Vintage Hairstyling

Gibson Roll Step-by-step Tutorial

The Gibson Roll was a very popular style amongst women in the 1940’s, typically teamed with victory rolls of some variation or worn on it’s own with the side extended further up towards the ear or higher like the image above. It was also the perfect hairstyle for women in the armed forces as it kept the hair neatly up out of the way making it OH&S approved while style looking stylish and well presented.

This is my version of a Gibson roll and obviously everyone has their preferred method but I find this way is quicker, easier and is suitable for most hair types and skill levels. For this method you don’t have to be a hairstylist with years of practice and experience, you can be new to vintage hairstyles and still achieve a fabulous result.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bobby pins
  • Bun pins (those long U shaped pins)
  • Hairspray
  • Bun donut that closely matches your hair colour and cut to approx. 15-20cm.

Let’s get started!

Once you’ve styled the front of your hair, divide the back section into 3 parts with the two outer sections being much smaller than the middle. Clip the two outer sections out of the way as these will be styled at the end. You may also wish to curl your hair prior to styling as it may make it easier for you but it’s not essential.


Place your bun donut on top of the middle section and roughly 2″ from the end. Wrap the ends up around the bun donut and begin rolling upwards, spreading the hair out towards the edges as you go as well as picking up any strands of hair that fall down along the way. Continue rolling until you reach the nape of your neck.

Secure with a few bobby pins and bun pins (NOTE: your bobby pins should have one prong in the bun donut and the other against your head). Spritz with a little hairspray and smooth any flyaways down and secure with bun pins if needed.


You can leave the roll straight at this point or bend it into a U shape by tilting the ends upwards and securing with bobby pins (TIP: To help keep the U shape in place without using a thousand bobby pins, push a thin piece of wire through the middle of the bun donut before you start. Then when you bend it into shape it will stay put and won’t straighten back out until you make it).


Take the 2 outer sections you clipped away and roll each into a large pin curl the same width as your roll. Pin into place at the edges of your roll as this will cover the edge so the bun donut is not visable as well as giving your Gibson roll a polish finish.


Spray with hairspray and smooth down flyaways as you go. Viola! You’re done and looking fresh out of a 1940’s Home Journal.


You can polish this look by adding a flower or barrette, or even a hat as this hairstyle lends itself perfectly to almost any vintage hat as the hair is kept low.

Use the hashtag #deadgorgeousmuah or tag me on Instagram @deadgorgeousmuah so I can see your fabulous Gibson Rolls.


One thought on “Gibson Roll Step-by-step Tutorial

  1. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.


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