Influential Hairstyles

Art: Sasha Martoni

Hair has always played an important role in American history and culture. Whether we're expressing our individuality, political opinions or influenced by the hottest culture Queens during that era, hair trends help to define each new generation and separate it from the one that came before. If you didn't rock one of these looks you knew somebody who did. Scroll down to see the most influential hairstyles that are timeless and often still seen today.


The Roaring Twenties, women such as Louise Brooks popularized the blunt bob haircut and cropped curls - flapper fashion was in full effect. Brooks's signature bob haircut began the era of "the new woman", where women became more independent and bold with their style.


During the 1930's, the major trends for hairstyles were all about the waves. Jean Harlow contributed to this era and women began wearing marcel and finger waves for a softer and more elegant look.


In the 40's, the war caused many women to go into the workforce. Most women wore their hair up in pin curls and victory rolls to keep their hair out of their face.


In the 50's, there was a love for Italian fashion. Actress, Dorothy Dandridge trademarked the Italian short cut and it was very popular for women. Oher popular hairstyles included the bouffant, ponytail, poodle cut, and short curly hair.


The 60's was known as the "counter-culture" where the social taboos were challenged and women opted for edgier and exaggerated hairstyles. There were many popular hairstyles such as the mop top, flipped bob, the "Twiggy" a short sleek pixie and of course the beehive. The beehive was seen everywhere from celebrities such as Aretha Franklin to television shows like Star Trek.


The 70's was known for its change and progress. The most popular hairstyles included the shag, the feathered "Farrah Fawcett" look, the pageboy, the Jheri curl, and afro. The afro was worn by celebrities such as Barabara Streisand to Pam Grier as an alternative to the straight sleek uniform look most women wore their hair.


The 80's was all about big, fluffy, voluminous hair. Popular hairstyles included the mullet, flat tops, crimps, curls, perms and the mushroom bob. In the late 80's hip-hop, Mc's such as Salt n Pepa popularized this hairstyle and the hip-hop phenomenon began to flourish.


The 90's was the ultimate era of pop and hip-hop culture. Some of the most popular hairstyles included the "Rachel", swooped bang, sock bun, slick baby hairs and box braids. Janet Jackson starred in Poetic Justice and popularized the box braids, which is still very prevalent today amongst the African-American community.


The 2000's was filled with a variety of hairstyles and though there wasn't a defined hairstyle this era was a time to experiment with hair color, highlights and hair accessories such as butterfly clips and bandanas. During this time was when women slowly began to be empowered by their natural hair and the "natural movement" began.


In 2010's, the natural hair and the curly girl movement spread like wildfire and women began to fully embrace their natural texture. For so long, there weren't products or resources for women with curly hair, but that's no longer the case. Women are now educated more than ever on the best practices to care for their curly hair and are stepping out of their comfort zones and going for the big chop rocking their natural crown. During this decade expect to see more natural textures, shapes, and styles. Today's woman is fierce, versatile and fashion-forward and her hair reflects that.

Did you rock any of these iconic hairstyles?