25 Special Occasion Hairstyles

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From prom to weddings, there are many life events that require a fancy hairstyle. When you are obligated to go beyond the usual ponytail or messy bun, these special occasion hairstyles will get you looking gorgeous in no time.

Special Occasion Hairstyles

Today’s hairstyles for special occasions are no longer restricted to polished, hair-to-hair ‘dos. Since messy hair first appeared on the red carpet, formal hairstyles have got much more relaxed. Check our list for inspiration!

#1: Braided Crown Wedding Hair

Special occasion hairstyles can be fun and feminine without being a ton of work. Incorporating a chunky crown braid into the hair is ideal for locks that are in the midst of that awkward “growing out” stage or for layers that won’t cooperate for formal occasions.

#2: Full Curls for Short Hair

With some gorgeous highlights and side swept styling, full curls fatten up thin, short hair. Use large hot rollers for a quick and easy curl set. The trick to this curled style is to roll outward and upward instead of straight up and down.

Curly Blonde Bob Hairstyle

Instagram / @__kellyalexandra

#3: Special Occasion Beach Waves

A braided crown with a waterfall braid is a perfect formal hairstyle for hair that is shoulder length or shorter. Wear it curly to add both volume and a distinct sense of formality.

Braided Curly Half Updo For Long Hair

Instagram / @kakagomes

#4: Short A-Line Formal Hair

A long bob cut produces angled hair that is ready to party. Add in some tousled, subtle waves and a variety of brown and caramel hues, and you have short hair that will be the envy of all the other guests. Braids and curls are all well and good, but sometimes it feels better to just go simple and natural.

Brown Bob With Caramel Highlights

Instagram / @hairbykatlin

#5: Thick Braid with Thin Hair

If your hair tends to be thin or lifeless, you can thicken it up by gathering the top layer into a messy plait. Braid it to the side to add both depth and volume and style some messy waves for the hair that’s left down.

Shoulder-Length Braided Hairstyle

Instagram / @christinagunnell

#6: Voluminous Special Occasion Updo

Special occasion hairstyles don’t need to be perfectly coifed – in fact, they can often come across as messy, effortless, or both. Instead of spending a fortune at the salon before that next event, play around with your long hair until you find a combination of buns, braids and tendrils that looks best on you.

Curly Messy Bun With A Braid

Instagram / @kuku_la_praline

#7: Multiple Braids in One

Braid up across the top of your head with a deep side sweep. The braids can be thick or thin, varying in style or remaining uniform. Whatever braids you choose to incorporate into your roster of hairstyles for special events, they are sure to make you look unique and one-of-a-kind.

#8: An Occasion for Directional Waves

Tumbling down like the mermaid’s main, this long, loose hair cascades past the shoulders with the most perfect wave. The look can be accomplished with large hair rollers and a strong holding product.

Curly Downdo For Long Hair

Instagram / @kykhair

#9: Flip for Special Occasion Hair

This half up ponytail is dolled up with a section that is flipped through to fancy up your strands for a special event. You will need shoulder length or longer hair to pull off this look.

Wavy Half Up Half Down Hairstyle

Instagram / @hairbykacie1

#10: Natural Curl for a Fancy Night

Do you possess a mess of corkscrew curls? Don’t ruin them with harsh chemical straighteners or flat irons – instead, go natural and add in some color and a light hold product. Special occasion hairstyles don’t need to stick to a certain type – beautiful hair is available to all.

Short Curly Black Hairstyle With Highlights

Instagram / @rachel_redd

#11: Braid Combined with Curls

Braiding a section of hair above the earline is a creative way to pull hair halfway back without ending up with something as simple as a straight ponytail secured with an elastic. If you happen to have curly hair, a braid blended into the overall hairstyle is both beautiful and intricate-looking.

Half Updo With A Side Braid

Instagram / @felipefhr

#12: Sweet and Sassy Updo

Long and thick hair is able to take on so many personas, including fun updos that twist and turn in all sorts of paths. Start styling with damp hair to play around until you find the look that is right for you.

