Allure October 31, 2021



40 Easy, Cute Party Hairstyles for Every Length and Texture


Whether you're getting gussied up for a Christmas party or celebrating the winter solstice like a good pagan, we've got something for everyone — and some tips from the pros to help guide you.

In 2020, the thought of going to a Christmas, New Year, or any other winter holiday party, well, kinda freaked some folks out. This year is something of a different story. As more of the country gets vaccinated, people are starting to feel comfortable gathering with friends, loved ones, and coworkers. 

After you're done deciding what to wear and swiped festive, shimmery eye shadow all over your lids, it's time to figure out what the heck to do with your hair. Because you need options, we looked to the stars for inspo and found 40 hairstyles that are not overly complex; most are definitely something you could replicate in the comfort of your own home. (And the few that could use the help of a stylist or a talented pal are so pretty, we just couldn't help ourselves.) 

"I am excited to bring back some glamour and end the year with hair bling, extensions, and sculpted looks that will last through long nights celebrating with friends and family," says New York City-based hairstylist Matt Newman. And keep in mind that while these hairstyles are great for holiday parties, they can really work at any fête year-round.

Now scroll through for our comprehensive list of festive hairstyles, many of which can be achieved no matter your skill level.

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Accessorize: Velvet Bow Ponytail

What linen is to summer, velvet is to winter. And nothing says "I'm a gift" like putting a velvet bow on it as Hailey Bieber did with her ponytail. "This festive hair embellishment hits the mark with its soft, plush accent," says Chicago-based hairstylist and creative director at Maxine Salon, Amy Abramite. "Hailey's hair length makes for the perfect flip at the nape of the neck. Her fine, straight texture adds ease to the manageability of a shiny, sleek ponytail," she adds.

To style, sweep your hair up into a tight, clean ponytail at the crown and secure with an elastic. Then, flip your hair out with a round brush to flare the ends. Finish by tying a large velvet bow at the base of the ponytail to accessorize. Or, you can take a shortcut with Kristin Ess's velvet bow, which you can hook right onto your ponytail elastic — no tying required.

Down: Vintage Glam

Classics are classics for a reason, like Megan Thee Stallion's vintage glam hairstyle at the Met Gala. "It makes her hair look voluminous and full," says Chicago-based hairstylist at Maxine Salon, Raven Hurtado. To get the look, use a one-inch curling iron and curl your hair going in the same direction throughout your whole head. "Once the curls are cooled down, use a boar bristle brush and brush out the curls," says Hurtado. "To add more volume, back-comb the curls gently. Add hair spray for the final touch."

Accessorize: Side-Clipped Curls

Blake Lively's well-defined waves cascade over to one side with the help of a flower-shaped, crystal-covered clip. "This style is effortless, with big voluminous waves and texture," says New York City-based hairstylist Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon.

To re-create the look, blow-dry your hair with an anti-frizz cream (we like the Best of Beauty-winning Calm Sexy Hair Wetflix & Chill All-Style Dry Crème). Once completely dry, use a one-inch or 1.5-inch curling iron to add waves and finish with a texture spray for hold and volume. Clip part of your hair back with something pretty, like one (or both) of these moon and star barrettes from  Ettika that come in a two pack.

Accessorize: Ribbon Headband

There are few occasions on which you can go wrong with a headband. You've just got to choose the right type. And if you're partial to a messy updo, the headband can be just the finishing touch you need to make that style special.

"Hair accessories are such an easy way to change up your look," says New York City-based hairstylist, Lacy Redway. "A fun ribbon or scarf [used as a headband] is great around the holidays to add to the festive feel," she says. Try this vegan leather one from The Hair Edit.

Even if you go for a messy updo as Zazie Beetz does here, it's got to be the polished kind. Make sure you're keeping your hair hydrated with a product like the Best of Beauty-Winning Living Proof Curl Moisturizing Shine Oil.

Accessorize: Golden Crown

With its center part big voluminous waves, Amanda Seyfried's hair couldn't be more fitting for a holiday party look. "The crown makes for a modern statement piece," says hairstylist and founder of The Beachwaver Co., Sarah Potempa. "A pearl headband would be a fun and easy way to incorporate an accessory as well." We love this pearl and crystal headband from Lelet NY, though you can snag a more affordable option, like this super cute halo crown that comes complete with tiny little star decorations.

