Pageant Hairstyle Trends

The Evolution of Beauty Pageant Hairstyles Through the Decades

From the glamorous curls and victory rolls of the 1950s to the sleek bobs and crimped waves of the 1990s, beauty pageant hairstyles have evolved with the times, reflecting changing trends and societal influences.

This article explores the fascinating journey of beauty pageant hairstyles through the decades, from the iconic beehives and bouffants of the 1960s to the big hair and power styles of the 1980s, offering insight into the ever-changing world of beauty and fashion.

1950s: Glamorous Curls and Victory Rolls

During the 1940s, beauty pageant hairstyles showcased glamorous curls and victory rolls, reflecting the elegant and sophisticated fashion trends of the era. Victory roll techniques were particularly popular, with women styling their hair into voluminous curls that framed their faces. These victory rolls exuded a sense of confidence and empowerment, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of the time. Vintage hair accessories such as decorative hair combs, floral clips, and satin ribbons were used to accentuate these intricate hairstyles, adding a touch of femininity and grace.

The Rockabilly hair trends also played a significant role in shaping beauty pageant hairstyles during this period. Inspired by the burgeoning Rockabilly subculture, contestants often incorporated elements of this trend into their hair, embracing bold and daring looks that set them apart on the stage. Pin-up hair tutorials became increasingly popular, offering women step-by-step guides to achieving the perfect victory rolls and glamorous curls at home.

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1960s: Beehives, Bouffants, and Mod Styles

In the 1960s, beauty pageant hairstyles embraced beehives, bouffants, and mod styles, reflecting the era’s fashion and cultural influences. This era was characterized by a departure from the previous decade’s structured and polished looks, giving way to more voluminous and free-spirited hairdos.

  • Bouffant Revival: The 1960s saw a resurgence of the bouffant, a hairstyle characterized by its fullness and height at the crown. Beauty pageant contestants often sported this elegant and sophisticated look, exuding timeless glamour on the stage.

  • Modern Beehive Styles: The classic beehive hairstyle, popularized by icons like Brigitte Bardot, underwent a modern transformation in the 1960s. Pageant participants often showcased variations of the beehive, incorporating sleeker finishes and subtle teasing for a more contemporary appeal.

  • Mod Inspired Updos: The mod subculture heavily influenced beauty pageant hairstyles, inspiring the creation of chic updos with clean lines and geometric shapes. These hairstyles exuded a sense of modernity and sophistication, perfectly complementing the fashion trends of the time.

  • Retro Glam Hairdos: Overall, beauty pageant hairstyles in the 1960s exuded a sense of retro glamour, with voluminous and meticulously styled hairdos that perfectly captured the essence of the era’s fashion and cultural ethos.

1970s: Farrah Fawcett Feathered Hair and Disco Glam

The 1970s saw a shift in beauty pageant hairstyles, as contestants embraced Farrah Fawcett’s iconic feathered hair and disco-inspired glam, reflecting the evolving trends of the era. Farrah Fawcett, known for her role in "Charlie’s Angels," popularized a hairstyle that became the epitome of 70s glamour. Her iconic hairstyle featured voluminous, feathered layers and glamorous curls, setting a new standard for beauty pageant contestants. The disco era’s influence was evident in the hairstyles of beauty pageant participants, with many incorporating elements of Farrah Fawcett’s signature look into their competition styles. This era celebrated big, bouncy hair with plenty of volume and movement, perfectly complementing the flashy, vibrant atmosphere of disco culture. Beauty pageant hairstyles in the 1970s exuded confidence and allure, mirroring the fashion and beauty trends of the time.

Iconic Hairstyle Disco Era Glamorous Curls
Farrah Fawcett’s feathered hair Influence on beauty pageant styles Voluminous, bouncy curls
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1980s: Big Hair, Perms, and Power Styles

The 1980s marked a transition in beauty pageant hairstyles, as contestants embraced big hair, perms, and power styles, reflecting the evolving trends of the era. This period witnessed a departure from the sleek and polished looks of the previous decade, with a shift towards more voluminous and statement-making hairstyles. The 80s nostalgia continues to inspire modern interpretations of these iconic beauty pageant hairstyles, with many women embracing the bold and glamorous aesthetic of this era.

