Retro Hair 101: Your Easy Guide to Pin-Up Bumper Bangs

The cast of the TV show "Bomb Girls" inspired me to wear this look more often.

I’ve always been into bumper bangs, but binge-watching "Bomb Girls" on Netflix, rekindled my love. Fun fact: In the 1940s, Veronica Lake hair was all the rage, but due to the war, styles changed to keep hair out of the faces of women who were working with machinery. This led to an influx of victory rolls and bumper bangs, which weren’t just cute, but served a purpose! They’re also popular with the pin-up crowd as a way to emulate Bettie Page without the full-on commitment.

To accomplish these “Bettie Bangs,” I started with rag rolls and combed out the curls with a fine-tooth comb. Normally I comb them out with a bristle brush for soft, vintage waves (à la Veronica Lake), but I wanted my hair to stay curly and relatively tangle-free. I added some hair serum to the ends to make them a bit softer.

I let my bangs grow out, but it was pretty much an accident. The longer they got, the more I meant to cut them. I realized they were the perfect length for this tutorial. The more hair you have in the front, the easier it will be. It might even be easier if you have no bangs at all.

You want to take a fine-tooth comb and create a V-shape, or rounded part from the middle of your head down to the front. It takes more hair than you’d think to create these bangs.

If you start with rag rolls, the back part of your hair will already be curly. I could’ve rag rolled my bangs, but I decided to use a curly iron to make sure the shape went in the right direction. It helped mold the front and the back together just a bit more smoothly.

This is what it might look like when you unravel the curling iron, depending on the size. It’s OK that I didn’t get a full, bouncy curl since it’ll roll into one shape. As long as it curls in a downward direction, you’re good to go.

Now let’s put the bump in bumper bangs! It’s possible to use only hair and pin it in a round, pin-up fashion, but I prefer using a roll to wrap my hair around. It’s easier to create and maintain shape of the bangs. I use a donut hair ring that I cut in half. This can be found at pretty much any beauty supply store.

Next, take your fine tooth comb and tease the whole front section of your hair. You can tease in small increments starting from your hairline going out. This gives the roll something to grip. Once you’re done, comb out any any lumps on the top part and hairspray the front section.

This is where it gets real and can take a few tries to get it right if it’s your first time. Take the roll, previously known as the donut, and starting rolling from the tip of your hair to the front of your hairline.

Keep the roll as tight as possible. The sides of the roll will most likely stick out and that’s OK for now. You want to get a donut that is close to your hair color in case any part of it becomes visible.

If you’re satisfied with the shape of your bangs, take the sides of your roll and push them slightly back. Use a bobby or two to pin each side down. Make sure it feels secure. You can always re-pin or add more until it feels right. It can be tricky to place the pin in a secure place, getting enough hair and roll together.

Once that’s done, very carefully fan your bangs out using your fingertips. You want to try and spread the thicker middle section to the outer sections where the ends are sticking out.

At this point, you’re basically done! You can wear this hairdo up or down since it’s all about the bangs. For this photo, I threw my hair up with a few strategic bobby pins and added a red scarf.

Another alternative is adding victory rolls. I quickly threw a few up so you could get an idea of how it might look.

Have you tried this look before? Post pics!