How to Get 40s Curls With a Curling Iron

by Brittany McComas ; Updated September 28, 2017

1940s barrel style curls are quite popular amongst celebrities.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Create voluptuous waves and sleek 1940's curls with a curling iron, much like the signature hairstyle of Veronica Lake. Barrel curls are simple to style and give you an elegant 1940's style curl to wear on a night out, for a more sophisticated hairstyle at work, or a formal do leaving your locks down. It's simple to style your hair just like the 1940's pin up or starlet for a luscious, long hairstyle.

Wash and condition your hair using volume enhancing shampoo and conditioner. Blow dry your hair on a low setting, then part deep to one side.

Preheat the curling iron.

Curl your hair in 1-inch sections. Separate a 1-inch section, brushing out the tangles. Open the preheated curling iron and clamp it down on the hair, then slide the curling iron down to the end of the section so the ends are under the top of the barrel. Roll the barrel under and up toward your scalp. Stop about an inch from your scalp to keep from burning your skin. Spritz with hairspray and hold for about one minute. Unroll and release, laying the curl to one shoulder. Continue curling 1-inch sections of hair until all your hair is curled.

Brush out all of your curls, so that they take on a smooth, wavy look. Spritz three to five pumps of texturizing spray into your palm, rub your hands together and run hands through your hair to define curls. Spray hair with hairspray to set the style.


  • For extra volume, tease your hair at the crown with a thin tooth comb before curling.

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  • Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

About the Author

Brittany McComas has been writing since 2000. She has served as a scriptwriter, freelance writer, editor, dramaturg and producer for theater, television, radio and film. She wrote for a television series that won a Royal Television Society Award. McComas holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from West Virginia University and a Master of Arts in scriptwriting from Bath Spa University.