  • Big Hair: The 80s were all about volume, with contestants opting for large, voluminous hairdos that made a striking statement on the stage.

  • Celebrity Inspirations: Beauty pageant contestants drew inspiration from iconic celebrities of the 80s, such as Madonna, Princess Diana, and Cindy Crawford, who were known for their signature big hair and power styles.

  • Hair Trends: Perms became immensely popular, with many contestants opting for this style to achieve the desired volume and texture.

  • Retro Styles: The 80s saw the resurgence of retro styles, with beauty pageant participants embracing the bold and glamorous looks reminiscent of the era.

As the 80s gave way to the 90s, beauty pageant hairstyles underwent another transformation, embracing sleek bobs, crimped waves, and grunge influences.

1990s: Sleek Bobs, Crimped Waves, and Grunge Influences

Sleek bobs, crimped waves, and grunge influences characterized beauty pageant hairstyles in the 1990s. This decade witnessed a departure from the voluminous styles of the previous era, with a shift towards more streamlined and edgy looks. Edgy pixies and glamorous updos became popular choices, reflecting the era’s embrace of individuality and non-conformity.

In addition to the sleek bobs, vintage finger waves also made a resurgence, but with modern twists. Contestants often incorporated these vintage-inspired waves into their hairstyles, adding a touch of timeless elegance to their overall look. The fusion of vintage elements with contemporary flair showcased the adaptability and creativity of beauty pageant hairstyles during this period.

Crimped waves also became a prominent trend, offering a playful and textured alternative to the more structured styles. The grunge influences of the 1990s were evident in the effortless yet stylish appeal of crimped waves, reflecting the era’s casual yet sophisticated fashion sensibilities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Did Beauty Pageant Hairstyles in the 1950s Reflect the Cultural and Social Changes of the Era?

Beauty pageant hairstyles in the 1950s mirrored the cultural influences and societal changes of the era. They often featured classic, glamorous styles reflecting the emphasis on femininity and traditional values, while also incorporating elements of modernity and sophistication.

What Techniques and Products Were Commonly Used to Achieve the Iconic Beehive and Bouffant Hairstyles of the 1960s Beauty Pageants?

In the 1960s, achieving the iconic beehive and bouffant hairstyles in beauty pageants involved precise backcombing, ample hairspray, and strategically placed hair padding. These techniques and products were essential for creating the voluminous and structured looks.

How Did the Feminist Movement and Changing Societal Attitudes Impact Beauty Pageant Hairstyles in the 1970s?

The feminist movement and evolving societal attitudes in the 1970s had a significant impact on beauty pageant hairstyles. These changes reflected a shift towards more natural, relaxed hairdos, mirroring the broader social emphasis on individuality and authenticity.

Were There Any Specific Beauty Pageant Contestants or Celebrities Who Popularized the Big Hair and Power Styles of the 1980s?

In the 1980s, big hair and power styles in beauty pageants were popularized by celebrity influences such as Madonna and Joan Collins. Their iconic looks became a trend, inspiring contestants and setting a standard for glamour and sophistication.

What Role Did Pop Culture and Music Trends Play in Shaping the Sleek Bobs, Crimped Waves, and Grunge Influences of Beauty Pageant Hairstyles in the 1990s?

Pop culture and music trends greatly influenced the evolution of beauty pageant hairstyles in the 1990s. Sleek bobs, crimped waves, and grunge influences were shaped by the era’s music and fashion, setting new beauty pageant trends.


In conclusion, the evolution of beauty pageant hairstyles through the decades has showcased a wide variety of trends and influences.

Interestingly, a study conducted by beauty experts found that 80% of beauty pageant hairstyles from the 1950s to the 1990s were influenced by popular culture and societal trends.

This demonstrates the dynamic nature of beauty standards and the impact of historical and cultural movements on fashion and beauty choices.

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