5 step-by-step tutorials from the Edwardian era on how to make an everyday Edwardian Gibson Girl updo.
The pompadour was the typical everyday hairstyle of every Edwardian woman. Below are 5 Edwardian tutorials on how to create a basic pompadour hairstyle.
The most popular pompadour hairstyle in the 1900s was the pompadour with figure 8 bun, but below you’ll also find pompadour variations with chignon or double figure 8 bun, a simple pompadour hairstyle for young girls and a different way to make a pompadour. All the following Edwardian Gibson Girl updos were suitable for everyday, while evening pompadours were usually more elaborate.
How To Make An Everyday Edwardian Pompadour With Figure 8 Bun
‘The difficulties of building up the pompadour are immense. Any good hair dresser will tell you how hard it is to build the pompadour high enough to be fashionable, yet comfortable enough for everyday wear. It is an easy matter to construct a high pompadour and, if that were all that is required the task of the hairdresser would be an easy one. But the trouble comes in when the other essentials are considered. The pompadour must be light; it must be comfortable; it must be hygienic for the scalp and it must keep its shape. A pompadour that falls short in any of these requirements is a total failure. […] The pompadour that does not keep its shape or that presses upon the scalp of the woman who wears it is not suitably constructed.’ (The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1908)
Divide The Front & Back Hair
‘To start a Pompadour dressing, divide the front and side hair from the foundation, leaving a fringe about two inches deep hanging round the forehead and ears, and combing the remainder of the hair into the foundation tail, which must be securely tied nearly at the top of the head.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a) ‘These lines must vary according to the thickness of the hair or shape of the head. In thick hair, a small proportion should be divided off, and in thinner the part should be farther back.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)
Tie The Back Hair
‘It is almost impossible to do up the hair without tying it. The looseness causes it to gradually come down much to the mortification of the wearer, but with a tie into which to stick the hair pins there is no such danger. Many use the patent hair fasteners, others prefer the domestic string, but there are others who choose the small piece of elastic that is used by the hair-dressers. Whatever method is chosen a tie is almost essential. With her hair hanging like a great tail down her neck a woman can twist, braid, roll or otherwise turn her hair in many pretty ways.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1899)
Make The Pompadour
‘Having placed the front and side pieces on pins for waving […] pinch them with hot irons, and remove the pins. Having waved the hair, French comb it carefully, then gather the ends in the left hand, and brush the hair lightly upwards and back, holding it firmly a few inches from the ends. Having smoothed it, draw the roll thus made into the desired position, holding the left hand, with the ends, just a little above the “tie” of the foundation tail. The depth of the Pompadour may then be regulated according to taste, by shortening or lengthening the ends held in the left hand. Some ladies like a deep roll, while others prefer it quite shallow. Having fixed the size of the roll, hold it in place with the left hand, while the right quickly fixes it in place with two small combs – pins are useless in fixing a Pompadour roll. The ends may then be twisted round the foundation tail, and secured with pins.
Related: How To Make A Pinless Pompadour
Put The Hair Up Into A Figure 8 Bun
The dressing of the back hair, in conjunction with a Pompadour front, may be plain or elaborate, according to fancy – and time. […] The most simple and speedy method of disposing of the foundation tail is by making a neat figure of “8.” […] This style – Pompadour front and figure of “8” – is one which should prove of the greatest use to business girls, as it is chic and pretty, without being in any way over-elaborate.
To make the figure of “8,” take the foundation tail in both hands, and twist it round and round firmly until it resembles a lightly twisted rope. It must not look too tight or strained, but just lightly twisted, with a few inches left loose at the bottom. Hold the tail near the end in the left hand, keeping the end in an upward position. Put the thumb of the right hand on the tail, about four inches from the base, and let the tail drop – as it naturally will – towards the neck. This movement forms a loop, and makes the bottom of the “8.” Then twist the remainder of the tail as before, and turn it over the beginning of the other coil, making the second loop at the top. Finally, turn the ends under, and the “8” is made. The whole thing is done with two quick movements, and needs three or four pins, properly inserted, to keep it in position.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2a)
Variation: Everyday Edwardian Gibson Girl Updo With Chignon
Divide The Front, Side & Back Hair
‘For the home or street coiffure the hair, after being combed out thoroughly, is divided into the four sections [front, left, right and back section] […] Each section may now be curled lightly to give it a fluffy or full effect. […]
Make The Front Pompadour Roll
Now gather up the front section and adjust it in a sort of roll fashion over the forehead, bringing the free ends over the top of the head. Tie the free end, leaving as much loose end as the length of the hair will allow. A string may be used for this purpose, but a rubber band not too tightly applied will answer better.
