Searching for the perfect prom hairstyle? It’s a good idea to choose your hair and makeup after you’ve picked out a dress. A shorter, cocktail-length dress probably wouldn’t go all that well with a very formal updo. A dress with a lot of details works better with a simple style and a minimum of hair accessories. Long, dangly earrings look great when you’re wearing your hair up, but may get lost in a tangle of waves.
Body type and face shape are another thing to consider. If your shoulders are broad and your head is on the smallish side, avoid severe, pulled-back looks. If you’ve got a round face, go for face-framing looks with tendrils.
The ability to maintain your look throughout the evening is another consideration. If you’ve got a style in mind that requires lots of pins and hairspray, try it out a week or two before prom. Wear it for several hours to see how it holds up. You don’t want to spend most of your prom time in the bathroom repinning. If your hair lacks body, a complicated curly look will probably fall flat well before the evening is over.
Here’s a selection of the most popular prom styles:
- Updos are the most formal hair option, but there’s definitely room for variation. You can go for sleek full updo, which works best with a really formal gown or leave curly tendrils framing your face.
- Braids can be either elaborate or simple. A French braid is an elegant, but simple, solution. Or you can opt for an updo of coiled braids.
- A french twist is another elegant solution. Like a bun or chignon, you can wear yours sleek or let tendrils frame your face.
- Long and flowing hair works great for prom. Think loose waves cascading down your back.
And don’t forget the accessories: Flowers, Tiaras, jeweled bobby pins, barrettes or head bands add panache to your look.
As for ideas for looks for the big night, there’s no better place to look than the red carpet. Prom season just happens to occur right after Hollywood’s big awards shows. Coincidence? We don’t think so. Following are some of this year’s best red carpet hairstyles that can be adopted for prom.
Softness is the key to this look. Unlike traditional, no-hair-out-of-place updos, these hairstyles frame the face. Perfect for a night of dancing: If some extra tendrils escape from the bun or chignon as the night progresses, everyone will think you planned it that way.
Katherine Heigl wore her retro curls down at the Oscars while Christina Applegate pinned hers back for the SAG show. Either way, this is a glamor-intensive look that looks perfect with red lipstick and a glitzy gown.
Ponytails are a great youthful look, and both these young actresses pull it off. The key here, again, is softness. Don’t just pull your hair back in a scrunchy. Go for loose waves to frame your face.
Long and wavy
If you’ve got long, lustrous hair, why not show it off? All you need is a curling iron and a little–emphasis on little–hairspray to create loose, natural-looking waves. Another look that only improves as the evening wears on and your hair relaxes.
There’s more than one way to wear braids. Amanda Bynes goes for a bohemian look while Jessica Alba favors a more classic braided ‘do.
A good resource for celebrity hairstyles is BeautyRiot, which offers step-by-step instructions on achieving these looks. If you’re looking for more options, check out magazine websites like Seventeen, Teen and CosmoGirl. Bridal magazines and catalogs provide even more inspiration. And, thanks to the Web, there are a number of prom- and hair-oreinted websites out there, too, including:
Once you’ve chosen a look, see if it’s something you can replicate at home, by yourself of with the help of a friend. If it’s a more elaborate style, you’re going to have to get it done at a salon. Depending on where you live, and what you plan on having done, a trip to the hair salon can be expensive. If it’s beyond your budget, try getting your hair done at a beauty school. Stylists there can offer just as many options as a full service salon at a fraction of the cost. And don’t worry about trusting your look to someone inexperienced: Beauty school stylists are supervised by more experienced stylists.
The key to a fabulous hair style is to have healthy, beautiful hair. Start preparing your hair several weeks in advance.
- Get your hair trimmed a week or two before the big day. This will ensure that your hair looks healthy but gives you a little time for your hair to settle into its new look
- If you’re going for a drastic color change, get it done well in advance to see how you like the new look. That way, if you absolutely hate the color, you’ll have time to change it.
- If you’re getting highlights or lowlights, get them done a week or two before the prom so they have a chance to blend in better.
More tips for perfect prom hair:
- If you plan on doing your prom look yourself, practice several times to perfect your technique.
- Carry extra hair products, bobby pins, and other necessities with you on prom night in case of a hair emergency.
- If you’re going to the salon to get your hair done, wear a top that buttons so you don’t have to pull your shirt over your head to get undressed. Likewise, step into your gown when getting dressed.