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Jude's avatar

Women's hair back in the 50's, how did they get it to be perfectly coiffed (on their own - not professionally styled)?

Asked by Jude (31971 points ) June 16th, 2011

Wigs?

You know beehives? Perfect curls? I have seen many photos of my Mom when she was in her late teens and her hair looked perfect. Almost as if it was styled professionally.

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33 Answers

shrubbery's avatar

Hairspray… according to the musical!

That’s why we have global warming now.~

Lightlyseared's avatar

Lots of hairspray. It would probably hold it’s style in a hurricane.

JLeslie's avatar

Many times they are wearing wigs and hair pieces, or pieces under the hair to puff it up. Also, lots of hair spray and teasing.

Half the actresses today have on false hair. Kind of pisses me off more than botox.

gailcalled's avatar

Tortured nights sleeping in dozens of pin curls (made with x’d bobby pins). Then hair spray. Everyone I knew wore her own hair with no additions.

I used to make the little curls in front of ears (Les accroche-coeurs) with setting lotion and scotch tape.

We also used diluted lemon juice or vinegar as a defrizzing rinse following shampoo.

RubyB's avatar

Curlers and teasing, a process of combing the hair backward first and then gently smoothing the top hair over the teased hair below, and then spraying it all into a sticky hardness that held it in place much like a helmet.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Like @gailcalled said…PAIN! My mom slept in her rollers, or used one of these hairdryers while she put on her make up. My mom washed her hair daily. But many women did not. They did their hair once or twice a week and just kept adding ore Aquanet after much teasing each day.

My aunt had a friend with a beehive that washed and set her hair every Friday night…she literally used the excuse “Oh no, I can’t go out tonight. I have to wash and set my hair.”

Nullo's avatar

@shrubbery Hairspray is linked to the hole in the ozone layer, which is entirely unrelated to global warming.

Aster's avatar

Long layers, thick hair. Then you’d tease it (backcomb) all over, smooth it down then spray until hard with Aqua Net . I also slept in huge rollers in college. In high school I don’t remember if I did or not. And no, the hard plastic rollers did not disturb my sleep which I think is laughable now.

Jude's avatar

Second question. How did you all learn how do that? Did you Mom or sister teach you? Did you learn from your friends? Beauty magazines? Sounds a bit difficult to me.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Jude My mom’s mom & her sisters had to do rag curls then they did Pin Curls once they could afford bobby pins. So, as they came out of the Depression and had more resources, they kept up with the hair trends.

My grandma used to do my hair in pin curls and when I begged, she’d do tiny braids, then pin curl those up. I’d have big, bouncy, wavy hair. Hello 80’s! ah…nothin’ like sleeping with bobby pins in your hair all night…you should try it some time ;)

JLeslie's avatar

My mom taught me. She used to tease my hair sometimes when I was little, or I would watch her do her hair.

linguaphile's avatar

How did they learn to do that? A lot of incidental learning and imitation. One place was at their mom’s knees. I remember being barely tall enough to peer over the vanity, watching my mother taking over a hour to fix her hair and makeup, while puffing on a cigarette. So 70’s. Another place was from a lot of practice during slumber parties where they’d do each other’s hair and makeup. Then there’s learning while participating in beauty pageants. I wasn’t a 50’s kid, but I grew up in the South where beauty pageants and ballet classes were (are?) a rite of passage.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Lots of gizmos and lot and lots of practice. My mom and grandma had big boxes of rollers, mesh poofs that you’d comb hair over, through, etc. Different sized curling iron barrels, hair falls from fake hair to be pinned in, curled or teased in with the other hair to add density and volume. I remember jars of glop gel and cans of Aqua Net. Blech.

Seeing the molded/formed hair the next morning as it was partially dissembled and rebuilt again, that was scary.

