How To Rock A Beehive

Audrey Hepburn’s stylish beehive.

“Hello, lovely! First off, thanks for being awesome! Love love love the site! Secondly, I have a question. Do you know of a tutorial or something on how to do your hair like a 60’s beehive? I don’t know if mine is long enough yet but I have decided to let it grow for the moment & I am DYING to do it in a beehive! I know you have short hair, but you are the only person I could think to ask something like this. Thanks!”

Well… since you asked so nicely!

I have never had a beehive but they certainly do look AMAZING. My mother used to tell me stories about her friend Valerie’s beehive. My mother never had one, I think she always kept her hair pretty short, but apparently they made quite a sight when they went to the Ilford Palais together, Valerie with her huge hair & my mother with her “flat head covered in a white silk scarf” (her words, not mine).

Apparently a beehive was a lot of work. Women would fight for beauty salon appointments on a Friday afternoon so that their hair would be done for the entire weekend — & they would sleep with their hair wrapped in a scarf so it didn’t get ruined (or use silk pillowcases). I understand that pool parties were also very unpopular around this time!

A role model for young beehivers everywhere.

A beehive will work best on hair that hasn’t been washed for a few days, & optimally your hair will be about shoulder length. The secret is all in the backcombing. If you don’t know how to backcomb your hair, it’s very easy — take a section of hair, brush it upwards in a vertical motion, then move your comb to the back of the section & brush it back down again. Keep going all over your head so that you end up looking seriously demented with huge tufts sticking up everywhere.

Before you start this, you really need to decide whether you’re going to sweep the whole lot upwards & together or whether you want to conceal the backcombing. If you want to conceal it, exempt a large front section of your hair from the backcombing trauma, & then sweep this back over your fluffy bits. You can then use a clip or headband of some description to hold it in place.

Styling the beehive is a very delicate task & is best done with the hands rather than a comb. Pat it into an acceptable shape & then grab a can of hairspray. Go crazy with the stuff. Your hair should be solid as a rock but look light & fluffy. Spray & style, spray & style. You might also find it helpful to whip up some kind of elaborate mirror set-up, since you’ll need to see the back of your hair before you leave the house.

When you go out, you will need a good tail comb in your handbag to keep it looking pristine & to tuck away anything that strays from your perfect coiffure!

Beware, this is definitely a high-maintenance hairstyle — I wouldn’t advise running, jumping or exceptionally vigorous shopping if you want it to hold its shape.

As you can imagine from my instructions, constructing a beehive is not easy & I suspect this is why so many women preferred to place their tresses in the capable hands of a hairdresser… However, I’m sure that with a bit of practice (& a lot of hairspray) you’ll end up with a very stylish do! Good luck miss!