Despite outdated beauty ideals that say otherwise, natural hair looks just as elegant for formal events as it does any other day. If you’re looking for a new updo or braided hairdo idea for Christmas or New Year’s (which are somehow just around the corner), fear not: Bustle has gathered a robust list of simple but chic holiday hairstyles for curly hair.
“Nice curls and some fun hair accessories are always my go-to during the holidays,” says Antonia Wazir, MIZANI global curl specialist and stylist at Bianchi’s Salon in Royal Oak, Michigan. Whether it’s with a sparkly headband or a metallic clip, this is the perfect time of year to go festive with glitter and gold.
When styling curly hair, Wazir says it’s all about planning ahead. Working with freshly washed hair can get really frustrating, really fast. For the best results, second or third-day hair is your friend. So, if that holiday party is on Friday or Saturday, maybe you want to wash your hair in the middle of the week, wear a protective style for a couple of days, and then try out that new hairstyle. And if all else fails, you can stick with a standard pony: “I love a glam ponytail, which is so elegant and always a classic,” says Wazir. Here, 10 different holiday hairstyles for curly hair, complete with tutorials so you can nail the looks.
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1. Braid With Deep Side Part
On damp and conditioned hair, YouTuber Franchelli Rodriguez starts by making a deep side part. Coat the smaller section in a curl enhancing cream, then separate that chunk of hair into smaller, 1-inch sections, securing each with a rubber band. From there, braid the small sections into one another, making one big French braid. The rest of the hair gets refreshed with a combo of water, more curl cream, mousse, and a tangle teaser brush. She finishes the look with moisture mist and by popping a few metallic cuffs onto the side braid for even more of a festive pop.
2. Messy Bun
To achieve what YouTuber Alyssa Marie cutely calls a “formal messy bun,” begin by pulling down a few wispy coils to frame the face. Gather the rest of the hair high atop your head and secure it with a hair tie. From there, use your hands to shape, using bobby pins to pull it all into a loose, voluminous bun perfect for a night of dancing.
3. Crown Braid
For this elevated wash-and-go look — recommended on second or third-day hair — Rodriguez parts the hair at the crown, from left to right. After pinning the larger section out of the way, dampen the small section with water and rub in a curl-enhancing cream. From there, braid the small section along the top of the head, securing the end of the plait with a rubber band. The rest of the hair is then refreshed with water, leave-in conditioner, and a Denman brush.
4. High Ponytail
For this always-chic classic, YouTuber India Batson says to gather all hair on top of your head, using your fingers to smooth any lumps and bumps. After that, secure it with a hair tie. To take the look from your everyday ponytail to a style fit for a function, she says to take a small section from the ponytail and wrap it around the hair tie. Pin that with a bobby pin, hide a banana clip in the back at the base of the gather for some extra height, hit the whole look with a few spritzes of flexible hairspray, and you’re good to go.
5. Pigtail Puffs
To achieve this look that’s equal parts festive and playful, YouTuber TheChicNatural starts on twisted-out hair and parts it in down the middle. Using a brush and edge control, gather each section into two high ponytails and secure them with a hair hook. From there, band each ponytail with a hair tie for extra height, going up an inch or so from the base. Wrap gold hair yarn around the ties and finger fluff the curls to finish the look.
6. High Bun With Side Swoop
YouTuber JessCreationss starts this look by sectioning off a U-shaped chunk of hair in the front of the head. Pull a few wispy coils out near your ears and at the nape of the neck, and, using edge control, brush the rest of the hair into a high ponytail. The section at the front is swooped to the side and secured behind the ear using a bobby pin. From there, gather and pin the ponytail into a sleek bun. Add a ribbon or a cute headband for added holiday charm.
7. Wispy Updo
On dry, wavy or curly hair, YouTuber Leah Noel says to begin creating this updo by lightly teasing a section of hair at the crown of the head towards the back. Pin that section down with bobby pins, leaving a little lift. Gathering small pieces of hair from the top left and right sides, twist and pin those to the back. With the hair left out at the bottom, use hair ties to make two messy buns. Tug at the buns to loosen them, and then pin them together at the nape of the neck for the illusion of one voluminous bun. Finish it off with your favorite hairspray.
8. Side Pin
Rodriguez also recommends this super easy yet chic style. Spray a small section of hair at the front of the head, right above the ear, with leave-in conditioner. You can also use edge control or styling gel. That gets smoothed and brushed back, which you’ll secure with a few bobby pins. Add a fun barrette or pin, and refresh your curls to complete the look.
9. Half Up, Half Down
To create this look, YouTuber BiancaReneeToday says to start by sectioning off the hair in the front of your head and tying it out of the way. Gathering the section below that, leaving about the same amount out in the back, use a mousse to smooth that into a ponytail, securing it with a hair tie. Create a pompadour with the top front section, and secure the hump with a couple of bobby pins at the base of the ponytail. The result is a half-up, half-down faux hawk of sorts. Spritz with moisture mist and you’re ready to go.
10. Bubble Braid
After first pulling out two face-framing coils, YouTuber Lana Summer says to gather your hair into a ponytail high atop your head to achieve this look. Pull it all together with a large scrunchie at the base for extra height. From there, evenly space and tie satin scrunchies along the length of the ponytail. Opt for pearl scrunchies for a fun and fancy take.