What is a Pageboy Hairstyle?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A pageboy hairstyle is a haircut which is designed for straight, medium to short length hair. In a pageboy, the hair is cut to just below the ear, where it curls under; in a reverse pageboy, the hair is curled outwards. The hairstyle is often accompanied with bangs as well, although this is not required. Many hairstylists are capable of making a pageboy and explaining how it should be maintained, and this look suits a wide variety of face and body types.

Woman posing
Woman posing

The pageboy hairstyle was developed and popularized in the 1950s, and it is named for the hairstyles worn historically by English pageboys. Several major film actresses sported pageboys, quickly catapulting the hairstyle into the popular imagination, and many fashionable women adopted it. A well cut pageboy is relatively easy to maintain, and in the 1950s it was an edgy, stylish look which appealed to many women.

As with any hairstyle, it is possible to find variations on the pageboy, some of which stray far from the original hairstyle. For a softer look, some stylists lightly curl the hair in a pageboy, creating a wavy hairstyle; people with naturally wavy hair can also have it cut in a pageboy. Other stylists have created more structural pageboys, with spiky layers of hair rather than the classic straight, flat hairdo associated with the pageboy.

The look of a pageboy hairstyle can frame and set off the face very well, especially if a light amount of makeup is used to bring out the features of the wearer. Pageboys are typically seen on women, although men can sport versions of the style as well; several actors have received pageboys for film work, making the hairstyle more acceptable for men. The use of an anti-frizz compound is recommended with a pageboy hairstyle, to keep it smooth and glossy.

Anyone considering a pageboy hairstyle may want to consider searching for an image of the exact hairstyle you want. Although the pageboy is a very basic hairstyle, there are variations on it, and it is important to be clear about the exact look desired. Many hairdressers also have style books, which allow their clients to point to a particular model and request his or her hairstyle. Communication is crucial, especially if a person is cutting off a significant portion of his or her hair to create a pageboy look.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@lightning88 -- As far as I know, most people can wear some variation on a pageboy cut, regardless of their face shape. It works best with people with pronounced features and an oval or heart-shaped face.

I think it might look a little poofy on someone with a really round face, but the way you style it can make a lot of difference with this cut, so there might be a way to work around it.


What type of face shape works best for a pageboy? Can anybody pull off a pageboy cut or does it only work with certain face shapes?


@6pack -- Pageboys are actually a type of bob. Whereas a classic bob is done with a blunt cut and the same all-around length, a pageboy is usually more layered and is cut to frame the face more exactly than a bob. There is no specific length for a bob or pageboy, and either can be styled or curled to go outward -- although that hairstyle is then called a flip.


So what is the difference between a pageboy and a bob? Is it that pageboys are usually longer and can be curled outwards whereas bobs are usually shorter and always curled in? And does the pageboy have blunt edges more so than the bob?

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