Pin-up girl style has its roots in World War II, when flattering portraits of curvy, suggestive young women with dark brown hair dominated America’s military propaganda. What else was a young soldier supposed to look at when he felt far from home and his girlfriend?
Today, pin-up girls largely exist as an eccentric group dedicated to boudoir photography (read: lots of lingerie) and perfect curls. Don’t even get us started on the makeup—nobody applies cat eyeliner like a would-be pin-up girl. Those flicks are so sharp they could probably cut someone.
If you’re looking to take the sexy style for a spin, gather up a teasing comb, curling iron or hot rollers, bobby pins, curl clips and a couple of decorative scarves. You’ll be posing and coquettishly winking in no time.
The Best Pin-Up Girl Hair Looks To Try Right Now
We have a general hairstyling rule: If you can make a ponytail, you can do anything. In pin-up style, however, the basic building block of every updo is the World War II-inspired victory roll. The voluminous style is flattering and charmingly retro. Best of all, it’s not that hard to accomplish at home.
Sectioning off a U-shaped area at the top of the head (just behind your hairline), use a curling iron on small, even pieces. Shape ringlets that all face the same direction. When you’ve completed that step, hairspray and backcomb your hair at the roots to build volume.
Next, you’ll want to begin lightly smoothing and shaping your rolls into a shape that resembles the spiral of a conch shell resting nicely on your hairline. Use two fingers to roll the teased section back on itself, aiming for an oversized roll with a small curl inside of it.
When your victory roll looks the way you’d like, criss cross pins at the end of the strand to keep it in place. Coat everything with a healthy dose of hairspray. If the style looks more like a lopsided pool float than a roll, don’t be afraid to tackle it again. Practice really does make perfect when it comes to hair.
For the love of all things vintage, this is how it’s done. These shiny, perfectly set waves are all about bringing the drama to any event, whether it’s an evening wedding ceremony or a Tuesday you’re just really amped about. You may notice there’s nary a hair out of place, which is all due to the fact that this pin-up girl hair is the work of a professional. While you may be able to achieve similar-looking results at home with a curling iron and a can of hairspray, make an appointment with a trusted stylist to really execute this look perfectly.
Victory Roll Updo
Now that you know how to make a victory roll, the rest of pin-up style is simple. To create this double roll situation, you’ll start by curling all your hair into ringlets going the same direction. After each curl is done, roll it back up and pin it to your head with a no-crease scalp. Skip front section of your hair, which will become two victory rolls.
Start unpinning your curls, giving them a spritz of hairspray before you even think of touching them. Leave them aside while you create two victory rolls an inch or two back from your hairline using the tutorial above. When they’re totally set, use a brush to gently loosen your curls (they should form one consistent wave if you’ve curled evenly enough). All done!
Once you’ve mastered the victory roll, you’re on your way to becoming a pin-up pro. Using the style you’ve already learned, you can create dozens of looks.
Case in point: the victory twist, which is best for ladies with medium or very long hair. To make this style work for you, you’ll want to follow the same roll creation process detailed above. If you don’t have any ribbon available, feel free to use a beautifully printed scarf or embellished pins to accent the style.
Modern Bumper Bangs
For this hairstyle, we’re going to cheat a little bit by using a pre-made bun “rat”—not a rodent, just a synthetic cylinder that makes your updo seem more complicated than it really is. Section off the requisite U-shape from the top of your head, then curl and set the rest of your hair using the above tutorial.
When your curls are complete, unpin your top section of hair. Starting at the end of your lengths, roll the bun rat in toward your hairline. Be sure you’re rolling under, not over, curving the rat into a slightly bent U-shape when you’re finished. Then, pin and spray your new faux bangs.
If you love this style, don’t be afraid to use it for everything pin up: ponytails, buns, and the like. Bumper bangs are a quick, easy fix for second-day hair.
Here’s a lazy day style, one you can conquer if you have 10 minutes before running out the door. Start with a cropped cut in an unconventional color, using either your natural wave or pro-created perm to maximize the flirty texture. For an added pin-up touch, tie a patterned scarf around your head and head out for the day!
To achieve this look, you’ll want to start with sleek hair. Using a long-tailed comb, create a deep side part. Then, beginning on the side farthest from the part, create a loose victory roll that sits just above your ears. Using sections of hair that are about three inches wide, repeat the process around the nape of the neck until you’re totally out of hair.
The goal here is to make these small rolls create the illusion that they’re one cohesive updo, so pin and adjust them as necessary. This style is an excellent choice for a wedding, especially with a few fresh flowers tucked into it.
Pin-Up Inspired Ponytail
OK, so this ponytail may not have been the go-to style for mid century women in the factories. It’s a modern look that pays tribute to the vintage styles of yore with big old glamorous curls and a shiny metallic cuff, and it’s a great way to show off the long hair you’ve worked so hard to grow.
To replicate the look, use hot rollers or a wide-barrel curling iron to create ringlets throughout the mid-lengths and ends of your mane. Pin each one in place as you finish, using a quick spritz of hairspray to ensure you have some hold. Once your hair is cool, brush out all your ringlets and fasten them back into a sleek, dramatic tail.
Looking to get your hair professionally styled by a pin-up expert? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.