A Little Chat About Victory Rolls

I recently took over as admin for a Facebook group called Authentic 1930s and 1940s Hairstyling for Ladies. As you know, I am passionate about creating an authentic vintage look with my clothing, makeup, and hair. I’m hoping that this group will serve as a valuable resource for those who are seeking ideas, inspiration, and strategies for creating authentic hairstyles within these eras. If you are interested in joining the group, please click the link below and answer the membership questions to join, we’ll be happy to have you.

Authentic 1930s & 1940s Hairstyling for Ladies

In the group, I posted a question asking which hairstyles or techniques they struggle with and I noticed that a lot of our members (36%) cited victory rolls as the style or technique they had the most trouble with. It didn’t really surprise me as most ladies starting out on their vintage journey see victory rolls as the ultimate vintage hairstyle.

This blog post, while I hope will be helpful for you, is not, in fact, a tutorial on victory rolls. Instead, I want to provide some guidance that will hopefully build a better foundation for you to eventually get to the point that this style becomes easier for you. Or will broaden your horizons on the many other amazing hairstyles of the 1940s.

I’ve had a very frank conversation with several professional vintage hairstylists and they all agree with me that on a scale of 1-10 of difficulty, victory rolls lands at about a seven or eight. Of course, this depends on your general skill level and expertise with doing your own hair in general. But it seems that most people who are just starting out learning about vintage hair are desperate to master this hairstyle first and foremost. The fact that they just can’t get the rolls right, time and time again typically results in disappointment and frustration and in a lot of cases giving up on the whole idea of vintage hairstyling. And this is something that I do not want to see happen.

So, from my own experiences (and recommendations from the aforementioned vintage hairstylists) here are some of my suggestions:

Learning how to properly set your hair in curls is the absolute basic foundation for just about every single authentic vintage hairstyle. Curling the hair whether with a wet or heat set – using foam rollers, pin curls, rag rollers, curling iron or hot rollers – was the essential first step for ladies during the 1930s and 1940s. Once you have mastered your set, you will have a much firmer foundation for doing almost all hairstyles.

Foam/Sponge Roller Pattern

My most recent wet set pattern – 2020

Pin Curl Tutorials

The Primrose Pin Curl Set

The Vintage Vanity Basic Pin Curl Set

I know that it’s difficult to evaluate ourselves, but doing so can be very freeing and gratifying. We weren’t all born with hair that does exactly as we want it to, so we need to learn what our hair needs to give us the best sets and styles. I, for example, have incredibly curly and dry hair, so sleek styles such as the pageboy will always elude me. So if you have thinner hair, maybe you need to learn some teasing techniques or use a hair rat for some volume. If you have curly or dry hair like me, you might need to learn what products work best to hydrate and smooth the hair. Have a real heart to heart talk with your hair and let it “help you help it”.

There are many different hairstyles that resemble the silhouette of victory rolls without actually making the rolls. This was actually how I began my journey when I was 15 or 16. I learned how to twist my hair and use hair combs or bobby pins to secure my hair in a way that gave the same silhouette as victory rolls without the fuss and frustration.

This is the basic silhouette of victory rolls

Examples of styles that mimic the victory roll silhouette without the rolls

I have my own feelings about this style and it’s not one that I wear often as I attribute it too heavily with the pinup fashion that I personally do not care for. I have not found many photos of “regular” women sporting this hairstyle. I’ve mostly seen it on celebrities, pinup models and other women directly related to the war effort who were using the hairstyle for the “V for Victory” ad campaigns. When I have seen victory rolls in authentic photos, they are generally smaller and lay flatter on the head. The very large voluminous rolls are typically a modern pinup interpretation (especially when they are paired with cat-eye/winged eyeliner). I don’t personally find this style representative of an authentic 1940s hairstyle. There are many others that serve this purpose better.

