My favorite movie for 1940s Hairstyles: Lady of Burlesque

Movie Poster for Lady of Burlesque 1943

I love this classic movie that was based on “The G-String Murders” written by Ms Gypsy Rose Lee herself. While is fabulous and the plot engaging, every time I watch it, I find myself studying the hairstyles and those fabulous skimpy outfits the gals wear. This movie has it all: a murder mystery, a love story and hilarious cat fights between the burlesque queens.

I’ve posted photos of some of my favorite ‘dos and have posted a few tutorials from the sought after book by Daniela Turudich, “1940’s Hairstyles.”

I am not every good at doing other folks’ hair, but I’ve gotten pretty good at doing my own. I’ve appreciated other posts like that have helped me play with styles. Nothing is better than achieving a look that I have so long admired!

For me, nothing has worked better than pin curls for 1940s styles.  I find they create the authentic look, hold much better and are more workable.

I have a quick excerpt on how to do pincurls. Technique is key… but patience and perseverance is the main secret!

Sorry the print is so fuzzy, please don’t go blind reading it!

Barbara Stanwyck, the "Ball of Fire" as Dixie Daisy wears half wave bangs.

Guide for setting your bangs

Diagram for setting your pin curls to create half wave bangs.

So now we gotta know how to make these waves. I must admit that I have not mastered this, but I sure have tried! I’d love pointers if anyone has any!

About making waves

More about making waves

And more waves!

Marion Martin as Alice Angel in pin curl heaven!

Ok, looks to me like Ms Martin’s hair was set in the stand up Betty Grable pincurl pattern and then the curls were brushed out for volume, rather than the tight curl. Parting is key in setting your hair. Part the front sides just being the ear and pin the back section of you hair behind your ears. Set the side sections all the way the side of the head… for this look in 2 rows of two pin curls. The back is then set starting the curls about an inch from the crown of your head, do 3 rolls of 4 pincurls.

The more curls you do, the more curly/voluminous it will be.

Then her hair was brushed out. The comb out is very important when setting with pincurls.  For more curl to stay, brush less–as you would comb out more to if you are trying to get a sleeker look.

Try what works for you!

Stephanie Bachelor as the Princess Nirvena with a sophisticated long pageboy

For this set, I’m using a lesson from the queen of the long pageboy:  Lauren Baccall–the wacky 1940s hat Stephanie Bachelor is wearing above is optional!

I hope this helped anyone who is interested! Oh! And I can’t stress enough how much of a differnce stand up pincurls. I just perfected this technique and it changed my life!!

If nothing else, watch this classic flick if you haven’t already!

Thanks for your time,



6 responses

  1. Hi! Ive been looking for the book that had the pages of how to do the lauren bacall hairstyle. (the picture above) what is the book called?

  2. Hi! Sorry ladies, I set up this blog a long time ago and haven’t touched it since.

    I got that Lauren Baccall hairstyle from a book I found at an antique store. That book has been the best hair stlyling guide I have ever had!

    It is called “10 Hollywood Hair Styles and how to do them Yourself,” by Arlene Dahl. It was published in 1952. I like the book so much I looked around to see if I could find anymore style guides by Arlen Dahl, but I couldn’t find anything.

    Give a me few days, and I will scan and post the entire booket.

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