Monday, 02 March 2015

How to Create a 1940s Updo: Wednesday

To celebrate the IWM exhibition, Fashion on the Ration, every day this week, vintage hair and make-up expert Sarah Dunn of Sarah’s Doo-Wop Dos will show you how to do elegant hairstyles from the era. Today, a classic 40s half up/half down hairstyle

Written by Sarah Dunn
Hair-Mar06-06-176Vintage hair styling requires several things; patience, nimble fingers and a few select styling products. In my line of work as a freelance vintage hair stylist, make-up artist and owner of Sarah's Doo-Wop Dos, I regularly create many different looks from different eras for my customers, so the tips I'm sharing in this article are thoroughly tried and tested!

This style is a great one to learn as it can be worn two different ways. The first look has the curls left down at the back framing the face, the perfect, pretty style for a day out. The other has the hair pinned up into an elegant updo, great for an evening event. With the introduction of rationing during the war years, hairstyles became a way for women in the 1940s to change up their look when few other things were available to them. Hairdos became more and more complex with intricate arrangements of curls, as women found ever more resourceful ways to look good on limited means.

1.Start by making a middle section and clipping it up out of the way. Make two smaller sections either side, using the back of your ear as a rough guide as to how far to take them back.


2. After a little backcombing at the roots, roll each side section up to meet the middle one and secure in place with hair grips. Make sure these side rolls are tight but don't worry too much if they aren't particularly neat. They are just the base of the style and will probably get covered up later on.

3. Unclip and start working on the middle section. You will need to curl the hair with a small barrelled hair tong. Make sure you have created a fair few curls so they can be arranged to fill the gap between the two side rolls.


4. Backcomb/tease the curls a little to make them fuller, but smooth them a little with some pomade (a greasy hair product perfect for slicking hair and controlling frizz) run through the hair on your fingers if they get too dishevelled.

5. Arrange the curls on the crown of your head. They need to be placed in a hap-hazard style so they don't look to regimented. It's ok if they cover the side rolls but don't let them stick out past them as it will ruin the silhouette of the style. Also, try to build a little height to the style by layering the curls up slightly.


6. For the last part of the half up/half down style, curl the rest of your hair with tongs and then follow the curl instructions in Step 4 so the curls at the bottom have the same soft, fluffy quality as the curls on top.

Elegant updos where hugely popular in the 1940s, so to turn this style into an updo, complete steps 7 & 8

7. Curl the rest of your hair but this time create a line of hair grips across the back of your head at the nape of your neck.


8. Tease your curls so they are soft and fluffy like the curls at the crown. You can then take individual curls and start pinning them up to the line of grips so the hair grips lock together and hold. Again, pin the hair up in a hap-hazard fashion so it doesn't look too flat. You want it to have body and mirror the top of the style. To finish you can always add a glitzy clip or a brooch into the style. I find that two matching clips either side of the curls at the front or back can really off set this look and, voila, you have a second look!

Article, hair and make-up: Sarah Dunn, owner of Sarah's Doo-Wop Dos

Model: Alice

Photography: Jez Brown

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