Learn about Life in the 1920s

1920's Hairstyling and Design

When designing any hair style, be sure to observe carefully the head and face of your patron, from every angle: profile, back and front. Note the contour of the head in general.

NOTE: The following text is taken from one of our books on 1920s hairstyles. While you can read the complete text of this book online, most of the illustrations are missing. However it gives you an opportunity to assess the content and if you're interested you can buy a digital download version of the Book complete with 119 illustrations and photos - Click here to buy "1920's-30's Haircutting and Styling"

Study the Client

Bobbed Hair Book
Fully illustrated book
on Bobbed Hairstyles:
1920's-30's Haircutting
and Styling - Cost $27
Available for
Instant Download

Study every curve and line, taking into consideration particularly:

1. The natural hair line

2. The forehead (Is it high, low, narrow or wide?)

3. The line from the chin to the ear

4. The neck line

5. The crown of the head (Is it flat, high or low?)

6. The space behind the ear (Is it wide, or does the hair grow close to the ear?)

7. The line from the chin to the crown and to the side of the head (Should it be lengthened or shortened, or left as it is?)

8. The nose (Is it long, short, narrow or wide?)

To see the formation of the head, take your hand and spread the hair back perfectly smooth, with the contour of the head. Then, holding the hair close to the nape of the neck, stand arm's length away from your patron and study her features, chiefly her profile, for a high or flat crown.

Here are just a few examples of types to serve as a foundation, and to aid you in correctly styling a personalized hair cut.


Low Forehead

(Refer to Figure 103)

If your patron has a low forehead, her hair may be cut to be worn straight back, and waved in two or three large, loose waves. This gives a very smart effect and brings out the eyebrows and eyes more prominently.

The hair may be worn off the forehead, but, if the hair line does not grow close enough to the eyebrows, it is advisable to cover or partially cover the ear.

Wide Forehead

(Refer to Figure 104)

If the forehead is wide, a few bangs cut to partially cover the forehead will reduce the width.

A diagonal part and short hair, artistically cut, will reduce the width of a wide forehead. The forehead may be partially covered and yet the hair may be swept off the ears, if the particular lines of your patron call for it.

The hair line that is too high along the forehead may be covered with short hair in the form of tailored, whole or half circle bangs, or short hair turned into a wave effect.

Empty spaces in the hair line along the forehead should be covered, but not too heavily. For example, the hair around the forehead may be cut (not too short), thinned and combed down and it will look more natural. (See Section on Bangs.)

If there is a hollow below the cheekbone, or if the cheekbone is too prominent, these parts of the face should then be covered, or framed with a soft wave or short hair. Of course the hollows should always be framed but the prominent cheekbone may be exposed, depending on the general face formation. It does not matter in which direction the short hair is dressed . . . inward or outward ... as that again depends on just how the hair grows in that particular area. (See Figure 96.)


You must not forget the "cowlicks" which Nature throws in for good measure much to the distress of the operator. What is termed a "cowlick" is an area on the scalp where the hair grows straight up, out of the hair follicle. These cowlicks may be at the forehead line, at the crown, or at the nape of the neck.

One example of the cowlick is the so-called "widow's peak," which is located in the hair line at the center of the forehead. It is most attractive to wear the hair straight back where a widow's peak is present, thus making the peak more prominent. However, if a center part is desired, you may part the hair in the center . . . providing both sides of the peak are the same, and not, which very often happens, one side standing higher than the other. In that case it is advisable to part the hair as closely to the widow's peak as possible. This also applies to waving and cutting the hair.

A cowlick grows in the opposite direction from the rest of the hair. It must not be cut or waved in any direction other than that in which it grows, but you may go with the cowlick very carefully, working as closely as possible without actually disturbing it.


(Refer to Section on Neck Lines)

A very important line in hair cutting is the neck line. There are, as you know, round necks, thin necks, extremely high hair lines at the nape of the neck and extremely low lines at the nape.

Always observe how far the hair line grows away from the neck or the ear.

Round necks must be slenderized, and thin necks must be rounded out. In hair cutting and dressing, the empty spaces behind the ears or wherever necessary must be filled in and rounded out.

This can be easily determined by taking the hair up with one hand, thus exposing the entire neck, and then studying the profile of the head. Measure from the chin, back to the nape of the neck.

The round neck should be slenderized by raising the hair line on each side and keeping it quite thin and cut close to the head. Of course, it should not be so thin that the skin or scalp shows through, which can easily happen unless you work carefully. It should be finely feather-edged and not merely cut off straight with the scissors.

Then there are what we call the "one-point," "two-point," and "three-point" neck lines.

The natural one-point hair line is very beautiful and must not be changed unless it grows too low on the neck. It must then be raised a trifle but kept as it is.

The two-point neck line should be slightly changed, depending on the type of the person. Two points make a round neck seem rounder, while a one-point slenderizes a round neck.

The two points for a thin neck, so to speak, round it out, while a one-point emphasizes the thinness still more. If there are two points on a thin neck with the hair growing up extremely high at the nape of the neck, we must shorten the two points.

The three points as a rule should not be changed, just finished by keeping trimmed. Where the space behind the ear is too wide, the hair cut or hairdress is especially important. The treatment of this particular place often makes or mars a beautiful hair cut or coiffure. If this space is not covered, it breaks the entire line and detracts noticeably from the appearance of the individual.

For a tailored hair cut to be worn straight, the hair should be left a trifle longer behind the ears and brushed or combed down, or it may be feather-edged to lay close to the skin in a bang fashion to cover up the too wide space behind the ear.

If the hair is finger waved, the short hair can be turned in, in a half ringlet to fill in this space.

See Index below for next Chapter


How to Create 1920's and 1930's Hairstyles

1. 1920's Hair Styling and Design

- Foreheads

- Cowlicks

- Neck Lines

2. Hairdressing Tools

- Combs

- Razor Comb

- Scissors

- Thinning Scissors

- Clippers

3. Thinning and Tapering

4. Cutting and Thinning the Hair for Permanent Waving

5. Scissors Hair Cutting

6. Shingling

7. Razor Hair Cutting

8. Hair Form and Structure

9. Layer Hair Cutting

10. Alteration Hair Cutting

11. Bangs