sliding upward. This will help stop ends peeping out.
  8. Lightly smooth and mold hair until you are happy.
  9. Rolls can be made as big or small as you like. Backcomb less or not at all if you would prefer a roll but not the volume and get creative try adding some pin curls! Look up old pictures of film stars you like and get rolling.

 carmen miranda pompadour

The Pompadour

  1. The pompadour is a rounded roll on the forehead. It can be rolled away from the face or under which gives a mock fringe style. The same items are needed to create this look and pre-curling it as well will help it curl.
  2. Split hair In a triangle form from the middle of your head to just before your temple.
  3. As with the victory rolls with horizontal sections backcomb your hair. The amount backcombed depends on how much volume you wish the pompadour to have.
  4. Pull hair toughly forward — not downward — and begin your roll from the ends until you reach its base.
  5. Keep in place by securing with bobby pins. Comb into style and smooth with your comb. The ends of the roll can stay open or you can close them in by fanning the hair. To fan the ends of the pompadour lightly use your comb to pull the hair around to hide the sides and insert bobby pins to hold in place where the hair meets scalp.
  6. To create a fringe pompadour, the process is the opposite. This style looks great with the rest of the hair up, be it a ponytail bun or curled. Add a scarf of flowers to get that modern pin up look! Rolls are great for any vintage lover and once you’ve some practice and imagination you can use them in almost any style.