Women – 1960s hairstyles: an overview – hair and makeup artist manual – tortugas cycling

A look at the women of the 1960s hairstyles, from the beehives and bouffants to long locks, as well as the influences and style icons.

Fashion in the 1960s saw a lot of diversity and recommended many trends and styles influenced by working classes, music, independent cinema and social movements.

In the UK, the fashion focus shifts from Paris to London, with designer Mary Quant heading the "Swinging London" revolution. Vidal Sassoon transforms hairdressing, being the humble bob and reinventing it to match the mood of the decade.

Here we look at 1960s hairstyles, influences and popular accessories.

Influences on hair fashions

Mia Farrow sporty your pixie cut as in Rosemary’s baby (Life Magazine, May 1967)

Film stars and the first lady

Since the beginning of the film, movie Stars have been influencing fashion trends. In the 1960s, New Wave cinema and Italian films, in particular, influenced popular culture and catapulted Brigitte Bardot, which is probably the ultimate 60s siren to international stars.

Other iconic actresses The era includes Julie Christie, Catherine Deneuve, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Birkin – all with their very own style and signature look.

The impeccably cared for American First Lady Jackie Kennedy (later Onassis) influenced a whole generation with their elegant outfits, plump and pillbox hats. Elements of the "Jackie O" style are still admired and imitated today.


Hairdressers have always developed new hairstyles and influenced hair fashions.

The new decade welcomes the voluminous beehive, created by a Chicago-based hairdresser, followed by the advent of sharp, short plants by Vidal Sassoon, the hairdressing star of the 60s.

Sassoon created iconic styles and popularized short hair with geometric and asymmetrical cuts that revolutionized women’s hairstyling.

The cutting-edge Sassoon styles were fresh, smooth and sharp, and the looks were mimicked around the world. Style guru Mary Quant and actress Nancy Kwan had Sassoon cuts.

Other hairdressers include Louis Alexandre Raimon, created, Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra look and style of movie stars like Greta Garbo and Audrey Hepburn, and Raymond BessoneTrained Vidal Sassoon and is believed to be affluent to the modern age.


music also had a big impact on fashion and hairstyles. Since the late 1950s, the styles worn by rock and roll singers and bands of the era have been adopted by lovers of music, and young people have developed their own "street fashion".

This influence continued to the right through the 1960s, from the over-fashioned mods to the psychedelic sounds of the late 1960s.

The Beatles’ famous early 60s "moptop" hairstyle influences men (and most likely women) hairstyles for a generation and is synonymous for the ’60s.

In the second half of the decade, political activism, social changes and psychedelic rock – Music led to hair becoming more and more natural for both genders, in line with the carefree yet radical attitudes of the hippie subculture.

(L-R) style icon Jackie Kennedy flicked up to full and pill-box hat; Brigitte Bardot with a chaotic beehive, elegant and timeless Sophia Loren; Nancy Kwan with her famous Vidal Sassoon cut (Photo: Terence Donovan)

Hair accessories

Wigs and hairpieces

Wigs and a "wiglet" for the fashionable 1960s American gal. In Britain, Ginchy wigs from London made up of various wigs and hair pieces.

Fake hair was the great hair accessory of the 1960s and was worn open.

Wigs were made from human hair, usually came out as a "pull and wear" cap / weft style.

hairpieces from real hair) were attached to create the back of the head width and height, the big hair that was even bigger. Parts could be used to clothe a top knot or other styles. Contrasting colors were used, as well as matching the wearer’s hair.

Fake hair attached to one wide velvet headband was very popular, so the bows were connected to the hair. cluster often had a comb attached to help get it into natural hair.

Combs and foils

Combs and foils were made of plastic and were often decorated with bows, rhinestones, bright swirls or mod-inspired black and white geometric patterns.

Spanish mantilla combs have been used by some women in the back of their giant beehives to prevent them from collapsing. The Portobello Road in London or junkshops were good places to scout for an old tortoiseshell mantilla.


Model Jean Shrimpton tied in a headscarf on the neck

Headscarves, you have several options:

  • The fashionable boy liked the band’s headscarf right on the point in the chin, as opposed to being tied under the chin like her mothers.
  • Alternatively, scarves could be with your neck behind your head.
  • A long scarf could be crossed over under the chin, wrapped around the neck and tied at the back.

Scarves accompanied by large dark sunglasses was the most fashionable way – very Jackie O and very Cannes Film Festival!

Natural elements

Natural elements like feathers, Leather, ribbons and flowers were worn later in the 1960s with the advent of "flower power" and the hippies.

Hair coloring

Hair color came into its own in the sixties the developments in hair color science gave rise to an abundance of new shades and tones, and improved off-the-shelf kits make it easier to dye at home. With the new colors came new techniques such as "frosting" – the bleaching of small strands all over the head.

Hairstyles and elements

Electric tongs and the new styling rod (the hair dryer / curler combo) enabled women to create large curls and plenty of lift and heated Carmen rollers were readily available, making it easier to put / curl the hair at home instead of in the hairdressers.

