Famous Vintage Bangs: What stars like Jean Shrimpton and Bettie Page taught us about styling our fringe

jean shrimpton 1960s bangs modeling in front of white background

There are many options for you if you want to style a vintage bang… or a bang style that goes with your vintage look. Throughout the 20th Century, famous stars, like model Jean Shrimpton in the 1960s and pinup Bettie Page in the 1950s, influenced how women cut and styled their bangs.

Not sure which direction you want to go with your vintage bangs? Here are some examples to guide you and advice on cutting length, styling, or just trying a clip-in option…

1920s Fringe

Clara Bow Bohemian Style

“The It Girl” Clara Bow was the epitome of the free spirited jazz age flapper and her wild curly hair was all part of that. She wore her bangs just short enough for her natural curls to only travel through one full C-shape. If you are cutting your natural curl bangs, this is a very important thing to consider. How many curves will your bangs take in the length you are cutting them?

Clara Bow 1920s actress natural curl hairstyle with vintage bangs

Brilliantine Bangs of Josephine Baker

Brilliantines, like pomades and edge control, are used to add shine and smoothness to hair and, in the 1920s, Josephine Baker used it well to create these slicked bang designs. She lent her famous face to Bakerfix Brillantine (French) and some of these photos were taken as part of the product marketing and packaging. Aspects of this look have come back recently with women using similar products to style slicked down baby hairs at the edge of the hairline.

Josephine Baker 1920s Brilliantine vintage slicked down bangs

1940s Fringe Styles

Lucille Ball Curls

Lucille Ball’s fluff of curl bangs balanced her face better than any other front style she wore. Her playful personality partnered well with them. These are a longer bang and the curls shorten them. If you are in the middle of growing your bangs out, this is a great way to style them vintage. Pin curling will give you the best results, but you can also use small rollers.

Lucille Ball 1940s poodle hairstyle with pin curled bangs


Barbara Stanwyck’s Faux Bangs

Ok… yes this is a wig that Barbara Stanwyck wears in Double Indemnity in 1944. She doesn’t actually have bangs. But this hairstyle has gone down in history as one of the most iconic hairstyles a film noir actress appeared in, so I am giving credit to her loose bumper bangs. What makes this look so great is the way the volume of the bumper fringe is completely level at the top and the sides in column curls frame her face like Greek architecture.

Barbara Stanwyck 1940s bumper bang hairstyle

You might also like: Vintage Cobra Bangs… Bangs with a bite!

1950s Bangs

Bettie Page Vintage Bangs

Some of the most iconic bangs came about in the 1950s. The cut of Bettie Page’s fringe is so famous that we now refer to this style as Bettie Bangs. She wasn’t the first famous woman to wear a straight across style like this, but the graphic combination of thick, straight bangs and flowing curls has made the famous pin-up model a hairstyle icon.

Bettie Page 1950s pinup model with bangs hairstyle

The bangs are styled first by brushing and blow drying them straight forward and down. Then you cut them in a clean straight line that remains parallel to the floor all the way around to the left and right edges of the hairline, no tapering.

Tip: When trimming Bettie Bangs, let the bangs hang naturally while you trim. Don’t pull on them or smash them down during this process. If you do, you will be altering the natural hair growth and some hairs may bounce back at a weird angle.

Audrey Hepburn Pixie Fringe

Audrey Hepburn’s style changed and influenced women over the 1950s and 1960s, but I am categorizing her in the 1950s to showcase her pixie fringe. These bangs are great for women who want the 1950s look of the short Bettie bangs, but maybe have too many cowlicks to pull off the sleekness. With the pixie bang, you can embrace imperfections.

You might also like: Curled Bangs of the 1950s

Audrey Hepburn 1950s pixie hairstyle with bangs


Styling 1960s Vintage Bangs

Jean Shrimpton Swoop Bangs

Super Model and Actress Jean Shrimpton appeared on so many magazine covers that it would be impossible not to include her bangs as important. She wore them often trimmed straight across and a little passed her eyebrows. She also wore this swooping style fringe.

