100 Years of Hair: The Hairvolution From the 1900s to Now

When you’re looking at old photographs, what’s simultaneously going to make you cringe and be a dead-giveaway to what decade it is? That’s right: it’s all about the hair. From long and luscious locks to layered bobs, the past 100 years have seen it all. Just in time for a little Throwback Thursday, we’ve compiled a list of the most memorable hairstyles and what it took to achieve the look:

1920s1920s photo of woman with short hair

The 20s had a lot to roar about: shorter skirts, shorter hair, the right to vote, and a backfire on the alcohol ban. But this iconic decade did a lot more than inspire a legendary book (and now movie) called The Great Gatsby—it started a hairvolution. Starting with Louis Brook and dancer Irene Treman, the locks were cut into clean bobs with straight bangs—vastly different from the long, curled tresses of previous times.

1940s & 50s: 

group of 1940s women

Much in part to a certain film entitled Gone with the Wind, curled and half up was the defining hairstyle of the early 40s. Vivian Leigh’s Scarlett faded easily into the easy waves of Rita Hayworth’s “Old Hollywood” style. The cascading curls, often coiffed up away from the face, were an easy beauty trend that belied the work it took to get there.

1960s:

The 60s held a lot of changes in hairstyle and beauty—from the super-short bangs via Audrey Hepburn to the long locks often associated with the Hippie culture. Especially in the early 60s, when mod-inspired everything was just starting to come into trend, model Twiggy’s pixie was incredibly popular.

1970s:

women in the 1970s
from Flickr user Walter with CC BY-SA 2.0

At the beginning of the decade, the high-styled bouffant of Priscilla Presley was immensely popular—although tedious to recreate. For some, the pin-straight locks of Cher were easier to duplicate, although heartthrob Farah Fawcett stole the show when she arrived with feathered waves. The curled mane seemed effortless and beautiful, urging women everywhere to bug their salon stylist for a similar look.

1980s:

1980s hair
photo by Alan Light

In the 80s, bigger was always better—and that included hair. Laura Hutton’s voluminous, wavy mane certainly rocked the boat in the early half of the decade, although Jennifer Gray wasn’t about to let you put baby in the corner with her beautiful feathered ‘do. Icons like Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Cyndi Lauper also demonstrate that volume—paired with neon and leather—could really make a statement to last for centuries.

1990s:

the FRIENDS cast
from Flickr user lucianvenutian with CC BY-SA 2.0

Do we even have to mention it? FRIENDS star Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel” cut—face-framing layers—swept the nation off its feet and right into the hair salon. Meg Ryan’s shag was also highly imitated, although women began to grow out their fabulously short ‘dos towards the mid-to-end of the 90s—the better to use those colorful scrunchies, of course!

2000s:

women with pink and blue hair in the 2000s
from Flickr user Stephanie Kroos with CC BY-SA 2.0

So far, in this century, we’ve experienced everything from bohemian-styled waves to half-shaved rocker hairstyles in every color. A few styles were so nice we saw them twice—blunt bangs, voluminous waves, poufs reminiscent of their bouffant parent. So what does the future look like? While The Hunger Games may have you considering bright colors and glitter, we think we’ll wait until then to see.

If you’d like to get ahead of the game and get your hair back, contact us–we’d love to help!