Who better to inspire your back-to-school beauty look than the tough-yet-polished 1950s high school girls who held their own among the mods and the greasers? Whether they were skipping class or showing their support at drag races and street fights, they made you long for those perfect curls and that classic varsity jacket. Here, three of my favorite teenage tough girls—criminal record optional.
Natalie Wood as Judy in Rebel Without a Cause
Even while sharing the screen with the beautiful James Dean, Natalie grabbed attention with her enormous eyes and dark curly hair. To get her look, try defining and thickening your brows with a pencil like Anastasia’s Brow Wiz in Brunette ($20, sephora.com). And add a slick of bright red lipstick, like Avon’s Red 2000 ($7, avon.com).
Olivia Newton-John as Sandy in Grease
Sandy is at her toughest after her big makeover at the end of the movie, but I was always a fan of her sweet good-girl persona. To get her swingy ponytail, pull your hair back, secure it with an elastic and decorate it with a ribbon or vintage chiffon scarf. Curl the ends, let them cool and then brush it all out with your fingers before spraying your head with L’Oreal’s Elnett Hairpsray ($13, Target) for hold. For perfectly ’50s-style pink lips that will last even through an hour in the backseat (I’m not judging), try New York Color’s Smooch Proof Lip Stain in Persistent Pink ($5, drugstores).
Diane Lane as Cherry Valance in The Outsiders
I’ve always had a soft spot for Cherry, the upper-class “Soc” girl who fell for the bad-boy greasers despite the flak she got for it. If you weren’t blessed with those elusive ginger genes, try L’Oreal’s Superior Preference Hair Color in Light Auburn (about $9, drugstores), and to get Cherry’s gorgeous flush, blend Stila’s Lip & Cheek Stain in Cherry Crush ($24, sephora.com) into lips and cheeks.
Now you’re ready to look the part while ditching class to hang out under the bleachers. What you do there is your business.