1960s Fashion – Hair Setting

by Candace RichComment — Updated October 2, 2023

The way one sets a sixties hair style is through suffering. To read more about the different styles of hair in the 60s, check our my 60s hairstyles page.

Understanding Hair Setting

Before we dive into the roller technique, let’s understand what exactly hair setting is. Hair setting is a method used to create long-lasting curls or waves by using various tools, such as curlers, rollers, or even pinning the hair in specific patterns. In the 60s, hair setting was a popular technique to achieve those iconic 60s curls. 

Below you’ll find a comprehensive 60s hair tutorial that will guide you step by step to achieve those fabulous 1960s hair curls.

Although the woman pictured comes complete with cold cream, her curlers are the right size.

Hair styles - How to set hair

We actually slept in these Coke can sized rollers. Every night. Looking back, I can’t believe we did that, nor can I offer much advice as to how to get used to it. Perhaps it is a testament to the notion that you can get used to anything.

Please note – no blow dryers. We did not have that luxury. Oh, no, we sat under these monster hair dryers like the one pictured at left. You could read, but that was tough because you had to hold your head upright which meant you had to hold the book up by your face. You could watch TV, but not if you cared about the sound. These dryers were as loud as freight trains so you couldn’t hear the TV. And no, we didn’t have headphones.

Hair curlers

Fortunately, we only used these for special occasions. Otherwise you just slept in your rollers. But if you had a hot date, you washed and rolled your hair and sat under the dryer – for say an hour depending on length.

Hair dryer

We did have electric rollers (below) but they didn’t give the poof that wet rolled and dryed delivered.

A word about the spit curls seen in many styles. you could use a hair clip or bobby pin and set just that strand. Or you could tape it to your face in exactly the curl size desired. Yes, you read that right. Plain old household tape did the trick.

Electric Hair curlers

Hair Setting Tutorial Using Hair Rollers

hair rollers

The picture above shows the two basic curler sets used in all the pictures below.

Short hair styles: (Party Curls, Piquant Pixie)

Hair should be cut in graduated lengths, from 2 1/2 to 5 inches. Set as shown right on 3/4 inch diameter rollers and medium sized pin curls. Front rollers are wound right to left. Rollers at crown go from center to each side. Pin curls in back go from right to left.

Longer hair styles: (Ruffled, Big Curvy Curls)

Hair should be about mid-neck length. Set, as shown on jumbo rollers. Right side is set same as the left.
Sixties hairdo

Party Curls added one by one to the pixie coif, make an after dark hairdo in the romantic tradition. You can buy curls that tuck easily into hair with bobby pins.
Comb Out: Brush out hair as in Pixie. Then fill in by pinning separate curls at the sides and behind bangs down to center back.
Sixties hairdo
Piquant Pixie coif bids for attention with tousled curls and curved bangs.

Comb Out: Brush out in direction of setting pattern, fluffing into soft curls all over head
Sixties hairstyleRuffled Curls set off this hairdo.

Comb Out: Make a short center part. Fluff hair up at crown. Comb down into waves on sides with ends curved under loosely.
Big Curvy Curls turn the hairdo into evening drama. Hair is crisscrossed. Here is a great video tutorial for a 1960s bouffant hairstyle. 

Sixties hairstylein front, flipped into curls on cheeks, pulled behind ears, pinned at nape, to bell out into flatteringly saucy, open curls.

Comb Out: Starting 2 inches behind forehead, section front hair, then cross sections and flip forward in front of ears. Turn hair at crown into big, open curls. Hold in place with pins. Bring rest of hair back of ears, fasten close to nape with bobby pins. Then arrange back hair in more large curls.

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