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How to Do Burlesque Hair

You can't do burlesque without burlesque hair -- retro 'do's from the 40s and 50s. See which vintage style best suits you.


  • Step 1: Make pin curls Make pin curls: Take sections of damp hair -- the amount depends on how big or small you want the curls to be. One by one, wrap sections around your finger, and then clip them to your head with bobby pins. Let them dry naturally; then release them into soft waves. Make adjustments with your fingers and set with hairspray.
  • Step 2: Try victory rolls Try victory rolls, popular during World War II. Part your hair in the middle or on one side, then section off the hair from the front of the ears forward. Hairspray one section, and wrap it around two of your fingers so you form a large barrel curl; then pin it to the top of your head. Spray again. Repeat for the other side. The rest of your hair can be styled any way you like.
  • Step 3: Create Marcel waves Create Marcel waves, a great retro look for short hair. Blow-dry hair straight. Then, instead of rolling hair around a curling iron, clamp the hair in sections, and keep reversing the iron as you pull it down the strand.
  • Step 4: Get retro bangs For an easy, everyday look, dye your hair jet black and get your bangs cut very short and angled up at the temples, in the style of '50's pin-up queen Bettie Page.
  • Step 5: Accessorize Add a burlesque hair accessory. Find authentic ones at vintage shops or reproductions at accessories stores. Now you're stylin'!
  • FACT: In the 18th and 19th centuries "a burlesque show" simply referred to a comedy show. Burlesque didn't come to be associated with striptease until the 1920s.

You Will Need

  • Bobby pins
  • Hairspray
  • Blow-dryer
  • Curling iron
  • Short bangs
  • Vintage hair accessory
  • Teasing comb (optional)
  • Bristle brush (optional)

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