The key to perfecting these body-full waves is starting with second-day hair. That way, the coils you create with your curling iron will hold more readily. Downsize the barrel to a .75-inch one, like the Beachwaver S.75 (her fave, natch, but you can also get great results with the highly-rated Conair Double Ceramic ¾-inch Curling Iron), and curl away from your face. Gently brush out with the Best of Beauty-winning Y by Yusef Cushion Paddle Brush and spritz on a texture spray to boost volume.

Accessorize: Headband to the Back

"Party hair is often loud, proud, and volumized — and this look is the antithesis," says London-based hairstylist and founder of his namesake hair-care brand, Lee Stafford. "As a person who usually likes to buck the trend and do the opposite to what everyone else is doing, I absolutely love this look. The placing of a sparkling double-banded hair accessory (like this one) at the crown of her head instantly shouts understated, edgy glamour." 

Accessorize: Barrette Tuck

Thandiwe Newton's brushed-out curls are pulled off her face thanks to a silver barrette placed vertically behind the star's ear. We're not sure of the exact make of the barrette, but The Hair Edit has a solid silver piece that will make for a good stand-in. The gentle tuck gives these cumulus curls a bit of structure (but not too much).

This look works especially well if you've got a lot of texture in your hair, notes New York City-based hairstylist at The Salon Project, Kali Ferrara. In general, "for any hairstyle to work, you need to prep it to help keep it looking shiny and healthy," she says "If you have dry hair, give yourself a deep conditioning treatment once a week — even using something as simple as leaving coconut oil on your hair for an hour will help." 

Accessorize: Railroad Pins

You can't exactly see it in this picture, but you'll have to take our word for it: Kristen Stewart's short hair is amped up for the Cannes Film Festival with rows of stacked silver bobby pins that wrap all the way across the back of her head and to the other side. It's a cool and simple way to perk up short hair.

"This is a style that takes only a few minutes to do, and works well on short and long hair," says Newman. To get the look, he says, "use a tail comb to create a clean deep side part. Then, smooth the sleek side back with a boar bristle brush and gel or hair spray. Secure down with bobby pins or clips. You can hide the pins or emphasize them with colors, patterns, and embellishments." You can pick up a blinged-out bobby pin set at the drugstore or an Ulta Beauty, like this 12-piece one from Scünci featuring little rhinestones at the tips. 

Accessorize: All the Flowers

To be quite honest, it doesn't matter too much at all what Evan Rachel Wood's hair is doing. The collection of fresh and dried flowers — peonies, baby's breath, roses, etc. — pinned right at her nape is all we're looking at. 

But if you're curious about the hairstyle details, Abramite has you covered. "On dry hair, mist a heat-protecting spray throughout strands. Beginning at the root area, create undulating waves with a three-barrel waving iron." Abramite recommends the Trademark Beauty Babe Waves Jumbo, which won a Best of Beauty award in 2020.  "Pres your hair into the clamp and release," she says. Continue moving the waving iron down your strands and pressing for continuity in the shape toward the ends. Leave some tendrils out around the face and loosely gather your hair back into a low chignon then secure with an elastic. She adds, "Spray with hair spray for control and shine. Individually pin flowers into the occipital area to form the rounded shape."

If you don't want to spend time arranging flowers in your hair, you can always go for a pre-made clip so that most of the work is already done for you.

Accessorize: Clean Part and Two Pins

Turns out Gigi Hadid's 2018 Met Gala hair can also work for a holiday party. "This look is a hybrid of preppy middle-parting combined with serious root volume at the crown," says Stafford. Two skinny barrettes on either side add an ornate touch.

To style, create a middle part with a paddle brush. Follow by adding a mist of heat protectant, then straighten your hair with a flatiron. "On the crown, start brushing your hair backward — this is essentially to hide the parting at the top of the head," says Stafford. With the hair that hides the parting, lift up and gently back-comb the roots to create volume." Follow by combing both sides of the fringe down and behind the ears using a teasing brush. Add the hairpins and finish with a spritz of shine spray.

