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20 Graduation Hairstyles To Take You From Ceremony To Celebration

photo of woman with graduation cap on

Graduation season is officially here and we know the class of 2019 could not be more excited. You’ve handed in your final papers, picked up your cap and gown, picked out the perfect graduation dress, and sent out invites to your graduation party. The only thing left to do is decide how you’re going to wear your hair.

Your graduation hair has to look equally as flawless with your graduation cap on as it does when you take it off. No idea how you’re going to pull that off? No worries. Whether you have dark brown hair or ash blonde strands, we’ve rounded up 20 graduation hairstyles that will look just as gorgeous on your as you walk across the stage as it will at your unforgettable celebration.

Asymmetrical Pixie

Having short hair is a blessing and a curse when graduation rolls around. On one hand, all of your hair fits perfectly underneath your cap. On the other, a cap can make it can look as though you don’t have any hair at all.

If you love short hair but want to make sure some of your strands make an appearance on graduation day, consider an asymmetrical pixie. Ask your stylist to cut the back and sides of your hair very short, but leave your bangs long enough to sweep across your forehead. 

Side Swept Fishtail Braid

To begin, gather all of your hair on the left or right side of your head and secure it in a loose ponytail. Next, divide the ponytail into two equal sections. To create the fishtail effect, take a section of hair from the outside of the left ponytail and cross it over to the right ponytail. Repeat the process on the opposite side, taking a section from the outside of the right ponytail over to the left.

Continue crossing the opposite sections of the hair until you reach the end of the braid, then secure it with an elastic. Pancake the braid for a voluminous effect.

Brushed Out Waves

Begin by giving yourself a deep part, then start working with 2-inch sections of clean, dry hair. Spray each one with heat protectant before wrapping it around a one-inch curling iron.

Continue curling sections until you’ve completed your entire head, then brush out ther curls until you achieve your desired S-curl. Finish your look with a spritz of shine spray.

Slicked Back

You can start styling your hair right after you’ve washed it or fill a spray bottle with water and spritz your locks until they’re damp. Alternatively, you can use a spray leave-in conditioner: The liquid formula will dampen your hair while ensuring that it feels hydrated.

Once your hair is saturated (but not soaking wet), work a light hold gel through your hair to set your texture. Allow your hair to dry completely before walking out of the door and it’ll look chic and shiny all day long.

Braided Faux Hawk Chignon

Section your hair into a 1-inch segment from your hairline to the nape of your neck. Beginning at your hairline, cornrow the section to the nape of your neck and secure it with a clear hair elastic. Brush your remaining hair straight back and gather it at the nape of your neck. Twist all of your hair—including the braid—to form a bun and secure it with several bobby pins.

Half Up Loose Fishtail Braid

Section off the top half of your hair. Beginning in the middle of the sectioned off hair, do several loose repetitions of the fishtail braid technique. Secure the braid with a clear hair elastic.

Cornrowed Chignon

Begin with clean, dry, detangled hair and map out where you’ll part your design before you begin to braid. Start near your hairline and separate the section into three small segments. To begin forming your cornrow, start with the classic braid technique. Be sure to pass each segment under the next.

As you continue to braid, keep the cornrow close to the scalp and begin to merge hair from the rest of the section into the braid as you go. Continue braiding, alternating the left and right segments under the middle segment and adding hair to each segment as you go until you reach the nape of your neck. Once you’ve braided your entire head, gather the braids that hang down your back into a chignon at your nape.

Beach Waves

Much like brushed out waves, you can use a curling iron or wand to create beach waves. If you’re looking for a style that’s a little more low maintenance, however, consider enlisting the help of a texturizing spray.

Spritz a texturizing spray like Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Texturizing Styling Spray throughout your damp locks and scrunch your hair to create texture. Formulated with matcha green tea, the Texturizing Styling Spray creates separation and definition for touchable texture. For added texture, spritz on hair once again after it is completely dry.

Braided Double Chignons

Begin by applying a medium hold styling gel to your hairline, brushing it through the front of your hair to ensure you won’t have any flyaways. Then, part your hair straight down the middle from hairline to nape. Use hair elastics to secure two low ponytails.

Work with one ponytail at a time, crafting a three-strand braid and securing the end with a clear hair elastic. Repeat the same steps on the remaining ponytail. Work with one braid at a time, wrapping it around itself to form a bun. Secure the bun with several bobby pins and repeat the same steps on the remaining braid.

