Classic Hairstyles

How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair

Jane Bertin
By Jane Bertin. Updated: February 13, 2024
How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair

The 1920s, also known as the Roaring Twenties, was a decade of immense cultural and social change, and this was reflected in fashion, including hairstyles. Women embraced shorter, more daring styles that symbolized their newfound independence and freedom. If you're looking for a way to add some vintage flair to your look, try out one of these classic styles!

The following oneHOWTO article explains how to do 1920s hairstyles. Learn easy, step-by-step techniques for classic styles like the bob, finger waves, and the Eton crop.

  1. The Bob
  2. Eton Crop
  3. Finger Waves
  4. Shingle Cut
  5. Pigtails

The Bob

The bob exploded onto the scene, fueled by the rebellious spirit of the "flapper" era in the 1920s. Women, yearning for liberation, shed their long locks for this bold, chin-length style. Icons like Josephine Baker and Louise Brooks sported it, solidifying its image as a symbol of defiance against traditional beauty standards.

How to style the bob hairstyle

  1. Begin by washing and drying your hair thoroughly.

  2. Depending on your hair type and desired look, apply a small amount of styling product such as mousse, gel, or styling cream to your damp hair. This will help to add hold and control to your style.

  3. Use a blow-dryer and a round brush to style your bob as desired. For a sleek and smooth look, use the round brush to straighten your hair while blow-drying. For added volume, flip your head upside down while blow-drying, focusing on the roots.

  4. If you prefer a sleek, straight bob, use a flat iron to straighten your hair section by section.

  5. To enhance the texture of your bob, you can use styling products such as texturizing spray or dry shampoo.
    Apply the product to your roots and mid-lengths, then tousle your hair with your fingers to create volume and definition.

  6. Once you've achieved your desired style, finish with a light mist of hairspray to hold your bob in place and prevent frizz throughout the day.

Finally, you can accessorize your bob hairstyle with hair clips, headbands, or hair scarves for a touch of personality and flair. Keep in mind that styling a bob is all about experimentation and finding what works best for your hair type and personal style. Have fun experimenting with different techniques and products to achieve your desired look!

How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair - The Bob

Eton Crop

The Eton Crop gained immense popularity during the Roaring Twenties, coinciding with the bob hairstyle's rise. Its short length and sleekness resonated with the feminist movement and its ideals of challenging traditional femininity and embracing female autonomy. It suited various face shapes and complemented the cloche hats, a defining fashion item of the era.

How to style the Eton Crop hairstyle

  1. Begin by washing and thoroughly drying your hair.

  2. Depending on your hair type and desired finish, you may want to apply a small amount of styling product such as pomade, wax, or styling cream to your fingertips. Rub the product between your hands to warm it up, then evenly distribute it throughout your hair.

  3. Using your fingers or a comb, shape your hair into the desired style. The Eton Crop is usually worn with the hair brushed forward or slightly to the side, with the sides and back trimmed close to the head.

  4. Pay attention to the edges of your hairstyle, ensuring they are neat and well-defined. You may want to use a small amount of additional styling product to smooth down any flyaways or stray hairs.

  5. If you want to add extra hold to your hairstyle, you can finish with a light mist of hairspray. However, this step is optional, as the Eton Crop is typically quite short and doesn't require much hold.

Since the Eton Crop is a short hairstyle, it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking sharp. You may need to visit your barber or stylist every few weeks for a trim to maintain the length and shape of the hairstyle.

How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair -  Eton Crop

Finger Waves

Emerging in the 1920s alongside the popular bob hairstyle, finger waves embodied the era's spirit of breaking traditional beauty norms and embracing newfound freedom.

Finger waves are a style where "S"-shaped waves are meticulously crafted into the hair close to the scalp using fingers and a comb. These waves, when dried and set, create a smooth, defined texture.

How to style the finger waves hairstyle

  1. Start with clean, damp hair. Apply a styling mousse or gel evenly throughout your hair to add hold and texture. This will help the waves to set and stay in place.

  2. Use a comb to divide your hair into sections, typically starting from the front and working your way to the back. The width of the sections depends on how tight you want your waves to be.