Accessorize: Jewelry

These soft, brushed-out curls on Kerry Washington at the 2018 Met Gala are courtesy of Brooklyn-based hairstylist and owner of TSD Hair, Takisha Sturdivant-Drew. "This hairstyle is fun, edgy, easy to do yourself, and completely stands out," she says. "Kerry's hair is naturally curly and thick, so this was the perfect hairstyle to match her texture. To create this look, I misted her hairline only with a little water then put on the TSD Hair Kinky Curly Wig. Two wigs were added here — one on the top and one at the back." You can also try one of the "for kinks" wigs from Heat Free Hair, which offers the texture in three different lengths, with HD lace and without.

To create this texture, she brushed the star's hair into shape, then teased the roots to the heavens before pinning a golden Lorraine Schwartz brooch at the side of her head. (If you ain't got Lorraine Schwartz money, any brooch will do.)It's a good reminder that if you don't have a cool hair accessory, you might have some cool jewelry that could work just as well.

Down: Tight Curls

If your hair is naturally curly, a moisture-rich leave-in can help your strands stay in structured ringlets (like Sandra Oh's here) when you hit them with a diffuser. Otherwise, a curling iron and a lot of patience are your best bets. "These messy, tousled curls are not the defined, uniform curls we would expect to see at a party — which is why I love it," says Stafford.

Down: Disco Curls

Viola Davis's disco curls are the hairstyle equivalent to the life of the party. "The middle part slicked into a low ponytail complements her look and is perfect for any holiday gathering when you want to look sophisticated," says New York City-based hairstylist and founder of Contents Haircare, Cheryl Bergamy. "For curly and coily hair, I recommend using an edge control to help smooth hair to it in place," she says. Whether or not your hair is long enough to create this style, she recommends adding clip-in hair extensions for a more dramatic effect.

Down: Wet Hollywood Waves

Remember how we said you could probably benefit from a little professional help with some of these styles? Mila Kunis's sleek S-waves fall into that category. If you want to try it at home, "set the style first by creating a strong side part above the arch of your eyebrow and use a curl cream to smooth and prep the hair. Then, separate your hair into small one-inch sections and use a curling iron. "Finish by using a pomade and using two-inch duckbill clips to set the hair," says Potempa.

Down: Clean and Crimped

"Wearing hair down can be a challenge when dressing hair up for the holidays," says Abramite. One way around it is by adding crimps as Kim Kardashian has here. "It adds eye-catching detail to this smooth and wavy coif — plus, it complements silk and ruched fabrics on party dresses." She adds, "Kim's hair density is thick and her length is long. Her natural sleek texture is accentuated at the roots and the crimping gives it movement throughout the style while keeping it slender."

To get the look, part your hair in the middle and flatiron the first few inches to reinforce a clean, sleek look. Switch to a crimping iron and continue down the lengths to create the wave pattern. "Leave the indentations intact and do not brush though," advises Abramite. "This prevents frizz and keeps waves condensed and tidy."

Down: Effortless Waves

Maybe your holiday outfit is already pretty bold ('tis the season for sequins, velvet, and color, after all), and you're looking for a hairstyle that doesn't compete for attention. Enter: effortless waves, like you see here on Selena Gomez. "It looks great on her because her hair is long and it adds the right amount of volume and piecey-ness without being too overly done," says Hurtado.

"Get the look by using a 1.5-inch size curling iron and alternating each section when you curl, leaving the ends straight," says Hurtado. "Once you're done curling, let your hair cool for a few minutes, then comb it out and add a thickening spray for more volume."

Half-Up, Half-Down

If you can't decide whether to put your hair up or leave it down, a style like Camila Cabello's is the happy medium. "This showcases the texture and length of your hair, but also keeps it off the face," says Ferrara.

Using a one to 1.5-inch curling iron, curl your hair in sections. Tease the crown and use hairpins to secure it in place and follow by securing the other curls at the same general point on the head. "If you apply less tension, the hair will be more whimsical, and more tension will add severity," says Ferrara. Gently gather the hair starting from the center top of the head down to where both ears are, to the center of the head just below the crown and clasp with a clip or barrette.

