Iconic 'dos for an iconic year.
The '70s was a decade of fashion and glam. It was a period when the looks of liberation of the civil rights and women's movements made their way into fashion, changing how people dressed and styled their hair. As a statement of individuality and creativity, glam fashion represented fun and freedom. Other generations, especially the '80s, continued and expanded these looks, so much so that it might be hard to remember that they started in the '70s. From shaggy lengths to big loose curls, here are some of the most iconic hairstyles of the decade.
Disco/Dance queen curls (Big loose curls)
This hairstyle gained popularity at the height of the disco scene, and featured voluminous gravity-defying bouncy curls cascading in different lengths from short to long (beyond the shoulders). Tight curls were first created using curling irons, hot rollers, or perm solutions. Then, they were brushed out to create a softer, more voluminous look.
Popularized by the breakaway star of Charlie's Angels, Farrah Fawcett, this hairstyle was daring, effortless, and completely new when it launched in the ‘70s. Also commonly referred to as “The Farrah,” the feathered look features mid-to-long hair brushed back and outwards at the sides, giving the appearance of bird's feathers. “When I think of iconic ’70s hair, who else but Farrah Fawcett comes to mind? That layered look, all blown back (the heavier version of a curtain bang), is very much in style right now,” says Leigh Kasica a hairstylist in Woodcliff, New Jersey. “The ’70s was all about volume, tousled hair, and the sex-kitten vibe.” You can get the look by blasting clipped-back hair with a blow dryer or using barrel-size rollers to fluff.
Natural-textured afros were prominent in the 70s, especially long-picked-out afros. Popularized by ladies in the limelight like Diana Ross, the afro was both a political and fashion statement. The ‘70s afro in particular was shaped into a halo around the head and was worn by all genders. These days, pulling off the look is often done with wigs that are perfectly coiffed.
The shag haircut
The shag hairstyle became iconic in the ‘70s, thanks to rebellious rock stars like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Rod Stewart. This look features evenly progressed layers—from the shortest at the top of the head to the longest at the back—to give an overall “shaggy” effect. Most shag cuts were cropped to the shoulder with wide-angle bangs across the forehead. Others featured long layers pulled toward the face to create a frame.
There are many locs styles, but the traditional ones are relatively maintenance-free. The loc wearer can use rollers, bantu knots, or pipe cleaners to achieve curls. Otherwise, the hair may grow as long as the loc bearer chooses.
While bangs are nothing new, it can be said that the women of the ‘70s wore it best. They made softer, longer, and looser bangs, such as curtain and wispy bangs, the thing to do.
Curtain bangs were best worn with single-toned, medium-long hair to create a rock 'n roll look, while wispy bangs featured a soft aesthetic that aimed to highlight the eyes. The primary purpose of bangs was to draw attention to the face, especially the eyes, while perfectly complementing natural hair.
The practical and stylish wedge became trendy among working women who needed a fashionable hairstyle to suit their busy lifestyles. You can style this look in a bowl-like shape with steep-angled layers that hang above the shoulder for a feminine look.
The afro puff
The afro puff, also known as “curly puff,” features volumized curls piled high on top of the head. Something like a mix between an afro and pigtails, these rounded puffs are playful and manageable. To create the look, start with a middle part. The hair is expected to lay flat on the scalp while the pigtail is puffy, so this may require gathering the hair into an elastic while wet or after using a curling or flat iron from the root to the pigtail. Then, brush out the natural curls gathered in the elastic to create a soft, fluffy texture. You can also accessorize the curly puffs with headbands, scrunchies, or scarves to add flair.
Low pigtails with a middle part were all the rage in the ‘70s. These would often be brushed into two low ponytails at the nape of the neck (the ends could be left straight or curled), and secured with a ribbon or hair tie. Hair extensions can be added to create the desired look.
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