You’ve been planning your perfect prom since the first day of high school and now the big day is finally here! You’ve got the perfect date, perfect outfit, perfect shoes, and accessories—the only thing that’s missing is the hairstyle.
Lucky for you, elaborate salon updos requiring thousands of bobby pins are a thing of the past—which means you can achieve the perfect prom hairstyle right in the comfort of your bedroom. Whether you have dark brown hair or ash blonde strands, we’ve rounded up 35 easy prom hairstyles that will look flawless with any ensemble.
Gather all of your hair on the left or right side of your head and secure in a loose ponytail to start a fishtail braid. Next, divide the ponytail tail into two equal ponytails. To create the fishtail effect, take a half-inch section of hair from the outside of left ponytail and cross it over the left ponytail to the right ponytail. Repeat on the opposite side, taking a section from the outside of the right ponytail across the right ponytail over to the left.
Continue crossing over the opposite sections of the hair until you reach the end of the braid. Secure the end of the braid with an elastic or a small clear rubber band. Once the braid is secure, remove the elastic from the nape of the next to give the braid a seamless look. For a final touch, pancake the braid for a voluminous effect.
Old Hollywood Waves
For glam Hollywood waves, begin by giving yourself a deep part on the right or left side of your head. Then, start at the back of your head, working with 2-inch sections of clean, dry hair. Spray each one with heat protectant before wrapping around a one-inch curling iron. Hold or clamp each section of hair until just heated through, approximately 30-60 seconds depending on your hair’s thickness.
Continue curling 2-inch sections of your hair until you’ve completed your entire head. Once you’ve finished curling your hair, use a brush out your curls until you achieve your desired S-curl. Finish your look with a spritz of shine spray.
For beach waves, start at the back of your head working with 2-inch sections of clean, dry hair. Spray each one with a heat protectant before wrapping around a curling wand. Hold each section of hair to the wand until just heated through.
To ensure your style lasts all night long, after you’ve released the curl gentle spray it with a light hold hairspray. Continue curling two-inch sections of your hair until you’ve completed your entire head. After you’ve finished with your curling wand, rake your fingers through your hair to loosen up the curls. Finally, set the look with a medium hold hairspray.
Loosely Curled Ponytail
Apply a medium hold styling pomade to all of the edges of your hair and brush through until all of your edges lie completely flat. Then, gather all of your hair on the top of your head and secure a ponytail with a strong elastic in your desired placement. Working with 1-inch sections of your ponytail, spray each one with a heat protectant before wrapping around a curling wand. Hold each section of hair to the wand until just heated through. Continue curling 1-inch sections until you’ve curled your entire ponytail.
Gently backcomb the base of your ponytail for extra volume and rake your fingers through your hair to loosen up the curls. For a final touch, take a small section of hair from the base of your ponytail and wrap it around your elastic and secure it with a bobby pin for an elegant finish.
If you’re looking for a hairstyle that has just a little more out of the box, space buns are for you. Begin by parting your hair down the middle with a comb and securing each section with an elastic. Working on one bun at a time, remove the elastic and apply a medium hold pomade to your edges, front and back, and brush through. Then, gather your hair in the desired location of your bun and secure the pigtail with an elastic. Backcomb or fluff the pigtail before wrapping it around into a bun shape. Secure with bobby pins and repeat steps on opposite side.
Wrapped French Braids
Part the front half of your hair down the middle. Don’t part your hair all of the way down to the nape of your neck—it’ll allow for a more seamless look when you pin your braids up. Starting with one half of your hair, gather three sections near your hairline and create a basic French 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.
Spruce up your regular wash-and-go style with some sparkly hair accessories and major volume. For this simple but glamorous look, all you’ll need is a sparkly headband. After you’ve washed and dried your curls, place the glittering headband on top of your curls near your hairline. Allow a few curly tendrils to escape your headband to frame your face.
Tucked Behind Ears
This classic look will make your casual waves look instantly elegant. Begin at the back of your head, working with 2-inch sections of clean, dry hair. Spray each one with 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.
Sleek and Straight
Begin at the back of your head, taking 2-inch sections of clean, dry hair at a time. Spray each section with a heat protectant and slowly pass it over with a flat iron followed by a comb. If necessary, do an additional pass with the flat iron to get your hair as sleek and straight as possible. Continue flat ironing until you’ve finished your entire head. Finally, apply a light shine hair serum for a glamorous finishing touch.
A pineapple updo will take you less than 10 minutes to create and will look amazing all night long. This simple look only requires a medium hold styling pomade, a brush, a hair pick, and an elastic. Using the hair pick, comb your hair at the roots to create volume all over your head.
