The 1950s was a decade of change. Rock and roll was beginning to be played on radios and jukeboxes, young men began to be more rebellious, and the Cold War was just getting started. One of the features that calls that decade to mind is the array of 1950’s mens greaser hairstyles. Some of these are becoming fashionable again, leaving many wondering how to create them.
One of the most popular styles for men of the decade was duck’s ass, or duck tail in tamer company. This style was usually created by parting the hair on one side, combing the top over to the other side, and combing the sides straight back to meet in the middle of the back of the head. Hair cream was applied liberally to hold the hair in place. Today, one can recreate this style by combing as above and applying pomade for a soft hold or gel for the more traditional wet look and stiffer hold.
Another common style was the Pompadour. There were a couple of different variations on this style. One involved parting the hair and combing the top side ways and forward, then flipping the front back to give it rise. The other was to simply comb the top forward and flip it up and back without a part. The sides were slicked back and held with cream as above. Again, gel is commonly used today to create this wet look with stiff hold. This style was popular among musicians who played the type of music that came to be called rockabilly.
Creating the Pompadour took a little more creativity than some of the popular 1950s hairstyles. It had to be cut in such a manner as to leave the front of the top hair longer than the back. This allowed one to create exaggerated height in front when flipping the hair back.
Older men of the decade simply had their hair cut short and applied cream to plaster it to their heads. Most parted the hair on one side and combed straight over to the other. The sides were combed down, as was the back. This was seen as a conservative style that was acceptable in professional settings. The cream was probably not necessary, but it had come to be the fashion of the time. Today, gel is used to create the same look.
Bela Lugosi hairstyle.
A few simply combed their hair from front to back. This included the sides and the top. Hair cream was applied liberally to plaster the hair to the head. This style was actually made popular by the Dracula character from horror movies at the time as played by Bella Lugosi. Those with receding hairlines tended to reveal a widow’s peak when wearing this style.
Christopher Lee hairstyle.
Marlon Brando hairstyle in The Godfather movie.
The one key component to recreating 1950’s mens greaser hairstyles is hair gel. Back then, men bought hair cream in tubes, but this product is no longer available on the market. Gel provides the same wet look and stiff hold. Pomade can be used in some cases where a softer, more touchable hold is desired. It offers greasier appearance then the gel. Murray’s Hair Dressing Pomade, Superior, 3 oz. is one of the best pomades in the market to do a greaser hairstyle.
50’s male greaser hairstyles were varied, just as the types of men who wore them were. Some were seen as signs of rebellion in young men. Others were seen as conservative and accepted in every setting, including among successful professionals. Their one common thread was the hair cream that was used to hold the hair in place and help the men avoid having to refresh their style during the course of a day. Once styled in the morning, the hair was not moving until the cream was shampooed out.