The 1950s were a defining decade for style. The rock and roll revolution was in full swing, bringing with it leather jackets and blue jeans, as well as many popular hairstyles. Singers like Little Richard and Elvis Presley made pompadours and quiffs trendy amongst young people much to the dismay of the older generation, while elsewhere, Hollywood’s Golden Age was still going strong, with actors like Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, and James Dean all helping to popularize different cuts among men wanting to emulate their silver-screen idols.
Now, more than 70 years later, many of the decade's style cues are as relevant as ever. Denim and leather never really went away, and the iconic hairstyles have seen an increase in popularity in the past few years. From straight-laced styles like the Ivy League and the side part to greaser cuts worn by bikers and rebels, the decade has a lot of potential for hair inspiration.
Ready to take a trip down memory lane? Ahead, we’ve rounded up 30 different 1950s men's hairstyles for you to check out.
One of the best-known hairstyles of the decade, the greaser style is still found on those looking to go for a rocker or “bad boy” look. This takes daily styling maintenance to keep up the image, but the result is worth it.
The dramatic look of the widow's peak style may take a confident swagger to pull off, but if you have the attitude and the hair for it, this is a classic 1950s men's hairstyle that will get a lot of looks.
If you like a preppy look, the clean styling of an Ivy League cut is the way to go. A water-based gel will help give you the “not a hair out of place” look.
Named precisely for what it looks like, the ducktail cut is already a favorite among men who favor more retro styles. Style the sides and back of the hair towards the center to create the ducktail shape.
Another 1950s men's hairstyle whose popularity has been growing in recent years is the pompadour. When you have a bit of length on top, brush all of the hair upwards and use a hairdryer to help keep the pomp in place. A taper fade on the sides will complete the look.
One of the most emulated style icons of the '50s was Elvis Presley. Characterized by its long sideburns and slicked sides, this pompadour variation of his signature hair is fit for a king.
Styled high and completely smooth on top, the flat top works best on hair with a lot of volume and texture.
One of the quintessential 1950s men's hairstyles, the quiff could be found on many young actors and musicians. This will work with both short and longer lengths—just comb the hair to the side, flip bangs upward with a comb, and style with a bit of hairspray for hold.
The shorter military styling of the crew cut is almost timeless and is an excellent alternative to a ‘50s look if you can’t quite pull off a pompadour or quiff.
The type of look you could find on everyone from rock stars to accountants, the side part can be achieved by aggressively combing the hair from one side to the other while either using gel for hold or going for a more natural look.
A great look for fans of old Hollywood, this swept-over 1950s men's hairstyle looks great with a variety of different fashions and is simple to get and maintain.
Frank Sinatra’s short and wavy hairstyle can be recreated for more modern times by taking even more off the sides with a slight taper. Slick the hair back and keep the length from getting too long.
Update the regular pompadour by opting for a skin fade on the sides, which will further highlight the mass of hair up top.
For an extreme variation on the ducktail, shave off most of the sides to create a mohawk, then style the ducktail as usual.
While your hair is still wet, apply some pomade to the sides and sweep the hair upwards with a comb to achieve a '50s rockabilly look.
Another 1950s men's hairstyle that has recently seen increased visibility is the Teddy Boy—named after the British rock subculture, which is characterized by a particular style of dress and distinctive hair. To get this look, start by using a gel to slick the sides of the hair back and around the ears, then comb bangs into a pomp or quiff using just a bit of product to keep the look natural.
Pompadour with Beard
While not as common in the '50s, styling a pompadour with a full beard can update the look for modern times. Allow the sideburns to flow directly into your beard without any trimming to frame your face thoroughly.
This side part variation on the contour features a small, quiff-like flip in front, along with a tapered side for a clean finish.
For this 1950s men's hairstyle variation, you'll want to have a significant amount of hair on top that can be styled forwards. Opt for a close fade on the sides to give the quiff a more defined look.
One of the earliest “fade” haircuts, the façon works well on different lengths of hair. Have your barber gradually fade the hair near the neck longer until it reaches the top.
Another favorite of 1950s film stars, this look is easily achieved by simply combing through a gel straight back, without creating a part.
Use a solid pomade to add texture and a wavy appearance to longer hair. Add a gradual taper on the sides for a cleaner look.
Not quite a side part and not quite a pompadour, the side-swept look is a way to have the structure of a side part, but with a considerable pomp for a laid-back look.
Hard Side Part
Rather than just using a comb to part your hair, have your stylist create a harder part with a razor.
James Dean, known for portraying rebels and bad boys, often opted for a messier, less sleek 1950s men's hairstyle to match his persona. This textured cut is light on product and heavy on attitude.
Another way to modernize the pompadour is to try it with an undercut for a striking contrast.
A back taper will help accentuate many of the 1950s men's haircuts here, especially flat tops and pompadours.
A cousin to the quiff hairstyle, men in the ‘50s frequently went for the flop look, in which the longer hair in front is left in front of the face. You can opt to use some gel for a more greaser look or keep it natural.
For those with natural hair types, it's still possible to get a truly rocking pompadour. After allowing your hair to grow out for a bit, you'll want to get the sides and back closely cropped. To style the pomp, use some pomade and a hairdryer to fashion the hair on top until it's as high as you’d like.
Bowl Cut Fade
This style is great for those with shorter hair who want a dramatic look. The close fade should almost resemble a bowl cut in the front, with the hair in the back gradually getting longer.