Prom season is in full swing, and whether you’re a last minute kind of gal or you’ve been planning your perfect prom since the first day of high school, it’s officially time to plan your look.
You’ve got the perfect date, dress, shoes, and accessories—the only thing that’s missing is the prom hairstyle.
Lucky for you, we’re sharing 60 of the trendiest prom hairstyles of 2021 whether you’re planning to DIY or head to the salon. Keep scrolling to find your perfect look for the big night, whether you’re searching for prom hairstyles for long hair, medium length prom hairstyles, or short prom hairstyles.
How should I wear my hair for prom?
We get it, choosing prom hairstyles can be daunting. The good news? There are so many cute prom hairstyles that are on-trend (and won’t be super cringey to look back in in 10 years). If you want to stick to the classics, opt for an updo or classic curls and waves. For those who want to step outside of the box a bit, add some braids or accessories to your prom hairstyle.
Should I put my hair up or down for prom?
If you’re trying to decide whether you want your hair up or down for prom, we recommend trying different styles with your dress and accessories. You’ll be able to determine what look works best with your full ensemble. When in doubt, however, an expert stylist can guide you in the right direction.
How much is a prom hairstyle?
For those deciding to book a salon appointment for their prom hairstyle, the price will depend on your salon’s location and the look you’re trying to achieve. Prices can range anywhere from $30 to $300.
Ready for some inspiration? Keep scrolling for 60 prom hairstyles for every hair length.
The Best Prom Hairstyles For Long Hair
Voluminous Glam Curls
Want to create your own glam curls for prom? Watch stylist and TikTok star Cynthia Dhimdis demonstrate how to achieve voluminous curls at home.
Side-Swept Fishtail Braid
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 the 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.
Embellished Fishtail Braid
Accentuate your fishtail braid with floral accents to make your hairstyle really strand out.
Want a prom ‘do with extra volume? Watch Cynthia Dhimdis create big bombshell curls using L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Volumetry Anti-Gravity Effect Volume Spray, Matrix Style Link Miss Mess Dry Texturizing Spray, and Matrix Total Results High Amplify Anti-Frizz Hairspray.
You may be used to hiding your bobby pins within your hairstyles, but this prom look is all about showing them off. Pull the top half of your mane towards the back of your head and hold it in place with multiple bobby pins. Placing them beside each other makes the go-to styling tools look dressed up—which makes this easy hairstyle perfect for prom night!
All about the classics? Us, too! That’s why we’re recommending this French twist hairstyle. This ‘do works for any special occasion, including prom! Add texture to your hair if you want a more laid back style. You can even pop in a simple three-strand braid for extra flair.
French Twist Ponytail
If you love the idea of a French twist but want to so off all of that length, opt for this French twist ponytail.
While we’re discussing the classics, who could forget about the blowout? This is one that can be done at home easily or left to the hands of a seasoned pro. If you’re thinking of blowing out your hair, be sure to use a heat protectant like Redken Pillow Proof Express Blow Dry Primer. This formula strengthens and protects hair from heat while speeding up your styling time.
Half-Up Bouffant Ponytail
Dress up your half-up hairstyle by teasing your crown for extra volume and wrapping a 2-inch section of hair around your hair tie.
Pin Straight Hair
Working with protective braids? Split your mane into two and craft two matching high ponytails on each side of your head. This style is absolutely stunning paired with waist-length braids.
If you want your dress to be the focal point of your prom photos, choose a simple hairstyle. These soft waves are easy-to-do and pair perfectly with any outfit. Apply a few spritzes of hairspray like Redken Triple Pure 32 Neutral Fragrance Hairspray to lock your waves in place with high-hold and frizz protection.
Add a touch of spring to your prom hairstyle with a rosette braid. To begin, loosely braid small sections at the side of your head starting at your ear, stopping at the middle. Take the loose hair and both braids to the center, bringing them together with a hair tie.
To create the rosette shape, create a three-strand braid with the remaining hair from the half ponytail and secure it. Roll the braid towards the top elastic to shape the rosette. Pin down the edges with bobby pins and complete the look with medium hold hairspray.
Mini Rosette Buns
Can’t get enough of rosette braids? Ask your stylist to craft multiple mini rosette buns throughout your look.
Show off that gorgeous texture but add a little bit of flair to your ‘do by placing bedazzled hair barrettes throughout your crown. This look allows you to embrace your coils and curls while keeping your strands out of your face while you dance the night away.
Half-Up High Ponytail
When paired with voluminous coils, this everyday hairstyle gives us serious prom vibes.
Take your protective prom style up a notch with these stunning stitch braids demonstrated by stylist Nastacia Crooks-Brady.
Face-Framing Bouffant Half-Up Ponytail
Inspired by all-things vintage? Take a page out of the ‘70s style handbook and ask your stylist for this gorgeous face-framing bouffant ponytail.
Half-Up Wavy Ponytail
If you love the look of a 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.