"Make sure to keep an eye on the silhouette to keep it balanced from side to side, and to avoid having uneven bumps throughout," she adds. Aim for no hard lines or partings when pulling your hair back to keep the look looking messy and effortless.

Bun: Soft Puffs

Two is better than one and that goes for Afro puffs. We love the way Lupita Nyong'o has doubled down on this look, which technically isn't a bun, but plays a similar role a bun would in this hairstyle. "This is a true DIY hairstyle you can do at a moment's notice. It's a very easy style to create that shows off natural texture," says Jacksonville, Florida-based hairstylist Pekela Riley. Start by parting a bang section from the rest of your hair. Then, gather both of those sections into respective puffs. Gently pick out the ends for an effortless-looking finish. 

Bun: High Bun With Polished Edges

Next time you pull your hair into a bun, take note of where you naturally place it. We're guessing even your highest creations tend to crest just above the crown. The genius of Yara Shahidi's bun here is that it's right plop on the top of her head, just a few inches back from her hairline. We also love her edges, how they're sculpted and defined in some parts, but fuzzy and relaxed in others.

To achieve this look, Sturdivant-Drew says to start by using a frizz-fighting conditioner (we like the Best of Beauty-winning SheaMoisture All Day Frizz Control Conditioner). Keep your hair in place by brushing it into the center and add a little help by clipping in extensions. Then, gather your hair into a simple bun on top.

Bun: Double Twist

OK, fine. Bella Hadid's hairstyle also isn't actually a bun. But a few more twists and it could have been. "Her super sleek updo with the middle part gives a very elegant and cool holiday hair look," says Saviano.

To try something similar, start by creating a middle part about two inches in length. Then, spray your hair with light-molding hair spray while brushing and gathering your hair back into a ponytail on the crown of your head. "Secure your ponytail with an elastic band, separate hair from the ponytail into three sections and curl each section with a 1.5-inch curling iron," says Saviano. "Twist each strand and place them around the base of the ponytail for a snake-like effect and wrap it tightly. Then, secure strands with bobby pins to keep in place followed by a strong hold hair spray." Note: look for a hair spray that is shiny, not mattifying — this will give you an extra dose of glamour.

Bun: Sharp Loop

Rihanna's sharp loop bun and light baby hair projects edginess and softness, says Bergamy. If you've got textured hair, she recommends blowing your hair out before styling. "This can be an easy-to-do style with the right tools," she notes. 

"First, brush your hair out with a boar-bristle brush. The hardness of the bristle helps smooth coily hair without compromising the strands," Bergamy continues. "Next, use a ponytail holder to pull your strands into a tight pony, but don't pull the ends through all the way on the last tug."

Bun: Low Loops

Here is that same idea on Elle Fanning with a few key differences: Note the pin-straight center part, two low pigtails secured in loops, and floppy ribbon accents. "This classic style paired with the hair bows gives a very glamorous finish to Elle's hair that will photograph well from every angle," says Newman.

Feeling inspired? Recreate the look by gathering your hair into two low pigtails. "Then, roll [them] up into a pin curl and secure down with bobby pins," says Newman. "Fan out the pin curl to create the half-bun shape then secure the ends with hairpins."

Bun: Low and Composed

Some say this is Meghan Markle's signature hairstyle and yeah, we'd have to agree. She's worn a messy bun from Wimbledon to her wedding. The trademark face-framing tendrils with just a hint of a lift at the crown are the little details that make the look her own.

"Meghan's hair has a medium texture which means it holds style," says Stafford. "The bun looks effortless, and the front pieces have a lazy wave to them which adds to the undone style." To get the look, he says, "Simply pull your fringe out and with your hands, tease your hair (combing through with your fingers) to the nape of your neck where you will create a low ponytail." Then, wrap the ponytail around the band to create a bun. Lastly, use bobby pins to keep the bun in place.

Bun: Braided Pretzel Twist

Look no further than Regina King's updo for an unconventional type of bun. "If you don't want to ditch your box braids just for one night, this 'Braided Pretzel Twist' is perfect for you," says New York City-based hairstylist Cataanda James. "It is an elegant look that can be whipped up on a whim but looks like it was planned out well in advance. Precision isn't a factor here because the imperfect shape solidifies its uniqueness, hence the off-centered foundation."

