View Full Version : Curling hair in the 50's?

10-07-2009, 04:24 AM
What was the most common way to do it? I know they didn't have straighteners and stuff, but were there curling irons? Pardon me if this is a dumb question. lol

10-07-2009, 04:27 AM
I'm guessing, but I think curling irons came later.

I'd think curlers would be the way to go. After washing your hair, put it up in curlers and let it dry. Can also sleep on them (though not very comfortably).

10-07-2009, 04:29 AM
Yes! Curlers and my mom used to iron her hair. For real!

10-07-2009, 04:29 AM
That's what I was thinking. Thanks!

10-07-2009, 04:32 AM
My gran used to put my hair in rags and I'd wake up with ringlets the next day.

10-07-2009, 04:32 AM
They also did 'pin curls' where you'd put a fixative like Dippity-do (http://www.bigredtoybox.com/cgi-bin/toynfo.pl?dippitydooindex) on separated sections, then twist them tight and flat against your head and secure it with an 'X' of bobby-pins while they dried, often overnight. Then you'd unpin the locks and comb them out or fluff them with your fingers.

The result was pretty cool and the stint in the pins made you look like an awesome insect.

10-07-2009, 04:34 AM
I vaguely remember this, but my mom also used to use bobby pins on my hair when I was little. Take a lock of wet hair, coil it up, then use bobby pins to keep it flat to the head. When the pins are removed after the hair is dry, I think it ended up looking like a "sausage" curl or ringlets.

ETA: Cross-posted. What Perks said. :D I don't remember Mom using anything special, though, just bobby pins.

10-07-2009, 04:34 AM
Curling irons predate electricity. However, in the fifties the usual way was to wash your hair and sit under a dryer, then plaster the whole thing up with hairspray or gel. You would start with a perm, of course. If you wanted to sleep on wet hair, you could use rollers that looked sort of like springs, or you could use curling papers and bobby pins. It wasn't until the sixties or seventies that electric curling irons were really portable enough for home use. I'm not sure, but I think before that the standard was to heat the iron on the stove, or maybe on a special little stove for the iron only. Anyhow, people wouldn't normally do this at home.

10-07-2009, 04:37 AM
Oh, you're right. I remember Jo burning off Meg's hair in Little Women. :)

This is all very helpful! And I feel so very lazy for curling my hair in 15 minutes now.

10-07-2009, 04:37 AM
I am so damn glad to live in the era of GHDs.

10-07-2009, 04:39 AM
ETA: Cross-posted. What Perks said. :D I don't remember Mom using anything special, though, just bobby pins.
Lol! It's funny, I hadn't thought of pin curls in ages, but as soon as this question was asked, I was washed over with the vivid memory of how this stuff smells. My mother used to do her hair like that, because her mother did it that way.

10-07-2009, 04:50 AM
I think it's funny that you got three cross posts on the subject of pin curls. I think everyone's mom put their daughter's hair in pin curls.

10-07-2009, 05:02 AM
My mother had something that looked like two different sized clothespins put together with the openings out - that was a hair curler. You put the hair through the opening (like the clothespin opening) and then wound the hair up around it and then pinned it with bobby pins. It made ringlets.

Dippity-doo and products like that were definitely in the 60's - probably late 60's. Brush rollers were the way to go in the early 60's and don't forget teasing hair which was in vogue before hair ironing to straighten it came in.

Peroxiding hair to make it blonde was a fad in the 50's - but if you had black hair the peroxide usually made it red. Fun days. Puma

10-07-2009, 05:16 AM
My mother also rolled her hair in curlers to sleep in at night. Sometimes if she did her hair early in the day and had to run to the store, she'd tie a scarf around her head and go.

10-07-2009, 05:25 AM
My Mom and her friends used orange juice cans to create volume and big waves in their hair.

Now that I think about it though, that was probably the 60's.

10-07-2009, 05:59 AM
Curling irons go back to the sixteen hundreds :D

1950s curls

Big rollers--metal or plastic

Really. I bet there are You Tube commericals.

Go look.

10-07-2009, 07:07 AM

Pin curls.....my mom and sister did this. You never see that any more.
It was a carry over from the 40's and was going out of style with rollers. And yes to the orange juice cans...lmao

10-07-2009, 04:46 PM
I remember as a child in the late '60s when the big thing that just hit hair fashion was--can't remember the name of it--but it was a round thing with a bright light bulb in it. You put the special curlers into the slots around the bulb and turned it on. The heat from the bulb heated the sand (or something) in the curlers and then you'd roll your hair up in those when it was DRY and waited about a half hour and your hair was all curly.

As I recall, my dad gave it to my mom so she wouldn't have to sleep with curlers anymore. I'm not sure which of them was more excited by the development.

I remember curlers, though. There were plastic curlers that were hollow and of various sizes with little spikes to hold onto the hair. They had little half-circle jackets that clamped over them to keep them in place or were held in place with big plastic pins that always reminded me of yarn needles without the eye. Then there were the little spongey curlers, which were a rod of plastic with the clip attached that had spongey stuff around the main rod. Those were used for the tight little curls, or in hard places to roll with the big rollers, or for those with fine hair.

And after rolling, there was always teasing and stinky hairspray.

I'm so glad we're beyond that now.

10-07-2009, 05:21 PM
Electric curling irons date back to the 1920's; I know - I have one that belonged to my grandmother who was in high school at the time, living the high life like something out of a Scott Fitzgerald novel (which lasted until her dad lost all his money in the stock market crash).

In the 1950's, those nasty black brush curlers were in vogue; so were the titty pink foam rollers and as others have mentioned "pin curls". Ladies could also do home perms or go to the beauty shop for a perm.

10-07-2009, 08:30 PM
Anyone remember "spit curls"?

10-07-2009, 08:42 PM
That sounds disgusting. :D

Anyone remember "spit curls"?

10-07-2009, 08:47 PM
Anyone remember "spit curls"?

Oh, yes! I never got any, thanks to the natural curl in my hair, but my mom used to do this to my sisters all the time when we were little.

And, yes, it was about as gross as it sounds like.

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-07-2009, 11:27 PM
What was the most common way to do it? I know they didn't have straighteners and stuff, but were there curling irons? Pardon me if this is a dumb question. lol

Search for the history of curling hair and you'll get lots of info.

For home use? I don't remember when home permanents came in, but salon perms were definitely available.

Black women used hot combs and straightening solutions, and straightening irons. It often burned the hair and scalp.

To curl: Rag rollers, rubber rollers (cylinder of rubber with a fastening device), clip pins and "pin curls" (spiral of hair held by bobby pins or clips)

Curling irons, but the sort you heat over an alcohol flame or by inserting into a heating block on the stove, not electric heat-controlled ones.

Blow dryers - NO
Bonnet dryers - yes, but expensive

10-07-2009, 11:50 PM
Home perms were available in the mid-fifties. My Mom used to perm my hair about three times a year. I hated it. Once I became a teenager in the sixties I nixed the perms.

And I remember the pin curls, using rags to roll your hair, and those awful ones with the black brush in the middle (it would always stick your scalp and hurt).