Pin It Up: A Retro, Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial

Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth

As a long-time fan of pin-up styling, I set out to recreate a playful, retro ponytail look. Knowing that creating that perfectly curled and rolled bang would be difficult, I came up with a plan: I would utilize a tool I was sure would be easy to find: the hair rat. Used by stylish ladies back in the day, hair rats were cylindrical pads used to add volume to hair and to make those classic pin-up looks easier to achieve. Historically, hair rats were created out of the user’s own hair. Modern hair rats are now made from mesh or foam are available at most beauty supply stores, but for me, were extremely difficult to find around town. That didn’t stop me, though, because I came up with a solution: a pair of beige tights wrapped around a spare piece of wire. Yes, I’m serious. Not glamorous, and definitely not photogenic, but it worked.

With this easy tutorial, your hair will look so glam that no one will ever guess you’re hiding a pair of pantyhose in your bangs! Click through for our step-by step tutorial for the perfect pin-up-inspired ponytail!

Pin-up Perfect Ponytail

What you’ll need:
Hair elastic
Flat iron
1″ curling iron or rod
Hair spray
A small army of hair pins
A hair rat (or, you know, a wire covered in hosiery)

Hairband to hide the elastic, such as the Through the Wire Headband in Red
The perfect retro dress, such as the Sweet Temptation Dress

Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth

1. Separate out the portion of your hair that you’ll be turning into bangs. Tie back the remainder. Using your flat iron, run it at an angle down the length of your “bangs”, spray with hairspray.

2. Using your hair rat, roll your bangs over the rat, tucking the ends and smoothing as you go.

Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth

3. Secure your rolled bangs into place using hair pins. Spray generously with hairspray.

Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth

4. Remove the remainder of your hair from the elastic. Curl all over with your curling iron or rod, spray with hairspray.

Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth

4. Gather all of your hair into a ponytail, secure with an elastic.

5. For a pin-up perfect look, wrap the Through the Wire Headband in Red around your hair to hide the elastic and don a retro-ready dress like the Sweet Temptation Dress in Strawberries.

Pin-up Ponytail Tutorial, via Story by ModCloth

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  1. Alexandra Marie 06/28/2013 at 12:56 pm #

    This is adorable and so it that dress! Alex

  2. Sammi 06/29/2013 at 7:30 am #

    This look is SO amazing on you. Dying to do this, but I actually have real bangs (and they don’t look nearly as cool and retro as these fake ones!). Awesome tutorial, though!

    • Thursday 06/29/2013 at 9:47 pm #

      I have a natural sideswept fringe/bangs and I do a retro rolled look all the time. You just use a curling iron and a bunch of mousse and hairspray. The look is a bit more natural, but shouldn’t it be, if you’ve got the real deal? 🙂

  3. Charli 06/29/2013 at 9:56 am #

    Oh wow, I got a hair gift set at christmas that has a hair rat in and I haven’t tried it yet. I will now!

    • Heather 08/01/2013 at 8:12 pm #

      What kind of gift set? Where can I find such an amazing thing?

  4. Shannon 06/30/2013 at 8:14 am #

    That hairstyle is so cute! I shall definitely have to give this a try!

  5. Eliza 07/02/2013 at 8:04 am #

    I love it! I’ve always wanted to know how to do that! xo

  6. Artistry By Veronica 07/04/2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I’m loving this hairstyle!! Definitely going to give it a try!

  7. Jess 07/09/2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Love this… I want to take a crack at it on my short hair. Not sure how it’s going to turn out haha

  8. Sheila 07/17/2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Instead of a hair rat, you can buy a jumbo pipe cleaner from Michael’s for about a dollar & use that instead. Works wonderfully!

    • Plum 01/13/2014 at 4:08 pm #

      That’s so smart! Thank you for the brilliant tip, I love innovative solutions to everyday problems. 🙂

  9. Rena Texidor 08/07/2013 at 6:57 pm #

    I use a foam hair roller because my hair is shorter. It works the same as long as you match the hair roller to your hair color. All part of the fun.

  10. Amanda 02/02/2014 at 9:37 am #

    I love, love this tutorial. Especially since I have longer bangs, this is great. But how do you bobby pin the curled “bangs” to the rest of your head? Is it underneath? Besides hair spray how do you keep the roll from coming undone?

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