1930s hairstyles are elegant and timeless
Hair Styling | 20s Hairstyles

1930s Hairstyles: Retro Looks Made Modern

The 1930s was a time of great change for everyone. Following the great opulence and glamour of the Jazz Age which gripped the latter half of the 20s, women in the west started to embrace more sophisticated, slightly less conservative hairstyles. At the beginning of the decade, these 30s hairstyles were still short and traditional, a hangover from the flapper trends which dazzled high society and trickled down into other strata. As the decade marched on, however, women started to opt for longer, more adventurous hairstyles.

Finger Waves

Wear your hair up with finger waves a the front for an easy 30s hairstyle

Finger waves at the front make for a classic 30s look

A popular method of setting hair into waves or curls, finger waves are a 30s hairstyle made popular by actresses of the time such as Bette Davis and Anita Page. Their original design was meant to help soften the sometimes hard appearance of bobbed hairstyles which had become popular in the 20s. The 30s hairstyle is achieved by shaping your hair into S-shaped curves when the hair is still wet using your fingers and a comb. Allow your hair to dry – be sure not to touch or disturb it during this time – and once it has your hair will fall into lovely, deep waves. The great thing about this technique is that no heat is used to mold your hair, keeping it undamaged and healthy.

The Wavy Bob

Made popular by Jean Harlow – who also brought to fashion platinum blonde hair - the wavy bob was a 30s hairstyle  that was frequently used by the actress in her films such as Dinner at Eight and Reckless. Although Harlow's hair was naturally wavy and set by nothing more than water and vinegar, the style she inspired can be replicated with the correct use of heat styling and product such as hairspray. This look is timeless, beautiful and has gone on to inspire countless other hairstyles in the following years.

The Brush Curl

Cascading curls make for an incredible 30s look

Loose curls are a stunning look from the past

One of the more popular 1930s hairstyles for long hair, the brush curl involved twisting the ends of wet hair all the way to the root and pinning it in place with hair rollers (some girls even used soda cans back in the 30s). Keep in mind that this was before inventions such as the hairdryer or hair iron, so manipulating hair often involved rather lengthier processes. After drying, the hair would be unpinned to let curls cascade down naturally. To finish off this 30s hairstyle, the top of the hair should then feature either a finger wave or several more curls. You can also use a brush to gently brush out the curls to add massive amounts of volume.