Monday, November 03, 2014

Vintage Hair

You'd think that having naturally big hair would have been an asset for someone growing up in the 1980s. But it wasn't. Eighties hair was big, indeed, but only in a certain way, and it had to stay in place. But even today there's not yet a hairspray strong enough to hold the weight of my hair (even when quite short). But it could have been a lot worse. Just imagine my unruly wave during the 1960s and early 70s (I actually remember my mother straightening her hair regularly for years).

Going through a collection of vintage photos and ads for hair products made me think that hair-wise I belong in the turn of the 20th century. Just before everyone got a short bob. The days before hairspray, before haircuts, before teasing, puffing, ironing, or crimping. Before the Farrah, the Rachel, highlights, lowlights, ombre, and news anchor hair.

What is your favorite hair decade?


Model Suzy Parker, Vogue, 1963


Gia and friends by Richard Avedon, 1980

No one was blonder than Patti Hansen, Vogue, 1977

A young Angela Lansbury

Anita Page

Ann Margaret

Baroness Fiona Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1962 by Henry Clark

1975, Vogue UK

Vogue UK, 1975

Carmen Dell'Orefice, Vogue September 1982, Photo by Barry  McKinley



Dolores Guiness by Richard Avedon, hair by Alexandre of Paris

1977, Elle

Photo by John Rollins

Young Jane Birkin, hated by anyone with a Jew-fro

Jayne Mansfield

Jean Shrimpton

I don't even want to know. Joan Blondell in the 1930s

Lainie Kazan, 1970

Lee Miller by Man Ray, 1930

Lisa Bonet

Marsha Hunt looks like she knows what she's doing

Model Mirella Pettini, photo by Bert Stern, 1967

Nicole Kidman's original hair (and original face) in People Magazine

Patti Hansen, again, photo by Leora Long

I'm pretty sure something lives up there

Model Virna Lisi


  1. Enjoy so much these type of posts! Thank you for the vintage galore.

  2. Love that Elle 1977 photo of a girl with crimped hair and freesia's in the hair . I was a teen in the 70's so it brings me back :)

  3. No preference for a certain period as it always is exactly right...for that period and time.
    The eighties hairdo's look grotesque now but then it was just what you had to have I think.

    About curly and massive amounts of hair ; I used to think that having this sort of hair meant that you simply shook your hair or head in the morning and everything fell into place. Boy , did I change my mind when I started living with my husband (owner of lots of glossy curly hair) I took him forever to get the curls or waves that overnight took the wrong turn to get in place. It wasn't vanity, he simply couldn't get out of the house looking like an electrocuted curly-haired Einstein. Past tense because nowaday's he wears it military short.
    He adores my superstraight and fine locks, even looks envious when I shake my head, comb it and put it in a simple bun. It's always what you don't have that you want the most I believe?
    By the way, some of the (richer) 19th and 20th century women had hairdressers realising the most unbelievable and complicated updo's. An idea for you Gaia? You certainly wouldn't need any false pieces to get the right volume or mass.


  4. I don't think I had a favorite hair decade but I like the Ann-Margaret photo and I love Nicole Kidman's natural hair. I grew up in the 1960's-1970's and had my hair long and parted in the middle but it was wavy. I hated it then. I love it now. However, one year I watched the Miss Universe pageant and after years of seeing so many teased, hair sprayed beauty queens, a girl with long, straight, thick hair won and I was so happy! I also liked the shag trend and don't believe I saw it represented here.

  5. always want what you don't have! I grew up in the '60s...I wanted Sally Field's hair in Gidget. OMG, what I went through to get my bangs straight like hers...then I'd go out in the morning to go to school and it would be raining. I wanted to die (or tell my mother I was sick)! During college in the early '70s, I had hair down to my waist. I'd wash it, put in two big rollers and wrap the rest around my head. Sit under the bonnet dryer for 45 minutes. Take it down and wrap it around the other way (thick, thick hair). Sir under for another 45 minutes, and voila! Straight hair...until it got humid. Then it would curl up and I'd lose at least 6 inches in length!

    Those were the days...I did wear my hair curly many years later...every day was a surprise! Had to wash it every morning in order to refresh the curls. Now I blow it out...and get great results. I should after so many years of practice!

  6. Really fun post Gaia! I appreciate so many styles and types of hair. My own is closest to Jane Birkin's - and of course, I've always wanted thick, wavy, curly. And red! I adore red hair.

    One day, in the mid sixties, I was in Manhattan with my mother and we saw Virna Lisi. She was the most striking gorgeous person we had ever seen.

  7. When I was a tween & early teen, I loved any way Cher wore her hair, especially long & straight. In high school I liked the shag cut and had one for a while, but since I was a child, I mostly have worn my own hair slicked back in a ponytail. It fits me...what can I say? I guess my favorite in any decade has been long something. I just love long hair...on men & women.

  8. I have always loved the 1920s bobs and cloches. And there was a period in the 60s that mimicked those cuts, like the Vidal Sassoon angular bob. And I adore the Twiggy and Mia Farrow pixies. All those cuts really set off one's eyes.

  9. Love the vintage photos, especially Carmen Dell'Orefice! I remember using Salon Selectives and liking the smell!

  10. Really enjoyed all these photos! Don't have an absolute favorite era, but I tend to prefer eras when they celebrated hair that was luxurious, long and full since that's the complete opposite of what I have and I've always wished I did. My father had amazingly thick, super curly hair (before he went bald) which I would have adored having, but instead I got my mother's pathetically super straight, fine, thin hair - basically the hair of a newborn. Ugh. The only positive is that I can blow dry my chin length hair in under two minutes max (probably a lot less, but it would hurt my heart to time it and face the reality of that).

  11. My favorite hair decade is now. Every decade in the twentieth century had a particular look or uniformity to the hairstyles. And before that it was basically long and had to be worn up almost just like they had to wear skirts and dresses. I don’t like to ‘have’ to do anything. There is so much more diversity with styles and women have the freedom in this country to wear their hair anyway they choose based on their individuality…pixie, bob, long, curly, straight, or whatever. In particular I love the natural air dried look nowadays, which I have always worn my hair (even in the big haired 1980’s). I would not fit in in the 1940’s. I can’t imagine how long it would take to do those styles.

  12. I always loved the 80s - with my kinky curly hair, it was a perfect mix of Lisa Bonet and Nicole Kidman's kind of curl. Add the Florida heat and humidity and it got super big in a flash.

  13. It's fascinating how many of these looks, regardless of era, would be fine today, while others look so outrageously dated - or worse (the ones with animals on their heads).

    Remember to love whatever you have while you still have it! nozknoz


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