How to Do Edwardian Hairstyles

The Edwardian Era, also known as “La Belle Epoque” and “the Gilded Age,” spanned from the late 1890s to 1914. The Gibson girl was a popular inspiration when it came to fashion and hair. Most of the hair of that era were voluminous, wispy updos, but there were other styles as well, such as buns and braids. Edwardian women often resorted to using mesh or wire frames for their hair, but there are other ways to do the same styles using simpler techniques.[1][2]

EditSteps

EditCreating the Gibson Girl

  1. Add volume to your hair, if needed. If you already have thick, wavy/curly hair, you may not need to do this. If you have thin or straight, hair, however, you will need to add some volume to it. There are several ways you can do this:
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 1.jpg
    • Backcomb or tease your hair, including the top; leave the under layers smooth.[3]
    • Start with wet hair, then blow-dry it upside down.[4]
    • Add a volumizing powder or mousse to the roots.[5]
  2. Separate the hair from your hairline in a thick band. Part your hair vertically on each side, right in front of the ears. Section off a 2-inch (5.08-centimeter) thick band of hair across your front hairline, running from ear-to-ear.[6]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 2.jpg
  3. Gather the rest of your hair into a bun, except for the bottom layer. The bottom layer needs to curve in a 2-inch (5.08-centimeter) thick band along your back/bottom hairline. Secure the bun with a hair tie or hair clip.[7]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 3.jpg
    • This bun is temporary; you will come back to it later.
    • Save yourself some work later on and make a ponytail instead. Twist and secure the ponytail with a hairclip.
  4. Roll the front section of your hair back, then pin it. Gather the sectioned-off hair from your front hairline. Use your forefingers to wind that hair backwards, then secure the roll with a bobby pin or two.[8]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 4.jpg
    • The section needs to be the same length as your forefinger.
    • Keep the roll loose. It should be big enough to comfortably fit both of your forefingers.
  5. Repeat the process on the rest of your hairline. Continue working in finger-length sections around your hairline, including the temples and sides. Don’t worry if a few wisps of hair come loose; this will give you a more romantic look that is suitable for the period.[9]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 5.jpg
    • The nape will be a little tricky. Check your work in the mirror.
    • Tease the sections of hair as needed before you roll them back.[10]
  6. Sweep your bangs back and pin them, if needed. Pull your bangs back over the front roll, and gently pin them in place. Be careful not to squash the roll, however![11]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 6.jpg
    • Skip this step if you don’t have bangs.
  7. Turn the bun into a ponytail, then split it in two. Go back to the bun from the very beginning. Undo it carefully, so as not to disrupt the rolls, then re-tie it into a ponytail right in the center. Split the ponytail in half so that you have a left side and a right side.[12]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 7.jpg
    • If you make a ponytail then clipped it into a bun earlier, simply remove the clip.
  8. Roll, flatten, and pin each side of the ponytail towards the center. Take the left side of the ponytail, and roll it towards the center. Press the roll flat, and pin it just above the ponytail. Repeat the process for the right, but pin it just below the ponytail.[13]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 8.jpg
  9. Loosen the style, if needed. Gently tug out a few wisps of hair around your hairline, especially at the temples, nape, and side burns. If you want to, you can set your style with hairspray to help it last longer. This is not really necessary, however; they did not have hairspray back then![14]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 9.jpg