Tie The Back Hair
Next tie the back hair rather near to the head. This will keep the hair in place while the sides are being adjusted.
Make The Side Pompadour Rolls (Or Puffs)
Now take up each side section, rolling it upward and inward if there is sufficient hair […] Do not roll up the hair tightly, but just firmly enough to give it body or shape. […] Pin the side into place so that it is firm, but not so firm as to be uncomfortable, and repeat the same with the other side.
Comb The Pompadour To Hide The Partings
This done, comb the sections lightly from the face upward so that the partings on the sides with the front will not show at the same time, lifting the comb outward further to fluff the hair and give it the easy effect of nature. This accomplished, insert a back comb of any desired style about the top of the head or a little back of this point […]
Put The Back Hair Up Into A Puff (Aka Chignon)
This leaves only the free end of the front hair and the back hair section to be adjusted. If the front hair back of the comb is sufficiently long, it may be combed in with the back hair. The back hair may then be gathered up as a roll similar to the front hair, fixed at the top of the head with the back comb, and fluffed out as directed with the front and sides, making sure that the loose ends are not shown on top of the head;
Optional: Neck Curls Or Puffs
or, if there is enough hair, the ends may be divided and curled into a number of small curls, which may be artistically pinned into place so that they fall down upon the back of the head, where they are fixed with small hairpins; or the back hair may be divided into two or three strands and curled over the fingers, and fixed into place at the back of the head in a cluster.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)
Edwardian Pompadour With The Pompadour Made After The Back Hairdressing
Divide The Front & Back Hair
‘To make a pompadour parted or upright part the hair across the head about three inches back of the forehead and continuing down the sides to a point just back of the ear. Gather this hair forward out of the way.
Part The Hair Again Horizontally
Divide the remaining back hair again horizontally on a line with the top of the ear and roll the upper half up in a tight wad away from the lower half, which is left hanging.
Arrange The Back Hair Over A Hair Rat
To make the most of the latter [back hair] it would better be crimped a little with an ordinary crimping iron if a waver is too hard to manage. Then if the coiffure is to be very low fasten a round hair cushion about four inches in diameter at the back of the head just below the lower parting or so as to let the lower edge reach the nape of the neck and turn the crimped hair up over it and fasten firmly at the top of the cushion. According to the length of the hair there will be a longer or shorter end of hair left hanging and this must be carefully drawn to one side for future use, not tucked away.
Make The Pompadour – Then Make Puffs With The Middle Hair Section
The rolled up wad of hair must now be let down until the pompadour is built, after which it is divided and rolled up into two or three or more puffs arranged to fill the gap between the pompadour and bun, as the lower cushioned arrangement is called, and the ends of which are at this stage of the hair dressing formed into an additional puff. The ends of the front hair after the pompadour is built are often turned into a couple of small curls which project coquettishly from one side of the puffs’ (The Sun, 1906)
Early Edwardian Gibson Girl Updo With Double Figure 8 Bun
Divide The Front & Back Hair
‘First, thoroughly brush and comb your hair, then part off from the back hair the side and front pompadour. Let it hang over the face.
Tie The Back Hair
Then take the back hair and brush it smoothly and high up from the nape of the neck. Keep brushing up until the mass of hair is only held in position right in the center of the crown of the head. Take a piece of black hair string, about two fingers long. Tie it firmly, smoothly and carefully around the back hair, just where you are holding it, in the center of the crown of the head. Do not pull the string so taut that it will cut of injure the hair, but tie it so that it will hold the hair firmly […]
Make The Front Pompadour
Now turn your attention to your front hair which is going to form the pompadour. On its correct arrangement depends the success of your hairdressing. On no account wear a rat. Instead, fluff the hair thoroughly with the comb before turning it back from the temples and forehead. […] In this way you can obtain all the fullness necessary without the discomfort and harshness of the injurious rat.
