Prom hairstyles: How to wear your hair for prom

No matter what your style, the way you’re going to wear your hair on prom night takes serious consideration. Will it be up or down? Pull back a little bit of it, add some curls or maybe a wave? Will you and your friends take turns styling each others’ hair, or have you planned a trip to your favorite hairstylist? SheKnows has some tips for you — with a little help from a few hair stylists and our buddies, Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Charlize Theron, Fergie and Hilary Duff.

Both the little things and the big things matter when it comes to looking your best on this long-awaited, special night. Each and every detail must be perfect. The high school prom is a super important time in the life of many girls. Getting ready for the night can be short and simple, or can mean an entire day of primping and prepping for the big event. Just be sure to leave enough time to get your hair just right before you pin on that corsage, so all night long you’ll know you look fabulous.

Charlize Theron's sleek chignon updo hairstyleHair up… or down?

Jayson Morgan, style director at Patrick McIvor Color Studio in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, offers some high-class advice for this year’s prom starlets. “French twist with ends curled on the top, tendrils, ribbon curls fixed atop the head are out!” he says.

So what’s hot? “Romantic curls placed up like Jessica Alba, soft, straight looks like Beyonce or Reese Witherspoon are in! If you opt for the up do, think more of a ‘down’ do, where the hair has a chignon or twist in the nape area of the head.”

So what is a chignon, anyway? It’s a roll, knot or twist of hair generally worn at the nape of the neck. (See Charlize Theron’s sleek chignon.)

Chignons can be created with your own hair, or they may be available as false hair extensions. The style used to be popular among Greek and Roman women long ago, as is evident from various works of art, especially sculptures that have survived the test of time.

“The style of the hair depends mostly on the dress or the ‘look’ for the night,” says Roger Perez, who owns two Redken salons in the Washington, DC area. “Is it traditional? Trendy? Funky vintage? When the hair is up, it is more of a loose chignon — the look is done but not overdone.”

Pretty up your hair

But jewelry doesn’t have to be the only place you razzle-dazzle at the prom! Seize the opportunity to express your creative side by sporting some classy and hip adornments in your tresses. Perez says hair accessories are hot right now, and adds, “Many shows like Versace, Marc Jacobs and Prada featured accessories, and young girls like to emulate those high-fashion looks at the prom.”

Check out our hairstyle photo gallery for prom hairstyle inspiration! >>

Fortunately, hair accessories don’t have to cost a lot. You can use something as simple as a cute barrette you found at the local drugstore, or as fancy and extraordinary as an heirloom piece lent to you by your grandmother. “Subtle crystal adornments can accent an up-do,” Perez proposed. “If hair is worn loose and long, then a small decorative barrette could be used to hold hair back, but its main purpose would be decorative versus functional.”

See photos of some of our favorite updo prom hairstyles >>

Hilary Duff half-up-halr-down prom hairstyleA spin on traditional styles

Melissa Schriber of a Patrick McIvor Color Studio in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, suggests soft, upswept styles this year. “Mixes of waves and curls that are pinned back in a loose, romantic feel… accent with feathers or butterflies,” she offers. “Hair moving to one side that is smooth with an accent in the back that compliments your dress. Vintage combs make a hot accessory!”

Have you tried the hair feather extensions yet?

Jayson Morgan, also from McIvor, pushes a hairstyle that is on the borderline of wearing your hair up or down. “Half-up, half-sleek and smooth, half-down curled and just raked through to create soft texture and movement, is a great way to showcase jewelry!”

For a little fun — not to mention some simplicity — consider a ponytail, like Fergie’s shown below. They’re playful yet sophisticated, and lift and define the shape of your hair.

The bottom line: Don’t go crazy with some hairstyle that just plain isn’t you. “Be who you are,” Perez encourages. “If your hair is normally straight and you want curls, go for the loose tendrils.” Hilary Duff has this idea down.

Spray it on, glam it up

“Remember that with all the dancing, [especially] if you are doing a different hairstyle, you will need a spray that can hold up with the night.”

Here are three reader favorite super-hold hairsprays — you might want pick one to try:

  • Tresemme Tres Two Freeze Hold Hair Spray
  • Frederic Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray
  • Dove Hairspray, Extra Hold

And while a little help-in-a-can is a good thing to have, don’t go wild with every hair product out there. For example, Morgan says, “Avoid lots of shine sprays, as they are sometimes too heavy on the hair and can make it look oily.”

Seeking perfection

Remember that, ultimately, prom is what you make of it. The marvelous time you have dictates the classic memories and unforgettable photographs you’ll cherish. When it comes down to your appearance — your hair, your dress, your nails, your makeup — you want everything to be perfect. But “perfect” should combine your favorite traditions, the latest trends, as well as the styles that you’re comfortable with. It’s your night, and we hope you love every moment!



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