The secret to the perfect fifties set


Anyone who is into the “pinup look” or the vintage lifestyle will attest to the huge role hair has to play. My mother has always said that a good haircut and great eyebrows can make anyone go from drab to fab in record time. Having experimented plenty with both during my youth i can assure you the converse is just as true! This is why i now see a professional to get my hair cut once every 6 weeks at a very cheap but reputable hairdressing chain at my local mall. $29 sees me through six weeks of pincurl and hot iron sets that make me feel a million bucks without breaking the bank.

I used to be one of those suckers with more layers than an onion hoping that it would disguise my chubby cheeks and “frame” my face. Having really thick Afghani/Desi hair meang that my head almost always ended up looking like a pineapple no matter how much i tried to pull off the coveted Veronica lake flip. It took me four years of terrible bettie bangs, floppy victory rolls and tragic bopeep curls to realise that in the vintage hair game, the cut is perhaps the most important part of achieving an authentic retro hairstyle. Oh and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a round/chubby face. I mean it worked for Betty Grable and she is the quintessential pinup girl.

Many bad haircuts later i have finally settled on a late fifties pageboy style which is oh so easy to reproduce with a curling wand and a good bristle brush. Its easy to wash, simple to pincurl and is versatile enough for no nonsense office type jobs. So here is what i have learnt through my misadventures. You need to scroll down and take a screenshot of this rather amateur drawing i have done for you and show it to your hairdresser. Ready?

Here you go.


So what you have here is what is known in the industry as the middy cut or as my hairdresser calls it, a pageboy. You want your hair to be cut into a tapered U shape, kinda like a horseshoe. Longer at the back and shorter in the front. I personally prefer the shortest part of my hair to just brush my jawline and for the longest layer to sit above my shoulders. The shorter you cut your hair the easier it will be to do those fiddly pincurl sets and the less you will have to endure PAS (pincurl arm syndrome, a condition that results in a half curled head due to high levels of cbf).


The picture above demonstrates how much length i lose/retain in my curls once i have set and brushed them out. As you can see, my hair is a lot shorter in the completed set than in its natural state. This is why its important to consider the right length for you. My advice is always to go a little longer than you think you will need, staying above shoulder length but making sure your shortest layer is never above the jawline.

I find that having thick wavy hair as most of us Middle eastern and Desi girls tend to have works perfectly with this style as it relies on both, a natural wave and weight of the hair to keep its shape throughout the day.

So go visit your hairdresser with my shitty looking drawing and tell her that a middle eastern mermaid told you you needed a middy cut. Its a mouthful to say but i promise it will be well worth it.

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