Sleek and Straight

Making sure you use the right products is the key to a sleek and straight ‘do that will last all night long. Prep your strands with Mizani Thermasmooth Sleek Guard Smoothing Cream to help control frizz while making your hair feel nourished and smooth.


We don’t usually suggest making such drastic changes to your style ahead of a big event, but if you really want a style that will look the same with or without your graduation cap you can’t go wrong with a buzzcut.

While most people believe shaving off most of their hair will decimate their styling options, there are actually tons of ways to customize your buzzcut. If you want a really graduation appropriate style, dye your hair your school colors or have your barber shave your graduation year into your head for a style you’ll never forget.

Low Ponytail With Bobby Pin Embellishment

Apply a medium hold styling pomade to your hairline and brush it through your hair to ensure you don’t have any flyaways. Create a small part on the left or right side of your head then, brush your hair straight back and secure a ponytail at the nape of your neck.

Take a small section of hair from the bottom of your ponytail and wrap it around your hair elastic for a polished look. To finish your style, use a handful of metallic bobby pins to create a geometric design on one side of your head.

Piecey Bangs

If you have bangs you may be tempted to search for styles that keep your bangs up and away from your face, but the right bangs can perfectly complement your graduation cap.

Half French Braid Low Ponytail

Gather all of your hair into a loose ponytail at the nape of your neck. Take two segments of hair from the ponytail and allow them to frame your face. Craft a fishtail braid with the first half of the ponytail and secure it with a hair elastic.

Half Up

Simply gather the top half of your hair into a ponytail and secure it with a hair elastic. Take a section of hair from the bottom of the ponytail and wrap it around your hair elastic for a polished final look.

Tucked Behind Ears

Begin at the back of your head, working with 2-inch sections of clean, dry hair. Spray each one with a heat protectant before wrapping it around a 2-inch barrel curling iron. Hold or clamp the curl until just heated through and continue curling your hair until you’ve completed your entire head. Once you’ve curled all of your hair, brush your curls out until they are just slightly waved.

To complete the look, part your hair down the middle and spray with a strong hold hairspray. Take two 1-inch sections at the front of your head on either side of your part and brush them both behind your ears. After you’ve tucked both pieces behind your ears, secure both pieces under your hair with a clear elastic.


Curly girls are often tempted to straighten their hair whenever a cap is involved, but we’re here to assure you that your natural curls will look absolutely gorgeous underneath your cap! If you’re worried about your hair looking flat for your graduation party, be sure to pack a pick in your clutch for a quick fluff before you hit the photo booth.

Cornrowed Pigtails

Braids are the perfect way to fit a ton of hair underneath a graduation cap but if you want to leave some of your hair loose, opt for these cornrowed pigtails. To begin, part your hair down the middle to create two even sections. Working with one section at a time, begin to craft a cornrow beginning at your hairline that travels all the way down to the nape of your neck. Secure the braid at the nape of your neck and repeat the same steps on the opposite section. Once both braids are secure, fluff your curls for a voluminous final look.

Dutch Braid Crown

Graduations typically take place during the summer, outside under the blazing sun. As much as we love to show off long locks, having hair on your neck and a cap on your head is a recipe for a sweaty disaster. Avoid picture-ruining sweat stains by tucking all of your hair underneath your cap.

This Dutch braid crown with face-framing tendrils allows you to show off some of your strands while keeping your hot mane off of your neck. To begin, part the front half of your hair down the middle. Don’t part your hair all the way down to the nape of your neck—it’ll allow for a more seamless look when you pin your braids up. Then, pull a few loose tendrils from either side of your part. Starting with one half of your hair, gather three sections near your hairline and create a basic Dutch braid.

Secure the braid with a clear elastic and repeat the steps on the other side of your hair. Once you’ve braided both sides of your hair, pancake the braid to give them a more voluminous appearance. Wrap one braid over the other and secure with a few bobby pins. Be sure to tuck the tied off ends of the braid underneath the hair for a seamless look. Repeat on the opposite side for the perfect braided crown.

Pull-Through Braid

French braids are a classic graduation style but if you’re looking for something a little different, try a pull-through braid. This tousled spin on a traditional braid is so easy to create and looks amazing in photographs.

Looking for a professional to make your graduation hair dreams come true? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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