June 3, 2023

1950s Men's Hairstyles James Dean

The 1950s were a defining decade for style. The rock and roll revolution was in full swing, bringing with it leather jackets and blue jeans, as well as many popular hairstyles. Singers like Little Richard and Elvis Presley made pompadours and quiffs trendy amongst young people much to the dismay of the older generation, while elsewhere, Hollywood’s Golden Age was still going strong, with actors like Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, and James Dean all helping to popularize different cuts among men wanting to emulate their silver-screen idols.

Now, more than 70 years later, many of the decade’s style cues are as relevant as ever. Denim and leather never really went away, and the iconic hairstyles have seen an increase in popularity in the past few years. From straight-laced styles like the Ivy League and the side part to greaser cuts worn by bikers and rebels, the decade has a lot of potential for hair inspiration.

Ready to take a trip down memory lane? Ahead, we’ve rounded up 29 different 1950s men’s hairstyles for you to check out.

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Zayn Malik wears a 1950s-inspired greaser hairstyle with one piece in front of face

One of the best-known hairstyles of the decade, the greaser style is still found on those looking to go for a rocker or “bad boy” look. This takes daily styling maintenance to keep up the image, but the result is worth it.

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Widow’s Peak

The dramatic look of the widow’s peak style may take a confident swagger to pull off, but if you have the attitude and the hair for it, this is a classic 1950s men’s hairstyle that will get a lot of looks.

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Ivy League

Side profile of man with cropped, 1950s-inspired Ivy League hairstyle

If you like a preppy look, the clean styling of an Ivy League cut is the way to go. A water-based gel will help give you the “not a hair out of place” look.

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Named precisely for what it looks like, the ducktail cut is already a favorite among men who favor more retro styles. Style the sides and back of the hair towards the center to create the ducktail shape.

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Bruno Mars wears a voluminous 1950s-inspired pompadour hairstyle and sunglasses

Another 1950s men’s hairstyle whose popularity has been growing in recent years is the pompadour. When you have a bit of length on top, brush all of the hair upwards and use a hairdryer to help keep the pomp in place. A taper fade on the sides will complete the look.

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Austin Butler wears an Elvis-inspired slicked back hairstyle

One of the most emulated style icons of the ’50s was Elvis Presley. Characterized by its volume up top and slicked sides, Austin Butler’s variation of his signature hair is fit for a king.

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Flat Top

Side view of 1950s-inspired men's flat top hairstyle

Styled high and completely smooth on top, the flat top works best on hair with a lot of volume and texture.

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Man with blonde 1950s-inspired quiff hairstyle

One of the quintessential 1950s men’s hairstyles, the quiff could be found on many young actors and musicians. This will work with both short and longer lengths—just comb the hair to the side, flip bangs upward with a comb, and style with a bit of hairspray for hold.

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Crew Cut

Man with 1950s-inspired crew cut hairstyle with faded sides

The shorter military styling of the crew cut is almost timeless and is an excellent alternative to a ‘50s look if you can’t quite pull off a pompadour or quiff.

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Side Part

The type of look you could find on everyone from rock stars to accountants, the side part can be achieved by aggressively combing the hair from one side to the other while either using gel for hold or going for a more natural look.

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A great look for fans of old Hollywood, this swept-over 1950s men’s hairstyle looks great with a variety of different fashions and is simple to get and maintain.

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Frank Sinatra’s short and wavy hairstyle can be recreated for more modern times by taking even more off the sides with a slight taper. Slick the hair back and keep the length from getting too long.

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Pompadour Fade

Brad Pitt wears a pompadour fade hairstyle to the 2014 Oscars

Update the regular pompadour by opting for a skin fade on the sides, which will further highlight the mass of hair up top.

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Ducktail Mohawk

For an extreme variation on the ducktail, shave off most of the sides to create a mohawk, then style the ducktail as usual.

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Side profile of voluminous rockabilly 1950s men's hairstyle

While your hair is still wet, apply some pomade to the sides and sweep the hair upwards with a comb to achieve a ’50s rockabilly look.

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Teddy Boy

Another 1950s men’s hairstyle that has recently seen increased visibility is the Teddy Boy—named after the British rock subculture, which is characterized by a particular style of dress and distinctive hair. To get this look, start by using a gel to slick the sides of the hair back and around the ears, then comb bangs into a pomp or quiff using just a bit of product to keep the look natural.

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Pompadour with Beard

Man with tousled pompadour hairstyle and full beard taking mirror selfie

While not as common in the ’50s, styling a pompadour with a full beard can update the look for modern times. Allow the sideburns to flow directly into your beard without any trimming to frame your face thoroughly.

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This side part variation on the contour features a small, quiff-like flip in front, along with a tapered side for a clean finish.

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Long Quiff

Man with long quiff 1950s-inspired hairstyle and single earring

For this 1950s men’s hairstyle variation, you’ll want to have a significant amount of hair on top that can be styled forwards. Opt for a close fade on the sides to give the quiff a more defined look.

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One of the earliest “fade” haircuts, the Façon works well on different lengths of hair. Have your barber gradually fade the hair near the neck longer until it reaches the top.

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Slicked Back

RM of BTS wears a purple-gray slicked back 1950s men's hairstyle

Another favorite of 1950s film stars, this look is easily achieved by simply combing through a gel straight back. Whether you create a part—as well as whether you go for a fun color like RM of BTS—is totally optional.

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Dev Patel wears a tousled wavy side-swept hairstyle

Not quite a side part and not quite a pompadour, the side-swept look is a way to have the structure of a side part, but with a considerable pomp for a laid-back look.

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Hard Side Part

Top view of 1950s-inspired men's haircut with hard side part

Rather than just using a comb to part your hair, have your stylist create a harder part with a razor.

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James Dean

James Dean, known for portraying rebels and bad boys, often opted for a messier, less sleek 1950s men’s hairstyle to match his persona. This textured cut is light on product and heavy on attitude.

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Pompadour Undercut

Another way to modernize the pompadour is to try it with an undercut for a striking contrast.

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Back Taper

A back taper will help accentuate many of the 1950s men’s haircuts here, especially flat tops and pompadours.

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Man with floppy long hairstyle and subtle facial hair

Men in the ‘50s frequently went for the flop look (cousin to the quiff), in which the longer hair in front is left in front of the face. You can opt to use some gel for a more greaser look or keep it natural.

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Natural Pompadour

Side of natural pompadour 1950s men's hairstyle with faded side and facial hair

For those with natural hair types, it’s still possible to get a truly rocking pompadour. After allowing your hair to grow out for a bit, you’ll want to get the sides and back closely cropped. To style the pomp, use some pomade and a hairdryer to fashion the hair on top until it’s as high as you’d like.

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Bowl Cut Fade

Man with short bowl cut hairstyle with faded sides and short facial hair

This style is great for those with shorter hair who want a dramatic look. The close fade should almost resemble a bowl cut in the front, with the hair in the back gradually getting longer.