Learn about Life in the 1920s

Hairstyling by observing contours, features, and hair lines

It may be true that this ability to observe contours, features, and hair lines, and to prescribe suitable and becoming hair styles is a natural gift, which cannot be passed on. However, I can lay down for you certain basic rules which I have learned in a lifetime of specialized study. And you can learn some very definite things to do—and not to do—if you will apply the principles laid down herein, observing religiously and practicing constantly. Soon you will be able to see the difference in the various kinds of head lines—good, bad and indifferent. You will be able to recognize what is right or wrong about a hair style, about a hair cut or even a neck line. You will be able to do the right things in the right way. And before you know it, you will be well on your way to become an expert hairdresser, hair cutter and hair stylist.

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It is highly essential that your eyes be trained to study the various neck lines. You will find that the following sketches from life will serve excellently as a basic guide.

A customer may patronize an expert hairdresser and receive a beautiful hair cut regularly. Then, for the sake of convenience, she may get her neck trimmed by an untrained operator between "cuts." The result is that instead of having her neck properly and carefully trimmed, she is given a neck clip way up into the hair line . . . with a shave thrown in! You can easily imagine how such inexpert treatment detracts from an otherwise beautiful hair cut.

• Fig. 63

Sketch from life. This hair was cut, or rather butchered, by a hairdresser who unfortunately had mastered neither the technique nor the art of hair cutting. The neck line was, so to speak, chewed off, and the hair simply hacked out. And you will note that the hair was incorrectly waved, thus emphasizing the bushy effect.

• Fig. 64

Here you see what was done to patch up the hair that was too short at the nape of the neck, as shown in figure 63. The sides were thinned and the hair was given a diagonal wave or swirl effect, to overcome the bushiness and to conform to the shape of the head.

• Fig. 65

The short hair arrangement pictured here may be applied to a head when the crown happens to be too high when the hair is combed back or even parted. Any part drawn from the crown to the nape of the neck reduces the height of the crown. This idea may also be applied to the hairdress of the woman who desires a tailored effect but happens to have a thin neck with large hollow spaces behind the ears. A hair cut of this style will fill in these spaces in a graceful, yet tailored manner. The short front hair is arranged in one wave over the forehead with the tapered ends turned forward into half ringlets. This provides a softer finishing touch, with or without a hat.

• Fig. 66

Too seldom we see a beautiful natural hair line as shown in illustration 66. Notice how the hair grows from the sides towards the center of the nape of the neck. Both sides grow alike towards the center. The left side shows the shortness of the cut of the hair. When it is combed it looks longer, as you will see by observing the right side.

Take a magnifying glass and study the lines. A beautiful natural neck line should never be tampered with or changed. It should just be kept trimmed and short enough to look neat. Notice how beautifully the top hair fits.

• Fig. 67

This so-called three-point natural hair line is sketched from life and is puzzling to many operators. The dotted lines illustrate how the points should be shaped with the scissors. The two side points you notice are cut slightly slanted, while the center point is just straightened a trifle.

As you know it sometimes happens that hair cutters cut above the dotted lines to cut off these points completely. Just imagine the height of that hair line if those points are cut off in comparison with Figure 76, which shows a natural long hair line. If you measure from the chin straight across and measure the distance from the tape measure to the nape of the neck in this sketch, you would find a difference of a few inches if it were life size. You have to be exceptionally careful when treating a neck line of this kind in an artistic and natural manner.

It is also advisable to cover such neck lines with hair taken from the top layer and arranged in soft, half ringlets, flat against the head.

This neck line may also be treated in a different manner by taking the side hair after the short hair, giving a soft Croquignole permanent wave treatment. Then brush this hair completely across the neck, from one ear to the other. Brushing the hair across the back of the head will give a wider effect but the curls placed vertically will reduce the width of a neck which is already too wide.

Many other hair arrangements may be used with this neck line which you can work out with practice.

