If you have ever looked at pictures of students in a high school yearbook, you know how easy it is to tell what decade the students are posing in. Pupils from the 1930s and 1940s were somewhat sombre looking, with hairstyles closely resembling those of adults, while the word "hippie" comes to mind when looking at pictures of teens in the 1960s. Teenage hairstyles in the 1950s are also easily identified due to haircuts, hair products used and design.
A large, rolling wave at the top front of a teen boy's hair was worn best by Elvis Presley. Many teenage boys copied his casual and daring hairstyle. Known as a pompadour, this haircut was long on the top so it could be pushed up high, where it was held steadfast with the use of hair grease or styling cream.
D.A. or Duck Tail
Another haircut popular with teen boys in the 1950s was the "D.A.," also known as the "duck tail." Hair styled in this fashion was shorter in the front and longer in the back, so hair could be shaped into two halves on either side of the back of the head, creating two waves that met in the middle, resembling the backside of a duck's tail feathers. Heavy use of pomades, hair grease or styling cream were needed for the duck tail hairstyle.
Carefree and Fun
For teen girls, the 1950s was the decade of the ponytail. While adult women were wearing "updos" and curly, short hair that required permanents (think "I Love Lucy"), ponytails were easy to make and fun to wear. Hair was gathered high at the back of the head and secured with a stretchy ponytail hair accessory. Girls dressed up their ponytails by tying chiffon scarves around them to match their outfits.
Rollers and Pin Curls
If a teenage girl did not have her hair up in a ponytail, it was worn down. Hair during the 1950s was generally kept short to medium-length. When girls wanted to get "dressed up," they used rollers and pin curls to create wavy, curly hair. A hair gel was applied to small sections of hair before the roller or pin curl was added. Because this was before the days of hand-held hair dryers, girls slept in their rollers or pin curls through the night and took the rollers out in the morning. Although sleeping on rollers undoubtedly led to a poor night of sleep, such was the price of beauty for teenage girls in the 1950s.
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