Every decade has those special looks with which they become synonymous, and the fifties are no different. There were a handful of popular hairstyles of the 1950s that we still strongly associate with the era and so many of its stars from film and music.
Here’s a quick look at seven of the most iconic men’s and women’s hairstyles from the ’50s. The majority of them have fallen out of favor since the era came and went, but a few of them do endure to this day.
Classic Hairdos of the ’50s
- DA – It stands for “duck’s ass,” because at some point, someone realized that’s what this ‘do looks like. But it was also less crudely known as the duck tail. A guy’s hair was slicked back along the sides of his head and a part ran up the center of the back of his head. This wasn’t just one of the popular hairstyles of the 1950s, it qualifies as one of the major ’50s fads.
- Poodle cut – Another hairstyle from the decade that took its name from an animal, the poodle cut featured tight curls that resembled the coat of a—well, we’ll let you guess which breed of dog. Lucille Ball, Faye Emerson, and Peggy Garner were stars who did a lot to spread this particular look at the time.
- Pompadour – This hairstyle belonged to the rebels of the decade, including some of the most beloved 1950s actors, like James Dean and Elvis Presley. The hair was greased down on the sides and greased up to be nice and poofy on top, which is why many of the bad boys sporting this look got the nickname “greasers.”
- Bouffant – This predecessor to the famous beehive hairstyle was all about volume. It made extensive use of backcombing and hairspray to create height and width. Sophia Loren and Connie Francis were two celebrities of the era that famously wore their locks in this hairstyle, doing a lot to fuel its popularity.
- Pixie cut – Quite short and tightly cropped, this isn’t a classically feminine look, and struck some folks as kind of odd at the time. Audrey Hepburn helped this ‘do find acceptance and appreciation when she wore it in Roman Holiday in 1953; that was such a big hit, it made our roundup of classic 1950s movies.
- Sideburns – Like the pompadour, growing extended sideburns became closely associated with the rebellious men of the 1950s. In fact, the two were even combined in many cases. Actors and musicians playing rock ‘n roll and rockabilly often sported long sideburns. Elvis, James Dean, and Marlon Brando all let their sideburns creep down the sides of their faces
- Ponytails – This schoolgirl look was—and to a great extent, still is—embraced primarily by female children and teens. It went along great with the poodle skirts that were so popular at the time. However, adult women did start to adapt the look; even Billie Holiday famously wore ponytails during the decade.