1950s & Retro Hairstyles – It’s All About the Vavavoom!

Looking for some 1950s wedding hair inspiration? Today on the blog we have the wonderful Fiona of Beehvide Brides to show us how it’s done. Below she gives step-by-step instructions on how to achieve a classic chignon and Grace Kelly styling.

Fiona is the very talented lady behind Beehive Brides which specialises in glamour & vintage bridal hair and styling (based in the Bristol, Bath & South-West area of the UK). Fiona has many years experience as hair stylist in the television and film industry, and has been running Beehive Brides since 2007. I asked Fiona to tell me a little bit about herself, and of course to give us advice on 1950s hairstyles that would be perfect for a fifties wedding!

What I love about retro hairstyles…The precision and glamour of the looks. The preparation and attention to detail, nothing ‘wash and go’ here! Lots of grooming and care. I set up Beehive Brides as a response to my own passion for all things vintage and I had worked for many years as a film hair and make-up artist. Weddings fulfil many aspects of what I love – glamour, attention to detail, creativity, families, occasion. Many brides dream of a certain look and I love adding hairpieces or using other film industry tricks to make this possible.

So, what were fifties hairstyles all about?

Fifties styles had volume and vavavoom! They were curled- not too tightly, quiffed, but not too high, dressed but not too severely. All in all women looked confident and in control. The war was over and women had gained a new confidence. Lipstick, powder and sex appeal. From housewives to shop-girls, women spent time on their appearance; beginning at a salon for a set or at home with their own rollers. Styles were made to last a good week and hairspray helped.

For us modern gals with a yearning to recreate these looks, I recommend trying the following:


Classic Chignon

  • Set the hair with heated rollers and hairspray, allow to cool then brush out with a bristle brush.
  • Section the hair from ear to ear. Backcombe the back section and sweep to one side.
  • Grip up the middle and then sweep the other side across the grips, fold and grip.
  • Next, backcombe the crown and smooth with hairspray and the bristle brush (I use a Mason Pearson) twist at the end and gently place over the top of the pleat you had already made.
  • Backcombe the sides a little and sweep them away from the face, tuck in and grip the hair into the pleat. (on the first side you gripped)
  • Then follow on with the other side – this will have to travel further to go over the pleat.. I sometimes use the ends of the hair to create curls around the fold of the pleat – good if you have lots of hair to pin up!

Grace Kelly styling

  • Set the hair as above with rollers, making neat partings.
  • Brush through with the bristle brush and section the hair from top of ear to ear.
  • Make a ponytail with a strong band and backcombe the ends in separate sections, smooth with hairspray and brush and grip in barrel curls.
  • Sweep the side pieces and front away from the face and grip flat to the head, then backcombe gently again to make the barrel curls sit on the previous ones.
  • Add combs of clip to finish off. The ultimate in moviestar glamour.

Thank you Fiona!
Charlie x

One Response to “1950s & Retro Hairstyles – It’s All About the Vavavoom!”

  • Thank you for these beautiful hairstyle tutorials! I love the 1950s coiffures, and since I am sewing myself a 1950s dress, I am trying to recreate an accurate hairdo. For my first dress I wore a curled ponytail with a birdcage veil, and the second 1950s dress I did the classic “up-do”. But I really want to pull off a big, bouffant curly style for this next version. So thanks for your help!



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