I Tried 7 Prom Updos From The '90s & I Looked Pretty Cool In All Of Them
I'd love to tell you that I looked like the belle of the ball at my prom, but in all honesty, it wasn't my favorite look. I wanted to give myself another shot, so I tried '90s prom updos for another chance at prom glory.
The thing is, I didn't go to prom in the '90s. Being a millennial born in the middle of the generational bracket in 1989, my British prom occurred in 2006. I'd like to say I rocked a trendy, strapless gown with an elaborate updo and too much lipgloss, but I wasn't a fashion follower in my youth. In fact, I believe I've always strayed from the fashion pack — even now, I will only adopt trends that I love. During my own prom, I was just coming out of my emo phase, I had hair like an anime character, I wore a vintage electric blue dress, and I barely wore any makeup.
Of course, I'm super proud of teen me — particularly that I stuck to my guns and crafted my appearance around my personality, rather than pretend to be someone I wasn't. However, I've always been curious about what I would have looked like if I'd have been more mainstream. Since '90s trends are definitely back with a fury, I decided to try '90s inspired prom updos to see what I'd have looked like as a '90s cool kid. The results were better than I thought.
1. The Wispy High Ponytail
This Buffy the Vampire Slayer style ponytail will make prom goers ready for anything. To make it more prom pretty, I'd probably add some stick on-gems if I was a legit '90s gal or still owned hair gems. If you wore this style to prom in the 1990s, you radiated a too cool for school vibe, because you just came to prom with a simple ponytail and nailed it.
I literally don't have any bangs, so while this look was pretty effortless for me, I think it looked a bit silly with my giant strands hanging low — I felt a bit like Lara Croft. However, if you've got bangs, I definitely think this look could be adapted for a '90s themed prom.
If you want to follow along and copy this look yourself, skip to 0:37 in the video below.
2. The Low Bun
This YouTuber created a rad look that reminded me of Kat Stratford's prom look, which makes no sense because she actually rocked a far more elaborate updo. This look would be great for any gals wanting to look simply chic and have the emphasis on their makeup and/or dress. This looked super chic and would pair well with the popular prom dress of the time: The classic spaghetti strap gown.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a little claw clip and because I've got so much hair, I literally had to tie it in a knot. But I could have had all my prom photos taken from the front.
If this style is your cup of tea, head to 5:08 in the below tutorial.
3. The Embellished High Bun
Next, I tried a sassy high bun with a bit of embellishment. This vlogger uses some flowery ribbon to wrap around her bun, but you could match yours to your prom dress instead.
Normally when I'm styling a high bun, I have my own way of doing it so as to encompass my long, thick hair, but I thought I'd stick to the tutorial for authenticity. As you can see, I think this style fell a little flat for me and it didn't look as elegant as I had hoped. However, my ribbon trim would have paired well with a baby pink dress, so I guess all's not lost!
See the tutorial below at around the 1:16 mark, to achieve this sophisticated style.
4. The Sectioned Style
Technically this is a half-up half-down 'do, but it was really popular in the late '90s and it appeared in all the teen movies of this time period; Everyone was wearing their hair like this. I imagined this was the kind of style a goody-two shoes who "let her hair down" would wear to a '90s prom. Instead of being all prim and proper as usual, she'd treat her classmates to a different side of her personality, proving that humans are multi-faceted.
Fast-forward to 4:22 in the tutorial below to follow along with this cool vlogger.
5. The Funky Pigtails
With the help of this YouTuber, I learned how to create adorable pigtails that have a slightly athleisure vibe. Excuse the Myspace photo angle, but it was tricky to show you my little pigtails. I don't know what went awry here but when I tried to recreate this style, instead of a half-up half-down 'do, this looked like my hair was basically all down. I used timeless butterfly clips to adorn my pigtails as I thought these would be super prom-propriate.
Skip to 2:12 in the below video to get assistance in achieving the nostalgic pigtails of your dreams! Once you've seen how to do it, don't forget to hang around, as the vlogger shows you how to adorn your pigtails.
6. The Grungy Space Buns
Space buns were huge in the '90s and they've come back into style with the resurgence of the 1990s trend, thanks to celebs like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, so I followed this lady's example on how to get space buns in a quick and easy fashion.
If I'd have attended prom in the '90s, space buns would have made it into my top three fave hairstyles to wear to prom. But I would have poured a ton of glitter on them. Because prom is nothing without some sparkle!
Head to 1:38 in the below tutorial to learn how to make your own super space buns.
7. The Elaborate Twisty 'Do
Now this is a cool prom 'do, especially for all the grunge babes out there! Although not all of the hair is up, so it's in the character of "neither up nor down 'dos" which frankly, many popular '90s styles reside. Now this style took some doing! In fact, I had to have a break halfway through because my arms were aching.
Although it looks kind of dishevelled, it was the perfect combo of messy and fancy, which many '90s updos were back in the day. It reminded me of every 1990s Mary-Kate and Ashley movie ever and I loved it. If I was going to a '90s prom now, I'd definitely choose this rad hairstyle inspired by the decade!
If you love this retro style too, take a peek at the below tutorial to disover how to achieve it.
If you're soon attending prom and you fancy going dressed in '90s apparel, pick one of these authentic updos or a half-up, half-down 'do, to complete your outfit. On the other hand, if your prom days are long behind you, but you're still stuck in the '90s, these styles can serve as hairspo for your next big event!