EditStyling the Wrap and Roll

  1. Start with long hair that’s parted down the middle. This style looks like a rolled and tucked bun, except that the roll is more pronounced. The longer your hair is, the more voluminous the style ill be. For best results, your hair should fall well past your shoulders.[15]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 10.jpg
  2. Section off the front part of your hair. Use your thumbs to separate the hair that’s in front of your ears from the rest of your hair. The sections need to extend from your side burns all the way up to the center part. Drape these sections over your shoulders and brush the rest of the hair back.[16]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 11.jpg
  3. Tie the two sections behind your head in a loose ponytail. The ponytail needs to sit at about ear-level. Keep it loose enough so that you can still tuck your fingers behind it, but tight enough so that it doesn’t droop don. Use a mini hair tie that matches your hair color or a clear hair elastic to secure it.[17]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 12.jpg
  4. Flip the ponytail a few times until the sides twist into ropes. Slip your finger up behind the tied sections. Hook it around the ponytail, then pull the ponytail through the gap. Do this a few times until the tied hair sections become twisted.[18]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 13.jpg
  5. Gather the ret of your hair into a loose, low ponytail. You want to include the first ponytail in this one as well. Secure the ponytail just below the first one with a hair tie that matches your hair color. Keep the ponytail loose enough so that you can slide your finger behind it.[19]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 14.jpg
  6. Flip the ponytail once or twice. Slide your finger up through the ponytail, right behind the hair tie; you want your finger between your head and the actual hair tie. Hook your finger around the ponytail, then slide it down through the hole. Tug down enough so that the ponytail comes out of the hole, but not the hair tie.[20]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 15.jpg
    • If you have long, thin hair, you may need to do this twice.
  7. Roll the ponytail upwards. Gather and smooth your ponytail. Rotate it around your two forefingers as you roll it upwards towards your head. Keep the roll loose enough so that your forefingers can rotate freely inside of it. You want it to have a slight, oval shape, o that it extend above the initial roll from the previous step.[21]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 16.jpg
  8. Secure the roll to your head with bobby pins. Make sure that you are only pinning the underside of the roll so that it is nice and voluminous. You will need at least two bobby pins, one on each side of the top of the roll. If you have thick, heavy hair, you may need another set or two of bobby pins along the sides.[22]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 17.jpg
  9. Set the style with hairspray, if desired. You don’t have to do this, but you can if you want to. Hairspray will help the style last longer, but skipping the hairspray will be more authentic to the period. In fact, a few loose strands will give you a wispy, romantic look that’s perfectly suitable.
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 18.jpg

EditDoing an Adaptable Hairstyle

  1. Start with long hair, parted down the center. This method will show you how to do three simple Edwardian hairstyles. They all start out the same way, but end different on the final step. In order for these hairstyles to work, your hair should fall well past your shoulders.[23]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 19.jpg
  2. Gather a section of hair in front of each ear. The sections should extend from your side burns up to your hairline. Keep the sections relatively thin, about 1-inch (.54 centimeter) thick.[24]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 20.jpg
  3. Tie the sections into a loose ponytail behind your head. Use a clear elastic or a hair tie that matches your hair color;. Make sure that ponytail is loose enough to drape under the curved part of your head, right above the nape.[25]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 21.jpg
  4. Twist the ponytail a few times. Slip your fingers behind the tied section and grab the ponytail. Pull it down through the hole, just like making a flipped or topsy-turvy ponytail. Do this a few times until the tied sections are twisted into ropes, all the way up to your hairline.[26]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 22.jpg
  5. Finish off with a braid, flipped ponytail, or tucked bun. This is where the magic of this adaptable hairstyle occurs! Gather all of your hair, including the twisted ponytail, and everything beneath it. Next, finish your style by doing one of the following:[27]
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 23.jpg
    • Braid: split your hair into three sections, with the tied ponytail in the middle section. Braid your hair down, then secure it with a hair tie.
    • Flipped ponytail: Make a ponytail that’s level with the twisted ties. Poke your finger up through your hair, behind the hair tie. Grab the ponytail, and pull it down through the hole.
    • Tucked bun: Do a flipped ponytail, but keep flipping it until you run out of hair. Tuck the ends into the hole, then secure them with bobby pins.
  6. Set your style with hairspray, if desired. If you really want to get authentic, you can skip this step. If you want to keep your style looking smooth throughout the day, however, lightly mist it with hairspray.
    Do Edwardian Hairstyles Step 24.jpg

EditTips

  • Use bobby pins and hair ties that are close to your hair color.
  • You can try creating the Gibson girl style if you have shorter hair, but you may need to use more hairspray to set the rolls.
  • If your hair is too short, you can use extensions or even a wig.
  • You can also use foam or mesh inserts for your hair. Pin them to your head first, then wrap and roll your hair around them.[28]
  • Look at reference pictures to get more ideas.

EditThings You’ll Need

EditCreating the Gibson Girl

  • Brush
  • Hair tie
  • Hair clips
  • Bobby pins
  • Volumizing mousses or powders (optional)
  • Hairspray (optional)

EditStyling the Wrap and Roll

  • Brush
  • Hair ties
  • Bobby pins
  • Hairspray (optional)

EditDoing an Adaptable Hairstyle

  • Brush
  • Hair tie
  • Hair clips
  • Bobby pins
  • Hairspray (optional)

EditSources and Citations

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