From The Bouffant to The Rachel – Hairstyles That Defined A Generation

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Nothing defines a decade more than its iconic hairstyles. Beautician’s Day is on June 26th, so take a trip down memory lane with these stylish coifs that were all the rage during a certain period of time. Let’s hope some of these never make a comeback!

Iconic Hairstyles Identify The Decades

The roaring 20s was a time in which the sustained economic prosperity brought cities to life with extravagant social parties, exhilarating Charleston dancing, upbeat jazz music and a media obsessed with celebrities and the good life. Women became bolder and the flapper cropped her hair to the chin in Bobs and Finger Wave hairstyles, which was an aggressive departure from the conservative and matronly looks of the previous decade.

By the time the 1950s came along, the US was well into the cold war and the world was immersed in the battle between communism and capitalism, with the US emerging as the most influential economic power in the world. Most households owned a television set, Sputnik was launched and much to the older generation’s chagrin, rock and roll dominated the airwaves. This led to a number of iconic hairstyles for both men and women. The Pompadour was made famous by celebrities such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, while its cousin, the Ducktail was longer and less refined, typical for boys from the wrong side of the tracks and greasers. While men were going with longer hairstyles, women were chopping off their locks into The Pixie cut which Audrey Hepburn made chic.

The 1960s is characterized by the cultural and political activities around the globe, which helped shape a variety of unique hairstyles. The revolution against social norms was fully in swing and previous social taboos such as racism and sexism were foremost in the media with people taking a stand, invoking their rights under the First Amendment. Countless teenage boys rebelled, letting their hair grow long and messy into The Shag that The Beatles made famous and girls swooned over. Apparently bigger was better with the ladies who flocked to beauty parlors to have the latest piled high updo hairstyles such as the Beehive and Bouffant. With racism issues at the forefront of society, the Black is Beautiful population boarded the fashion train and developed iconic hairstyles of their own with the Afro, Cornrows and Dreadlocks, styles which lasted deep into the 1970s.

The decade of change was plagued by war, coups, international conflicts, terrorist attacks, anti-war protests, natural disasters and the global fight for control over the oil industry. The 1970s saw visual change in fashion with bell bottoms, wild prints inspired by far-off lands, leisure suits and platform shoes. To go with these bold fashion statements, women began wearing their hair really long, the enviable feathered locks of Farah Fawcett being the most imitated of the hairstyles. Towards the end of the 1970s with the emergence of punk rock, the Devilock hairstyle was introduced as well as the ultimate redneck hairdo for men that they regret having ever worn, The Mullet.

Technological advancements headlined the 1980s with the birth of the arcade games, computers, walkmans, boomboxes, VCRs and synthesizers. Music was eclectic, defined by one hit wonders which spawned unique looks that identified the different bands and types of music. Boys flocked towards punk Liberty Spikes, alternative Mohawks, Bowlcuts, mainstream Rat-tails and all types of perms dominated both men’s and women’s hairstyles. The ladies moussed their bangs to skyscraper heights and until society determined that hair just couldn’t get any bigger or more volume.

Characterized by the new media movement, the 1990s saw the internet take off, cable television take over and entrepreneurial endeavors boom. Music began to change with the emergence of grunge, rave scene, rap and hip-hop. Hair slowly came down for women while men grew theirs taller to get the ultimate Flat Top hairstyles that looked like over the top pencil erasers. Ladies took to shearing their hair into layers once The Rachel was introduced on the television show Friends and girls lined up at salons across the country, clutching their latest copy of a tabloid magazine, wanting the haircut that was splashed all over it.

Globalization was the name of the game in the 2000s in which the internet exploded communication with people around the world and information was available with the click of a button. The country now suffered the environmental consequences from decades of gluttonous use of natural resources, and that knowledge of these issues was firmly at the back door of the American public. Hairstyles for men became more creative than ever with the gelled Fauxhawk, emotional hardcore punk rock inspired Emo and the military and tough guy Buzz Cut. Ladies turned to more natural hairstyles, finally putting away their ozone layer enemy Aqua Net aerosol hairspray and using fewer styling products than they had in the past, forever changing the American woman.

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Hairstyles come and hairstyles go. Some were wonderfully chic and fashionable, while others illicit a groan every time you see yourself from a decade in which you made unflattering hair choices. This Beauticians’ Day, celebrate those hairdressers and hair stylists that were willing to define an era with their artistic styling, and got you to pay for it!

Pick up a beautician ornament as a gift of thanks to your hairdresser or check out our music ornaments to see instruments that made rock and roll history!

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