1950S Flip-Up Hairstyles

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Flipped ponytails and poodle skirts were must-haves in the 1950s.
Flipped ponytails and poodle skirts were must-haves in the 1950s. (Image: D. Anschutz/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The 1950s was a time of great change. World War II had ended, and the polio vaccine was working its way through mainstream society. The space race began during that decade with Sputnik 1, and the Hula-hoop had become a national craze. Fashion in the 1950s was ripe for anything modern. Enter the flip.

The Flip

Hair cut just below the ears, shoulder length or anything between was perfect for this 1950s hairstyle. To get this look, women had to set their hair in brush rollers overnight. The brush roller was a wire cylinder covered with stiff plastic netting and stuffed with bottle brush. In the morning, women removed the rollers, and the hair was teased and flipped up at the bottom. The finished hairdo was held in place with a liberal application of canned hair spray.

Goody Band Flip

The Goody Band was a 1950s innovation that spread like wildfire through the world of teenage girls. It was made from a new fabric called polyester that was introduced by DuPont in 1951. The Goody Band flip was similar to the basic flip, but after teasing the hair, girls added a headband of stretchy polyester. Then they arranged the hair around the headband and sprayed it into place.

Half Flip

Mothers began taking note of the flip and decided to develop their own version of this favorite. First, hair had to be cut to a length just below the earlobes. Then they set their hair with brush rollers in columns going from top to bottom of the entire scalp. In the morning, women removed the rollers and slightly teased the hair to give it a little bit of height. Then the top half of the hair was pulled back and either clipped or pinned in place with bobby pins. The bottom of the hairdo was a loose flip. The hair was then sprayed to hold it in place. Women sometimes pinned a small bow where the updo portion came together.

Flip Ponytail

The flip ponytail coincided with the 1959 release of the first Barbie doll by Mattel. Barbie was the brainchild of Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, whose daughter Barbara wore a sleek ponytail flipped up at the end. The flip ponytail was the perfect complement to the poodle skirt. Young ladies who participated in this fashion trend liked to wear saddle shoes, bobby socks and a silk scarf tied once at the top of the ponytail.

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