A Beginner’s Guide to Pinup Hair

I have loved vintage inspired clothes for a very long time but, until recently, had no idea what I was doing when it came to hair and makeup so it wasn’t until very recently that I was able to fully embrace the aesthetic. The makeup was easy to learn because I don’t go too crazy with it but the hair… boy was that a learning curve! I’m still trying (and failing at) new things and I doubt I’ll ever stop learning (or failing). If you love the style but have been too nervous to try, let me put your mind at ease: I struggled just to straighten my insanely thick hair before I set my mind to learning pinup styling. Seriously. It always came out poofy and had a slight wave to it no matter how hard I tried so you can trust me when I tell you that if I can do this, so can you!

Before I start this quick tutorial, I have to ask you to forgive me something… I accidentally let the movers pack both my sponge rollers and the tripod for my camera… I know, I’m the worst, but I didn’t want to delay this post long enough to wait for the tripod and I figured it wouldn’t be the end of the world to do a tutorial using the curling iron for ladies that don’t have rollers or don’t want to sleep in them. And a couple of the pictures turned out a little blurry due to lack of tripod…sorry! If you want a tutorial on doing a sponge roller set I recommend Miss Victory Violet and By Gum, By Golly. These tutorials along with asking a ton of questions are how I learned. Because I am currently growing out an asymmetrical cut with an undercut (it was easy to maintain and kept me from overheating before I started doing vintage styles since I mostly just threw it up in a top knot) so that I can get a proper midi cut, my setting pattern is a little different but it is adapted from both of theirs so I will do a tutorial on how I set mine someday but, in the meantime, I’m working with a curling iron so here’s my modified vintage hair method!

When I’m not doing a roller set, I style the front of my hair before I do the curls because it’s easier to get it out of the way since I have so much hair. Today, I’m going to show you how to do bumper bangs so you’re going to need a ½ inch curling iron, a hair rat of some kind and bobby pins. For the hair rat, I’m using this Conair Vintage Roll kit. It comes with a few bobby pins but I always need a lot more so definitely have extras on hand. I know the box shows it being used for an up-do but it definitely works for this application too. You’ll also need a few sectioning clips, a tail comb, a smoothing brush, heat protection spray, and some kind of pomade (I’m using one of TiGi but I don’t care for it so am going to jump on the Suavecita train very soon).

The first thing you want to do is spray your hair with the heat protectant and brush it through evenly. Then section off the front of your hair with the tail comb. I like this section to be about 4 inches wide (basically temple to temple). Use a sectioning clip to keep this section together for the time being and then use two more to hold back the rest of your hair from the sides of your face.


Next, remove the front clip and use a very small amount of your pomade to smooth out the section. Then take the entire section in your left hand and the hair rat in your right. Thread the hair between the strap and the rat so that about 2 inches of hair is below the rat. Wrap it up and around the rat and use a couple bobby pins to secure the hair to the rat. You’ll notice that, because I don’t yet have a proper midi cut, the right side of my hair doesn’t quite wrap around the rat at this point but this will not affect the end result.


Once you reach the scalp with your roll, you’ll want to secure it to the head in the proper shape. This means curving it slightly to fit the shape of your head. Use bobby pins to secure the ends of the rat to the head.


If you’re very clever, you’ll have noticed that the ends of the rat are still slightly visible because the hair doesn’t quite go to the ends of it. This is easy to remedy. Simply remove the clips from the sides of your head and use the tail comb to separate a section just wide enough (about ½ to 1 inch in my case) to cover the remaining rat. Smooth out the section with the brush once again, using pomade if necessary, and pull it up and over the rat. Secure the new section with a bobby pin to your head so that the remaining length hangs down with the main body of your hair. Repeat on the other side and then hairspray the crap out of it!

Once the bumper bangs are finished, you’ll want to brush and smooth out the main body of your hair and work in a small amount of pomade if it’s frizzy. If it looks and feels a little dry, I like to use a small amount of light oil such as shown.


Take your curling iron and curl toward your scalp in approximately 1 inch sections, making sure to get all of the hair. You do not want random straight sections hanging down when you’re going for a nicely coiffed pinup look! I like to hold the hair on the iron for about 15 sections.


Once everything is curled, lightly comb through the hair using your fingers to gently break up the curls. If the curls are too tight, use the smoothing brush to wrangle them into submission.

Finally, when the curls look how you want them to, use bobby pins to secure the sides and give it all a healthy coating on hairspray. And there you have it!


See! Pinup hair may seem intimidating and it’s definitely a learning curve, but I promise that every single one of you out there reading this can do it too.




One thought on “A Beginner’s Guide to Pinup Hair

  1. I absolutely love vintage style things so I’ll definitely try this! Great post, keep up the good work! It’d mean a lot if you checked my blog out too x


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