The Flip Hairstyle


The Flip Hairstyle

Thanks in large part to Condoleezza Rice, the Flip hairstyle has made a bit of a fashion comback, but in softer, modified versions.

By: Pat Jacobs

One of the 1960’s signature hairdos has endured over several decades. The Flip was hip and initially favored by younger women-shoulder-length hair was backcombed slightly at the top and then curled out at the ends.

There were flips that were totally out to there. Some women combined the flip with a bouffant (This style was achieved by setting the hair to dry in very large rollers, often as many as 25 (!), using a LOT of hairspray followed by vigorous teasing, and was completed by brushing the top layer into a smooth barrel or bubble shape. And there were often rather complicated instructions for brushing or combing out to achieve just the right look, a bouncy flip with flair through the bang section and a saucy up-turned effect on each side demonstrate the simple casual look for medium length hair. ) Whoa!

The classic style that Mary Tyler Moore wore on The Dick Van Dyke Show was considered a flip/bouffant combo (MTM could carry this off; she looked very cute in it!) And this became very popular (along with Jackie Kennedy’s classic bouffant) among famous and civilians alike throughout the decade.

Lesley Gore had a SERIOUS flip (I bet it took an entire can of hair spray to hold THAT do in place!). Patty Duke sported one for a while, as did Dolly Parton, who had a HUGE country-style one early in her career.

Many Miss America and other beauty contestants wore a flip (or a variation of one) so often, it became commonly referred to as Miss America or beauty pageant hair. Actress Delta Burke, herself a former pageant winner, wore a longer, far less bouffant version. Phyllis George, a former Miss America (1971), and Cybill Shepard, yet another pageant winner, also sported this look. (Even in the late 90’s, many contestants still used this style in updated variations.)

Diana Rigg wore a flip as Mrs. Emma Peel on the British import series, The Avengers (Didn’t she look great as she was kicking butt?). And who can forget Marlo Thomas’ great flip (for the first few seasons) in That Girl? Elizabeth Montgomery started out with a flip on Bewitched, then grew it out into a more casual version, with soft waves. Or at least it seemed so.

Thanks in large part to Condoleezza Rice, the Flip has made a bit of a fashion comback, but in softer, modified versions. (Even Rice has softened her do; she had a rather tight, severe looking one at first. The new version looks so much better on her, don’t you think?) This style is very flattering to all types and ages, and gives any face an uplifting look. (Oprah Winfrey, Cathy Moriarity, Ellen Barkin, Barbra Streisand, Jessica Alba, Jodie Foster, Kim Basinger, Calista Flockart, Jennie Garth, Hilary Clinton, and most recently Michelle Obama have all worn modern versions of the flip.)

Most people will look best with a flip that ends somewhere between the chin and the ears. (A longer one will be harder to maintain and more prone to drooping, thus dragging the face down.)

Flips are now easier to create with a curling iron, hot air brush, or those ever-reliable rollers. And there are a variety of techniques. A looser flip, for example, will require larger rollers or a large-barrel curling iron. For a tighter one, small to medium curlers or curling irons will be needed.

About the Author:

Pat Jacobs is currently the writer/producer of “The World Of 1960s Music” blog on Yahoo 360 (degrees).
She also writes features for www. (how-to articles) and (various non-fiction).
She can be reached at

Photo: Robert Scoble