Once you’ve achieved your desired volume, apply a generous amount of the medium hold styling pomade all over your edges. Don’t forget to apply the pomade to the edges on the back of your head as the back of your hair will be visible once your hair is up, then brush the pomade through your hair until your edges lie completely flat. Next, gather all of your curls at the top of your head near your hairline and secure them with an elastic.
Begin by parting your hair down the middle from your hairline to the crown of your head. Apply a firm hold styling gel to your hairline and brush through to ensure you won’t have any flyaways. Keeping your part intact, brush your hair down and into a ponytail at the nape of your neck. Attach 16-inch curly hair extensions to your ponytail for an over-the-top final look.
Red Carpet Bun
Gather your hair at your crown and secure it with an elastic. Place a foam or fabric hair donut at the base of your ponytail and begin to wrap your hair around the donut, making sure it isn’t visible through your hair. If your hair is long enough, allow one section of hair to hang from the bun. If not, simply add a hair extension that matches your hair color. Use a 1-inch curling iron to curl the loose section loosely. Secure the bun with several bobby pins and set your look with a firm hold hairspray.
Pull Through Ponytail
To start, gather the top half of your hair in a ponytail and secure it with a hair elastic. Then, create a second ponytail with the bottom half of your hair. Use a second hair elastic to tie the first ponytail and create a “bubble.” Next, pull the bottom ponytail through the top “bubble.” Continue repeating these steps until you reach the end of the ponytail. Secure the finished ponytail with a clear hair elastic.
Start at the back of your head, working with 2-inch sections of clean, dry hair. Spray each one with a heat protectant before clamping the base of the section with your flat iron. Once clamped, flip the flat iron down and hold it for 15 seconds. Then, move your flat iron down the section of hair, flip the flat iron up, and hold it. Continue twisting the flat iron up and down until you reach the bottom of the section. Once you’ve crimped your whole head, set your look with a flexible hold hairspray.
Half-Up Fishtail Braid
To begin, gather the top half of your hair in a ponytail and secure it with a clear hair elastic. Next, divide the tail into two equal ponytails. To create the fishtail effect, take a half-inch section of hair from the outside of left ponytail and cross 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.
As you make your way down the braid, incorporate loose strands of hair into your braid for a whimsical effect. Continue crossing over sections of the hair until you reach the end of the braid, securing it with an elastic. Once the braid is finished, remove the elastic from the braid for a seamless look. For a final touch, pancake the braid for a voluminous effect.
For this look, you’ll want to begin with freshly blow dried and detangled hair. Grab two small sections of hair from the opposite sides of your head and tie them in a knot. Continue knotting your hair until you reach the end of the braid. Secure the braid with a clear hair elastic and pancake it for a voluminous final look.
To begin this chignon, decide where to part your hair and divide it into two sections. Working with just one section, twist it near the hairline over the second. Be sure to keep your twist close to the scalp. Continue the twisting motion, gathering more hair until you reach the nape of your neck. Secure the style with bobby pins, pancaking it to give the twist more volume. Repeat the process on the other side. Once you've twisted both sides of your hair, gather the remaining hair into a low chignon.
Music festivals aren’t the only place you can totally slay a flower crown look. Embrace your inner boho goddess by pairing your dreamy prom gown with an equally marvelous flower crown. Bohemian hairstyles are always the right idea.
Double Chignon Buns
If you love the look of space buns but need a ‘do that’s a little more low key, double chignon buns are just the style for you. Begin by applying a medium hold styling gel to your hairline and brush it through your hair to ensure you won’t have any flyaways. Then, part your hair straight down the middle from your hairline to the nape of your neck. Use hair elastics to secure two ponytails near the nape of your neck.
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 and wrap the braid around itself to form a bun, securing the bun with several bobby pins. Repeat the same steps on the remaining braid.
Double Dutch Braid Ponytails
To begin, part your hair straight down the middle from your hairline to the nape of your neck. Working with one section at a time, craft a Dutch braid on each. Once the braid reaches the nape of your neck, secure it with a clear elastic and allow the remainder of your hair to hang loose in a pigtail. Repeat the same steps with the other section. Once both braids have been crafted, pancake each braid for a voluminous final look.
To begin, give yourself a deep part on the right or left side of your head. Using the larger section of hair, begin to craft a Dutch braid at your hairline. Keep the braid close to your hairline as your bring the braid down and around your head over to your opposite shoulder. Continue braiding until you reach the end of your hair, securing the braid with a clear elastic. For a final touch, pancake your braid for a voluminous effect and place a few flowers throughout the style.
