‘Tis the Season for Ponytails, Side ‘Dos and Curls

Holiday parties are such a fun excuse to wear something sparkly. And what better time to go all out on your hair and makeup. I’ve pulled together some favorite looks to inspire you for your holiday office party, New Year’s party or party with friends and family.

While these looks can be achieved by you in your own home, for a really glam event, I always recommend having your hair done at a salon. They can curl your hair, blow it out, pull it into a sexy topknot or a chignon or give you that coveted mussy side-do.

And most blowout bars and salons don’t charge that much for this service. Just be sure and call ahead to make the appointment. It’s much less stressful than trying your hand with the curling iron.

Best Holiday Hairstyles
Best holiday hair. Photo Credit: Getty Images: Andrew Toth/FilmMagic, Frederick M. Brown, Gabriel Olsen

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

I have much more on holiday hair & makeup:

  • Holiday Tips: Should You Tip Your Hairstylist Extra?
  • Holiday Hair Hub: The Styles I Fell For
  • Party Hairstyles: 15 Festive Ways to Wear Your Hair
  • My Best Holiday Beauty Tricks & Tips
  • How to Do Holiday Makeup & Wear Your Hair

How to Go From Day to Evening

Day to Evening hair
Actress Aya Cash. Photo Credit: Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The side ‘do is huge. So huge I wore one for my wedding. I love this sleek side-do on actress Aya Cash. She has hair that’s just an inch or 2 lower than her shoulders, and it’s long enough to be pulled into a side ‘do.

I would recommend hitting a salon to have them recreate this look for a holiday party. An updo like this won’t take long.

See my gallery of side updos for inspiration.

The Side Mussy ‘Do: Always a Holiday Party Hit

Side Mussy 'Do: Always a Holiday Party Hit
Brandi Glanville. Photo Credit: Jason Merritt for Getty

Mussy side buns are also popular, but your hair needs texture to get the messy look. I wouldn’t recommend doing this yourself unless you have experience with updos. Have a friend help you. Here are some tips:

  • Create texture with lots of dry shampoo. You can also backcomb hair, so it gets big, big, big.
  • Work with hair that’s not been freshly washed, so it doesn’t slip around on you.
  • Pull hair into a ponytail holder on the side.
  • Backcomb the ponytail, so it maintains it’s texture.
  • Wrap the fat ponytail into a loose bun and secure with pins.
  • Spray hairspray on hair, so it holds.

See my gallery of side updos for inspiration.

Bombshell Curls are Great for a Formal Occasion

Bombshell Curls hair
Sara Sampaio. Photo Credit: Getty Images: Michael Stewart

Va-va-va-voom! If you have long hair with layers, you can probably get away with Sara Sampaio’s bombshell look for your holiday party. Some tips:

  • If you live in a big city, I recommend heading to a blow dry bar with this picture and asking them to “do me up.”
  • If you are going the DIY route, prep freshly washed hair with volumizing spray or mousse before giving yourself a blow-out using a round brush.
  • Make sure to wind the hair around the brush to get big waves. Or, you can use fat curlers to achieve a similar effect.
  • Make sure to part hair in the center and finish off your look with hairspray, so it stays.

See photos of long, curled hair for more inspiration.

Glamour Curls

Glamour Curls Hair
Raquel Welch hair. Photo Credit: Getty Images: Gabriel Olsen, Gregg DeGuire

This blow-out is Raquel Welch’s glamorous signature hairstyle. You’ll need layers cut into your hair to get this look.

Braids are All the Rage

Braids Hairstyles
Emily Blunt. Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

It seemed like an extraordinary amount of runways at the fall fashion weeks this year featured braids. There were the mussy fishtail braids, this milkmaid braid that winds around the top of the head and the adorable braid that seems almost hidden in a pile of beachy waves. No matter your braid type, know you are hitting a trend if you weave a braid into your hairstyle this holiday season.

See more braid hairstyles for inspiration.

The Braided Bun

Braided Bun hairstyle
Heidi Klum’s braided bun. Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris for Getty Images

This braided bun is a fun, chic option for a holiday party. Just add smokey eyes, dangling earrings and fabulous heels and you are good to go.

A Deep Side Part is Sexy for the Holidays

Deep Side hairstyle
Emmy Rossum. Photo Credit: Jason Kempin and Frazer Harrison

This is a gorgeous look for any holiday party. My guess is Emmy Rossum’s stylist curled her hair and then brushed it out, so the waves fall together. Note the deep side part and the hair pinned up to the side. You definitely want to pair this look with killer earrings as Rossum does here.

See more photos of side-swept hairstyles.

Great Gatsby Hair

Great Gatsby Hair
Emmy Rossum. Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez and Jason Kempin for Getty

I finally watched The Great Gatsby on a plane trip awhile back, and while it wasn’t a phenomenal movie, the visuals were spectacular. I loved the period fashions and the hair and makeup. To get your own Daisy Buchanan-inspired holiday hair, try these tips:

  • Not the side part of Emmy Rossum’s hair. That’s key to this look.
  • To get the waves, you need a curling iron. Depending on your hair length, you may choose a 1 or 2-inch barrel (a small barrel for shorter hair). First spritz a heat resistant spray, separate hair into sections and start curling.
  • When hair has cooled, brush out your curls, so they create loose waves.
  • To create a fake bob, wind curled hair under and pin at the nape of the neck. (Have a friend help).

The Top Knot

Top Knot hair
Jennifer Hawkins. Photo Credit: Graham Denholm for Getty

The top knot’s been around for a few years now, and I’m still seeing it on the streets of New York among the city’s most stylish. So go ahead and don one yourself, as long as it’s flattering and not too mussy, you should be good to go.

