Around the holidays, we notice velvet, silk, and satin hair bows sneaking into ponytails, braids, and other stylish updos. Like the final piece of a perfectly wrapped gift, a hair ribbon is all you need to add the finishing touch to a festive hairstyle.
“I think the hair bow trend is back because beauty nostalgia seems to be the [rise],” says Sunnie Brooke, Biolage global ambassador and celebrity stylist. “It’s comforting and brings back fond memories of childhood or playing dress up. It’s also a fun retro look that easily glams up any style with minimal effort.”
The best part about the trend, she says, is that you don’t even need to open your wallet to take part in it—you can easily recycle the ribbons wrapped lovingly around your Secret Santa package or Hannukkah gifts.
Whether you simply want to learn how to make hair bows or, more specifically, how to make hair bows out of ribbon, follow the steps outlined below, then get inspired with a round-up of our favorite looks to take you through the season.
How to Make Hair Bows Work for You
Consider your event.
To start, you’ll want to think about the finished look of your style and where you’ll be wearing it. Does your hair bow need to go to a holiday happy hour or a formal company soiree? Once you know where this particular bow is headed, you’ll be better suited to choose the correct fabric. For more laid-back gatherings, we recommend a satin or silk bow. Attending a fancier event, like a winter wedding or holiday gala? A thick velvet will do the trick.
Remember: Start with a longer ribbon versus trying to pull together an undersized (and underwhelming) bow at the last minute. If your bow is too long when you’re done, get a pal to trim the ends before you leave the house. We recommend picking up a little fray glue to prevent last-minute strings from stealing the limelight.
Pro tip: “If your ribbon is wrinkled, you can put your flat iron on low heat (make sure it is clean first) and then use it to press the wrinkles out. It works quickly and will give your bow more form and shape,” says Brooke.
Style your hair.
Once your ribbon fabric has been identified, it’s time to style your hair. If your concern is looking chic and modern, style your mane in a low ponytail with a slight beachy wave. Think about putting the bow several images back from where you’d ordinarily place the hair elastic, creating the illusion of a no-effort style. We also love smaller hair bows when put in high ponytails or half-ponytails, taking a childhood style and making it adult-appropriate. To make sure these look as voluminous as possible, use a backcomb effect finishing spray like Matrix Vavoom Extra Full Freezing Spray.
Start tying your ribbon.
With your hairstyle secured, it’s time to start tying. Hold your ribbon flat below your elastic, then tie it in a knot around your ponytail or updo. Use your fingers to tie first one loop, then the other, taking care not to twist the ribbon as you work. When you’re all done, make sure the wings of the bow are even and clean-looking. Voila! Your bow is all finished.
Glue it for later (optional).
There may be nothing more straightforward than just tying a bow every time you feel the urge to wear one, but we understand repeating the same steps can be tedious. To ensure you have the perfect bow every time, use a hot glue gun to secure your knot (when the bow is not on your head) and attach the ribbon to a barrette.
If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with more ways to make bows a part of your daily hair routine—holiday season or not! A neon chiffon scarf can look gorgeous as a headband with a bow, while a thin piece of colorful ribbon will make a braid feel extra polished. This is the year of hair accessories, so run wild with them while you can!
Hair Ribbon Styles to Try for the 2022 Holiday Season
Now that you’ve gotten a crash course on how to make hair bows, it’s time to integrate them into your favorite styles. The sky's the limit, so get creative! In the meantime, here are some ideas we’re bookmarking for later.
Low Messy Bun
Arguably, one of the best parts about adding a hair ribbon to your ‘do is how they make second (or even third!) -day hair appear polished and purposeful. To eliminate frizz and define your face-framing tendrils, apply a bit of Pureology’s Style + Protect Shine Bright Taming Serum onto strands and gently wrap small sections around your finger.
Low Short Ponytail
If your hair is too short to be put into an intricate updo but is still long enough to make a low ponytail, pull it back to the nape of your neck and secure it with a silk hair ribbon. For a simple yet elegant look, loosen your face-framing strands.
Shiny strands perfectly complement the sheen of a silky ribbon, so why not finish your ‘do with a liberal mist of L’Oréal Professionnel’s Mythic Oil Huile Originale for a glass-like finish?
Low Long Ponytail
Of course, long, wavy hair is equally as stunning when pulled into a low ponytail and secured with a blue ribbon. This on-trend look flaunts your texture and length while requiring mere seconds to create.
Craving some extra fullness in your ponytail? Tease the crown of your head before tying it into a medium-height ponytail, then gently backcomb the base of your tail beneath the elastic. Wrap your ribbon around the elastic, and give your newfound volume staying power with a generous spritz of Redken’s Dry Texture Finishing Spray.
Ribbon-Tied Braided Ponytail
Braids will always be a go-to holiday hairstyle, and intertwining a red ribbon throughout your plait is an ideal way to make it next-level festive. This look is a little more involved to execute, so you may want to dial up your stylist and bring along a visual.
Here’s an easier pull-through braid you can recreate at home—it gives the illusion of a braid without requiring too much arm strength. That’s because the style is not actually a braid, but rather a series of ponytails cascading down your mane. Watch the quick tutorial here, and don’t forget to tie a bow in the center for a gift from you, to you.
Whether your hair is cut into a layered bob or cascades down your back, nearly everyone can pull off an adorable half-up hairstyle. We say the more ribbons, the merrier—especially if they all have subtle variations in color.
The holidays and velvet go together like hot tools and heat protectants—you shouldn’t have one without the other. Even if you don’t have much length to work with, a velvet ribbon can be the perfect accent for your updo.
We’re often inclined to throw away those smaller fragments of ribbon we have lying around, but this style puts them to good use! Pin the end and the base of your braided pigtails together and tie a knot around them for a futuristic yet equally adorable take on your favorite middle school hairstyle. Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Umou Hold Cream is just what this style needs to keep its slicked-down crown in place.
Find more holiday hair inspiration and salon-quality products to pull them together on Hair.com.