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The Editors
Updated on April 09, 2021
Formal occasions are so much fun – from prom and wedding to work holiday parties. Whatever the reason for getting fancy, you’ll want hair that’s as flattering and exquisite as your dress and accessories. If you’re feeling a lack of inspiration, check out the list below for some great ideas that are simple enough for novices.

The Most Beautiful Formal Updos You Can Recreate Yourself

Today’s formal updos fall into 2 categories. The first category embrases traditional sleek updos and the other one includes loose curly updos that look absolutely natural and carefree.

1. Merged Braids

Section off the top portion of your hair and make fishtail braids. Then, crossing the braids over one another, and adding the freely hanging strands, bring them up to the top of the head. Pin where hair needs to be secured and let some front strands flow free.

2. Romantic Twist Hair Formal Updo

Here is a deceptively complicated looking pony. But take a minute to look through the instructions. Brush hair straight back. Then, pull half of the top hair back into a tight twist. Pin it above the right ear. Pulling some hair from beneath the gathered portion, twist and pin to above the left ear. Keep repeating with the lower sections of hair, pinning as you go. Finish when you’ve twisted all the strands and have some ends to leave natural at the bottom.

3. Elegant Bun

This sophisticated bun is a variation of twist hair updo. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete. Pull back, twist, wrap and pin. That’s all there is to it.

4. Plaited Formal Updo

Braid your hair to the side, and then pin it underneath for a warm weather hairdo that’s quick, easy and low maintenance. For a slightly fancier look, French braid hair instead of opting for just a regular low plait.

5. Textured French Twist

This is a great updo for thin hair, and it can be done with any length that’s at least below the shoulders. Elegant yet modern, this style will show off your highlights and keep your locks looking sophisticated and fancy.

6. Braid Wrapped Bun Formal Updo

For this style, pull all of your hair into a low side ponytail. If you want a bulky bun like in the photo, use a doughnut. Once the bun is completed, wrap its base with a thin braid.

7. French Braid Bun

For this sweet look, French braid your hair and then tie off the bottom into a simple bun. You can do a messy bun or a sleeker, fuller look like what is shown here.

8. Low Tousled Formal Updo

This bridal style is so beautifully fancy, you won’t be able to resist trying it out for either your wedding day or a fancy upcoming affair. Curl hair with a small-barreled iron, and then pull back, tuck and pin. Add a hair embellishment or two to complete the look. Spray well with setting spray, especially if you have thick, heavy hair.

9. Double Rope Braid Bun

Side part your hair, leaving the bangs free if you have them. Section the hair into two parts and secure each section into a low ponytail at the nape of the neck. Twist each section and then wrap them around each other moving clockwise. Secure with hair pins.

10. Fishtail Chignon Formal Updo

Another variation for fishtail lovers, this updo is sophisticated and not so complicated once you get the hang of it. Spray well, as it will want to pop out if you don’t.

11. Wedding Updo

Follow the tutorial below for this fantastic updo that is a unique variation of several others. Borrowing from the ponytail, braid and bun – all at once, you will be able to complete this hairstyle with a little patience and a ton of hair pins.

12. Braided Formal Updo

Reminiscent of the Sound of Music kids in design, this hairstyle is actually quite grown up and easy to do. Braid side sections into two beautiful lace braids. Roll the hair in the middle, using a bun maker. Finally, fold the ends of the braids securing them at the nape of the neck above the roll.

13. Wedding Chignon

Straight-haired girls can have an elegant but special look for that upcoming special occasion. This hairstyle works exceptionally well on long hair brushed straight back and teased on the crown for some added volume and glamour.

14. Dutch Braid and Double Bun Formal Updo

Dutch braiding hair is fun – it’s basically just an inside out French braid. For this hairstyle, Dutch braid your hair slightly to a side and towards the nape. Twist the ends of the braid into a bun. Make a loop out of the ends and tuck its ends inside the bun. After all is pinned up, fluff the buns and spray with a quality setting spray.

15. Spiral Bun

This sleek hair style is another quick and simple idea when you need fancy hair fast. Divide your hair into 3 sections, with the biggest section for the bun in the middle. Make a low pony, twist it and shape a bun. Take strands from the side sections in turns and wrap them around the bun.

16. Twisted Chignon Formal Updo

For this style, make a low ponytail. Stick your finger just above the hair elastic and make a small opening so you can take the loose hair of the pony and pass it through the opening. Make a chignon out of your pony. Pin where needed.

17. Braid-Wrapped Low Bun

The fun of this hairstyle is found with the added embellishments. Pull hair into a ponytail, braid it, twist it and pin. Then, add sparkle or iridescent hair embellishments for a finished look. Tease the top portion of the hair prior to gathering it for the best height and modern volume.

18. Easy Elegance Hair Bun Formal Updo

Reminiscent of a school teacher with some serious class, this hairstyle is great for day-to-day wear and also formal occasions. Straighten your hair if necessary before you start, as the smoother the hair, the better it will look.

19. Rope Braided Side Bun

You can easily achieve this look starting with curled hair. Brush out the curls and side part your strands. Use a styling product and run it through your locks with your fingers to keep things smooth. Then, rope braid your hair along one side and twist the bottom into a bun.

20. Braided Curly Formal Updo

This holiday hairstyle is perfect for curly hair – either natural or hot-rolled. Loosen your curls and then section off a narrow strand at one temple. Make a side braid. You can dutch braid, which is simpler and will produce a smoother look. Pin the remaining loose curls and be sure to embrace and style those front wisps.

At your next fancy occasion, be sure to try one of these awesome hairstyles on for size. You will be pleasantly surprised at just how easy they are to achieve and how truly beautiful you will look.  
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