We Thought This Looked Good? How Hairstyles Have Changed

Updated on Oct 01, 2020. Originally added on Apr 18, 2016 by Kathy Pinna
From intricate curls piled on top of our heads to long, straight, and ironed - hair styles change every decade or so. Can you tell the decade by the styles below? We bet some of them will confuse you!

A brief history of hair during the past 100 years: At the turn of the 20th century, hairstyles began to be more diverse than ever before. Hair was worn fuller and looser and could be long or short. In the 1910s, big bows in the hair also became the rage. By the '20's, the bob, with kiss curls (or spit curls), headbands, and feathers in the hair were added to the mix, as well as marcel waves and snoods. (Anyone have any of their grandmother's snoods?) In the 30's and 40's, many of the previous styles continued - as well as adding long, loose, wavy hair (remember the Veronica Lake look and victory rolls?). All of this - and only half way through the century! Do you remember curling your hair with bobby pins or juice cans? Or beehives, teasing, the wedge, small bows and headbands? Just some of the hairstyles and hair accessories we have all succumbed to!

We Thought This Looked Good? How Hairstyles Have Changed

Hours of work!

Josephine Graham Bacon

In the late 1800's, this hairstyle must have taken hours of work. How did she do it?

Big hair, little hat

Floyd H Brinkman

This 1940's 'do was loose and full with plenty of waves.

Spit curls!

Marion Born Wurtz

In the 1920's, spit curls were the "cat's meow".


Long, long, long

Mary Ann (Maime) Mellinger

This is the mid 1800's - just how long did it take for her hair to dry without a hairdryer?

The pixie

Audrey Hepburn

Icon Audrey Hepburn always exuded beauty - in the 1950's, she epitomized the pixie cut.

Short and permed

Lucinda C (Davis) Kok

In the 1950's, many women chose short, permed hair.

Do you know the decade?

Ibbie Batson

This woman took a lot of time creating her hairstyle. Perfect!



Unknown Lady, New York

She looks like she has a 1970's 'fro but this photo is really from 1909!

The perfect flip

Jasper Lewis & Mildred Jane Cearley

In the mid 1960's, bouffant hair with a little flip . . . oh, but it took a lot of time and hairspray to achieve this!

The marcel wave

Mary Elinor Lucas c. 1928. Boise Idaho.

This 1928 style took a curling iron and lots of patience.

Even more waves

Elizabeth Dillingham, Texas, 1929

In 1929, she also marcelled her hair.


Inez Fullwood & Doris (Fullwood) Draper, Florida

In the early 1960's, ratting your hair as high as possible, lacquering it with hair spray, and calling it a beehive - yes!

1940's glam

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth had the hair of the decade: Long, thick, with flowing waves.


Bangs and a bob

Mallie Monroe, South Carolina, 1926

1926: No spit curl, no marcel waves, just straight and simple

Up and lovely

Jessie Bell Wyatt Harrison

In the 1910's, hair was often worn up to accommodate large hats. (An interesting fact: Frizz was considered a plus because it created a soft "halo" effect.

Back to Top