If you have a prom dress with stunning detail on the back, pair it with an updo to make sure your hair is out of the way. When it comes to updo prom hairstyles, we’re obsessed with this messy, textured ‘do on long hair.
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 show stopping party ‘do.
Wet Look Waves
Take your wash and go from everyday to slay by creating a deep side part and tucking the hair opposite of where your part falls behind your ear. Use a hair gel like Matrix Total Results Curl Please Super Defrizzer Gel to keep your waves shapely while making sure frizz doesn’t ruin your ‘do.
If you have fine hair, curling only your ends can give your mane style while ensuring your strands don’t fall flat throughout the night.
Banded Low Ponytail
Want to DIY your low ponytail? Check out this step-by-step banded low ponytail tutorial.
Did someone say volume? These bouncy, voluminous waves are sure to be the talk of the party.
If your prom vibe is desert-esque, you’ll want your stylist to recreate this boho-style ponytail. It’s all about piec-ey texture and finished off with a floral embellishment.
Undone Braid With Beach Waves
Speaking of bohemian hairstyles, these beach waves paired with an undone braid scream boho vibes. Need a texture boost? Apply a few spritzes of Pureology Style + Protect Beach Waves Sugar Spray. This non-drying texture spray creates soft, tousled waves while protecting color-treated hair from fading.
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.
Simple Side Part
Switching up your part is a simple change, but one that can make all the difference for your prom style. If your strands tend to fall flat, opt for a deep side part to create instant long-lasting volume at your root.
Who says you can’t wear a bun to the prom? This slicked-back ballerina bun, wrapped in a metallic gold hair tie, is simple and elegant.
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. Have your stylist create Hollywood waves and when they’re done, ask them to secure your hair into a high ponytail.
Hairline Braid Ponytail
Ponytails are anything but boring—especially 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the opposite side.
The Best Prom Hairstyles For Medium Length Hair
Fishtail Accent Braid
Want to keep it simple? Opt for an accent fishtail braid. This ‘do will take you five minutes to create, which makes it perfect if you’re a last-minute planner.
Half-Up Fishtail Halo Braid
This half-up fishtail halo is the perfect fit for medium-length hair that isn’t super long but too short to fit into an intricate ponytail or updo.
Twisted Low Bun
DIY queens will obsess over this twisted low bun. All you’ll need is hair elastics, bobby pins, and a few sprays of Pureology Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray to make the style yours.
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 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.
Swept To The Side
To give your prom hairstyle a romantic vibe, sweep your hair all to one side and pin it in the back to keep it in place.
If you want to feel like a Hollywood starlet on prom night, this red carpet-inspired wet look should do the trick. To ensure the best possible results, we recommend leaving this one to the pros.
For those with naturally curly hair, creating this bun at home will be effortless. Just be sure to prep your mane with Mizani True Textures Twist And Coil Jelly to enhance your ringlets and protect against frizz.
Pin Curl Updo
To begin, prime the hair with a heat protectant like Biolage’s Thermal Active Heat Protectant Spray. 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 hairspray.
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.
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.
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.
Spruce up your regular natural 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.
The Best Prom Hairstyles For Short Hair
You don’t need to be the prom queen to slay this bedazzled statement hair clip. Pro tip: Spray your slip with hairspray before inserting it into your hair to help keep it in place.
Looking to go vintage without the pin curls and Old Hollywood waves? Opt for ‘70s-inspired flippy ends. When it comes to short prom hairstyles, this look is top-notch.
Classic Blunt Bob
If you’re sporting a classic blunt bob with bangs, it doesn’t take much to get your mane prom-ready. Simply apply a smoothing formula like Matrix Style Link Smooth Setter Smoothing Cream throughout your hair to tame frizz and flyaways.
Voluminous Half-Up Bun
If you don’t have enough hair to create a full bun, not to worry! A half-up bun is just as stunning for those with short hair.
Curls With Side Braids
Searching for a simple way to amp up your short curly hair? Ask your stylist to craft three or four braids on one side of your head while letting the rest of your mane flow freely.
If you’re looking for an easy way to style your natural hair at home for prom, these mini puffs are simple and adorable.
Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/gregoryrussellhair/
Polished Low Bun
Paired with a shimmery dress and a smokey eyeshadow look, this sleek low bun screams Hollywood glam.
Facts: You don’t need to have a lot of hair (or any at all) to draw attention to your crown. Ask your colorist to create a pop of color on your buzzcut for a look that will be the talk of the event. Don’t want to commit to salon color? Pick up a temporary hair color and start playing!
When it comes to accessorizing prom hair, placement is key. Stacks clips and barrettes of different colors and shapes throughout your hair to add a stunning visual element to your prom ‘do.
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.
If you’re obsessed with rosette braids, we’re happy to tell you that they look just as great on shorter hair. Follow the instructions we shared above or save this photo to show your stylist.
Interested in getting a prom hairstyle? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.