1950s rock 'n' roll hairstyles

Updated February 21, 2017

The decline of big band music and the rise of rock 'n' roll epitomised the 1950s. The fashion followed with young men and women wanting to imitate their favourite rock 'n' roll heroes. Stars such as Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry and Little Richard inspired clothes, culture and hairstyles of the time. Women of the 1950s started to wear their hair shorter, and tried more daring looks as men began to grease back their hair, leaving it long at the front.

The beehive

The beehive was a popular 1950s hairstyle. The iconic 'do was big, bold and took time to achieve. It was famously worn by Dusty Springfield. The beehive and bouffant hairstyles were both created using backcombing and a lot of hairspray.

The ducktail

The ducktail or D.A. (duck's ass) was a hairstyle that became popular as rock 'n' roll stars such as Elvis Presley wore their hair in this style, which consisted of the sides of the hair slicked back while the top was longer and cut into jagged edges, creating the ducktail effect.

The ponytail

The ponytail was created by pulling back the hair and tying it into tight bunch at the back of the head. It was usually worn with a short fringe, and women often wore blue jeans and men's shirts. This look was worn by movie stars such as Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day. The ponytail was also revived in the 1970s musical "Grease," with the Pink Ladies sporting this style with blue jeans and high heels.


The men's pompadour consisted of the hair being high at the front and swept even higher over the forehead. The sides of hair were then flattened out, usually with grease. How long and how high the front was worn was up to the wearer. Although this was a men's hairstyle, some women began to wear this look as well. Its name comes from its inventor, Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV of France. Famous pompadour wearers were James Dean, Rick Nelson and Johnny Cash.

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About the Author

Zoe Van-de-Velde began writing in 1990 and contributes to eHow and Answerbag. Van-de-Velde has a Bachelor of Arts & Humanities in media and English from DeMontfort University. She is currently studying for a Master of Arts in creative media arts specializing in digital photography at the London South Bank University.