You are currently viewing Vintage 50s Hair-Don’ts

Vintage 50s Hair-Don’ts

  • Post author:

Sometimes, you’re working from home and you take a short break and you think, “Self, I could totally test-drive that super intricate pin-curl icecapsbegonevideo tutorial for the 50s glam hairdo for Evening in the Stacks: Vintage Vegas. You know, the one with bobby pins and hair gel. The one that requires extraordinary hand-eye coordination and, ultimately, involves a hairbrush and 37 metric tons of hairspray.”

And my message here, really, is at those times you should IGNORE YOURSELF AND KEEP WORKING.

But did I? No. I decided (in my special you-know-this-is-going-to-turn-into-a-total-train-wreck kind of way) that this was, in fact, The Best Idea Ever.

So I dampened my hair and started, not even bothering to re-watch the two 9-minute videos detailing what to do (and, even more importantly, what NOT to do).

“Clearly,” I thought to myself, “watching them each once on Saturday morning – over three days ago, before my coffee even kicked in – was enough to sear each and every vital detail into my mind. How difficult could something requiring 18 total minutes of video to explain be?”

Based on what I could recall, I began by grasping a section of hair and rolling it gently around two (or three, or seventeen) fingers, but I DID NOT TWIST IT. I rolled it up into a (theoretically) pretty little circle-looking thing that I then secured using two bobby pins in “a simple X pattern.” Because I’m not a huge fan of directions, my bobby pins followed a pattern I refer to as “possibly not even touching the intended piece of hair due mainly to the fact that my eyesight sucks.”

Also, I’m pretty sure the woman in the video said something about keeping the ends tucked in, but naturally I ended up looking like the Goddess of Shredded Wheat, complete with wispy bits of hair sticking out playfully towards the heavens.

I then repeated this simple step 427 gazillion times until I’d pinned up every single strand of hair on my head except for the ones in the front. Those I saved, per the instructions, for the ELEVATED PIN CURLS.

Yes, exactly like a regular pin-curl, only ELEVATED.

I sprayed my hair with water, tried to channel my inner-50s housewife and ended up with a series of weird poofy things bobby-pinned in what can only be called a despondent-yet-vaguely-apologetic way to the front of my head.

Then I waited.

And I waited.


For the wet pin-curl, I was supposed to wait for 7-8 HOURS before taking them out. I think. Anyway, that seemed like a really long time so I caved after about 5 hours, and even that was a stretch. Okay, it might have been more like 4 hours.

It was definitely over 3 hours, anyway.

This might be an appropriate time to mention that I have fine hair. It won’t hold a curl for love nor money. I can start out with curls and, two hours in and regardless of hair product (up to and including Super Glue), I will look like I spent countless hours of quality time preparing for the day with a flat-iron, straightening spray and a dunking pool.

Oh, and it may be fine, but there is A LOT OF IT.

So I took the 17,912 bobby pins out. I gently ran my hands through the curls and went to find a mirror. This was an enormous mistake, because of the following observations:


Hairstyles that my current state did not resemble: Any style associated with the 1950s

Hairstyles that my current state DID resemble: Napoleon Dynamite’s

For obvious reasons I chose not to take a selfie, but trust me, I was a ringer.

I began brushing my hair out with a round brush (because I’m all about tempting fate) – I brushed it out over and over and over again, using my hand to smooth it to the rounded surface of the brush with the ultimate goal being to create super-adorable rolls along the sides and back.

So let’s go ahead and pretend that happened, and that they didn’t, in fact, end up looking anything like the woeful page-boys from the Prince Valiant comic strip. With lots of bobby pins sticking out in directions that literally defied the laws of physics. Featuring enough hairspray to melt the polar ice caps on MARS.

I’m not entirely sure what to say about the front, other than, “Wow, volume,” and, “I hope a month is long


enough for my hair to recover before the actual event.”

I didn’t even have to tease anything, and yet I can feel it just sitting there on the top of my head. Lurking. Waiting.

And thus we come to the various lessons-learned from today’s adventure:

  • You should automatically ignore any sentence that starts with the word, “Self.”
  • Pin curls are not to be trifled with.
  • Anything requiring 18 minutes of video instruction is about 17.5 minutes too long for my personal attention span and should therefore be avoided.
  • Napoleon Dynamite’s hair. Just…wow.
  • Women in the 1950s had the patience of saints.

I give full props to anyone willing to wait 7-8 hours to simply PREPARE for a hairstyle. I mean, this doesn’t even COUNT the part where you actually style it.

In fact, I’d take my hat off to them, but in this particular case it’s probably better that I keep it on for now. Until my hair recovers, anyway.

I hope you’ll consider joining us this year for Evening in the Stacks: Vintage Vegas, with or without the hairstyle. It’s sure to be ridiculously awesome.

Can’t join us? Perhaps you’ll consider a virtual tip for yours truly. I’m serving once again as a Celebrity Bartender, because nothing is funnier than watching me try to open a bottle of wine. Not only will your tips help me not come in dead last (for which I’d be eternally grateful), they will help support the amazingly creative educational programs of the Howard County Library System. 


I firmly believe that every one of us has something to offer, and that each of us can make a difference in this world. I also believe that it’s vitally important that we not take ourselves too seriously, enjoy life, and have fun.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. mickeygomez

    exchangetime Trust me, the world isn’t ready for that photo. I couldn’t even do it justice via illustration. 😉

  2. exchangetime

    OMG–you made my day…only wonder why there’s no photo;)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.