Jean Shrimpton 1960s model with swoop bangs

The nice things about Jean Shrimpton’s swoop is that you do not need to have cut bangs to get the look. You can exaggerate your long hair across your forehead and tuck it behind your ear or bobby pin it in place to hold it.

You might also like: Beatnik Cool Hairstyles of the early 1960s

Elke Sommer Style

German actress Elke Sommer teaches us that you can style a straight across 1960s bang different ways to mix it up everyday. It’s easy to get your bangs cut and then go, “now what?” You can wear them wispy, chunky, or swept to the side. It’s all in the hairspray.

Elke Sommer 1960s actress with blond hair and bouffant hairstyle

Advice on Clip-In Bangs

Clip-in bangs are a great option if you are not ready to make the commitment to bangs. You want to consider material, length, thickness, and construction. You have options and here is the best advice I can give.

Local Wig Supply Shops

Buying faux bangs can be a hit or… a huge miss. If you search online, you will see what looks like the exact same bangs sold by 30 different sellers. I suggest first try going to your local professional wig supply shop. Then you can see the exact texture and color of the hair options. Many wig shops are run by hairstylists that can also cut and style the bangs to fit the look you are going for.

Buying Clip-in Bangs Online

When buying clip-in bangs online, always remember, you get what you pay for. Although those bangs say they are $5.99, that might be $5.99 you just tossed on a fire. Good faux bangs can cost from $30 to $80 dollars. When you want to buy clip-ins to fake your vintage bangs, consider these things:

Human Hair:

This seems like a given, but check and make sure the clip-in bangs you buy are human hair. They will be easier to clean and restyle and you can change the color if they are a little off from your haircolor shade.

Buy too long:

When you buy bangs that you think might be too long, you can have them trimmed to the perfect length. If you get them, put them on and realize they aren’t quite long enough, you’re stuck. Also, don’t write off the bang style with longer side piece right away like these French style bangs. Those can be cut and it might help you to have those pieces to play with when you are trying to blend.

french style clip in bangs
Thickness:

The thickness of the clip-in bang you choose will make or break the look you are trying to achieve. This bang brand on Etsy lets you choose the thickness. Like a Bettie bang will definitely need to be thick.

Color:

Don’t make yourself too crazy trying to find the perfect color. Pick the the right style first and then dye them if you have too.

You might also like: 6 Ways to Wear Colorful Bobby Pins No Matter Your Haircolor

Toppers:

Many faux bangs come in the format that just lays forward, which are fine for a lot of bang looks. But I also suggest you look into a human hair topper option. The hair in a topper is constructed to flair out around from a central point. The hair piece will blend better with your own hair and you avoid that sort of obvious bulk at the top of the forward style bang.

human hair topper wig clip in bangs
Your hairstylist can trim and style a topper like this to blend with your own hair.

If you are interested in clip-in Bettie style bangs, keep an eye on Classy Rebel’s Instagram. She puts her great clip-in Baddie Bangs up for sale only twice a year and when they sell out, that’s it. So if you watch her, you will hopefully find out when the next bang sale happens.

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10 Comments

  1. I agree – I’ve worked a lot in beauty supply, including hair pieces and wigs. Nearly every person who pre-ordered or bought online wanted to return them. You absolutely must see it to make sure it matches your hair, or the illusion is shattered!

    I keep my bangs to the tip of my nose. This way, they are long enough to roll or curl, and short enough to still be bangs ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Bangs can be really frustrating, but I couldn’t do without them (forehead is toooo big). I have grown them out a few times and it is quite a pain.

  3. I have never heard of these, what an awesome thing to have! I was considering cutting myself some bangs but think I’ll go this route instead!

  4. OOh, never knew such things existed, how fabulous. I have my own bangs (a fringe to us Brits)and have thought many, many times about growing them out but can’t imagine life without them now. Thank goodness for the mini curling tong for nice rockabilly style effect x

  5. Oh and I keep my bangs short enough for Bettie page styles but long enough to aim away from my face if I wet set them that way. They’re relatively easy to pin back in a small pompadour or blend into waterfall waves. About to the top of my eyebrow.

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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!

As an Etsy and Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an independent blogger, I link these items because of my own opinions and not because of the commission I may receive.

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