Early 20th Century Hairstyles

Written by lauren corona
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Early 20th Century Hairstyles
Hats were popular accessories in the early 20th century. (Brooke/Kirby/Valueline/Getty Images)

The early 20th century was a time of huge change and upheaval. The start of the century saw the first wave of affordable cars and the horrors of World War I, to name just a few major events. Due to the wide availability of cinema and TV, women could view popular hairstyles of Hollywood stars and starlets on film. This gave them further ideas about popular fashions for hair.


During the first decade of the new century, long wavy or curly hair was popular. At the beginning of this decade, the perm hadn't yet been invented, so women who didn't have natural waves would often use hair curling tongs to achieve this look. Ladies commonly tied up long hair into elaborate updos. Many women used hair supports and frames, in conjunction with hair pieces, to make their hair look big and full.


Curled and waved hair was still popular in the 1910s, but styles became simpler and more manageable. Women wanted to be able to drive in the car or ride a bicycle without the constraints of a big, bulky hairstyle. Hair frames started to be disregarded and updos were minimalistic in appearance and Grecian inspired. Haircuts became slightly shorter, with women often cutting their hair to around shoulder length.


The 1920s was the start of the Jazz Age and the era of the flapper style. Women in the 1920s started cutting their hair into increasingly shorter bobs. Finger waved styles were popular in the early to mid part of the decade. In around 1927 to 1928, many women wore the Eton crop, which was short, slicked down with hair product. Ladies in the last few years of the decade started to have slightly longer and softer hairstyles and embraced gentle waves again.


Hats were an important addition to early 20th century hairstyles. Wide-brimmed hats were popular in the first decade of the century. After this, smaller hats such as the toque hat came into style. By about 1910, it was also common for ladies to wear turban-style hats. The popular style of the 1920s dictated that most women wear cloche hats. Cloche hats were light, brimless hats which women wore pulled slightly down over their eyes. Most were decorated in art-deco style.

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