‘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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I think this hairstyle is incredibly elegant. It shows another way to add fabulousness to a short haircut.
Muss Up Your Pixie
Dress up your pixie by mussing it up and adding texture and dangling earrings.
Another Way to Dress Up Short Hair
If you have a great sleek bob, consider getting it blown out professionally, so it’s picture-perfect.
Don a British-inspired Fascinator
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.