Fun Victorian Hairstyles to Try at Home

From the Gibson Girl to the Sausage Curl, you'll be the picture of elegance and glamour in no time.

Collage of Victorian hairstyles

Greetings, lovely ladies and fine gentlemen! I’m your guide to the wacky and wonderful world of Victorian hairstyles. Let’s put on our corsets and top hats and dive right in, shall we?

The Gibson Girl Updo

Portrait of a Woman in Profile, Turned to the Left by William Sommer (American, 1867–1949). Woman has a low bun, a common Victorian hairstyle.
Portrait of a Woman in Profile, Turned to the Left by William Sommer (1867-1949)

Ah, the Gibson Girl—the epitome of beauty in the late 19th century. To achieve this look, first, curl your hair in loose waves with a curling iron or rollers. Then, pull your hair back into a loose bun at the nape of your neck. Leave a few strands loose to frame your face. Finally, add a ribbon or bow to the back of your bun for a touch of whimsy. Voila! You’re now the picture of elegance.

The Beehive

Gibson Girl photo of Victorian Hairstyle, the Beehive. Circa 1890s
Portrait of a Gibson Girl (1890s)

For those of us who like a bit more drama, the beehive is the way to go. Start by teasing the crown of your hair to create volume. Then, smooth the top layer of your hair over the teased section and secure it with bobby pins. Gather the rest of your hair into a ponytail at the back of your head and twist it into a bun. Pin the bun in place and you’re done! For extra pizzazz, add a hair accessory such as a flower or feather.

The Sausage Curl

Portrait of a Woman by George Richmond (1809-1896). Woman has sausage curls, a common Victorian hairstyle
Portrait of a Woman by George Richmond (1809-1896)

Yes, you read that right—sausage curls were a thing back in the day. To create this look, curl your hair in tight ringlets using a curling iron or rollers. Or, take a small section of hair and wrap it around your finger to form a sausage-shaped curl. Pin the curl in place and repeat with the rest of your hair. Once all your curls are pinned, cover your head with a silk scarf and sleep on it. In the morning, remove the pins and scarf and gently brush out your curls. You’ll have a head full of bouncy, sausage-shaped curls that will make you the envy of all your friends.

The Sara Sleek

Sara Forbes Bonetta photographed by Camille Silvy in 1862. A historic black woman from the Victorian era who altered history
Sara Forbes Bonetta photographed by Camille Silvy in 1862

Oh, I love a good history lesson, and Sara Forbes Bonetta’s story is truly fascinating. For those who don’t know, Sara was an African princess from the Yoruba tribe in what is now Nigeria. She was captured by slave traders in the mid-19th century and brought to England, where she was presented as a gift to Queen Victoria. The Queen was so taken with Sara (originally Aina) that she took her under her wing and paid for her education. Sara became a beloved figure in Victorian society and was known for her intelligence, charm, and beauty.

Now, onto the hairstyle. Sara often wore her hair in a sleek, simple style that complemented her natural beauty. To recreate this look, part your hair down the middle and brush it straight. Then, smooth your hair down and secure it at the nape of your neck with a hair tie. For an extra touch of elegance, gather the hair into a Victorian hair net or snood. This hairstyle is not only a tribute to a remarkable black woman, but it’s also perfect for those who prefer a more understated look.

Well, there you have it, folks—four quirky and fun Victorian hairstyles that you can try at home. Now, let’s face it, the Victorian era wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. But just because things weren’t always rosy doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the unique and elegant hairstyles that were in vogue at the time. Whether you’re attending a fancy dress party or just feel like adding a touch of vintage glamour to your everyday look, these hairstyles are sure to turn heads. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some tea and crumpets to attend to. Toodle-oo!

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