Book Review: Vintage Hairstyling

I am pretty lame about my hair, seriously. When I was in high school--I had curly hair in the 70s, not a good thing--I hated my hair as only a high-schooler can. It took me years to learn to just tolerate it, and when I worked in strip joints I was constantly flinging it around so no one could really tell what it looked like. Now I rely mostly on hairpieces, and if I'm not wearing one, my hair is usually what I call "put away," in a ponytail or bun.

However, if that continues, I have no one to blame but myself, because now there's this book:

Vintage Hairstyling Cover

It is AMAZING. Oh boy, does it deliver. There is a section on tools and products that no self-styled diva should be without. If you've ever wondered what some of those clips in the hairstyling aisle of the beauty supply store can do for you, wonder no more! There are tips on using curling tools that anyone, whether or not they're into retro hairstyles, would be grateful to have. It features page after page of beautiful color photographs and step-by-step instructions for a staggering array of techniques, including page after page on the essential pincurl. There are also instructions for using modern tools to get retro styles. I really don't see how this book could be any better at what it is.

Vintage Hairstyling

There is a section which describes how to make victory rolls, pompadours, finger waves, and pincurl waves, followed by a chapter on composing hairstyles with those features that include "The Pin-up," "Jazz Singer," and "Film Noir."

There is a chapter on accessories, including flowers, and a final chapter on retro makeup and manicures.

I can't promise you that my hair will improve overnight, as I doubt I'm going to suddenly become a meticulously groomed fashion diva, but I'm feeling inspired! I'm about to do a performance in Vegas that requires much more attention to detail than my usual 30-minute hairpiece application will support. This book will definitely be my go-to when I need to raise the bar on my hairdo, and I'm certainly taking it to Vegas with me.

For those who make the effort to really be a bombshell, this is a life-changing tool. If you're just learning retro styling, this is a crash course that will greatly accelerate your skill curve. As I always tell my students when they're planning costumes, your outfit doesn't end at your neck! Just as a stylish outfit loses impact without stylish hair and makeup, a fabulous costume needs a fabulous head of hair to be complete. Don't do as I do, do as I say!

Vintage Hairstyling:
Retro Styles with Modern Techniques
By Lauren Rennels
HRST Books, 2008

To Purchase:

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for


Anonymous said…
I just purchased this book via the site. Not only is it an absolute life saver in learning vintage hairstyling, but they shipped it to me super fast! I could not be more pleased.

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