It took me years to fully understand the anatomy of a victory roll. When I was learning how to style my hair, there was no YouTube and certainly no vintage hair tutorials on the internet, and neither was there in the 1940s. So, it all comes down to trial and error. You need patience, determination and time to really get the hang of styling your hair in any vintage style.

I will reiterate the importance of a strong foundation, i.e. a good strong set, for all of your vintage hairstyles. I urge you to practice your sets, figure out what works best for your hair/texture, try different setting lotions, different patterns and see how they change the curl pattern. With a little work establishing your knowledge of the basics you’ll be on your way to broadening your repertoire of hairstyles, including victory rolls, in no time.

And remember, I’m available to answer questions if you have any. You can reach me here, on Instagram or in the Facebook Group.

Love~

Christine

 

 

My new favorite hairstyle ~ Tutorial

So about month ago, I started playing around with my hair and trying different ways to achieve a specific silhouette I was wanting. I love finding old photographs and puzzling out how to imitate the style. Here are a few photos of the silhouette I was striving for. I wasn’t really looking for the height so much, but the most important thing was that lovely wave in the fringe. 

So this is what I’ve come up with

TUTORIAL

To create the wave in my fringe I set my hair like I normally do, aside from my fringe – (see my set here) – and then I put a hair net on and slightly push it back along with the rollers. This was a total accident by the way, I always put a hair net on to make sure my rollers stay put while I sleep, but for some reason one night the net got pushed back and also pushed the rollers back and it created the most beautiful wave. So now I make sure that this “accident” happens each time.

For this set I rolled my fringe all down, away from my part, and I move the plastic bar around and secure it with a pin curl clip. This helps to stop that dreaded bend you can get with sponge rollers.

I usually do this style on day two or three of my set, so I’ve already brushed it out for a few days. So you just need to section off your hair in three sections. From your part down behind the ear (small side), From your part across the crown and down behind the ear (big side), I usually pull the rest of my hair back into a ponytail just to keep it out of the way.

Take the small side and start to twist it backwards (towards the back of your head). Nudge it forward to create a little bit of height and then pin it down with 2 bobby pins X’d to secure. Leave the tail end out for now.

Now take the big side and basically do the same twist, but make sure you are setting the twist behind that front wave, again pin it down with two bobby pins X’d. You should have a curl at the tail end of both sides.

Now at this point you can just secure the tails with bobby pins making them into a curl right at the part. Or you can tuck them back into the twist if you don’t want the curl.

I hope this was helpful, please feel free to ask me any questions about this style or tutorial. 

The Life Cycle of My Wet Set – Day Seven

DAY SEVEN

Well, I made it! The last day of my set. My curls have fallen substantially and my hair desperately needs to be washed so I will do that this evening and start the whole process all over again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and you’ve gained some insight to how I style my hair. I hope to produce more hair tutorials in the future for you. I prefer to do pictorials rather than videos, for me personally I learn better that way. Plus videos are so time consuming to produce and I just don’t have the equipment to do it properly right now.

So here is my seventh day hair with a quick how-to guide below. Only once my hair has smoothed out can I do this style. It doesn’t work very well at all when it’s curly, so I reserve this for 1-2 days before need to wash it.

Day 7 - 1 IMG_6527 IMG_6526 Day 7 - 2 IMG_6521 IMG_6525

HOW-TO GUIDE

First, you’ll want to section off your fringe and pin it up and out of the way. Brush out the hair and smooth it out with a bit of pomade. Start on one side of you head and and start twisting and rolling the hair gathering another section as you go. Place a bobby pin or two horizontally to secure the roll.

Follow this all the way across to the other side. Twist and tuck the ends in on it self and secure the ends with bobby pins. Feel along the roll for any loose sections and add more pins wherever needed, making sure you pin horizontally to hid the pins.

IMG_6510

 

Now take down your fringe and smooth it out. Add a bit of pomade to smooth any fly-a-ways. Create a swoop and tuck the end into the twist on the side of your head. Secure with bobby pins.