  3. Take a small section of hair from one of the sections you created. Using your fingers and the comb, create an 'S' shape with the hair, pressing it against your scalp. Hold the wave in place with your fingers while you move on to the next section.

  4. Repeat step 3 for each section of hair, making sure the waves are uniform and smooth.

  5. Once all the waves are in place, use clips or pins to hold them in place while they dry. You can also use a hairdryer on a low setting to help speed up the drying process.

  6. Finally, once the waves are dry, carefully remove the clips or pins. Use your fingers to gently separate and define the waves. You can also use a comb or brush to smooth out any flyaways or uneven areas.

To help hold the waves in place and add shine, finish with a light mist of hairspray. Be sure to use a flexible hold hairspray to keep the waves soft and touchable. It is important to note that it may take some practice to get the waves just right, so don't be discouraged if it takes a few tries.

For more information, do not miss this other article on how to do 1920s finger waves.

How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair - Finger Waves

Shingle Cut

The Shingle Cut, also known as the "Shingle Bob" in some cases, was a variation of the traditional bob hairstyle. Both featured short hair, but the Shingle Cut was generally shorter than the traditional bob, often reaching just below the ears or even shorter at the nape of the neck.

Also, while the bob could be blunt, the Shingle Cut emphasized graduated layers, particularly towards the back, for increased volume and movement.

As we have seen, the 1920s buzzed with cultural shifts, questioning traditional norms and embracing modernism. Women, empowered by the fight for suffrage, sought liberation from restrictive Victorian ideals. In this sense, the Shingle Bob, shorter and livelier than the classic bob, embodied this spirit.

How to style a Shingle Cut hairstyle

  1. Begin with clean, damp hair. Towel dry gently to remove excess moisture.

  2. Use a styling product such as a styling cream, pomade, or gel to add texture and hold to your hair. Start with a small amount and distribute it evenly throughout your hair, focusing on the roots and working your way to the ends.

  3. Use a blow dryer with a nozzle attachment and a round brush to style your hair as you dry it. Use the brush to lift the roots and create volume, especially at the front and crown of your head. Blow dry the hair forward and to the side to enhance the layered effect.

  4. If your hair has any natural texture or waves that you want to smooth out, you can use a flat iron to straighten it. Work in small sections, starting from the bottom and working your way up to the top.

  5. Use your fingers or a comb to define the layers of your Shingle Cut. You can gently tousle the shorter layers at the back to add texture and dimension, while keeping the longer layers at the front sleek and smooth.

  6. Use a comb or your fingers to style the front of your hair. You can brush it forward for a classic look, or sweep it to the side for a more modern twist. Use a bit of styling product to help hold the style in place.

Since the Shingle Cut is a short hairstyle, it will require regular trims to maintain its shape and style. Visit your barber or stylist every few weeks to keep your Shingle Cut looking fresh.

How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair - Shingle Cut


Throughout the 1920s, pigtails weren't a single, defined trend, but rather a versatile hairstyle worn by women and girls across different ages and social classes. For younger girls and working-class women, pigtails offered practicality and kept hair out of the way for chores or playtime.

However, pigtails also faced criticisms in the 1920s, particularly associated with outdated Victorian ideals of femininity and childishness. Especially because, as we have seen, bolder, shorter styles like the bob gained popularity, pigtails often fell out of favor within fashionable circles, seen as less modern and sophisticated.

How to style pigtails

  1. Start with clean, detangled hair. This ensures smooth, neat braids.

  2. Apply styling products for hold and texture. Mousse for volume, gel for sleekness, or leave-in conditioner for frizz control.

  3. Divide hair into two equal sections using a comb or your fingers. Secure each section with an elastic band.

Elevate your pigtails with braids like fishtails, French braids, or Dutch braids. You can also braid upwards for a unique twist. Incorporate loose strands for a romantic touch.

Finally, accessorize, ribbons, headbands, clips, or hair cuffs add a touch of personality.

You might be interested in this other article, where we explain how to throw a 1920s themed party.

How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair - Pigtails

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How to Do 1920s Hairstyles for Short & Long Hair