Voluminous Updo For Long Hair

Instagram / @elstilespb

#13: Modern Formal Chignon

The chignon is a classic hairstyle that has endured for generations. Start by twisting the front sections of hair just above the earline and securing them with hair pins. Then, twist sections of hair that’s left down making loose loops and pinning them in place as you go. It’s okay sometimes if hairdos turn out more messy than rigid. Special occasion hairstyles are for all personality types.

Messy Chignon With A Bouffant

Instagram / @tonyastylist

#14: Special Occasion Simplicity

Hair stays simple and drama-free with this cute look that only involves a curling iron and a bit of light holding product. Make sure your hair is completely dry before you begin styling – it will also be easier to hold the curl if you have “day old” hair – aka washed the day before.

Light Brown Ombre Bob

Instagram / @bevasconcelos

#15: Dramatic Highlights

In the season of ombre and bronde hair trends, go a bit vintage with chunky highlights that were popular in the 1990s and 2000s. Not only will your hair look amazing, but you will pay homage to some great throw back hair trends, too.

Bridal Braided Half Updo

Instagram / @lilithmoonlife

#16: Tousled Up Hairstyle

Allow your short to medium curly hair flow free – within reason, of course. This easy, likeable style is popular among women who want to have a good time without getting super fancy. The longer your hair is, the more feminine and romantic your hairstyles for special occasions will look.

Curly Messy Bob

Instagram / @lee4you

#17: Blonde Ambition

Is it true that blondes have more fun? Perhaps not, but it’s definitely true that blondes command more attention in the room sometimes. Platinum, light-filled locks are just appealing in our culture, and once you get them, you’re sure to see why.

Side Curly Hairstyle

Instagram / @juliagavr

#18: Ultra Casual for a Special Occasion

Don’t feel like dressing up? That’s fine and acceptable at certain “formal” events. If you are just overworked or overstressed and don’t want to deal with a lot of issues, then keep your hair simple too! This hair was simply air-dried, side-swept and left to fall where it may.

Messy Brown Balayage Bob

Instagram / @muhamed_balasiev

#19: Shaggy Blonde Waves

Braids for curly hair are fun and definitely enviable, but what about using hair color instead of texture to grab attention? At your next gathering you will find yourself having fun and loosening up in crowds thanks to your new blonde ‘do.

Tousled Blonde Bob Hairstyle

Instagram / @saloncouture_ny

#20: Formal Hair Frosting

Inspired by ombre styles popular in seasons past, this hairdo combines the best of both worlds – the subtlety of ombre hair color combined with bold pops of blonde that will really turn heads.

#21: Hairstyle with Highlights and Back-Swept Layers

Layers can sometimes lack movement and appear lifeless. Honey brown accents, fullness at the roots and flicks at the ends of the layers keep this look modern and exciting.

#22: Messy Curly Bob with a Braid

The curly unkempt medium-length bob is a vivid example of the trendy bedhead style that you can make in a matter of minutes. If you hair is naturally curly, you don’t even need to worry about the imperfection of the waves. Braid an asymmetric braid, wrapping your head on one side as an adornment and a clear sign that you’ve still styled your hair this morning.

#23: Loose Curls and Waterfall Twist

Nothing screams a Pinterest worthy look like a waterfall twist. It seems complicated, but once you master the style it is an easy way to upgrade a standard curly look for a special occasion.

#24: Low Side-Bun with Double Braid

This prim curly updo can be worn just as easily to a prom as an outdoor picnic. The key is the perfect balance between the polish and casualness, achieved with undone curls, slightly messy braids and shiny strands.

#25: Curly Updo for Medium Hair

Pinning curly hair at the nape of the neck gives the illusion of a full bun, even if there is not enough length to actually create it. This style stands out due to the lightened ends, which give it a truly radiant appearance.

Hairstyles for special occasions are fun to play around with. Whether you have a special event coming up very soon or a bit far out into the future, get some practice to see what looks best on your hair.

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