Women’s Hairstyles of the 1960s

Women’s hairstyles of the 1960s are by far my favorite. The decade of the 1960s was an exciting time for fashion, as many of us know. But have you ever thought about the cool hairdos that were in style during that time? When I get my hair cut these days, my stylist gives me the classic Vidal Sassoon asymmetric bob, which has never gone out of style and is as flattering as ever. Here are some of my favorite style icons and the classic women’s hairstyles of the 1960s that I associate with them.

Women's hairstyles of the 1960s, asymmetrical short hairstyle
Asymmetric short hairstyle, photo of Nancy Kwan by Terence Donovan

The featured photo is of actress Nancy Kwan (“Flower Drum Song,” 1961; “The World of Suzie Wong,” 1960) , modeling the Vidal Sassoon asymmetric bob, my favorite women’s hairdo of the 1960s. Vidal Sassoon became a household name in hair care products, but how many of us realize that he also designed hair for so many stars of the 1960s?


women's hairstyles of the 1960s, twiggy bobcut
Twiggy bob cut hairdo, photo by Barry Lategan


Iconic Women’s Hairstyles of the 1960s

Twiggy and the British “Mod” Bob

No one style is more iconic of The British Invasion than Twiggy’s sideswept bob hairstyle. This cut played up perfectly the tailored mod clothing that she modeled, as well her stick-like, androgynous figure for which she gained the nickname, “Twiggy.”

According to Vogue.com, when looking for a new hairdo to wear for some photo test shots, then 16-year-old Twiggy visited Mr. Leonard of the House of Leonard in Mayfair. He dyed her shoulder-length hair blonde and cut it short, making her already large eyes more prominent. (She later penciled in extra lashes to emphasize her eyes, which in itself became a trend among teenaged girls.)

With her close-cropped hair and boyish figure, Twiggy (real name Leslie Hornby) made quite an impact on the London fashion scene and subsequently became a household name around the world.

 


Bouffant flip hairstyle, Mary Tyler Moore, women's hairstyles of the 1960s
Laura Petrie’s bouffant flip hairstyle

The Bouffant Flip

Whether slightly upturned at the ends or curled neatly over like Mary Tyler Moore’s, the bouffant flip hairstyle was the epitome of style in the early to mid 60s. Teased at the crown and smoothed down and “flipped” back up, the trick was getting the ends to flip over evenly. I remember wearing hair rollers to bed to try and keep the waves in all the next day, only to have part of my ‘do sagging by the end of the day!

This is a photo of the late Mary Tyler Moore (with Dick van Dyke) in her role as Laura Petrie on the popular “Dick van Dyke Show”. The bouffant flip look has largely gone out of fashion because it is so hard to maintain without lacquering on tons of hair spray!

 


The Geometric “Five Point” Hairstyle

geometricstyle, Vidal Sassoon, women's hairstyles of the 1960s
Classic five-point wedge, Vidal Sassoon. Photo by David Montgomery.

Where earlier in the decade women had to spend hours on their hair, Vidal Sassoon had the idea that hair should be cut with the natural line of the hair and require little or no fuss or upkeep. This concept mirrored the increasing freedom for women to go to work and pursue an independent living outside of their traditional role as homemaker. Sassoon is quoted as saying, “Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn’t have time to sit under the dryer.”

This geometric hairstyle (five-point cut) is a beautiful architectural style that Sassoon first created in 1965 on model Grace Coddington. Sassoon preferred to work with dark shiny hair that would show off the severe lines of the style.

Also famous for the geometric five-point hairstyle cut was Mary Quant, Carnaby Street fashion designer and originator of the “Mod” clothing look. Mary Quant is credited with designing the iconic mini-skirt of the 60s and 70s.

 

“Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn’t have time to sit under the dryer.”

 


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The Blonde “Surfer Girl” Hairstyle

Women's Hairstyle of the 1960s, surfer girl hairstyle, Andrea Dromm Russians are Coming surfergirl
Photo of Andrea Dromm, United Artists

The Beach Boys immortalized her in their 1963 hit, “Surfer Girl,” and in my high school at least, this was the style to aspire to. Long and straight, with or without sideswept bangs, many of us adopted the carefree look of salt- and sun-drenched locks. From Clairol’s “Summer Blonde” ad campaign of the 60s featuring actress-model Andrea Dromm (who starred in the movie, “The Russians are Coming”), young Sue Lyon of “Lolita,” fame, all the way up to Malibu Barbie in 1971, this was one of the most popular looks of the decade (and beyond).

