Real Simple June 6, 2024

Real Simple


15 Top Hairstyles for Summer 2024, According to Hairstylists


Stylist-approved ways to look cool and keep cool.

Ah, summer. There are so many things to love about the season: Long days spent at the beach, lazy afternoons on the porch, a cold glass of rosé. The only potential spoiler to all this fun? Untamed, frizzy, hot-mess hair. No matter your hair type, texture, or length, heat and humidity can make styling a serious chore. So to alleviate all your hot weather tress stress, we asked top stylists to share their favorite cute summer hairstyles this season.

There are a few universal things to keep in mind. One, whenever you can, get your hair up. "As the temperatures rise, I love to create fashionable summer hairstyles that keep your neck free. This keeps you cooler longer, but it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on style," says celebrity hairstylist Laurie Heaps. Two: Have fun! Now's the time to play around with accessories, like brightly colored pins or scarves, and easy ways to add visual interest to otherwise simple styles. And when all else fails, don't forget that a simple topknot or loose bun is always a good backup option, notes hairstylist John Mouzakis, co-owner of 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago. (And to that point, he advises always keeping a few extra bobby pins or hair ties on hand, just in case).

Pin-Up Pony

This ponytail and curtain bang combo is inspired by '60s bombshell Brigette Bardot. "Known for her tousled bouffant styles, this casual pony will dress up long hair paired with turtlenecks and scarves," says Amy Abramite, creative director and stylist at Maxine Salon. To achieve the look, part fringe in the center and curl hair away from the face with a large barrel iron. Spray a dry texturizing powder throughout to remove slip from the hair, then backcomb the crown with a cushion brush and secure the pony in the nape with an elastic. Allow loose pieces to fall and frame the face for softness, gently pull on the crown to increase extra volume, and finish with a light hold hairspray to keep in place.


According to Shelley Gregory, L'Oréal Professionnel ambassador and colorist, poptarting is perfect for those wanting to experiment with bright colors who don't want to fully commit. "Poptarting is adding a pop of color or panel of any contrasting color to the rest of your hair," she says. "Always make sure the color you choose is a stark contrast of what the panel or pop will be next to. For example, if you have medium brown hair a bright pastel or neon pink would pop really well with it."

Bottleneck Bangs

This hairstyle takes inspiration from the neck of a bottle; starting slim and short in the middle, curving longer around the eyes, and then longest following the line of the cheekbone. "This allows the length and angle to be adjusted depending on whether you want to make your cheekbones appear wider or stronger," says Tom Smith, celebrity hairstylist and European Creative Director for evo hair. "Many people don't suit a classic 'fringe' (the solid horizontal line across the face), but most can wear bottleneck bangs to add softness to the face."

To get bottleneck bangs, Smith says to "ask your hairstylist for longer bangs that skim your cheekbones at an angle that flatters your face, curving around to create a layer that sits somewhere between your cheekbones and jaw." Then, ask for the central part to be cut shorter, keeping the cutting line soft and choppy, with the shortest part in the middle and getting longer on the edges.

Curly Bob

Thinking of a refreshing cut? You're not alone. If you're looking for an on-trend update, a curly bob for the summer offers a ton of variety in terms of shape and style; they can be worn with bangs, blunt cuts, and eventually grown out longer lob-style. "The shape of this cut really gives curls the space to shine, and expressive hairstyles are a great way to show them off," says Miko Branch, a hairstylist in New York City. "I've seen a ton of people pairing their curly bobs with space buns or a unique part, such as a zigzag."

Micro Braids

Braids are back in a big way this season, but not in the way you'd expect. Your classic French plait has been given a major upgrade: "It's all about micro braids this summer. Whether it be two face-framing pieces, incorporated into a top knot over a visible elastic for a wrapped look, or a few pulled back into a loose ponytail, this trend is all about adding discreet but impactful texture," says Sally Hershberger, a hairstylist in New York City.

When adding micro braids into a hairstyle, go into the process with an end result in mind as this will change both the size and the placement of the braid. "For face-framing braids, part the hair neatly down the center, secure about a half inch to an inch of hair closest to the front of the face, and braid tightly starting as close to the root as possible," suggests Hershberger. "Before securing with a clear elastic, I like to use my fingers to push down on the braid, starting at the top and working down, so that it flattens the braid out and makes it blend into the hair a little more seamlessly. With top knots and ponytails, braids can be a little larger in size, but should still be flattened out so they don't look bulky in an updo."

Mermaid Waves

Hollywood waves and beachy waves are being replaced with mermaid waves this summer. Think of this style as the ever-so-slightly more polished take on the trend; whereas beachy texture is all about being messy and undone, mermaid waves are more uniform and intentional.