A Funky Topknot

Funky Topknot
Actress Bai Ling arrives at The 2nd Annual The Peace Fund Celebrity Poker Tournament on September 26, 2015, in Playa Vista, California. Photo Credit: Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for The Peace Fund

This super cool topknot would be awesome paired with a slinky silver dress for New Year’s or long wide-legged dress pants, billowy blouse and long necklace for a work party. I like how the bangs make it even edgier.

The Simple Knot

Simple Knot hair

If you have longish, straight hair, this simple knot at the nape of the neck is easy to do and provides instant glamour.

How to Dress Up Shorter Hair for a Formal Party

Shorter Hair for a Formal Party
Michele Placido; Violante Placido. Photo Credit: Ernesto Ruscio for Getty

To dress up shorter hair like this chin-length bob, all you really need to do is add a few waves, then spritz with hairspray to keep it in place.

Blow Everything Back

Blow Everything Back
Antonia Dell’Atte arrives at the Giorgio Armani show during the Milan Fashion Week on September 28, 2015 in Milan, Italy. Photo Credit: Photo by Venturelli/WireImage

I think this hairstyle is incredibly elegant. It shows another way to add fabulousness to a short haircut.

Muss Up Your Pixie

Muss Up Your Pixie
Kris Jenner arrives at Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 50th Birthday Celebration at Ysabel on October 12, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. Photo Credit: Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Dress up your pixie by mussing it up and adding texture and dangling earrings.

Another Way to Dress Up Short Hair

Dress Up Short Hair
Rachael Taylor. Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison for Getty

If you have a great sleek bob, consider getting it blown out professionally, so it’s picture-perfect.

Don a British-inspired Fascinator

British-inspired Fascinator
Photo Credit: Bijou Van Ness

Kate Middleton inspired a hat craze stateside back in 2011, and the furor has not let up. These little “fascinators” as the Brits call them, are gorgeous accessories to any formal function. I love the mix of feathers and netting, so much so I bought a white one to wear at my own wedding. I ended up not wearing it because it was one accessory too many in the end.

The key to a great look is two-fold: you want to pair your fascinator with the correct outfit and the right hairstyle.

Anything outfit that seems straight from the 20s would be perfect (yes, another Great Gatsby reference) and a simple, mussy side updo is the perfect hairstyle.

The High Ponytail

High Ponytail
Nina Dobrev. Photo Credit: Jason Kempin for Getty

Some people claim the high ponytail should be reserved for cheerleaders and girls under 12, but I think they can look great at a formal occasion. The right ponytail is sleek and perfectly coiffed with no bubbles and imperfections. You can flat-iron the ponytail and wrap a piece of hair around the band to hide it.

See more ponytails that are fit for formal occasions in this gallery.

Double Ponytails

Double Ponytails
Double ponytails. Photo Credit: Getty: Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic and Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

These double ponytails were spotted on the runways at Fashion Week. They are just another super elegant way to dress up very long, straight hair.

Just Add a Few Curls

Few Curls hair
Jessica Chastain. Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown for Getty

If you have long, hair all you really have to do to dress it up is to curl the bottom of it. You can do this via a professional blow-dry (I swear by blow dry bars), or you can wield a curling iron and do it yourself.

Long Wavy Hair: Gorgeous From the Back

Long Wavy Hair
Photo Credit: Getty Images: Frazer Harrison

How gorgeous are these hairstyles from behind? Pulled back or worn down, long, wavy hair is always gorgeous for a holiday party. Just make sure to look in a mirror and check yourself from behind to make sure your hair is perfect.

See more photos of long, wavy hair for inspiration.

The Formal Updo

Formal Updo
Actress Jennifer Lawrence. Photo Credit: Jason Merritt for Getty. The Best Holiday Hairstyles

For a truly formal event, you can go all out with a super formal updo. Don’t attempt these on your own. You can get one done at a local salon before you hit the party, where you’ll certainly turn heads.

See photos of formal updos for inspiration.

Or Go for a Twist on the Classic French Twist

Twist on the Classic French Twist
Actress Kate Bosworth, hair detail, attends the Glamour Women To Watch Lunch hosted by Cindi Leive at the Tory Burch Boutique, Beverly Hills on September 18, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo Credit: Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Once you perfect the classic French twist, you can do it yourself, turning your day look into an evening ‘do in just a few minutes with hairspray, a brush, and some pins.

Bangs as Puffball

Bangs as Puffball
Dianna Agron Prom Hairstyles. Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez for Getty

Sweeping up and creating a “pouff” of your bangs is a nice formal look for any holiday party. I can’t wear this because my giant forehead would appear even more gigantic, but if you have a pretty perfect forehead, you might try this look. Just make sure your hair has loads of body in it.

Upswept Side ‘Dos

Upswept Side 'Dos
Jennifer Lopez. Photo Credit: Photos: Frazer Harrison and Jason Merritt of Getty Images. The Best Holiday Hairstyles

This is a nice way to dress up a long hairstyle. Curl hair first, then pin up with a vintage hairpin or brooch turned into a hairpin.

Get a Professional Blowout

Professional Blowout
Actress Rachelle Lefevre arrives at Environmental Media Association Hosts Its 25th Annual EMA Awards Presented By Toyota And Lexus at Warner Bros. Studios on October 24, 2015 in Burbank, California. Photo Credit: Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic. The Best Holiday Hairstyles

Before you head to your event, head over to your salon or a blow-dry bar (big cities have several) and have your hair dried and curled. This way you don’t have to worry about going home and doing your own hair perfectly. There’s nothing quite like a professional blowout to make you look pulled together.

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