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Rockabilly Hair

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 3 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Rockabilly Hair Hairstyle Cut Pincurl

Want to do something really glamorous with your hair? The 1940s pin-up look is all the rage, with rockabilly styles creating a sensation. Although they may look complicated, they're relatively easy to do, and can be adapted to suit most hair types. They look best in striking colours like jet black or platinum blond, but you can modify them for a look that is distinctly you.

Get the Cut

Although there are a wide variety of rockabilly styles, they all start from the same basic cut. This is heavily layered to help give it body, with hair about four inches long all across the head and a heavy fringe down to eyebrow level. Sometimes the back of the hair is left longer, but rockabilly styles won't work with hair that falls much past the shoulders, as too much weight will pull it out of shape.

The many layers in a rockabilly cut give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to styling, enabling you to shape different areas of the cut in different ways. This means you can have several layers of curls, each at its most voluminous, or you can leave the crown flat but curl the sides and the ends. You can also use clips to lift up the mid-section and back of the hair for elegant evening styles.

Rockabilly styles are playful, so don't be shy about experimenting with girlish styles like pony tails or bunches. Correctly accessorised, these can look great on adult women.

Curls and Waves

Rockabilly hair has to be curly, and much of its impact comes from the contrast between curls and flat, sleek areas. If you have naturally curly hair you can flatten areas of it by stretching them between clips and securing them with mousse or hairspray. If your hair is naturally straight, you may choose to get a perm - a wave rather than tight curls usually works best - or to use these traditional methods on all or part of your hair:-

  • Rolls - Traditionally these were made using rollers, which rockabilly girls slept in overnight. You can use the same technique or speed things up by using hot rollers.
  • Finger curls - For a quick but dramatic effect, curl hair around a finger and set it in place with mousse. This approach is particularly good for creating kiss curls to emphasise your cheekbones.
  • Pincurls - These are formed by curling hair around a finger or a pencil but keeping it pressed flat against the head as you do so, then fixing it with hairspray. The result are tight, springy curls that look especially good in shorter styles.

Short Styles

If your hair is too short for the traditional cut described above, you can still have rockabilly hair, though the range of styles available to you will be smaller. The trick to making short styles work is to really make the most of those curls. Grow out your fringe first and style the rest of your hair around it for added impact.

Once you have a long enough fringe, framing the face with exotic curls will compensate for a less elaborate effect elsewhere on the head. Rockabilly hair should always be glossy but short styles in particular can benefit from a light coating of oil to bring out their rich colours.


The trick to creating a really spectacular rockabilly hairstyle is to accessorise. Simple, elegant accessories like clips and barrettes can look good, but it's better to be bold. Try artificial flowers, small pieces of mesh, thick satin ribbons or chunky plastic beads. Cut-glass costume jewellery can look amazing woven into your hair. Bright colours and diamanté will complete that glamorous look.

There are many accessories designed especially for rockabilly hairstyles that you may not be familiar with, so take the time to look around. Miniature top hats can add a quirky charm, whilst tortoiseshell-effect combs combine kitsch character with old-fashioned elegance.

However you approach styling your rockabilly hair, remember that the real point is to have fun. This is a look that should make you feel full of energy and ready to party.

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