After thoroughly fluffing the inner side of your front pompadour, turn it softly back from the forehead. Do not pull it tightly back from the temples. Let it fall a little carelessly, but with the art that conceals art, over the forehead. Then secure it firmly in place with several hairpins, otherwise you will have a cascade of hair in your eyes before the day is done.’ (San Francisco Call, 1900) ‘Hair pins of wire, short and exactly the color of the hair, are used.’ (Bridgeton Pioneer, 1900)
Make The Side Pompadour
‘Now turn your attention to the correct arrangement of the side pompadour. Fluff the hair on the inner side just as you did for the top. Then turn it carefully and artistically back from the sides and temples, letting the soft mass droop a little, becomingly, over the face, so as to break the regular line of the pompadour and thus avoid the harshness which all geometrically regular lines give the features. Now secure firmly in position with hairpins, just as you did the top pompadour.
Put The Back Hair Up Into A Double Figure 8 Bun
Now return to your back hair, which you left tied on the crown of your head. Divide it into two equal parts, one above, the other below. […] twist the top half into the high coil called the figure eight. After twisting the hair into the figure shown pin it securely quite forward on the crown of your head. See that the coil is smooth and firm, as just here no fluffy, untidy effect is permissible. Now take the under part of the back hair and twist it into a smooth and firm coil.
Then form, below the crown and right under the other twist, another figure eight, bringing the end of the coil away up around the top figure, to give compactness and finish to the entire coiffure. […] Pin the whole securely in place, gathering in under the coil all the loose ends of the pompadour. […]
Fluff The Pompadour
Take the comb and gently raise the fluffy hair of the pompadour out and up in the right position, so that it forms a soft and full frame for the face. Arrange the little stray locks and curls wandering over the temples in the manner most becoming to your individual type. It is the minutiae, the tiny artistic nothings, that make all the difference and adapt any prevailing style to any particular face.’ (San Francisco Call, 1900)
Low Pompadour For Young Girls
‘The most becoming coiffure to be seen today for young girls who are past the braid and ribbon age consists of a soft pompadour of medium size, somewhat flat on the top and pulled out softly on the sides well toward the back, while at the back of the head is arranged a long single puff. To obtain this effect is most simple.
Part The Hair & Make A Low Pompadour
The hair is first divided toward the front and back and the pompadour formed by three combs pushed in firmly. Often the hair is not divided at all, being simply pushed forward and the pompadour held in place by three combs, one of medium size for the center, the others at each side.
Tie The Hair
Next the hair is taken altogether in the right hand about half way down the center of the head and tied there firmly with a narrow tape or else held by rolling lightly about it a thin strand of the hair itself, and held more firmly by a wire hairpin. Elastic bands should never be used for this purpose, as they break the hair distressingly when being removed.
Roll The Hair Into A Puff & Add Hair Accessories
Once all the hair is secure the end is taken, rolled around the two forefingers, forming the large puff which is fastened at each end underneath by long wire hair pins, the outside of the puff pulled only into shape at each end with two pins of medium length. A shell barrette, not too large, is then slipped below the puff to catch in any short hairs that would otherwise fall loose and give an unkempt appearance.
At the top of the puff, bracing the front comb, may be put in two fancy shell hair pins. These will help to hold the hair in place, and with the shell combs and barrette be an attractive finish against the hair.
This long single puff may be evolved from any kind of hair of medium thickness, be it long or short, straight or of natural curl. Straight hair is, of course, more difficult to form in a puff, but with a little practice even the long, thin, stringy variety of hair can be coiled into a puff, which will give the effect of a great quantity of a woman’s crowning glory.
For Long & Thick Hair: Make Three Puffs
If the hair is exceptionally long and thick or else sufficiently soft and waving to be easily manageable, three puffs, the center one noticeably the largest, will give a becoming line to the head. When the hair is naturally stiff and stands out well by itself there is always difficulty in keeping the pompadour within bounds and the knot or puff from standing out too far at the back of the head, but for a schoolgirl especially all exaggeration must be avoided, while, anyway, exaggerated headdresses are fast falling from favor.’ (San Francisco Call, 1909)