• Fig. 68

This sketch, also taken from life, illustrates an extremely high hair line, a thin neck and two very prominent projections at the back of the neck, giving the appearance of elephant tusks.

Please compare this neck line with the natural neck line of Figure 76. These neck lines have to be treated with great consideration. They should be filled in and lengthened, and so, of course, a tailored hair cut is out of the question.

For straight hair this means a long bob or soft, short ringlets, to fill in behind the ear and to lengthen the extremely high line at the nape of the neck.

Here, too, we may apply a variety of becoming arrangements for the back hair. You may even dress the hair high, whether it is short or long, if you keep in mind the necessity for covering up these defects with a fringe of short hair close to the neck.

• Fig. 69

Showing the holding and turning of the scissors to cut a concave point. Notice the dotted lines in this illustration and follow the points of the scissors along 1. A concave hair line is made, thereby emphasizing the point without abusing the natural hair line by cutting into it too far, as indicated by line 2.

• Fig. 70

This is the "one-point" hair cut. for an extremely round neck. The hair starting from behind the ear is cut in layers and finger waved, so as not to give a masculine effect.

• Fig. 71

Frequently we see the hair cut above the natural hair line in a sharp, unnatural manner, as indicated by the dotted line. The entire head of hair may be beautifully arranged, tapered, and shaped, and this one line can ruin the entire effect.

• Fig. 72

This unfortunate woman came into the salon one day with tears in her eyes, to ask my advice about her hacked-off back hair. I immediately had her photographed to demonstrate that this sort of hair cutting is still being done.

You will notice the large space missing from her natural hair line . . . which is really a beautiful one ... a natural point.

It is absolutely a crime that these things happen. You have probably seen other examples which are just as bad, particularly on children whose hair is often cut high up into the hair line with the clippers for economical reasons.

• Fig. 73

Sketch from life, illustrating the extremely large spaces behind the ear which need careful consideration in arranging the hair to fill in these vacancies.

• Fig. 74

This sketch, taken from life, shows a long, thin neck with exceptionally wide spaces behind the ears to the hair line. How often do we see beautiful hair arrangements with this particular area sadly neglected with the result that the hairdress is marred in design and technique. This is unfortunate because there are so many ways to fill in with short hair turning upward or downward.

• Fig. 75

Here is another sketch from life. Notice the flat head, the large space behind the ear and the high neck line in the back. The bottom arrow shows how far this neck line should be lowered to cover up this defect. The dotted line across the sketch shows how to measure straight across from the chin to the back of the neck, that is, to study the entire profile. I do not mean that you must take a tape measure. This is just an indication to give you a foundation for the study of head lines.

• Fig. 76

Sketch from life, which illustrates a beautiful natural neck line. Notice how nicely the area behind the ear is filled in with a natural growth of hair.

Next observe that when a tape measure is held from the chin straight back to the nape of the neck, the hair line comes down to within a fraction of an inch of the tape measure.

• Fig. 77

Here we see the exact opposite of Figure 76 ... a hair line that is too high and a wide, empty space in back of the ear.

Notice the distance from the hair line at the nape of the neck to the tape measure and compare it with Figure 76.

A low hair arrangement is needed to dress such a head of hair in an attractive and becoming manner.

• Fig. 78

A finished coiffure with a beautiful, long, natural hair line. Because of this the hair can be combed and brushed up in the manner you see in this photograph. The ends of the hair are softly turned into half ringlets with an upward trend. Notice the natural point at the nape of the neck.

This hair may be worn combed down or combed sideways, with the ends turned up or under. It lends itself to many, many different ideas.

• Fig. 79

Cut in many layers, the various short lengths of this young lady's hair are visible after it has been shampooed.

Her hair is now ready to be waved with no difficulty, to give a smooth, long hair effect, easily combed and arranged by the patron.

• Fig. 80

Here we have a most beautiful, natural hair line and a finished, tailored head, to give the long hair effect. A great many people are still under the impression that if the hair is cut short, it will look short. They do not know that an expert hairdresser can mould a head of hair with scissors, razor and comb, into a most beautiful creation simulating a long hair dress.

