The 1950s was the first decade which named and recognized the teenager; someone who was between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers started to develop their own fashions and styles. There were several popular, and now iconic, hairstyles for both teen boys and teen girls worn in the 50s.
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Waves and Curls
Teenage girls in the 1950s would almost always want wavy or curly hair, this echoed the adult fashion of the era. Girls who didn't have naturally curly hair would sleep with hair wound round rags or rollers to curl it, and then use hairspray in the morning to set the curls. Some teen girls would even resort to perming their hair to achieve the curly look. Short haircuts were most popular, normally between chin and shoulder length.
The Poodle Cut
The poodle cut was also popular among teen girls. This was a hairstyle which was tightly curled and cut very short, into a bouffant on top of the head. This hairstyle was made famous by Lucille Ball of "I Love Lucy" fame. Again, these curls were often achieved either by natural curling with rags or rollers or by use of a chemical perm. In the 1950s, it was common for teens to perm hair at home.
Teenage boys in the 1950s often sported a quiff, which is arguably one of the most iconic hairstyles of the decade. It was especially popular with members of subcultures who considered themselves to be rebellious, such as "rockers," "teddy boys" or "greasers." Boys usually wore the quiff with long sideburns, and sometimes in conjunction with a center parting at the back off the head, known as a ducktail.
The Crew Cut
For teen boys of the 1950s who considered themselves more conservative, the crew cut was a common choice of hairstyle. The crew cut was a closely cropped haircut of an even length all over. A popular variation on the crew cut was the flat top. This was where the sides of the hair were shaved close, but the top of the hair was slightly longer and shaved to create a plateau on top of the head.