Prom Hair: The Perfect Style For The Perfect Night

Prom HairProm. The very word conjures up images of romance and possibility. For some, this formal event paints a scene complete with slow dancing and over-the-top dresses and tuxes. For others, it’s just a chance have some fun with friends before graduation–no big deal. Whatever your take on prom is, it’s your chance to dress to the nines, splurge on completely impractical heels, and go for broke on the dance floor. Prom is a rite of passage, and one of the last opportunities to go all out before you go your separate ways–not to mention one of the only opportunities you’ll have to get really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Seriously. Though you don’t need an excuse to get all dressed up, well-coiffed, and impeccably dressed, it certainly helps to have one, right? And once you’ve got your dress, shoes, and date all selected, that leaves one vital piece of the puzzle to secure: prom hair.

An amazing prom hair style is the cherry on top; you can have the nicest dress ever and spend hours in the shoe department, but everyone knows that what really makes your ensemble complete is the hair. Of course, proms past offered all manner of stiff debutante updos and impossibly poofy bangs, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Just as a floor-sweeping ballgown is no longer a prom necessity, neither is a severe chignon or ’80’s style French twist. You have options, girl, use them! We’ll talk about how to turn your hair into prom hair in a minute–first take a second to learn about some essential special event makeup application techniques so that you can play up your best features for the big night.

Smooth Operator: The Blow-out

Long, loose, locks and tousled waves are definitely in all around. If you have medium to long hair, and don’t want to worry about messing up your style when you are out on the dance floor or at your prom’s after party, this low maintenance style could be just the ticket. There are a number of ways to accomplish elegant party waves or shoreline chic, from professional blowouts to this easy at home technique:

What You Need:

  • Hair dryer
  • Round brush
  • Hair product
  • Clips or hair bands
  • Handheld mirror
  • Finishing spray

What you do:

  • Start with damp hair, not wet hair. You can towel dry or finger comb your hair under the dryer on the lowest setting.
  • Find your product–people with thick, dry hair swear by argan oil, thin-stranded sisters love volumizing mousse. You want something that moisturizes without weighing your locks down. Distribute the product evenly throughout your hair
  • Section your hair off using clips or hair bands, starting with small, one inch sections.
  • Stick straight hair is a no-no, so using your round brush, blow dry your hair from root to tip, alternating between curling out or curling under.
  • When each section is completely dry, give it a blast of cool air using the cold shot button on your dryer.
  • using the handheld mirror, get the sections in the back–these are the tricky ones!
  • Finish with holding spray

DIY or Go Pro?

In this case, we say DIY, because with a little practice, the perfect blow-out is easy to achieve, and pro versions can easily get expensive, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

Timeless Elegance: The Updo

The updo doesn’t have to be a rat’s nest of teased, fried hair, and it definitely doesn’t have to be a gelled down mess of crispy ringlets just waiting to escape their pinnings either. In fact, the updo has changed quite a bit in recent years, and there are tons of fresh offerings to be had.Why not give a simple updo a shot and see how nimble your fingers are with a super simple braided style at the nape of your neck?

What you need:

  • A brush
  • Small transparent rubber bands
  • A handful of bobby or hair pins

What you do:

  • Brush the knots and tangles out of your hair so it slips easily through your fingers.
  • Eliminate any part you may have by gently teasing your hair across the crown of your head
  • Divide your hair into three sections and secure them at the nape of your neck with rubber bands.
  • Braid each section pretty tightly, then secure at the ends with more rubber bands.
  • Coil each braid so it’s looped at the nape of your neck and pin securely into place.
  • Bring strands of hair down to frame your face.

DIY or Go Pro?

This really depends on how intricate you’d like to get. There are tons of options out there for done-up prom hair that you can easily do yourself, but you’ll want to consult an expert if you’re looking for something a little more glamorous or high-maintenance.

Short and Sweet: Options for Short Hair

We envy the girl with the guts for an adorable pixie, natural locks, or a no-nonsense asymmetrical bob. A girl with short hair is a girl with confidence, and whether or not you want to keep your hair short for the dance or go with something a little more traditional for your prom hair style, we have definitely got you covered.

For one thing, you can head the more traditional route by getting some extensions put in. Not only will this give you more to work with if you’ve been dreaming of an elegant sideswept coif, it would definitely make a statement if everyone is used to seeing you with short hair. Or, work with what you’ve got! A vintage bob straight out of a noir film isn’t tough to achieve if you know what to do.

What you need:

  • Hot rollers or a curling iron
  • Lots of bobby pins
  • Finishing spray

What you do:

  • Starting in the front (with your bangs, if you have some), curl the hair once around the barrel and away from your face. If you’re using hot rollers, use the ones that will allow you to curl your hair just once around the middle of the roller. Think elegant curls as opposed to Shirley Temple ringlets.
  • Pin the roller in place or the curl that you’ve made with the iron flat against your head.
  • Once all of your hair is completely cool–most hot rollers have a heat-activated indicator to make this a breeze–unpin your curls.
  • Finish with finishing spray.

DIY or Go Pro?

A toss up. The great thing about short prom hair is that it’s less time consuming and therefore leaves you plenty of practice time to perfect your style before the big night. You’ll likely have plenty of time to become a beauty genius and master all things glam, as well.  If you’re going to get extensions, though, find a pro.

Different and Daring: Unconventional Prom Hair Options

It wasn’t long ago that prom dresses were all poof and spaghetti straps–pretty, sure, but that look isn’t for everyone. Now, formal dresses run the gamut from gorgeous, all-out formal gowns, perfectly tailored sheaths, upward-trending hemlines and asymmetrical bodices. The point is, the sky’s really the limit for your formal wear, and the same can be said for prom hair, too. There’s a couple options here for the girl who just has to march to the beat of her own drum.

  • Braids. Braids are absolutely everywhere, and no longer confined to the schoolgirl variety–you can achieve a totally unique look by learning a little bit about how to dress up a braid for the perfect prom hair style.
  • Color. You can go with a natural color that’s different from yours to turn heads, or go with something totally electric to make a huge statement. Even the hottest of pinks come in temporary options, so you never have to commit. You can try all over color, or do subtle streaks here and there.
  • Accessories. Forget tiaras–there are all kinds of accessories out there for you to dress up your style–from simple and chic headbands to flapper-style fringes to Victorian-era fascinators. You can try a tiny top hat on for size, get a wisp of a birdcage veil–you get the picture. There’s no limit besides your imagination.

DIY or Go Pro?

DIY. The only professional you need to bring out your own unique style is yourself! Besides, you wouldn’t want someone else to have all the fun, would you?

Getting Your Prom Hair Ready:

No matter what you choose, you’re going to want to prep. If you are doing your hair yourself you are going to want to practice a few times to get the routine down and work out the quirks.

Even if you decide to go pro, there’s a few things you need to keep in mind. For instance, shop around for rates and see what combination services are offered, whether you can do a trial run and how much time you should allot on the big day.

With your prom hair set and ready, you’re free to obsess over other prom day essentials: learning how to do prom-perfect makeup, for instance. Oh, and of course, you’ll probably want to perfect a few dance moves, too!. Above all, have fun! In the end, it won’t be your hair that you’ll remember most–though yours will certainly be fabulous–it’s the memories you’ll ultimately make.