• Fig. 81

This photograph and its companion picture illustrate clearly how the appearance of a girl can be infinitely improved with correct hair cutting and dressing, and with proper make-up. You see first a girl of twenty-one, with dark brown, oily hair of even length, combed downwards. The natural hair line in the back is completely covered. The short hairs at the neck, as well as the heavy eyebrows, add to the mature effect of the hairdress. In this photograph the young lady very definitely does not give the appearance of careful grooming or even of youth.

• Fig. 82

Here we see the same girl with her hair shortened, cut in layers and becomingly waved in a style which is suitable for day or evening wear. Cut short, in layers, such a head of hair lends itself to many different styles. For instance, the hair may be combed straight back, away from the forehead, with a half-fringe bang. Then, to complete this style, we might cover the top of the ears with short, fluffy ringlets, which are very attractive under a hat. There are a great many variations to this hairdress which you can easily develop with a little time and study.

• Fig. 83

Here is a general sketch which is provided expressly for your convenience in experimenting with different hair arrangements, to produce various effects.

Line 1 indicates where the hair could be cut in layers and the ends curled upward to shorten the long line from the forehead to the crown.

Line 2 illustrates how the hair from the crown could be cut in different layers and the ends turned either upward or downward, which will modify the long line in another manner.

Now study line 3, which you will see extending all the way down the nape of the neck. Take a strip of paper and cover the hair which extends beyond line 3, and notice the difference in the shape of the head, as well as in the appearance of the entire coiffure.

Now take a piece of tissue paper and trace the entire outline of the face. Then trace the sketch as far as the line marked 3. Add curls on lines 1 and 2. You may also fill in with bangs over the forehead, or with short hair in the space indicated by upper arrow.

When you remove the paper you will see how much more prominent the nose is in the sketch without these added curls and bangs. Line 3 tends to narrow the width of the head, thus adding considerable height.

The arrow below the ear illustrates how the ends of the short hair could be turned into the wave or towards the ear to give a finished and soft effect and to fill in the empty spaces behind the ear.

• Fig. 84

Here you see how a head should be measured to determine whether the crown is high or flat.

If the crown is flat, as in this case, a straight pompadour effect will add height. Should a center or side part be desired, it should by all means be a short one.

Note how the hair line in the back has been lengthened by a puff finish. Another suitable treatment would be a short, fluffy ringlet effect.

• Fig. 85

Note the natural high neck line and the wide space behind the ear.

• Fig. 86

This photograph shows the hair cut, thinned and tapered, and long enough to allow for the long fluffy neck curls to fill in the large spaces behind the ears and to lengthen the high neck line.

• Fig. 87

Illustrated here are two large waves with the short hair turned in over the ear, exposing only the lobe of the ear. Observe that the first wave points downward and the wave over the ear points upward toward the ear.

Notice how the high hair line and the space behind the ear are taken care of with the curly ringlet ends.

This is a hairdress designed in 1933, but still popular today for many types.

• Fig. 88

This photograph is of the same young lady shown in profile with a different hair fashion. Notice the one wave instead of two. Also observe the different location and slant of the wave from that illustrated in Figure 87.

Compare the neck treatment of higher end curls with that in the previous photograph and, lastly, compare the hair arrangement of the forehead.

• Fig. 89

This profile photograph shows the same model with her appearance changed once more. You will notice that she portrays still another type now. Her hair is cut much shorter in back. The hair in the one wave over the ear is also cut short, as are the straight bangs over her forehead.

And now, please note how the hair has been drawn forward below the ear. See what an important factor this small amount of hair is. This has been corrected in Figure 90.

• Fig. 90

These series of photographs were posed for by the same model to show the different methods of filling in the large spaces behind the ears and for lengthening a neck line that is too high. This has been explained in our previous neck line sketches.

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