When preparing for a formal event, choosing the right hairstyle is absolutely critical. You want to look your best, and having great hair is such a big part of that! But with so many formal hairstyles out there, it can be tough to make a decision.
Whether you’re choosing a hairstyle for a wedding, formal party, homecoming dance or college formal, or another big event, these hairstyles will be the perfect complement to your formal look. Plus, these formal hairstyles are timelessly elegant — but not stuffy! — so you won’t look back at your pictures in 10 years and cringe.
Keep reading for our picks for the best formal hairstyles for your next big event and how to style them at home.
The Best Formal Hairstyles for Big Occasions
Try these updated takes on four classic formal styles.
The classic chignon is a polished formal hairstyle that is perfect for weddings, formals or other black-tie affairs. Plus, we love that it works well for fine and thin hair. Here’s how to style a classic chignon at home:
- Spritz hair with a texturizing spray for hold.
- Gently tease hair at the crown for volume.
- Curl hair below the ears into waves using a 1-inch curling iron.
- Smooth hair over the teased crown, then pull hair back into a loose ponytail. Leave out a section of hair in front of each ear. Secure the ponytail with a hair tie one inch away from the scalp.
- Separate the hair above the hair tie into two sections to create a hole, then flip the ponytail through the hole.
- Tease the ponytail, then wrap around into a bun and pin.
- Twist or braid the front sections around the bun to cover the hair tie. Then pin to secure.
- Finish with hairspray for extra hold.
The side part and sleek waves add a retro twist to your formal look. You can pair the style with an accessory like a rhinestone hair clip for an extra touch of sparkle. Here’s how to accomplish this glamorous wedding-ready hairstyle at home:
- Spray hair with a light-hold hairspray and brush hair to distribute product. Part hair to the side.
- Using a one-inch barrel curling iron, curl hair in sections towards your face.
- After curling each section, pin the curl to your head using a duckbill hair clip.
- Repeat with all hair and allow curls to cool.
- Once curls are cool, remove the hair clips and brush out curls for soft, glamorous waves.
- Tame any flyaways with an anti-frizz serum.
This is a great wedding, formal event or homecoming hairstyle for women with shoulder-length hair. If you want a more bohemian look, you could also add small sprigs of flowers into the twists. Here’s how to style this half-up twist at home:
- Style hair into soft, messy waves using a one-inch curling iron and a texturizing spray.
- Take a one-inch section of hair from just above the ear and twist, adding more hair as you move to the back of the head.
- Pin the twist in place with bobby pins, being careful to hide them inside of the twist.
- Finish with hairspray for extra hold.
Messy Low Bun
The messy texture of this bridal hairstyle helps to give thin, fine hair a little extra volume. Plus, it’s very easy to style at home!
- Use a texturizing spray to give hair more grip, then gently backcomb from the crown for volume.
- Use a curling iron to curl hair, then pin the curls at the nape of the neck to form the look of a bun. For a more romantic vibe, leave some curled tendrils around the face.
Tips for Prepping Hair for a Formal Event
Whether you’re getting ready for an upcoming wedding, dance or other formal event, follow these tips to make sure your hair looks amazing on your big day.
- For stronger, healthier hair, start taking Viviscal supplements at least three months before your formal event. Viviscal promotes existing hair growth by nourishing the hair follicles from within.*
- If you color your hair, make an appointment to visit your colorist for a root touch-up 10-14 days before your event. This way you’ll have time to make changes to your planned style (if necessary).
- Begin deep conditioning hair weekly or biweekly up to three months before your event
While we recommend getting hair trimmed every 8-12 weeks to minimize split ends, if your formal hairstyle requires more length, avoid having a haircut in the month leading up to your event.
Do you have a big event coming up soon? Let us know in the comments!