To get the look, flip your hair over, grab it just above the crown, and shift your hands slightly to one side. Secure it with a jumbo hair tie, then twist your hair starting at the base of the ponytail, rolling in one direction all the way down to the ends. Begin to loosely wrap around the base of the ponytail once around, and secure it with bobby pins. Then, alternate your hair in a figure-eight motion to form the twist. "The longer the braids, the more times you will form the figure eight," notes James.

When you have about six to eight inches of length left at the ends, pull them through the last loop at the back of the figure eight. Separate the ends and secure where needed at the base to hold the twist in place.

Bun(s): Bantu Knots

Bantu knots have been worn for thousands of years and they're constantly being reinvented by Instagram hair enthusiasts and stars alike. Take Amandla Stenberg, for example, who wore this jumbo set on the red carpet.

Here's the how-to on the process: Start with clean hair after shampooing and conditioning. Bergamy says, "I recommend using a leave-in conditioner in your hair.  Then, follow-up with and L'Oréal Professionnel's Tecni Art Transformer Texture Gel To Foam to add hold without making it feel hard."

Part your hair into sections, using clips to help keep those sections neat and apart. Note: you can create as many Bantu knots as you like — it all depends on what type of look are you going for. Next, twirl each section, working it into a Bantu knot or you can two-strand twist then wrap into a knot to make detangling easier when the time comes.

Up: Tousled Pony

You don't have to be Amal Clooney to make a jaunty pony work for a party. Trust us. Here, her stylist added a few curls at the ends to give this style some polish. "This is a great style for long, thick hair types with no need for hair extensions," says Saviano. Simply style by adding some waves with a curling iron, then lightly tease the roots. "Pull your hair back loosely into a twist and leave the top of the hair to fall in romantic waves."   

Up: Ribbon Ponytail

Have leftover ribbon from holiday gift wrapping? Use 'em to create this hairstyle as seen on Tessa Thompson. Redway has the tea: Start by prepping your hair with a mousse like the Best of Beauty-winning Rucker Roots Texture Styling Mousse and blow-dry it into your hair. Then, gather your hair in a ponytail with a lightweight hair spray (to help your strands stay in place, but still very malleable). Follow by backcombing your ponytail, then tie a ribbon around the first section, adding more hair spray throughout to secure it. Repeat this step until you reach the end of your ponytail.

Up: French Twist

Remember the French twist? Ashley Graham does — the classic style is going through something of a comeback. This modern version isn't overly done, says Riley. "Her sideburns are nicely soft and wispy, which adds a chill factor."

Try it yourself: lightly backcomb your hair to create volume at the roots. "Create a side part, leaving a little bit of face frame for fringe (where you feel comfortable in the front)," says Riley. "Gather the sides and back to the center of the head and create a roll, then secure it with pins or decorative tuck comb."

Up: Curly Genie Pony

Wrapping the base of your ponytail like Normani does her takes her relatively simple look next level. Quite literally — you get a little added height, too, which turns up the drama. Slick baby hairs and neutral makeup are the perfect pairings for this look.

Up: Straight Genie Pony

Here, Rachel Brosnahan demonstrates that the style is also stunning in a sleeker finish, too. "This is a great hairstyle for anyone with 'manageability' issues with their hair — whether that's fighting frizz or flatness, this style stays set all night," says Newman. "Use a boar bristle brush, hair spray or gel, and a hair bungee to secure the perfectly sculpted ponytail."

Up: Tousled Bun with Tendrils

Chlöe Bailey's locs are curled to perfection, creating a texture that is just begging to be styled in a cascade. With a dress like the one she's wearing, though, a bun with tendrils is the best way to do this. "They're randomly selected and will never fall the same way," says James. "It's versatile and works well." 

To achieve this style, direct your hair up from the nape to the crown and hold it in place as if you're going to make a ponytail. Do not secure yet — instead, grab select pieces along the sides of the hairline to face frame, and in front for tendrils at the temples.  "More tendrils will give you an over-the-eye sultriness, while less will give you a subtle flirty effect," says James. 

