Let’s be honest, the 1960s hold a special place in our hearts. It was a time of flower pants and hippies, sure, but what makes this decade so spectacularly special is the hairstyles we were all wearing.
What we did with our hair in the ’60s represented the social changes we were making in our lives. It was nothing for a woman to cut her hair shorter, while men grew their hair out to lengths that had once been considered ‘socially unacceptable’. We were farewelling the bouffants and poodle cuts that had a grip on hair trends during the 1950s and welcoming in a wave of trendy, edgy and amplified hairstyles.
Up, up and away! The beehive was an exaggerated look of the ’60s that required the wearer to pile her hair on top of her head in a conical shape before fastening it to that point with ridiculous amounts of hairspray. When one was done (and clear of the fog and fumes) the style presented itself of similar shape and size to an actual beehive… All that was missing was the buzzing sound of bees. Celebrities everywhere seemed to be wearing this look; from Aretha Franklin to Joan Collins.
In the United States, the African-American civil rights movement was gathering momentum in the ’60s. Not only were African-Americans reclaiming their sense of identity, they were flipping off conventions that required them to model their hair and style on those of white Americans. Enter the Afro (more affectionately known as the ‘fro). This full-on fashion trend was sported by those inside and outside the black community, including Jimi Hendrix.
You can thank the Beatles for popularising the mop top style cut in the 1960s. Rumour has it that their manager said the hairstyle would resonate well with the public, but it’s unlikely even he realised just how much of an influence the style would have. The United Kingdom-based band soared to unprecedented heights in the United States and were instantly recognisable for the mop top look (messy all over, a bit longer, vastly different from the slicked back style of the ’50s). If you wanted to present yourself as a ‘rebel’ in the ’60s, the place to start was with the mop top hairstyle.
Women were opting for shorter hairstyles in the ’60s and there was none more popular than Twiggy’s pixie. Some might remember the boyish look had made heads turn in the 1950s and was worn by Audrey Hebpburn (think 1953’s Roman Holiday), but women were flocking to the hairdresser to copy that worn by the British model. Liza Minnelli, Edie Sedgwick and Mia Farrow also sported the new pixie cut.
Va va voom! If the movies were to be believed, we were all getting in touch with our sexy side in the ’60s and with that came the hairstyle to match. At the completel opposite end of the pixie cut was the bombshell look adopted by Raquel Welch, Jane Fonda and Brigitte Bardot. All wore their hair longer, with a mix of soft messy waves and long-parted or side-swept bangs. It was the ultimate sex symbol look, and honestly, women everywhere wanted to emulate to get in on the action.
It’s true! Hairstyles and those who wore them certainly had quite the influence over us. Perhaps what’s interesting is that with a resurgence for all things ‘vintage’, these unique and beautiful looks are no doubt going to be back in style too.