How to Become a Greaser

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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The Greaser look was popular in the 50s and 60s. It is a macho bad-boy look that is easy to adopt, whether you want to become a Greaser for a costume party, a theatre production, or just for fun.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plain white T-shirt (or black)
  • Traditional pomade for greasing hair and giving it great shine
  • Pack of cigarettes (the pack can be empty)
  • Black pocket comb--preferably switchblade style
  • Blue jeans with cuffs rolled up
  • White socks
  • Black leather jacket or denim jacket
  • Motorcycle boots, black shoes or retro black canvas sneakers
  • Black leather belt

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  1. 1

    Put on a clean white T-shirt and roll up the sleeves. Your cigarette pack will be rolled up in one sleeve when you aren't wearing your jacket. The greaser look is a bad boy look and all bad boys smoke. The rolled up sleeves also show off your biceps and any tattoos you have on your arms.

  2. 2

    Slip into your blue jeans and tuck your white shirt into the jeans. Greasers try to be tough and macho-looking, but not slobs. If you are aiming for a traditional 1950s Greaser look, roll up the cuffs of the jeans 3 inches or so; otherwise, you can leave the cuffs alone unless the trousers are too long.

  3. 3

    Put on a pair of clean white socks and your motorcycle boots, loafers, or retro black canvass sneakers. If weather permits, put on your black leather jacket. Now your Greaser look is almost complete.

  4. 4

    Slick your hair back using pomade (traditional pomade can be purchased at chemists or on line). The slick, greased hair is very important--this is what got this look its name. Your hair doesn't have to be super short, but should be short enough to style into an authentic greaser style, such as a pompadour. A simple pocket comb works best to get the strands just right. Start by slicking the sides back and think shiny and slick. Some have used black shoe polish to darken hair and increase shine, but it is strong smelling and should not be kept on or near skin for any length of time because it can cause irritation and damage your hair and scalp. If you have dark hair but want it darker, you should simply use a temporary black hair dye. Keep in mind that pomade will make your hair look darker, anyway, as long as it is on your hair. Use a small dab of pomade at first. A little goes a long way and you won't be sure until you try it how much you will need. Add more pomade if necessary and use your comb to slick it evenly through your locks.

  5. 5

    Use era-appropriate slang words such as “boss” (great) and “bread” (money). Also, along with using era-appropriate slang, practice looking tough and jaded. Watch Rebel without a Cause, starring James Dean, for inspiration.

Tips and warnings

  • Traditional pomades used by Greasers contain mineral oil and petroleum jelly and, therefore, take more time and effort to remove from hair than other hair products. If you are planning on becoming a Greaser only for one night, consider using conventional hair gel or a non-oily glosser.

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