Add the rest of your hair into the ponytail and loosely secure with an elastic. Once you've wrapped it around enough to loosely hold the hair in place, loop the ends for the final time but do not pull them all the way through. Leave the ends naturally tousled from the bun and gently shape with your fingers. She adds, "Don't forget to style your edges for a polished, glamorous touch!"

Up: Zigzag Bun

This isn't the zigzag part you remember from the '90s. "This one adds extra flair with its overlapping pattern," says Abramite. "Julianne's straight texture enhances the part because of its natural smoothness." What's more, the roots overlap to define the pattern with clean precision without frizz or flyaways.

To style, flatiron from roots to ends for smooth, straight hair. Use the tip of a tail comb and carve out a large zig-zag part from the forehead to the crown. Gather overlapping lengths into a small chignon and pin in the nape.

Braided: Half-Up

"This simple half-up, half-down look is chic and flirty," says Sturdivant-Drew. "When you have a lot of hair that isn't too coarse like Laura's, it's best to take small sections when braiding to make it look fuller all around." 

To achieve this look, you will need to grab a small section of braiding hair then brush it out to detangle. Part another small section of your hair in the nape area and wrap the added hair around yours and start to braid. When it's all done, take the upper part of your hair and put it into a ponytail, and leave the rest hanging down.

Braided: Rapunzel

If your hair is long — and even if it isn't — a ropey braid like Zendaya's is never, ever a bad idea. Push your baby hair back into your hairline, or lay them down in swooping, spiral patterns. "This hairstyle works well for Zendaya because she naturally has fine hair yet it still has length," says Sturdivant-Drew. 

Braided: Hairline Braids

Hannah Bronfman's are tiny, but simply French braiding the strands along your hairline can make any style you do after — bun, twist, braid, whatever — that much more visually arresting.

Braided: Cornrows Redux

Zazie Beetz made use of just a few cornrows working backward from her part, giving this billowing updo a structured base. "What I really love about party styling is that you can really make a look your own," says Stafford. The actress did just that by adding a blingy barrette.

Braided: Teased Mohawk

We love how Ryan Michelle Bathe's soft, voluminous hair is pulled into a knotty braid here. A pompadour up front adds a unique shape and an extra sprinkling of elegance to the already-stunning red carpet look. "It's similar to a sculpture and enhancing her features," says Potempa. "Plus, it lifts the hair and adds a lot of volume and personality."

Braid: Fishtail Ponytail

In the mood to dance? Halle Berry's fishtail ponytail was made for swinging around on the dancefloor. "It's pulled back, out of your face, and lets you have a good time, yet it's still polished and stylish," says Hurtado. 

"For this look, curl your hair so when you create the braid, it has texture." Then, comb your hair back using a brush or a comb and add hair spray to tame flyaways. Once you have your ponytail, secure the ponytail with an elastic. Split it into two sections and take a small section from the outer side of a section and bring it across to the inside of the other section and repeat on both sides. You're going cross over each side towards the middle going all the way down. Once you made it to the end of the ponytail, tie with an elastic and gently pull out the ends of the braid to fluff it out for a fuller look.

Braided: Beehive

Part bouffant, part beehive, Yvonne Orji's hair is 100 percent perfect. And because we could always do with a little shine, a metallic bobby pin peeks out on the side. You can do this style with a wash-and-go, notes Bergamy. After shampooing and conditioning, use a leave-in conditioner the pull your hair into a high ponytail. "Then, section pieces to start your cluster. Use both of your index fingers to create each cluster by rolling your fingers in a circular motion to create the cluster, then pin your hair into place."

Braided: Bun and Pony

If you've got tons of hair like Regina King (or a few bundles on deck), consider a double whammy: a braid at the crown and then loose ends all the way down your back.

To style, Riley says to start by dividing your braids, twists, or loc extensions from ear to ear into two sections. Next, place the upper half of your hair into a top knot or toward the back. Then, pull the lower half of your hair in a twist, braid, or fishtail with a pin. Secure it with an elastic while leaving the end free.