DIY · Hair · Hair & Beauty · Styling · Tutorial

The Gibson Roll Explained

With the outbreak of World War II, women became employed in all kinds of war-related efforts and jobs. Beside the hazardous aspect of long hair when working in factories, women also had to deal with rationing during wartime. However, their creativity gave rise to some iconic hairstyles.

Examples of the Edwardian beauty and fashion standard of ‘the Gibson Girl’ and the adapted 1940s version, later named the Gibson roll.

The Gibson roll originally dates back from the Edwardian era with the iconic ‘Gibson Girl’ as the female beauty standard. This hairstyle revived in the 1940s, as a practical and fashionable way to keep women’s hair out of their faces while working.  Nowadays, the 1940s-style Gibson roll is a rather romantic updo for weddings or other occasions.

A Gibson roll has a voluminous look. But what about thin and/or rather short hair? In this tutorial, I show you it’s done step by step.

The things you will need are:

  • a tail comb
  • a teasing comb
  • a hair donut
  • bobby pins
  • dry shampoo
  • hair spray
  • hair accessories, e.g. hair flowers


The trick to this hairstyle is the following: the volume in the Gibson roll can easily be mimicked by using a hair donut. Before you start, just cut the hair donut and you’ll have yourself a padding to shape the roll with.


This kind of hairstyle works best on ‘dirty’ hair. You can add more volume and grip to your hair with dry shampoo, if needed.

Start off with parting your hair in the front as you like – I always go for a side part. With a teasing comb, tease these front parts and smooth at the surface. Then twist these front sections and secure with bobby pins.


For the main roll part, slightly tease the ends of your hair at the back. I find this gives better support to the hair donut, as well as covering it up. Roll in the hair donut and secure with bobby pins. Tuck in ends peeking out – usually on the sides of the donut cylinder –  using the tail comb.


Give it a good spray with hair spray. You can leave it sober like this or add some accessories. I like to add a few of my favorite hair flowers from Shazam Vintage to accentuate the roll even more.


That’s it! I hope this tutorial can be of use to you. Give it a try. It’s such a gorgeous and sophisticated hairstyle, whether you are going for that authentic 1940s look or you just want a classy updo.



x Miss Lipstick & Pipettes x


3 thoughts on “The Gibson Roll Explained

  1. Thank you for sharing your steps for the Gibson roll! I see what you mean about teasing the front now, I can’t wait to try it ❤ cheers!

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