 

Take the tail of your comb and while holding the swoop secure lift up a little to give a bit of height. Place a hair flower or hair comb to further secure the end of the swoop and to hide the pins. Run a comb through the back of hair from the crown to the roll.

The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Six

DAY SIX

My hairstyle today is one that I do on a fairly regular basis. I will give a more detailed pictorial on how to achieve this style below. It’s best done when the front fringe is not as curly, however the back should have some curl or wave to it to help with the “messy bun” look. I don’t always add hair flowers, but I recently bought these and thought they looked nice with what I was wearing.

Day 6 - 1 Day 6 - 2 IMG_6446 Day 6 - 3 IMG_6449IMG_6451Day 6 - 4

HOW-TO GUIDE

Someone on Facebook has asked me to show what my hair looked like before styling it, so here it is on Day 6 just after I’ve taken in out of a bun, I haven’t brushed it yet.

First, section a your hair on the smaller side by creating a side part then sectioning off the hair down to the top of your ear. Then section off the larger side down to the other ear. Tease a little bit to get some volume. You can secure the back of your hair with a tie if needed.

Take the hair from the larger side and start twisting the hair back and down until just past your ear. Push the twist forward a bit to give it some volume, then bobby pin to secure, making sure you cross the pins for a secure fit.

Do the same thing on the smaller side.

Now for the back. Take three sections and make a partial pony tail, not pulling the hair all the way through the hair tie.

Now, using small bobby pins, just start pinning sections of the partial pony tails up. Make sure you take some hair from each section and pin to the next, so they look like they are all one “messy bun”. There really is no specific technique to this, just start pinning where you wish. After you’ve pinned a few sections, check in the mirror for any “holes” or hairs falling down and pin them up.

Once all your pins are in, just take your comb and run it through down to the curls to get rid of the three parts and create a smooth crown. Then you can adjust the front part of your hair and carefully pull the twists up to get more height if needed. Hairspray and you are finished. You can leave it like this or add hair flowers if you wish.

IMG_6446

CLICK HERE FOR DAY SEVEN

The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Five

DAY FIVE

My hairstyle today is simple and honestly kinda lazy. I needed a quick style as I had a volunteer shift at the USO and didn’t have time to futz around too much this morning. My curl at the ends is still pretty good, so by pulling it into a side pony tail I can show off those curls. And since I had my fringe in a roll all day yesterday, I’m able to easily create a front swoop and pin curl it on the side. Add a hair flower and Voila!

Day 5 - 1 Day 5 - 2 Day 5 - 4

Day 5 - 3

 

CLICK HERE FOR DAY SIX

The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Four

 

 

DAY FOUR

As you can see my curls are really starting to fall and some of the volume has flattened. This will probably be the last day that I wear my hair down this week. I have to admit that I had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to do with my hair today. Sometimes at this point, I would use a few hot rollers on my fringe or do a dry pin curl setting with my curling iron. But I really want to show how my hair evolves throughout the original set.

Today I just sectioned off my fringe and created a front roll, pinned it inside the roll and off to the side. Then I did a small pin curl on the smaller side. I added two small hair flowers to finish off the look. I prefer to do rolls like this on day 3 or 4 hair. As you can see the curl at the end is still pretty stable, but the rest is smooth.

Day 4 - 4 Day 4 - 2 IMG_6368 Day 4 - 5 Day 4 - 1 IMG_6369Day 4 - 3IMG_6373

 

HOW-TO GUIDE

 

CLICK HERE FOR DAY FIVE

The Life Cycle of My Wet Set ~ Day Three

DAY THREE

Today was a very uneventful day, so I just brushed my hair into a more sleek style. As my set wears on, you can start to see how the curl falls a bit, especially in the front of my hair. I pull my hair back into a pony tail when I shower and put my makeup on in the morning and when I wash my face at night. This pulls some of the curl out, but it also smooths my hair, so I’m ok with it.

Day 3 - 2 Day 3 - 3 IMG_6329 IMG_6335

CLICK HERE FOR DAY FOUR