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What Are the Different Types of Rockabilly Haircuts?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

The Pompadour, Ducktail, the Detroit and the Jellyroll are all famous rockabilly haircuts for men. Popularized in the 1940s, the rockabilly haircuts combined the best in style from country or hillbilly music with blues, western swing and the newly discovered rock 'n' roll hairstyles. Aided by beeswax, pomade and grease, rockabilly haircuts all borrowed from the same basic theme, slicked down and combed forward or back. The one defining trait of all of the rockabilly haircuts was whether or not the hairstyle possessed a part or not. The men did not have a corner on the market, however, as women had their own rockabilly haircuts in the form of the Bettie Page, the Pin Curl and Victory Rolls.

When discussing rockabilly haircuts, there are two common factors: grease and bobby pins. The vast majority of men's rockabilly hairstyles include large amounts of grease or a similar substance to hold it in place lending to the moniker, "Greasers." Traditionally styled high on top and pushed slightly forward with a curl or two draping over the eyes, the Pompadour was made famous by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and other crooners of the times. These hairstyles demand that the wearer carry a comb to continually redo and fix the proudly-displayed hairstyle.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Common to the Pomadour, the Ducktail is greased and pulled back with the emphasis of the Ducktail being placed on the way the back of the hair was combed to resemble a duck's tail. The Detroit is essentially a Ducktail with one major difference: the top is short and more like a flat top or crew cut. The longer sides are combed back and held in place with Pomade or grease. The Jellyroll defied similarities of all rockabilly haircuts and combs all of the greased hair forward over the eye brows. This style also consists of one or two greasy rolls of hair on either side of the head, resembling a curled jellyroll.

Women also sport rockabilly haircuts with the common denominator of all styles consisting of straight-cut bangs. Women's styles echo those of their male counterparts with slicked-back sides often containing large curls and rolls held in place with bobby pins. Rockabilly women often work all night to style their hair for the next day. The rockabilly haircuts call for longer hair on men and shorter hair on women to capture the style completely. While beeswax works very well to hold hair in place, it can often be very difficult to remove from the hair.

Discussion Comments


@Icecream17 - What I loved most about that era were the rockabilly shoes. I loved the look of saddle shoes. In fact, my daughter wore rockabilly style clothing for Halloween that was modeled after the movie “Grease”, and what I liked most about the outfit were her shoes.

She wore saddle shoes and not only did they look great on her, but the shoes were very comfortable, and she was able to continue to wear them throughout the school year.


@Moldova - I have to agree with you. I really like the rockabilly clothing like the leather jackets and leather pants for men with the white t shirts. I was a very masculine look. I also really like the poodle skirts for women.

They not only look comfortable to wear, but they also appear to look more flattering on women because of the A line cut of many of these skirts. It tends to deemphasize the hips which I am all for. It also makes the waist look smaller. Women really looked feminine in this type of attire.


I just wanted to add that I really like rockabilly style. I think that the haircut styles for both men and women were really flattering. When I think of rockabilly hair, James Dean and Elvis really come to mind.

I also think of John Travolta in the Grease. Women also had nice looking hair styles and I always think of Olivia Newton John’s hair in the movie Grease. It was a simple yet stylish cut that looked easy to maintain. You could curl up the ends or wear your hair in a ponytail with a scarf.

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      Man with hands on his hips