The '60s were a magical time when it comes to style. Just picture it: Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, and Sharon Tate were in their prime, discovering and setting beauty milestones we still live by today. While their makeup choices were certainly notable, it's their hair that has our attention this year. To make our case, we've rounded up '60s-inspired hairstyles worth weaving into your routine in 2021. Keep scrolling for all the retro inspiration you need.
Meet the Expert
- Elle Westby is a stylist and co-founder of Gem House in New York City.
Smooth and Voluminous
We don't know about you, but we can't wait to copy Swedish actress and singer Britt Ekland's 1969 'do, like, ASAP. If you want to achieve this look, Westby recommends, "Give your hair some added oomph by teasing the crown of the head, then brushing the hair at the crown back. Center part your hair and keep the front smooth, spritzing the hair with a flexible hairspray. Keep ends soft by curling them with a large barrel curling iron then brushing through."
Headbands might be huge now, but we owe it to Brigitte Bardot for cementing them as a style statement in the '60s. Her padded headband went on to inspire the very ones we can't stop swooning over more than 50 years later. Talk about iconic.
"To recreate this version, use a wide headband to complete your look," Westby says. "This is the perfect style to do on a day when you wake up and your hair is a bit messy… work with it! Give a bit of tease to the crown and the ends of the hair by doing a little backcombing on the ends and spritz in a texturizing spray to play that up. Pop the headband right above the ears, allowing any face framing pieces to fall forward for a soft look."
Motown girl group The Shirelles had a good thing going with their wispy baby bangs on this album cover. Today, you could pair these with a shaggy, shoulder-length bob for the perfect touch of mod.
Vidal Sassoon Pixie Cut
Short hair became a go-to in the 60s. One such style was the Vidal Sassoon pixie, which was created by the British hairstylist of the same name. It featured geometric edges that became a hit all over the world while super out-there for the time. Once Mia Farrow rocked the style, it was a spiral of everyone and their mother wanting to do the same. And thus, the demand for short, chic hairstyles began.
The late Sharon Tate proved that heavily styled strands weren't a must. Instead, you could rock loose, free-flowing curls and make just as big of an impact. Of course, the trick is to use a strong-hold hairspray that will keep your loose curls from falling flat.
This rolling updo was popular for its smooth texture and versatile nature. It featured the height of a beehive and curls' allure, making it a more feminine take on the high-as-heaven 'do. The retro flair has been seen on Hollywood red carpets and in vintage-inspired pin-ups, proving it's a classic style you simply can't go wrong with.
The Hollywood Flipped Bob
Jane Fonda flaunted another short style that quickly caught on to the mainstream. Enter: the Hollywood flipped bob. It featured subtle waves from the part to sharp, upturned ends. Here, the actress is shown wearing the cut in 1962, though it remained popular throughout the decade.
Aretha Franklin Tribute
Aretha Franklin's flipped bob further inspired women everywhere to opt for a semi-short style—only she urged them to add an accessory to the mix. This is particularly great for present-day inspiration, considering, as we all know by now, headbands are back and bigger than ever.
The Loose Beehive
Raquel Welch was the epitome of jaw-dropping beauty in the '60s. Here, she's seen wearing a loose beehive with face-framing tendrils. The style's height is what made it so notable, and to keep the oomph alive, it required more than a little hairspray.
Westby adds, "Change it up a bit and create a modern Beehive for your next night out. Use a teasing comb to prep the hair and create some volume throughout the crown. Spritz a texturizing spray on, to give the hair a little grip. Leave a few pieces out around the hairline and twist the hair up and secure some bobby pins into it.You can tuck any ends into the side or let them fall over the beehive for a soft look."
Full and Cropped
Before her voluminous curls were her signature, Diana Ross's cropped bob was her go-to look during her time with the Supremes. We bet more than a bit of back-combing happened for that gorgeous fullness.
