Tutorial Day – Mary Beth Hughes half-up half-down vintage hairstyle

Forgive me. I am a little asphyxiated from this hairstyle. So the wording of this entry may be a little off sometimes. Not to mention it’s Friday. I’ve been meaning to try this one for a while. It looked pretty simple and easy to copy with a curling iron.This is Mary Beth Hughes. Her career in the 40s mostly involved appearing in movies, but by the 50s, she kept herself busy doing more television shows. Towards the end of her showbiz career, she worked for a plastic surgeon and eventually opened her own beauty salon in Carlsbad, CA.

Here is the hair length of the doll I am using. Its layers are a little longer on top, but the ends of the hair are fine.

I started with the side sections, curling the hair forward. When I want some kind of wave or texture all the way to the root to mimic the pin curls of the day I curl the hair in a different direction than the way I am going to direct later. I also roll the hair all the way to the scalp to curl as much of the shaft as possible.

I then pin up the side sections in dry pin curls. Use your own judgement on where you would like to place them. As always, use pomade to smooth fly-aways and give the hair shine.

I still have a section of hair at the front that is about 2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inch deep. I sectioned out a piece of hair that is about 3/4 inch wide and again curl it forward rolling all the way to scalp on-base. Please be sure to use a comb between the iron and your scalp. I should have done it here, but wasn’t thinking because my mannequin head doesn’t have nerves.

Comb or brush the hair gently back. Notice this is the opposite direction of which I curled it.

I then relaxed the hair piece and allowed it to lie down on the hair. Arrange it and move it to get the maximum wave out of it. And pomade will help accentuate the wave with shine.

The final pieces left, I curled to the right on-base.

I brushed these together and then teased them a little to help hold the hair together.

Then smooth the outer hair of the piece and arrange how you like so that the hair created a figure eight above the forehead.

Next comes the bottom section. The first thing to do is coat the ends in hairspray. This is where the asphyxiation comes in. Any girl who was born before 1980 probably remembers having a hairstyle that involved coating the hair in spray and then curling it with a hot curling iron. When the curling iron starts to sizzle, then you know you are doing it right. You create this crusted, rock hard curl.

I am not taking responsibility for anyone burning their hair, so use caution!

Spray the ends with hairspray. If the curl doesn’t become the crusted, rock hard curl, then use more hairspray and do it again. I used L’Oreal Elnett Strong Hold Hairspray (commissions earned). It is a classic go to hairspray for my kit.

You will need to roll the curling iron all the way up the base of the neck. When you release it, the weight will make it fall some.

For this mannequin, it took 4 curls to go all the way around the bottom. I would say that is the minimum. With thicker hair you will want to work in smaller sections.

After you have finished this row of curls that goes all the way around the neck, gently comb out the gaps between. Try to comb the curl as little as possible to keep it from relaxing.

If her hair were cut a little more diagonal at the front, I could have gotten more slant in the lower section. I also could have turned the curling iron at a little more diagonal, but otherwise, I like the way it turned out.

Another way to wear the Mary Beth Hughes hairstyle

Here is another comb out option for the hairstyle I posted earlier. After the curls you created at the bottom with lots of hairspray and a 1/2″ curling iron have cooled, comb out the sticky hairspray and direct the hair under. Be sure to use pomade to control fly-aways. Then you can get this pretty pageboy-ish look.

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  1. Hello there!
    This is really good, I’m impressed and that doesn’t happen very often 😉
    I don’t do tutorial on my blog but have a look in the future I’ll post some pictures of my hair creations too. Oh and my name is Leila, nice to meet you!

  2. brilliant! thanks for this tutorial – i don’t have layers either like Miss Lolita there, I wonder if it would work – at least I could try the top bit!

  3. I love these sorts of styles!

    Alas, I don’t have the patience to do this for myself, nor the time, nor the time and money to have somebody else do it.

    If I ever win the lottery, I’m hiring a private hair-stylist. Even if I’ll just be weeding the garden. 😀

  4. Great do! You’re giving me back my hairstyling mojo.. haven’t felt like fixing it in a long time but I want to try this one.
    I’ve done a lot of updos that mimic the front, but never half up half down. Love it!!
    Enjoyed the Mac post too~

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Welcome to the Bobby Pin Blog! I am Lauren Rennells and as a hairstylist, makeup artist, writer, and generally artistic over-achiever, the Bobby Pin Blog is my outlet for thoughts and research about vintage hair and makeup trends and how to recreate them today. Thank you for stopping by!

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