Hair Bangs – Vintage 1940’s Hairstyle Tutorials

Hair Bangs. From the bobbed hair of the 1920’s, the bumper bangs of the 1940’s, to the pin up bangs and rockabilly hairstyles of today.

Bumper Bangs - Nena Moreno
Bumper Bangs – Nena Moreno – Instagram @nena_moreno

What are Bangs?

The term bangs originated from horse grooming, “Bangs”, coming from “bang tail”. In the USA, the description of hair being cut “bang off”, in to a fringe, also popularized the word.

In the flapper era, one of the most iconic 1920’s hairstyles was the Dutch haircut, or the Cleopatra hairstyle, as worn by the likes of Louise Brooks, Colleen Moore and Mary Thurman. The main feature being a vivacious fringe or ‘bang’. These bangs were haircuts.

Women’s hair in the 1920’s was short, bobbed, cropped and, well, a flapper hairstyle! The irony of the bobbed hair cut was, that not only did women lose control of styling their own hair, but it was pretty darned expensive to maintain.

Linda Darnell—Bumper Bangs-1943

By the 1940’s, with locks long and lush once more, women took control again of how they styled their hair. Bangs were achieved with various forms of hair rolls, which are described in detail by Ivan of Hollywood in his marvelous book Creative 1940’s Hairstyles You Can Do. You can learn how to do victory rolls too. One of the definitive hair bangs of the 1940’s were the forward roll bangs. These are now referred to as bumper bangs.

Bumper Bangs of the 1940’s

Lucille Ball-bumper hair bangs 1944

The bumper bangs of the 1940’s, as worn by Linda Darnell, Betty Grable and Lena Horne, almost certainly inspire the pinup hairdos of today. Bangs make for a standout Updo hairstyle, if you have the right face. Hairstyles You Can Do, guides you through bangs for face shape.

Janet Blair - bumper bangs
Janet Blair – bumper bangs

Dita Von Teese’s famous bangs are very similar to Linda’s. Much of 1980’s fashion looked back directly to the 1940’s. Big shoulders and big hair. Later in this post, we show the six basic hair bangs ( from Hairstyles You Can Do) that you can copy.

The Rachel Hairstyle – Sean Young’s Bumper Bangs

Sean Young Bumper Bangs - Rachel in Blade Runner 1982
Sean Young Bumper Bangs – Rachel in Blade Runner 1982

The 1940’s retro future look was never better recreated than in the hair bangs of the sad and beautiful Rachel from the Sci Fi film Blade Runner 1982. Sean Young’s bangs look is quite similar to Linda Darnell’s. Designed by Hollywood hairstylist Shirley L. Padgett, who together with makeup artist Marvin G Westmore ( a very famous name in Hollywood makeup), created a classic 1940’s noir femme fatale woman for the world of Blade Runner.

Bumper Hair Bangs – Pinup Hair

Nena Moreno – Bumper Bangs Pinup Hair

The Instagram Queen of vintage hairstyles, and an absolute sweetheart is Nena Moreno. She’s unique in so many ways. With over 188,000 followers, she still finds time to reply to each and every comment on her channel. She’s so talented and beautiful. She kindly offered me her images for this post. I strongly recommend her channel for any vintage hair enthusiasts.

Check out her Bumper Hair Bangs Pinup Updo on on her Instagram channel. You can also find oodles of pinup hair tutorials on her YouTube channel.

Miss Tammi Savoy - Bumper Bangs Pinup Hair
Miss Tammi Savoy – Bumper Bangs Pinup Hair. Instagram@miss_tammisavoy

Another Instagram friend, whose hairstyles are consistently jaw dropping is Miss Tammi Savoy. Tammi is a singer, vintage enthusiast and pinup model. Here she created a beautiful pin up hairdo with bumper bangs as part of Angelique Noire’s @theblackpinup challenge.

Six Basic Hair Bangs You Can Do

Hair Bangs - Vintage 1940's Hairstyle Tutorials
Hair Bangs – Vintage 1940’s Hairstyle Tutorials

Setting instructions for the curls for all these hair bangs are in Ivan of Hollywood’s 1940’s hairstyles book. Right now, you can get three original 1940’s hairstyle tutorial books which pretty much covers all you need to know from victory rolls, hair waves, pompadours, bangs and so much more. Also out now, Hats Hairdo’s and Makeup –  1940’s Tutorial Book.

Bumper Bangs

Bumper Bangs - 1940's hairstyles
Bumper Bangs – 1940’s hairstyles

These are forward roll bangs. To achieve this look, comb or tease the hair over a rat. Particular care should be taken to avoid a straight across line as this makes the top of the head appear flat. ( more in Creative Hairstyles )

Fluff Bangs

Fluff Bangs - 1940's hair tutorials
Fluff Bangs – 1940’s hair tutorials

Simply run the comb through the curls and allow the hair to fall into a casual fluff.

Half Wave Bangs

Half wave bangs - 1940's hair tutorials
Half wave bangs – 1940’s hair tutorials

All the curls are vigorously combed and brushed out together. If the bangs are flat, because your hair does not have enough body, use a rat. As in all bangs, be sure to arrange the hair in subtle soft curves.

Full Wave Bangs

Full wave bangs - 1940's hair tutorials
Full wave bangs – 1940’s hair tutorials


The curls for this type of bangs must be thoroughly brushed and combed. The more you brush, the deeper the more natural the wave becomes. Comb the hair over the palm of the hand and push the wave into the bang so it takes a graceful curve.

French Bangs

French bangs - 1940's hair tutorials
French bangs – 1940’s hair tutorials

The top of the hair is combed out in the same direction as it was set – back, and then swirled forward. To make the curls fluff, lift the comb away from the head as you comb the ends of the hair.

Fringe Bangs

Fringe bangs - 1940's hairstyles
Fringe bangs – 1940’s hairstyles

All you need do is run a comb through the hair and allow the short hair to fall as it will. The more careless fringe bangs are, the better. This sketch shows half-fringe bangs. If the bangs extended all the way across the forehead, similar tot he way Bette Davis wore her hair a few years ago, the detail would be called Complete Fringe Bangs.

You can read more on 1940’s hairstyles in our concise history of 1940’s fashion and style.

That’s all !
©Glamour Daze

More Links:
A Short Uneven History of Bangs


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