Hairstyles that easily impress, and are just as easy to create
Story | IJ Chan
Photography | James Chung and Lauren Hunt
Model | Kayla Marsh
The Fancy Up-Do
Before you start
Comb through your dry hair, making sure there are no snags or tangles. If you want, you can run curl mousse, heat protectant spray and/or a bit of hairspray through your hair. Be sure it’s smooth and dry by the time you start working with it.
Pull your hair back into a ponytail and secure it with a thick hair elastic. You can adjust the height and placement of the ponytail depending on what kind of look you’re going for. For a more romantic look, you can pull it to the side and down toward your shoulder. I’ve put Kayla’s ponytail higher, at the middle of the back of her head for a more classic look. I’ve also braided an optional side section of her hair into the ponytail. If you can’t braid, never fear — that’s up next.
Start curling 1-inch sections of your ponytail with your curling iron. I recommend using a 1-inch iron so that your curls will be easy to style while still maintaining that perfect, bouncy look. Vary the direction in which the curls spiral in order to avoid forming one big “banana curl” at the end. If you have trouble keeping the curled and uncurled sections separate, loosely clip the curled sections back with a claw clip. Continue curling until you’ve covered the entire ponytail.
Take one section of the ponytail and twirl it once around your index finger, forming a 1-inch wide loop. Pinch the loop tightly with your index finger and thumb, and place the outer surface of the loop on an area near the base of the ponytail. Secure it with one or two bobby pins. Keep working your way through your ponytail, looping and pinning every section. I usually work my way counter clockwise, pinning sections around the base of the ponytail until the hair elastic isn’t showing. If you have medium to long (or very long, in Kayla’s case), you’ll have to loop and pin your sections more than once and pin them on top of the loops you’ve already made.
When you’re done, take a look in the mirror and feel the bun with your hands to see if any bobby pins are sticking out. Spray your entire head with hairspray. Now here’s the fun part — if the braid’s not enough for you, grab your favorite flower pin or other hair accessory and embellish your creation any way you like. You can also gently pull small tendrils of hair from the bun to create a more relaxed, romantic look. And that’s it! Go look beautiful and have fun.
The easy braided, knotted half-do
Before you start
You can still look fabulous the day after your formal. Your curls from the night before will now have turned into loose, beachy waves. Still, like before, make sure your hair is free of any major tangles and is ready to be worked with.
Now, on one side of your hair part, use a rat tail comb to divide off a 2-inch section of hair down to about where your ears are. Pull the rest of your hair aside away from this section, using a claw clip or an elastic to secure it out of place. Start at the top of the head by your hair part and section out three even locks of of hair. Begin forming a Dutch braid all the way down this section.
A Dutch braid is the same as a French braid, but the strands of hair pass under one another, instead of over. Keep braiding until you’ve reached the ends of your hair in this section. Temporarily secure the ends with a bobby pin.
Do the same exact thing you did in the previous step, only with the hair on the other side of your part. You should have two even, long braids on either side of your head.
Take the bobby pins out from the ends of each braid. Bring the braids together and tie a tight knot with them. The knot should rest on the middle of the back of your head.
Use one hand hold the knot together, and use the other to place a bobby pin in the upper right corner of the knot. Secure it against the back of your head. Repeat and place three more bobby pins in each corner of the knot.
Disassemble the ends of your braids. Make sure the knot is secure and that no bobby pins are sticking out.