The trick to creating the look is to use hot rollers or wide-barrel (2" or more) irons and lock the look in place with a strong-hold hairspray.
Half-Up Brigitte Bardot
"This timeless style isn’t going anywhere soon. One of the most referred to hairstyles, this half up-half down style paired with a sexy fringe or face framing angles is super easy to do," Westby says. "Simply, use a teasing comb to give the crown a little volume and then gather half of your hair back, leaving some of the face framing pieces around the hairline down. Not perfect? Don’t worry, this bedhead-esque look wants to be undone and a little messy."
Rita Moreno's curls make this short shag extra sexy. Keep them tight like this to show your face, or have them cut a little longer for more of a rock-n-roll vibe.
The First Lady Flipped Bob
Just like the Hollywood flipped bob, first lady Jackie O's short flounce inspired swarms of women to head to the salon. Her flipped bob was just a tad longer than Jane Fonda's, though both embraced the same idea: Smooth strands coiffed with extra volume at the crown and surrounding the temples. The result was nothing short of demure and continues to inspire women looking for a tailored style (look at Nest Fragrances founder Laura Slatkin).
"I love a good high ponytail moment, and one of the reasons why is because it instantly awakens your face by pulling taut your skin and accentuating the cheekbones. It is an effortless way to have your hair look done in an understated way," Westby says. "To achieve this look, pull the hair back smooth using a boar bristle teasing brush to smooth any bumps in the hair and flyaways at the hairline. Spritz a touch of hairspray on your fingers and smooth back any pieces needed. A little twist on this look is grabbing a ½ inch section of hair on the underside of the ponytail, spritzing hairspray to give it grip, and then wrapping it around the hairband. Secure with a bobby pin underneath."
Half-Up Middle Part
This half-up bouffant was seen on every corner in the 1960s. It was simple, stylish, and looked totally put together. Best of all, it's a fairly easy style to bring to life, which made it accessible for anyone and everyone.
Bangs and Length
With so many curls and updos, you may have thought that straight strands didn't have a place in the '60s, but think again. Straight, seemingly air-dried strands were an effortless fashion statement, like actress Akiko Wakabayashi rocks her in her turn as Bond girl Aki in You Only Live Twice. Pair them with heavy bangs and it's even better. Nowadays, with long hair being such a staple, it's super simple to recreate this look.
In 1968, at the height of the civil rights movement, the afro made its first appearance. The style was (and still is) characterized by natural lengths coiffed upwards and outwards, often using gel, cream, or hairspray to help hold it in place. Soul singer Nina Simone often wore her hair this way; It exploded in the '70s, becoming one of the most popular natural styles.
The '60s were also a time when pulling your bangs back first became a thing. While pulled-back bangs were more recently popular in the early aughts, the '60s rocked the look in an incredibly balanced way, pairing the poof with ultra-voluminous mids and ends as opposed to super-straight lengths. The result is nothing short of glamorous.
TV actress Nichelle Nichols gave us a few stunning style moments in her run as Uhura on Star Trek, but our favorite is this sleek pompadour, which is the perfect combination of futuristic and chic. Live long and pomp.
Side-Swept Bombshell Bangs
Diahann Carroll showcased another hairstyle that boomed in the '60s: side-swept bombshell bangs. The major swoop is a great way to frame the face and add softness to any haircut.
By now, it's clear that flipped-out and flipped-under styles were a staple of the '60s. Add hair clips to the mix, and you have yourself another style that was worn endlessly in the decade. Given the accessories craze and sleek obsession in modern times, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing this trend pop up on social feeds everywhere.
Sleek Center Part
Miss Ross the Boss shows us another great style from the '60s that could easily be translated for today: a sleek, straight bob with a center part.
Pigtails and Curtain Bangs
Midway through the 60s, Brigitte Bardot introduced playful pigtails into the mix. She wrapped bows around each hair section to add an even more feminine take on the carefree style. Paired with curtain bangs, it was nothing short of youthful and fun.