Trying out a Gibson Roll!

I am certainly not one for the whole ‘new year, new me’ marlarky, but I am very much up for trying out new vintage hairstyles!

I have recently joined a couple of vintage-style Facebook groups such as the ‘Vintage Tips and Tricks’ (run by the wonderful Miss Bee Townsend) and ‘Vintage Updos for Modern Girls’, where the members chat and give each other tips and inspiration. I recently saw a picture of a Gibson roll, worn by a girl in a military uniform and I wanted to give it a go!
I found a video on YouTube by Cherry Dollface demonstrating a Gibson roll and decided to follow her instructions for my attempt. I decided I would do some victory rolls in the

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I’m using – a comb (rat-tail), hair donut, bobby pins (lots of them!), hair spray and pomade.

front as well.

Firstly, I curled the ends of my hair – I like a good, quick hairstyle as I don’t always have time to set my hair and I knew adding some curl would help achieve the style. I worked on the victory rolls first – I then sectioned my hair from in front on my ears and tied the rest of my hair back. I teased each section and ran some Suavecita pomade through before rolling the ends around my fingers and rolling the curl on top of my head. The first roll for me is always the hardest!

I pinned my first attempt anyway and moved onto the other roll, I have more hair on this side and therefore can be more difficult to create the shape I want. After working on this side, I re-rolled the first attempt and it was much better! I used LOTS of tease and hairspray to keep them in place with only a couple of bobby pins in each roll.

Then it was time to try the Gibson roll! I found an old ‘hair donut’ that I rarely use anymore and decided to cut it to make a ‘hair rat’ (not sure why they are called that!). Straight away I knew my long hair would become an issue. It wound be so much easier if someone else would be able to roll my hair in the ‘rat’ but I had to try! I wasn’t too disappointed with my first attempt, but it certainly wasn’t tidy, as it looked like I had just stuffed my hair in the top of the roll (which I probably had to be honest).

So I decided to try again without trying to photograph my attempts. With more tucking and perfecting, I thought it looked much better, but wasn’t quite as I had hoped. I then pinned hair over the ends of the ‘hair rat’ to hide it, which again with long hair took a bit of time.


I did really like the final result, especially from the front! The back definitely isn’t as neat as I had wanted it to be, but for a first attempt, I didn’t think it looked too bad!

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I posted a couple of these pictures on the ‘Vintage Updos’ Facebook page and got some good tips for next time, such as using flowers to decorate and conceal areas, using the tail of my comb to tuck in the ends of hair, using old hair to create a better ‘hair rat’, and trimming/sewing the ends of the donut to fit my head a little better, which I think would help as it seemed to be a bit long. Someone also mentioned a device that creates a Heidi roll, which is very similar and looks to be a handy tool!

I’m keen to try and perfect this roll, so I will keep trying as practice makes perfect! If you have any tips, I would love to hear them. What kind of hairstyle would you love to try?

5 Replies to “Trying out a Gibson Roll!”

  1. One tip for longer hair like yours is to NOT just shove all the hair in from the top. This can work great on shorter hair but if you have too much hair it starts to become messy.

    Instead, try doing it more like those tutorials you sometimes see for “overnight headband waves” — google that and hopefully you’ll understand what I mean. So you work from the outside in to the center, pulling chunks of hair all the way through, so that they wrap entirely around the rat and are hanging down your back again. (You will need to anchor the ends of the rat to your head before you start.) Then instead of sleeping on it to make waves, your goal is to use that same technique to wrap your hair neatly around the rat and cover all of it.

    When you get to the center after wrapping 4 or 5 chunks this way, you will have a much smaller amount of hair hanging down that needs to be tucked in to the crack. Hope that makes sense!

    1. Thank you! I have seen that method used and I plan to try different ways to see what works best for me 😊
      I am growing my hair out for my wedding, but planning on cutting it to shoulder length after – I’m sure this method would be much easier then!

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