You can achieve this look with hot tools, but the aforementioned braid technique is another great way to achieve heatless curls. "To obtain natural waves after braiding hair, it is important to use proper products," says Millie Morales, a celebrity hairstylist and colorist for Garnier. "After washing hair, apply Garnier Whole Blends 10-in-1 Miracle Nectar Leave-In Treatment and comb it all over damp hair to distribute the product. Then divide the hair in half and begin to weave a braid on each side. The final wavy look when the braids are removed should last for a couple of days!"

The Wet Look

Easy and effortless, this gives you that "sun goddess" vibe, with no need for complicated styling steps, says Ramón Garcia, a Los Angeles hairstylist and brand ambassador for Authentic Beauty Concept. Best of all, there are no hot tools required, and it works well on a variety of short lengths.

Start by applying a shaping cream through damp hair to keep it moist and give it some grip, then layer that with a mousse to provide hold and create that slicked-back structure.

Try: Authentic Beauty Concept Amplify Mousse. Comb all your hair back and let it air dry, finishing with a light mist of hairspray to set everything in place.

Half-up Topknot

When your hair isn't long enough to pull up completely, try this versatile 'do, pulling back just the front section. "This is a great look for work or play, and works especially well on second-day hair," points out Mouzakis. (An added bonus, since really, who wants to be washing and restyling their hair every day, especially during the summer?)

Take the top section of your hair, stretching from temple to temple, and pull it up, twisting it into a loose topknot and securing with either a hair tie or bobby pins. You can either brush it back or keep it parted in the center, then wear the rest of your hair straight or with a little texture, Mouzakis says—both look just as good.

Beachy Bun

Rock this look whether or not you just spent a day enjoying the surf and sand. There are two secrets to success here. One, lots and lots of texture. If you are lucky enough to be coming off a beach day, all that saltwater and wind will probably have done the trick. But if not, you can easily recreate the same effect with the right type of product. Try misting a wave-enhancing spray on damp hair before air-drying or blow-drying.

Either way, start by sweeping hair up and securing into a high pony. Add even more texture at this point by sprinkling the ponytail with a texturizing powder, like BioSilk Volumizing Therapy Texturizing Powder. This both creates volume and gives the hair just the right amount of grip so that it won't slip. Use a clear elastic and loop hair into a bun—the messier the better. But don't stop there. The key to this summer hairstyle for medium hair is to then repeat this process, looping the bun into another bun to add more structure, Heaps says.

Scarf Braid

"I love a fun braid with a headscarf, especially for hot summer days," says Jenny Cho, the Suave celebrity stylist who created this look. Adding some texture and volume to your hair pre-braiding is key to ensuring the finished plait looks nice and full, so start by applying an apricot-size dollop of mousse throughout towel-dried hair. Blow-dry or let it air-dry, then pull it back. Create a traditional French braid, treating the scarf as part of one of the three sections of hair you're braiding. Secure the ends with an elastic, then knot the scarf around that. Finish by tugging on either side of the braid to loosen it and make it appear thicker.

French Twist

Need an alternative style to a ponytail or bun? Grab a claw clip (how cute is this RPZL The Juliana one?) and whip your hair up into a classic French twist. Simply twist the length of your hair and pull it up against your head before securing with the claw. It gets the hair off of your neck (ahh) yet still appears elevated. Whether you go for a sleek look or a messy one, the twist looks way harder than it actually is.

Stacked Buns

The only thing better than one messy bun? Two, of course! Celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway stacked two spiky buns on Lucy Boynton's head for a totally wearable yet interesting look. Take it a step further by fanning out the ends, a la Emily Ratajkowski at the Met Gala.

Half-up and Curled Out

Take your half-up, half-down style up a notch by curling the ends out. No iron? No problem. Blowing them dry with a round brush works too. It's retro, it's flirty, it's fun! Balance it out by teasing your crown for a little extra height.

Baby Bubble Braids

You've heard of a bubble braid but this season's version is tiny and face-framing. Pull one or two small pieces out of an updo (pony, bun, twist, etc.) and use clear hair elastics to secure little "bubbles" about an inch apart the whole way down the length of the hair. If you're not skilled in the braiding department, these are minimal effort but look super detailed and cool.

Affordable Accessory

You already wear these stretchy black headbands to workout and to wash your face, but now you can wear them IRL. They were spotted on the fashion runways as well as on some of our favorite celebs, including Jennifer Lawrence, Zendaya and Anya Taylor-Joy. In addition to keeping your hair—and sweat—out of your face they also conceal greasy or grey roots.