Older women would not necessarily go for an ultra-modern Fashion styles and may have worn the smaller, more mature styles of the 1950s.

The bouffant

Nicely plump with a flip from the mid-1960s (source)

The bouffant performed from the plump styles of the late 1950s. During the 1960s, it varied in size from happily rounded to rather large.

It was a simple-to-wear style, popular with women of all ages, and easy enough to create. Hair had to be created in large roles, the first lift and the ends curl needed. Hair was then topped and finished with a smooth, rounded facade.

The ends of the hair were always curled and either flipped up (very popular), or straightened out (like a pageboy). Either way, it was using a mosquito-clearing cloud of hair lacquer to hold the hair and curl it in place.

To add more bouff to your bouffants, women could use hair pieces on the crown, creating a towering height of hair.

Famous bouffants carriers include the First Ladies Jackie Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson, The Supremes and Dusty Springfield, who also loved a beehive …

The beehive

The Ronettes combines beehives with long hair

The beehive is one of the permanent symbols of the early 1960s – a clearly beehive-shaped, toupee and varnished mountain of hair that has lasted for many days (with a bit of a tweak and of course tons of more Aqua Net).

The creation of the beehive is credited to Margaret Vinci Heldt of Elmhurst, Illinois, owner of Margaret Vinci’s hairstyles in downtown Chicago.

She had been asked by the editors of Modern beauty salon – Magazine design, a new hairstyle, would change the coming decade and so, in 1960, the beehive was born.

The elegant updo was incredibly popular, carried by the crowds and the famous alike (including Dusty Springfield and Audrey Hepburn). A beehive could also be a town twinning with longer hair in a "half-up-half-down" style, worn by Bridgette Bardot and Den Ronettes.

Short and sharp cuts

Vidal Sassoon is working on his iconic 60s angle hairstyle, worn here by Mary Quant.

The cutting-edge-short types were first developed by Vidal Sassoon – he started creating these styles in 1963.

Unlike the solid-painted and teased bouffants, short-cuts involved much less daily maintenance and easily fell into place.

Carriers of short and slim Sassoon styles included, the fashion designer Mary Quant and the actress Nancy Kwan.

The bob

A perennial favorite, the bob is an easy-to-wear and flexible style for short hair.

A bob from the 1960s varied in the form of a large, round, plump to the sharply defined lines and angles of Vidal Sassoon’s short bob.

Vidal’s bob has been popular with fashion over the decade Mary Quant and the mod brigade.

The ends of the bob bouffant could be left with a hint of sleek and smooth curl under, or snapped on the front of the cheek.

Long hair

The hair was worn long in the 1960s, but became more fashionable in the mid / late 60s for both genders.

During the early ’60s, hair wouldn’t be easy, links below. It was worn, lean, sometimes with a lift (a bit like backcombing to achieve a smooth, rounded full), and usually split center. Long hair could be, with or without fringes, that tend to be long.

To make poker-straight hair, women would use iron, often with a brown paper bag over their hair to prevent it from being singed.

Later in the decade, with the flower-power influence, long hair could be left more natural and the more-than-likely-unstyled hair was usually worn middle parted and can be fringed with or with.


Long hair could be put in a ponytail that was worn high and often combined with a beehive or plump at the front.


Fringes (or bangs) were popular in the 1960s. When worn, they were usually full, straight, and came to at least one eyebrow in length. A side-swept look was also the fashion, but not as popular as the front fringed.

The Afro

Actress Cicely Tyson in a common 60s accessory – wig – while the smaller picture shows her natural hairstyle at which most black women are still straightened (1962)

Many black women had their hair straightened in the forties and fifties, a socially acceptable way to dress their hair, but towards the end of the fifties, the hair slowly started to look natural and short cut.

Influenced by the American civil rights movement, the student and jazz musicians (like Nina Simone) started leaving her hair unstraightened as a symbol of racial pride. Natural hair has become a strong political symbol of black pride and identity.

Hair gradually became fuller and longer in the 1960s as the trend for longer hair continued with the rise of political activism.

Hair was teased in the classic round afro hairstyle with a wide-toothed afro pick.

Afro’s popularity reached in the late 60s to the 70s, during which time he moved out as a political statement in fashion, so much so that white people have their permed hair too thick and curly (e.g. Barbra Streisand).

From the elegant, smart and neat looks in the early 60s and the mods the opposite of the carefree hippie style of the 1960s were all about the revolution, experimentation, adaptation and invention. Next stop – the seventies.

Learn more:

  • Vogue cover from the 1930s to 1980s, with a few from the 1960s.
  • Hair and beauty advertising from the 1960s
  • Women 1960s makeup: an overview
Corson, R. 2000. Fashion in hair: the first five thousand years. Peter Owen. 720pp.
Sherrow V. 2001. For appearances half: the historical lexicon of good looks, beauty and care. Greenwood. 288pp.

The variety of styles worn, 1965 (click to view)


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