Perfecting Vintage: The Brush Out 101

No look beautifully captures the past and takes you back to the glitz and glamour of the 20th Century like a perfect coif that is brushed out. Those flowy, soft waves that framed the faces of Lauren Bacall and Rita Hayworth are no thanks to curling irons, argan oil, sea salt, or blow-outs. The look was peak elegance, and surprisingly low maintenance. Every time you think of 1940’s and 1950’s hairstyles you can’t help but awe and wonder how exactly they mastered such heavenly-looking hair.

If today’s looser choppy waves aren’t quite to your taste, you’ll be happy to find how easy it is to recreate these luscious and soft curls that are sure to be the talk of the town. It all comes down to two simple steps: curl, and brush. And if you think a brushing will do the trick, you’re right– but not just any quick brushing. Trying a 1940’s brush out for the next night out or even just a new look for the coming season will require the following but easy steps below. And they will have you feeling very delighted in how close you are to looking like the starlets of a beautiful bygone era!


Set of Sponge Rollers

Bobby Pins

Brush (boar bristle brush or paddle brush highly recommended)

Hair Spray

Setting Lotion

Smoothing Cream


Dampen your hair either with water or a setting lotion in your hair, combing in a dollop of lotion through your hair.

Grabbing  hair an inch wide, roll each lock into a curl inward with the sponge rollers. For fuller, tighter curls, roll the hair all the way to your scalp and lock the roller in place. For your front/bangs, roll the hair away from your face.

Keep rollers in hair overnight. For a comfy night’s rest, and to prevent frizz, place a hairnet over the curls and tie a silk scarf around it (sometimes you can just cheat for and opt for a loose winter beanie).


The next morning remove each roller from your hair, starting at the bottom and moving upward. Leave the roller around your front/bangs in place.

The Brush Out

Take your paddle brush and start brushing out the curls.

Brush out every curl as you’d like, in locks together or individually. What matters is that no tight curl is left and everything is brushed out.

On the right photo note that the left side of the hair is unbrushed versus the right side!

Sculpting and Brushing

Then, start brushing parts of your hair out, grabbing bigger parts of your hair together and brushing inward against your hand. Start at the top and brush downward, inward.

At this point your curls should be smoother and waving together. For the hair framing your face, the curls should be more wavy.


A Full Front

Not a fan of a flat front? Take out the last roller from your front hair. Brush it lightly to blend in with the rest of your hair framing your face. Then take the same strands and star teasing it at the roots.

Take a bobby pin to hold the front in place.

Finishing Touches

Taking a dime-size amount of smoothing creaming or conditioner, rub your hands together and smooth into your hair. After spritzing some hair spray around your hair and your front, remove the bobby pin.


And just like that, you’re transported back to 1941!



Excited to try the brush out for yourself?

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