Pandora's avatar

I know my mom use to use Dippitty Doo on my sisters hair. She would put it on my sisters hair and then do the rollers and my sister would then sit under a hair dryer. She would come out with very bouncy hair without a single frizze. Then my mom would style her hair and spray a lot of hair spray and insert a lot ( I mean a lot, a lot) of bobby pins.

janbb's avatar

Curlers, teasing and hairspray

Jude's avatar

How on Earth could you sleep with all of those bobby pins (pin curls) on your head??

janbb's avatar

Bobby pins were easy; they were flat. i sued to sleep with giant rollers in my hair for a time in the mid-sixties!

Pandora's avatar

Ha, I always wondered the same thing but I once had my hair done in a salon in Japan. I wanted to to get a french twist done. Normally, I can do it myself but I wanted it to look larger and not get messed up from dancing. The guy did the same thing. He had to tease my hair for volume since my hair is very straight. Not a strand was out of place and I had tons of bobby pins and a whole can of hair spray put on my hair. It was as hard as a football helmet when he was done. When I slept on it that night, it just felt wierd like sleeping with a hat on. I guess my own hair cushioned my head from the pins but I did not feel any of them poke me. Didn’t even have a dent in the morning.
Next morning I had to dig in to get the pins out and then grab a strand at a time to try to come it all out before washing. It took me at least an hour to undo it all.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Jude: As a little girl who got the grama hair job a few times, the rollers HURT. They used to be hard plastic (days before the squishy foamies) barrels with teensy sharp teeth to grip. We’d get a fluffy pillow and bunch it up around my head and under my neck but any little movement caused a clacking noise and grinding on the skull.

Sleeping with pincurls set with bobby pins was easier, grandma had a satin pillowcase to lay on and a tie-under-the-chin cap of some slinking scarf material that you wore over the hair like a bonnet.

I used to wonder how on earth there could be any romance with curler head going on.

Jude's avatar

This is all fascinating. Really. :)

gailcalled's avatar

There was also the awful but brief trend of using clean, empty frozen orange juice cans as rollers when the Jackie Kennedy flip became fashionable.

The ability to make pin curls was part of the collective unconscious when I was a teen (as was the willingness to teach the younger girls how to insert a tampon…usually during the summer while at sleep-away camp.)

Did anyone mention the huge number of young girls who got either home or salon perms? That was another production and not always successful.

janbb's avatar

And then there was the late sixties when I needed my lovely curly hair to be straight and would either wrap it around my head while it was drying or iron it!

gailcalled's avatar

@jambb: I had my hair professionally straightened in the early sixties. On the walk home from the salon on a humid and sultry day, my hair began to frizz. When I arrived at the house, the curl and waves were back.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora Dippitty Do was awesome! Man I miss the 80’s. My hair did much better with those styles.

Aster's avatar

The flip was easy. All the rollers would go BACK then Down; but the bottom two rows in the back would twirl UP. On the sides, the rollers would roll DOWN except above the ears and they would turn UP. This was not with foam rollers; it was done with big, plastic rollers (pink, I think) . Slept like a baby. My hair never broke, never got dry or straight in the wrong places. Remarkable, really.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My head itches every time I read a new post :(

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah, and I don’t remember it giving my sister or my mom any flakey hair. Not like the products today. I think it was in the 60’s to 70’s that my mom used it. Could’ve been earlier but I was too young. Funny I looked it up and they still make it. They just call it Dippity Do sports hair gel.

Bellatrix's avatar

And setting lotion. You would spray it on and then put the hair curlers in. Followed by lashings of hairspray.

faye's avatar

I still have my huge purple curlers, slept on my chin for a few years. I remember using Dippity Doo sometimes but not hairspray. Our hair had to be ‘touchable, no helmet head’. I loved, loved hairspray when I found it. My mom went to get her hair done once a week and just kind of poked it into place between- no hair products or makeup at my house til me and Kresge’s.

Bellatrix's avatar

It is a wonder we are not all bald.

linguaphile's avatar

Many of you mentioned Aqua Net… my mom didn’t use AquaNet but Breck. Anyone else remember Breck hairspray. I can still smell it if I think about it hard enough!

Aster's avatar

I might remember Breck shampoo.

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