With the advent of the hippies in the latter half of the 60s, many young women chose to lose the “sun-bleached” look in favor of their natural color, albeit with the long straight styles continuing up until the 1970s. This look will always remain with me as the symbol of my first years living on the West Coast.

 


 

 

Women’s Hairstyles Resources

 Milady Standard Updos by Johnson, Timothy C. Spiral-bound The Ultimate Visual Guide to Hairstyles: A gallery of 160 great looks for every kind of hair type Amazing Hairstyles: From Easy to Elegant


Jean Shrimpton, long hairstyles layered bangs, women's hairstyles of the 1960s, bouffant
Jean Shrimpton, bouffant with layered bangs Photo: Victoria & Albert Museum.

 The Long Bouffant with Bangs

Arguably the world’s first supermodel was British style star Jean Shrimpton. In the mid-60s, her identifiable style was the long hair bouffant with bangs (or as they are called in the UK, a “fringe”). The hair is teased up at the crown, worn long and with bangs straight down or swept to the side.

Other celebrities who wore this hairstyle were Julie Christie (who played the enigmatic Lara in the film, “Doctor Zhivago”), French folk singer Françoise Hardy, and, with a more wild and tousled version of the style, Brigitte Bardot and Raquel Welch. 

 


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Mia Farrow, short pixie cut, women's hairstyles of the 1960s, pixiecut
Mia Farrow, short pixie cut

 The “Pixie” Cut

The short pixie cut was famous by Mia Farrow in her starring role in the 1968 movie, “Rosemary’s Baby,” and the pixie cut, rumor has it, was designed for the actress by Vidal Sassoon. Ms. Farrow debunks this, saying that she herself had cut off her formerly long blonde locks right after the filming of “Peyton Place.” Despite photos of Mr. Sassoon cutting her hair for the role in “Rosemary’s Baby,” he did not originate the style FOR her. As the style worked well for her small face, Ms. Farrow adopted it for many years.

Other celebrities of the time who rocked the pixie cut were Goldie Hawn (a slightly shag-type style with a bouffant crown), French actress Jean Seberg, and Audrey Hepburn in some of her earlier films.

 

 


 

 

Ronnie Spector, 1960s beehive hairdo,
Ronnie Spector, 1960s beehive hairdo

1960s “Beehive” Hairdo

Early 1960s “greaser” chicks were easily identifiable by their sky-high bouffants, teased and sprayed to dizzying heights, piled up like a beehive. If you’ve seen Ricki Lake in John Waters’ spoof of 60s culture, “Hairspray,” you get the idea! R&B singer Amy Winehouse brought this style back with a vengeance.

According to Wikipedia, Margaret Vinci Heldt of Margaret Vinci Coiffures in Chicago, Illinois, originally developed the style in 1960 in a contest to reflect the aesthetic of the coming decade.

The Motown girl group the Ronettes popularized this style in the early 60s, and Audrey Hepburn famously wore a bejeweled beehive updo in the film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” 

 


A High Ponytail Style for Long Hair

Catherine Deneuve, half-ponytail, women's hairstyles of the 1960s #60sponytail
Catherine Deneuve, high ponytail. Photo: Parc Films/Madeleine Films.

For a while among my friends, the “pom-pom” or “palm-tree” hairdo was the style to wear. Consisting of a ponytail set at the crown of the head, with the strands of hair spread out and pinned under halfway down the head, this style certainly does resemble a palm tree. With longer hair, it can be parted, pulling up half of the tresses into a hair band, leaving the ends of the ponytail to hang down, blended in with the rest of the hair.

This was a fun style but short-lived, having been popular for a year or so around 1964 or ’65. Some celebrities who wore a variation of this style were Goldie Hawn and Brigitte Bardot.

French actress Catherine Deneuve is shown here wearing the long version of the “palm tree,” basically a high half-ponytail.

 


Audrey Hepburn, classic French twist updo, women's hairstyles of the 1960s
Audrey Hepburn, classic French twist updo. Photo: Paramount Pictures.

The Classic French Twist Updo

The classic French twist hairstyle is one of my favorite styles when my hair is growing out from a bob cut. All you need is for your hair to be long enough to pull into a high ponytail at the back of your head, a rat tail comb to twist your hair to the side and tuck the loose ends under, a few bobby pins to secure it into place, and voila! you have the stylish and sleek French twist.

You can also combine the French twist with a high teased crown to make an updo-beehive combination, the way Audrey Hepburn wore her hair when she played Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” 

 


Which was your favorite hairstyle of the 60s?
  • The Asymmetrical Bob
  • The Pixie Cut
  • The Flip
  • The Blonde Surfer Girl
  • The French Twist
  • The Beehive

Cool Cosplay 60s Wigs for Women

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