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You’ve successfully picked and styled your homecoming hair, and now you’ve got the bright idea to devote all your attention to prom, planning your updo weeks in advance. Not so fast. There’s another formal dance that’s hidden in the post-homecoming/pre-prom shadow, and it requires your utmost attention. Winter formals, while they don’t own the same hype as the latter, usually call for a dress and heels, and therefore, a hairstyling strategy to match. And while you could just grab your straightener and call it a day, we think you should use you winter formal as a chance to step out of the box with a runway-inspired updo. From sock buns to accessorized braids, this list will bring a boost of personality and excitement to the dance you almost missed.
A sock bun fastened on top of your head presents you with a blank canvas for you to decorate with a headband that matches your dress or heels. Create a smooth sock bun, being sure that the hair behind your head is tight and off your neck. The bun should be the only part of the hairstyle that holds volume, so make sure to tame fly-aways with a setting spray or a shine-enhancing oil before placing your headband on.
MORE: Long Hairstyles to Ask for at the Salon
Pair whimsical touches like a flower garland or a braided ribbon with an undone, tousled braid. Scrunch your hair with a lightweight hair serum or a sea salt spray to give it a relaxed, wavy texture. Next, pull your hair into a very loose ponytail and braid to the end. Pin the braid into a bun. Finally, pull out strands along your face to give the look more movement.
Put your extensions to good use with a dramatic ballerina bun. If you want it to appear as if the bun is actually all your hair, pick a shade that matches your natural color. Pull your hair up into a very tight bun, spraying it with a medium-hold hairspray and pinning it into place. Stay away from an excess of heavy-hold gels, as you don’t want the hair to appear as if it’s wet. Take your extensions and wrap the strands around the base of your bun, twisting and pinning them into place.
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Separate your hair into an edgy center part and give it a formal feel with fanned out bun. Instead of twisting the bun into a circle, roll your hair up and fold it towards your head, pinning it into place. Make sure to try this look out on second-day or slightly dirty hair, as freshly washed hair will slide out of place.
The French twist is far too often overlooked for formals or prom. It’s a sophisticated look that you won’t cringe over 15 years from now when you’re looking back at high school dance pics. Start by parting your hair on the side. Hold your hair in the middle of the back of your head, rolling it in either the left or right direction and pinning it into place. If it’s a little messy, don’t worry. This style appears more youthful and fun with tousled touches.