All throughout awards season, we couldn’t help but notice that vintage hairstyles are having a moment. From side-swept waves on Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Lawrence to brushed out curls on Jessica Chastain, it’s obvious that our favorite leading ladies (and their hair stylists) are looking to the past for some inspiration. But as much as we love a good finger wave, pulling off the vintage look at home isn’t always flattering. If done incorrectly, you’re toeing the line between glamour and grandma. To get some insight on the hair trends everyone wants but few know how to achieve, we sat down with celebrity hairstylist Ben Skervin for Vidal Sassoon for his expert, in-depth tips on making vintage hairstyles work on anyone at home.
Beauty High: Where specifically have these modern takes on vintage hairstyle trends been coming from?
Ben Skervin: We narrowed it down to three different decades: the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s. So the ’40s, inspired by Veronica Lake, are coming about in the way of the Jessica Chastain look. The 1960s Brigitte Bardot look of that volumized crown of the head and bangs, Zooey Deschanel has taken that on, and the 1980s Debbie Harry look of the texturized long bob haircut, we’re seeing it everywhere, like on Keira Knightley.
How exactly do you take inspiration from these vintage looks and make them new again?
It’s all about taking an old school look and making the modern version of it. With the old Hollywood wave, the new take isn’t quite as set looking. It’s not frizzy, it’s about being sleeker and sexier, more finished. Maybe the wave starts a bit lower so the sleekness is around your face, depending on how long your hair is. I also love how the whole Debbie Harry vibe is having a resurgence, because everyone is going for that long bob haircut and for me it’s about the versatility of it and how many layers you put into it. There are so many variations, so that’s a style so many women can go into. The bob is versatile enough that any woman can make it suit her.
The old Hollywood glamour look has been everywhere lately. How can girls create this look themselves at home?
I always use a curling iron for quickness and because I know the consistency of the curl. Sometimes when you set your hair with rollers, there are different elements that can change the way the set is, and when you brush it out it won’t hold any of the curl because it’s not crispy enough. I know that if I’m using a curling iron, putting a little hairspray and curling each section, it’ll hold well. The guts of the hair are what’s going to make the style last longer, so when blow drying, I use a combination of things. Start with heat protectant spray, then use some volumizing mousse if your hair is fine or if you just want to really pump up the volume. It’s not heavy and won’t weigh the hair down, but it gives it that hold. Take once inch sections of hair and wind the hair in a spiral down the barrel of the curling iron, hold it and don’t tuck the ends in so it’s a bit unfinished. Slide the hair off the curling iron and let it cool in the spiral so that it sets properly, and repeat this process around the head. If you want the extra wave look in the front like Veronica Lake, use a smaller curling iron on the front plate of your hair (about two inches), then the back of your hair will be smooth and it goes into the brushed out look at the bottom. Once you’ve curled your head and let it cool, lightly brush out the curls t0wards the bottom and use hairspray once the style is complete. If you’ve got frizzy hair, rub a crème gloss into your hands so it almost disappears, then run it over your hair for a smooth finish.
If you’re going for an on-trend haircut, like the “lob,” what’s the best plan of attack for the salon?
People always come in with pictures or ask what’s the best thing I can do for them. When I was working in a salon, Helena Christensen was popular and that’s who everyone brought me a picture of, but I’d take the picture and hold my finger over Helena’s face, and then in reality you look at it and the cut’s a bit like Rod Stewart. I know you love the face, but you won’t love that haircut on yourself. It’s a matter of adjusting the style to whatever you want it to be. Always take a picture reference for length, color, how many layers, fringe, etc. so we can have a guideline and build a picture of what you actually want your hair to look like. Also, be realistic about what your hair actually does. Learn to love your hair. If you’ve got thick, curly hair, a sleek bob is not necessarily going to be the best thing for you unless you wake up every day and do a blow dry and put a straightening iron over it.
For an in depth look at how to get the hairstyle trend from the 1940s, ’60s and ’80s, take a look at the slideshow above!
Images via IMDB