Side Braid Embellished Blowout
This style is the perfect way to take your basic blowout from drab to fab. After you’ve blown out your hair, section off a 3-inch segment of hair on the left or right side of your head. Create three small cornrows with the sections. Secure the cornrows at the end of the segment and allow the rest of your hair to hang loose. Use hair glitter to finish your showstopping party ‘do.
To begin, apply a medium hold styling pomade to your hairline and brush it through your hair to ensure you won’t have any flyaways. Then, brush your hair straight back and use a clear elastic to secure your hair in a ponytail at the nape of your neck. Work a dime-sized amount of texturizing paste throughout your ponytail and backcomb to create maximum volume.
Add another clear elastic several inches from the base of your ponytail. Continue fastening clear hair elastics in the same way until you run out of hair. To create the bubble effect, gently use your fingers to tug on the hair in between each elastic. Set your look with a medium hold hairspray.
If you want to debut a new hair color on prom night but don’t want to commit to the maintenance of color-treated hair, consider hair makeup. Shu Uemura’s Tokyo Vibes Hair Makeup allows you to slay a variety of colors from hot pink to gold —and you can just wash it out the next morning!
A flower in your hair is the ultimate hair accessory, but you don’t need to have a flower on hand to get the full effect. Simply craft a rosette with a 2-inch section of hair on the right or left side of your head. Set the rosette with a firm hold hairspray like Redken’s Triple Take 32 Extreme High Hold Hairspray and you’ll have a flower that will last all night long.
Pin Curl Updo
To begin, prime the hair with a heat protectant like Mizani’s Thermastrength Heat Protecting Serum. Starting at the back of your head, wrap small sections of hair around a 1-inch curling iron until the section is just heated through. Once a curl has formed, maintain the curls shape and use a styling clip to secure the coil to your head—we call that a pin curl.
Once you’ve curled your entire head, allow your hair to cool completely before removing the pins and letting your curls hang loose. Gently rake your fingers through your hair to loosen your curls before you begin to craft your updo.
Part your hair down the middle to the crown of your head, and create two soft swoops on either side of the part. Secure the S-shaped swoops on either side of your part with several bobby pins. Then, pin the rest of your curls to the back of your head to create an effortless updo. Set your look in place with a firm hold hair spray.
If you have curl types three through five in your mane, you can recreate this look with a few hair tools and products. Gather up a fine tooth comb for teasing, Mizani’s Lived-In Texture Spray to help create a soft matte finish that lasts, and a medium hold hair spray to set your look in place.
Starting at the back of your head, tease 2-inch sections of hair starting at the root and working your way down to the ends gently. This will create an all-over voluminous style that still puts your curls on display. Once you’ve teased your entire head, sweep one side of your hair up and use several bobby pins to pin the hair in place.
If you don’t have hair with curl types three through five but you want to recreate this look, not all hope is lost. Just use a 1-inch curling iron to create curls all over your head. Once you’ve curled your entire head, following the teasing instructions above for a full final look.
Upside Down Braided Ponytail
If you’re looking for a fun way to dress up your prom ponytail, look no further than this upside down braided pony. To create this look, flip your head over and section off a 1-inch segment of hair down the middle of your head. While your head is still flipped over, use the hair from the section to craft a cornrow from the nape of your neck to the crown of your head. Once the braid reaches the crown of your head, gather the rest of your hair at the crown of your head and use a hair elastic to secure a ponytail. If your prom style needs a little more embellishment, place several metallic bobby pins on the side of your head for a futuristic visual element.
Hollywood waves are a staple at just about any special event, but you don’t have to wear your hair loose to give some seriously glamorous vibes. Follow the same instructions to create Hollywood waves and when you're done, simply gather all of your hair at the crown of your head and secure it in a high ponytail.
Half-Up Wavy Ponytail
If you love the look of a glamour ponytail but want to show off some of your length, opt for the half-up version of this ‘do. The half-up pony will keep your hair out of your face while you dance all night long and your long locks are destined to be the talk of the party.
Braided Headband Bun
Can’t settle on the right accessory for your prom hairstyle? Why not use your own strands to accessorize your look? This braided headband bun proves you don’t need anything but the hair on your head to create an amazing prom-worthy style.
Half-Up Flower Crown
If you love the look of a flower crown but would rather not walk around with actual flowers in your hair, consider this half-up flower crown-inspired style.
Ponytails are anything but boring, if you know how to dress them up the right way. This simple braid accent is a quick and easy way to take your braid from plain to prom in no time!
Searching for a stylist to help you create the prom hairstyle of your dreams? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.