We’ve come a long way with the way we cut, style and colour our hair and it’s true to say that today’s hairstyles are more versatile than ever before.
While we still look back at some of the hairstyles of yesteryear for inspiration, it’s safe to say that some of the hair cuts from the past 100 years will never make a comeback! Fancy a mullet or a tight curly perm anyone?
With that in mind, we’ve taken a stroll through history to bring you …
Hairstyles for women during the Edwardian era were feminine yet formal. A major trend was the Gibson where women recreated a hairstyle seen in the illustrated stories by Charles Dana Gibson in America. The Gibson Girl wore her hair piled high on top of her head in the softly swirled pompadour style of the day. It could be decorated with a bun, chignon or knot.
Teenage girls wore their long hair down in a low ponytail or a single plait – styles that are still worn by teenagers today. They would put their hair into the pompadour once they reached 17 because it was then considered inappropriate to wear their hair down.
The short blunt bob was all the rage in the 1920s, thanks to a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald called Bernice Bobs Her Hair. It tells the story of a socially isolated girl who becomes a vamp. Who wouldn’t want that?
There’s always a backlash to a certain look and in the 1930s women moved away from the boyish short blunt bobbed look and embraced slightly longer hair with curls. You’d curl your hair using different methods from finger waves to sausage curls and pin curls.
The outbreak of war meant women took on tasks that had previously been carried out by the menfolk who were fighting in World War Two. Women wanted practical styles that were also feminine. For the first time some women grew their hair past their shoulders and often wore snoods to hold their hair in place. Film stars like Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake were great beauties of their time, wearing their hair long and wavy, while comedienne Lucille Ball adopted the poodle cut!
The fifties saw a return to high glamour which meant big hair and curls. We’re talking teased and backcombed beehives. Of course it was all bound to change and in the mid 1950s everyone fell in love with actress Audrey Hepburn and the pixie cut. This short haircut featured in the film Roman Holiday which sees a princess (Hepburn) chopping off her long hair so she can go incognito.
Men’s hairstyles also came into their own in the fifties. Elvis Presley, James Dean and Johnny Cash wore the male version of the pompadour with hair combed tight against the sides and slicked back with a quiff on top. Check out some of today’s men’s hairstyles and you can see where they get their inspiration from!
In the sixties the beehive was still big (literally!) but could also be softened with a sexy and sultry backcombed look worn by French actress Brigitte Bardot and model Jean Shrimpton. The First Lady of America Jackie Kennedy was a major style icon with her chin-length style which was often worn in a flipped up bob.
Interestingly there was also a trend amongst couples to have matching hairstyles!
And let’s not forget the shag – a longer shaggy hairstyle made famous by the Beatles in a time when men still kept their hair short. This style was a sensation for men, liberating them from the strict short hairstyles previously worn… and paving the way for even longer hairstyles for men in the 1970s.
Forget the pixie cut of the sixties, this era was all about long hair. Women would wear their hair long or in gentle waves and with a centre parting. The Feathered Flip (or the Farah) was worn by actress Farah Fawcett – a major celebrity in the seventies. Her hair was long with soft gentle waves and massive flicks to the side.
Men divided into two camps in the seventies. Punk rock was a major influence from 1974 and saw men and women wearing incredible hairstyles with shaved sides, spikes and mohawks. We also saw men embracing more free-flowing hairstyles. Hair could be worn long and in a centre parting, or in an afro for those with curly hair. Curly hair would be brushed out to create a perfect halo of hair surrounding the head.
And let’s not forget the mullet – the ultimate redneck haircut that’s long in the back and short in the front. Hmmm… let’s forget the mullet after all!!
We all remember the eighties as the decade of the perm! Sure, the perm had been invented decades earlier but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it REALLY took off. Men and women would have their hair permed and then it would be back-combed, teased and held in place with loads of hairspray! Failing that it was all about crimping your hair- another no-no in our opinion!
But let’s not forget the impact that Lady Diana Spencer also had on this decade. Her short flicked hairstyle was worn by teenagers and women of all ages and she continued to be a leading style icon the world over.
The eighties saw the introduction and rise of New Romantic music – a pop-based sound often created with the addition of synthesizers. With the New Romantics came a new fashion trend with some men embracing a touch of eye make-up and lip gloss and frilly shirts. Hair for men was quite flamboyant with giant quiffs or big blow dries and vibrant hair colour… as you can see from the Duran Duran boys.
We reckon there were two major hairstyles for women in the 1990s. Actress Julia Roberts inspired a nation with her gorgeous curls but this was not a look that could be easily achieved, even with a perm! The popular TV sitcom Friends was a massive hit in the 1990s and we all fell in love with the characters Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey. But it was Rachel Green’s hairstyle that captured the imagination. Hairdressers grew used to women popping in for a ‘Rachel’ – a layered, bouncy style with a delicious mixture of highlights and lowlights.
Advances in hair products and technology saw women create a more ‘polished’ look. The World Cup 2006 saw the rise of the WAGS (Women & Girlfriends of England football player) – a glamorous group of women who embraced hair extensions, false eye-lashes and designer clothing. Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham have both since changed their hairstyles and continue to inspire younger women with their ever-changing styles in 2014.
Men who were thinning on top or bald also welcomed a new trend – the buzz cut – which meant they could shave their heads or wear it incredibly short, and still look cool and on-trend.
Footballer David Beckham seemed to change his hair on a weekly basis and there were plenty of men who followed his lead, especially when he adopted this fauxhawk which is styled with gel to create a ridge of hair in the middle.
And it seemed that George Clooney could do no wrong. His fame rose to new heights in 2001 when he starred in Ocean’s 11 – showing that older men with greying hair can look super sexy!