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The Ultimate Pin-Up Hairstyle Tutorial

Hairstyle trends are ever-evolving, but pin-up hair is one of our favorites.
Hairstyle trends are ever-evolving, but of all the updo iterations that have stood the test of time, pin-up hair is one of our favorites. The original take on the trend was somewhat synonymous with Old Hollywood glam, but it has since evolved into a more modernized version that can be achieved with various hair textures, curl patterns, and hair lengths. Think of a pin-up hairstyle as a fresh way of wearing a protective hairstyle while paying homage to hairstyles from the 50s. Here, learn how to put a modern spin on the style, along with the steps needed to create it.

What Is Pin-Up Hair?

Much like the name suggests, pin-up hair is a type of updo. It was popularized in the early to mid-1940s with a specific variation called victory rolls—both a short and long hair pin-up style featuring two large voluminous spirals that sat side-by-side at the crown of the head. Most often, the back half of the hair hung down, curling under at the ends. This pin-up hairstyle was worn during World War II to mimic and pay homage to the aerobatic loops that fighter planes made during combat.

How the hair is gathered on top of the head can vary, but there’s a clear distinction between pin-up hair and the more familiar styles in the world of curly hair—a pineapple or a top-knot. With a pineapple or top knot, both popular protective styles, the hair is swept up to the crown of the head and secured with a scrunchie or hair tie. Whereas pin-up style hair most often combines curls, a bouffant, and rolls—or, as you’ll see in this case, a braid. It can also take form using multiple sections of hair.

Like many other hair trends, this style has evolved over time and has been adapted to better suit a range of hair textures and lengths. You can still create the pinned rolls if you’d like, but this variation of the modern pin-up girl is intended to replace the barreled spirals from the classic version with your smoothed and defined curls.

How Do You Curl Your Hair In a Pin-Up Style

A traditional pin-up hairstyle can be done on straight or curly hair—but a bit more care is needed when styling curls. So, what’s the trick for doing vintage pin-up hair on curls? Read on to find out.

Step 1: The secret to creating the ultimate pin-up hairstyle is prepping with the right products. Start with the moisture-rich Black Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioner. This sulfate-free duo is a secret weapon for incredible softness and shine on all curly hairstyles. Since a good portion of your hair will be left loose, you want to ensure that your curls are well moisturized and defined. The hair milk collection will help you achieve this.

You also want to make sure that your curls aren’t tangled before you style. (That’ll be a pain to undo later!) To do so, apply the Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer to your strands after you’ve shampooed and conditioned to help comb through any snarls. You can also opt for applying Black Vanilla 4-in-1 Combing Crème liberally to your hair and combing through.

Prepping and detangling are absolutely essential steps to make hair manageable while you’re sectioning and getting ready to braid. To avoid breakage, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to work your way from the ends upward. This will help prevent excessive tugging on the root, which can ultimately lead to breakage.

Step 2: Apply a styler like the Pracaxi Nectar Style & Hold Foam throughout damp hair to help give your curls a bit of hold, which will be useful once you start styling. You can create a pin-up style on damp or dry hair, but it’s probably easiest to maneuver on dry hair. Use a hair-drying diffuser or let your hair air dry before you proceed with pinning.

Step 3: Once dry, section your hair in two halves split from ear to ear over your crown. Clip the top portion away for later.

Step 4: Sweep the back half of your hair upward toward the crown. You may be tempted to use a brush to gather any rogue curls, but even though this back area of your hair will be braided, the curls will add a layer of texture to the style that brushing will remove—so stick with using your fingers. Apply the Monoi (Repair + Protect) Multi Styling Milk to smooth the sides. Then, smooth any loose baby hairs along the nape of your neck with the Pracaxi Nectar Frizz Tamer.

Step 5: French braid the back half of your hair by doing a three-strand cornrow that lies flat against your head. Start the braid at the nape of your neck and work up toward the crown. If braiding is tricky, you can also try a two-strand twist or flat twist the hair upward.

Step 6: Secure the end of the braid with a coated hair tie and then tuck the end under and secure with a bobby pin.

Step 7: Unclip the top half of your hair. If your curls tend to fall in the looser, more wavy (type 3) category, apply a small amount of Pracaxi Style Control Gel to the entire section and scrunch. This will help smooth and define while also adding some crunch-free hold.

For curls and textures that are in the more coily (type 4) category, you’ll want to use the Coco Crème Coil Enhancing Moisture Butter instead of the gel. Apply it to your hair and then do a two-strand twist and let it set. Once dry, unravel the twists, and you’ll have soft, defined spirals. No matter your texture, leave the top half loose to show off your curls.

How To Maintain a Pin-Up Hairstyle

Pin-up hair is somewhat similar to a pineapple protective style, so you can easily sleep on it. Just be sure to wrap your hair in a scarf or bonnet before bed. You can also apply the Hair Milk Curl Refresher Spray to your loose curls and create two to four large twists. This will help keep your coils corralled and smoothed while you snooze. In the morning, loosen the twist and lightly fluff.

Looking for more updo ideas for curly hair? Check out these 25 Stunning Braided Hairstyles for Natural Hair.

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