So you've got the swanky invite. And you've got the sexy dress. You've even got the makeup. (What am I saying? Of course you have the makeup.)
But when it comes to hair... well, wait. What the heck should you do with your hair?!
If this is your brain during holiday party season, then welcome. I get it—you need a hairstyle that elevates your everyday look into something a bit more special. But not so special that it requires a trip to the salon, or hours of prep. Nor is the goal for your style to LOOK that way. We want touchable, bouncy and effortless, not heavy, stiff and contrived!
You feeling me? Then keep reading for five hairstyle ideas that are absolutely party-appropriate—and absolutely easy to copy at home! All you need is:
- A set of hot rollers
- Hairspray (I used John Frieda® Luxurious Volume All-Day Hold Hairspray)
- Dry shampoo
- Bobby pins
- A glam barrette or hair comb
Here's the lowdown on each style (including lipstick changes, because why not?).
1. Soft Vintage Waves
Nothing is more classic for evening than old Hollywood-style vintage waves. We've seen 'em time and time again on the red carpet, so you know what I'm talking about: a deep side part and a uniform wave pattern that looks like an "S" shape. This style can work on a range of hair lengths, from extra-long like mine to even bobbed hair. The best part? No curling iron required! Here's how you do it:
- Blow-dry your hair with smooth volume, and then part it deep on one side.
- Working section by section, put in your hot rollers. The trick to getting the "S-curl" is to roll them towards (not away from) the face. I like to use the smaller rollers, which produce tighter curls, around my face—including my bangs—and the larger ones around the back. For maximum hold, mist each section with hairspray before rolling it up.
- Leave the rollers in until 100 percent cool. When you take them out, use a paddle brush to gently shape your waves into place. This look is best without bangs, so if you have them, shape with the brush until they become part of the front "S wave". Mist again with hairspray for hold.
- Remember: Your waves shouldn't be TOO perfect and definitely not hard or stiff. The idea is a nod to vintage but still very touchable and soft!
2. Half-Up Baby Bouffant
Channel Brigitte Bardot, and you can never go wrong. Adding a '60s baby bouffant to a simple half-up hairstyle gives it instant evening drama—and you can even take it a step further by adding a sparkly barrette at the back. This hairstyle works with or without bangs, and on almost any hair length. If your hair is too short to go half-up, do the baby bouffant at the front and tuck the sides behind your ears. Here are the instructions:
- Rough-dry your hair with volume.
- The bouffant looks best if the lengths have a bit of curl or texture (I went with texture). Create it with dry shampoo and/or by throwing in a set of hot rollers.
- Section off the hair you'll be pulling back, but leave the uppermost layer out. Then, use a paddle brush to back-brush the under-layers in sections, misting each with hairspray for added texture.
- Once you've got enough "bulk" to create the baby bouffant, cover the back-brushed hair with the smooth upper layer to hide it, and then secure at the back with a barrette. Basically, you shouldn't even be able to see the back-brushing at all—just a soft bump. Mist with hairspray to lock in place.
3. Double Side Pony
When you think about the side ponytail, you probably think the low-slung kind, that sits at the nape of your neck and hangs over one shoulder. But why not try it way up high (and tied with a bow!) for a fun and girly holiday look? Having some hair on one side of your face makes it way more flattering than a regular high ponytail at the back. Plus, I've got a neat trick to make it even more voluminous: two ponytails in one! You'll need to have at least mid-length hair to rock this style. Here's what to do:
- Rough-dry your hair with volume, and ideally give it some wave with hot rollers.
- Divide your hair into two sections, and pull the top part into a high ponytail, positioned slightly to one side. Secure with a clear elastic.
- Pull the remaining hair into a second ponytail, and secure it with a clear elastic just underneath the first ponytail. Having two ponytails magically creates the illusion of more volume, but the second ponytail will be hidden by the top one!
- For a more polished look, you can wrap a piece of hair around both ponytails to make one, and fasten with bobby pins. I grabbed a ribbon and tied them together for a festive touch.
- Give the tail a final brush with a paddle brush to make the waves all smooth and uniform.
4. Pom-Pom Ponytail
Ever since I spotted the pom-pom ponytail on the red carpet a few years ago, I've been in love. It's so simple—a high ponytail wrapped with elastics down the length—but it makes a HUGE statement. (And good grief, is it easy!) The only catch: you'll need to have hair that's at least long enough for a few inches of ponytail. The shorter the tail, the closer you space the elastics. Follow these steps:
- Rough-dry your hair with volume.
- Pull your hair into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic. (I find covered elastics are much easier to work with for this, as the clear kind tend to "catch" more.)
- Wrap an elastic down the ponytail every inch or so, working your way from top to bottom.
- Gently pull on the hair in between each elastic to puff it out and add body, creating the "pom-pom" look.
5. Rolled Side Bun
My go-to updo is the side bun. Less formal than a chignon at the back, it's also more universally flattering for a wide range of face shapes. It works with or without a bang (I just pushed mine to one side), but does require at least collarbone-length hair to create the bun. The key is to get enough volume in it so the bun looks substantial, not wimpy. And that's where the roll comes in, friends. Here's my trick:
- Rough-dry your hair with volume.
- Pull your hair into a low side ponytail (about behind the ear) and secure with a clear elastic.
- Slide the elastic down a bit and divide the hair above it into two sections, so you get a split. Pull the tail of the pony up and feed it through this hole. After it’s pulled through, you have a ponytail again, but with a pretty twisted look at the back and on the sides.
- Now take a paddle brush and some hairspray, and back-brush the heck out of the tail. The more you tease it, the more volume you’ll be able to get in your bun.
- Tuck the end of the ponytail up into the hole and pin it in place with bobby pins. If you have very long hair like I do, then you may need to pull it through the hole a third time. Once you've created a bun in your desired shape, spray liberally (VERY liberally!) with hairspray. You can pull a few random pieces out around the face as well.
- Complete the look by adding a sparkly barrette or hair comb at the base of the bun.
Have you tried any of these hairstyle ideas?
What's your go-to party look?