How to do 1950s style structured curls

Show off your '50s style by creating structured curls, or "pin curls," that were common in that decade. The hairstyle evoked glamour but was worn by a wide assortment of women besides the glamorous housewife. Woman took pride in their shorter hairstyles that were fashioned without the use of a hairdryer and typically took all night to create. Revive the pin curls to show off your retro look by using the same method women in the '50s used, but with a little additional help to ensure the curls remain intact for the entire day.

Brush your hair thoroughly to remove any knots or tangles. The hair should be silky smooth. Separate your hair into four sections -- the nape, right side, left side and crown. You will work with one section at a time to ensure you curled all of your hair and did not leave any pieces unattended.

Work with the nape section first. Use a rattail comb to scoop up a 1-inch section of hair. Comb the hair downward tightly so there are no tangles, and lightly spray the hair with water using a spray bottle.

Hold the end of the 1-inch section of hair with one hand and use your other hand to roll the hair under, in a clockwise motion, one piece of end paper. The end paper will keep the hair from straying away from the rest of the strands within the 1-inch section. End paper is similar to tissue paper but it is pre-cut and available at hair supply stores. Using end paper versus a soft roller will keep the curls tight to your head and more structured than a standard curler.

Secure the curl once it is tightly rolled to your scalp with a double prong clip. According to Hair Boutique, a website dedicated to all things hair related, you should use the double prong clips because they will keep your hair secure to your head, even if you sleep on the pins, and they will not create a crease in your hair like a hair clip would.

Curl your hair around the nape section using the same method until all the hair is accounted for within that section. Spray the section lightly with light-hold hairspray.

Work around your head to the right section of hair, then the left section and, finally, the crown of your hair. Secure all curls with light hold hairspray and make sure there are no stray strands of hair floating around.

Sleep on your curls overnight or sit under a salon dryer to blast the curls with heat. Do not try to blow dry your curls; the forceful blast of heat will loosen the hair and create frizz.

Unclip the hair one curl at a time and style it to your preference.


Curling your hair while it is wet and leaving it curled overnight may result in wet hair in the morning near the root of the curl. For smaller, tighter curls, use less hair. Allow the curls to set as long as possible. The longer they set, the longer they will last.

Things You'll Need

  • Hairbrush
  • Rat-tail comb
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • End paper
  • Double prong clips
  • Light-hold hairspray
  • Salon dryer
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About the Author

Tabitha Harwell has been writing since 2008, with articles appearing in local publications and various websites. Her background includes a career in the fashion and beauty industry. Harwell holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations.