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From rockabilly pin-up curls to disco-era Afros, retro hairstyles show up on the red carpet, at movie premieres and at gala events. Going retro can mean all-out embracing an old-school look, or altering a trendy hairstyle with a nod to the past. Either way, you have to get your stylist on board, or locate a stylist who specializes in vintage hairdos.
Choose Your Era
Be clear about what era and style you want to evoke with your new haircut. Go rockabilly with large curls that look like you wrapped them around a soup can. Channel the original Charlie's Angels with over-styled feathered hair. Hit up the '70s short and sassy trend with a bob. Ride the new wave back to the '80s with an asymmetrical style. Or go way retro to the 1880s with a steampunk-inspired look of pin curls.
Get a Visual
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Scour eBay, old yearbooks, vintage "Vogue" magazines and other sources for pictures of the retro haircut you want. Many women get inspired by head shots of actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Print out any images you find online. Bring your pictures to your stylist and ask her if she is comfortable emulating the retro haircut and doing a style that complements it.
Ask your stylist to be straight up with you about the retro haircut you want. If your kinks just won't relax into pin curls or your thin, straight hair can't hold feathering, it's better to know your options. In some cases, you can get a perm or a hair-relaxing treatment, but that restricts the other processing you can do. For example, if you like perfectly highlighted or tinted tresses, the double-processing may dry your hair and cause it to break.
Suggestions for Maintenance
Some retro hairstyles demand women spend the night with rollers or the afternoon getting braids. In the end, you may not feel like the sacrifice of time or the discomfort you experience is worth it. Before investing in a retro hairstyle, tell your stylist you want to know the best way to maintain it. She should give you tips for washing, conditioning, drying, setting, styling products and a schedule for getting a trim. Ask her about possible shortcuts and how they will affect your final look.