Our favorite time of the year is finally nearing, which means we'll soon have the perfect excuse to get super festive and glammed up. Whether you’re prepping for a Friendsgiving, gearing up for annual office Christmas shindig or going to a New Year’s party, every event calls for a festive look. If your holiday outfit is ready to go, how about pairing it with a glamorous updo, a voluminous ponytail or cascading waves? To prepare for the festivities ahead, we tapped 16 hairstylists to help us put together a guide to the 42 best holiday hairstyles to rock all season long.
42 Holiday Hairstyles to Rock All Season Long
From voluminous curls to party ponytails
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Meet the Experts
- Monaé Everett is a celebrity hairstylist and a natural hair educator, who has two decades of experience in beauty. Her work has been featured in film, television, print and numerous New York Fashion Week shows. Everett is also the founder of the Texture Style Awards, a beauty competition that celebrates and honors hairstylists that work with all hair textures, while bringing awareness to more diversity and inclusion within the haircare space.
- Seamus McKernan is a hairstylist and color specialist with over 18 years of experience. He’s based in Chicago at Golden Fleece Salon, where he offers advanced razor cutting, precision cutting, balayage and specialty color. Seamus is also part of Nioxin’s Design Team.
- Dereq Clark is a hairstylist and a brand ambassador for Wella Professionals. He has more than 12 years in the industry, specializing in cutting and coloring services in the Atlanta area.
- Erinn Courtney is a LA-based hairstylist and a StyleSeat professional. She has 15 years of experience, specializing in styling, cutting and chemical treatments for natural hair. She also installs braids, weaves and extensions for her clients.
- Cataanda James is a hairstylist and a brand educator for The Mane Choice. She has over 25 years of experience in the beauty industry. She’s also a licensed cosmetologist and recently launched the CJ The Beauty Group, a beauty consulting firm that offers education, product development and other beauty services to aspiring clients.
- Jamie Wiley is a celebrity hairstylist, hair educator and a brand ambassador for Pureology. She has a decade of experience, working on editorial and session style. Her work has previously been featured in InStyle, Marie Claire and Mane Addicts. She’s also founder and CEO of Hair Boss, a beauty professional platform for existing and aspiring stylists.
- Jennifer Korab is a celebrity hairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon in New Jersey. She has over a decade of experience working in commercial, runway and editorial spaces. She is certified in all coloring techniques, haircutting and hand-tied extensions.
- Michelle Cleveland is a celebrity hairstylist, extension artist and educator at the Hair Addict salon in New Jersey. Michelle has studied and trained in advanced cuts and color in London, Miami, and New York and has multi-certifications with Vidal Sassoon, Toni & Guy and Wella.
- Allison Kaye is a celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist, who has a decade of experience in the beauty industry. She’s also the owner of Allison Kaye Hair & Makeup, where she offers luxury services in the Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami area. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Allure, Elle and Popsugar.
- Nick Stenson is a celebrity hairstylist, brand ambassador for Matrix and oversees store & services operations for Ulta Beauty. He’s also the founder of Nick Stenson Beauty, where he offers eco-friendly and affordable products to address hair concerns. He has a decade of experience in the hair industry, specializing in the latest hair styling and coloring trends. His work and expertise has previously been featured on NBC, CBS News, Good Morning America and The Today Show.
- Angel Cardona is a hairstylist, top artist for Sebastian Professional and owner of ACoLab Salon in Florida. He specializes in cutting, coloring and styling for editorial and television. His core skills lie with balayage, corrective coloring, extensions and edgy trendy cuts for his clients.
- David Lopez is a NY-based hairstylist, creative director for Glam Seamless and artistic ambassador for Kenra Professional and T3. His expertise has been featured in People Magazine, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. He also is a part of the Ulta Beauty Pro Team and occasionally hosts on QVC and other beauty trade shows.
- Maya Smith is a hairstylist and co-founder of The Doux, a haircare brand for natural hair. She has two decades of experience as a licensed cosmetologist and a salon owner. Aside from her brand, she has launched two salons that specialize in textured hair.
- Priscilla Valles is a LA-based celebrity extensionist and a brand ambassador for Glam Seamless. She has decades of experience specializing in extensions and implementing hair tools/products to enhance the look. Her previous clients include Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian and Dua Lipa.
- Johnny Wright is a celebrity hairstylist and brand expert for OurX, a haircare brand that lets you customize your routine. He has two decades of experience in the styling world, spending time as Michelle Obama’s personal hairstylist and then Tamron Hall’s key hairstylist for her talk show. His previous clients also include Kerry Washington, Queen Latifah and Samira Wiley. Wright also has written a book called Natural & Curly Hair for Dummies to teach others about how to take care of their locks.
- Tom Smith is a celebrity hairstylist and a trend forecaster based in the United Kingdom. He’s previously predicted trendy styles like “bottleneck bangs,” “expensive brunette” and the “curtain cut.” His clients include Louise Redknapp and Geri Halliwell.
1. The “Wet” Look
From Megan Fox to Zendaya, this “wet” look continues to be a huge hit. While it does give off the “I just stepped out of the shower” vibe, there’s actually a simple technique to recreating it. Invest in a mousse (or styling gel) and run it through each section, so it gives you the right amount of sleekness you’re going for. Then, use a wide-tooth comb or a detangler brush to create some texture.
2. Triple-Twisted Bun
One bun is cute, but adding a few more to the mix? Genius. “This style is perfect for the holidays because it’s so detailed and intricate, but it requires minimal time and effort,” says Wiley. To recreate the look, divide your hair into three, stacked ponytails before twisting each one into a bun. A pro tip: “When you’re creating your second ponytail, twist the bun counterclockwise. This alternates the directions of all the buns and makes the style look even more impressive,” adds Wiley.
3. Silk Press
When in doubt, a sleek hairstyle is the way to go. “This look creates a timeless holiday look and has been seen a lot this year—from fashion week to runways,” shares Korab. “Wear your hair all the way down, in a sleek low pony or as a chignon and it can offer an elegant look for the holidays.” Try the silk press method at the salon or recreate the look right at home by blow drying your hair and going over each section again with a flat iron for a silky, smooth finish. Korab also notes that using some hairspray and a hair oil can help minimize flyaways and add shine.
4. Face-Framing Updo
We love a classic look and this hairstyle definitely surges into popularity during the winter months. This face-framing look features two loose strands that sit nicely on either side—just look at Meg Thee Stallion's red carpet look for a proof. It'a also a great hairstyle for any hair length or hair type, just one helpful tip is using a curling iron to achieve nice wavy pieces.
5. Side Braids
“Braided styles are here to stay. This is so popular [for the holidays] because they offer so much versatility, and with the popularity of embracing natural hair textures, this allows those with medium or long curly hair to recreate the shape of their hair,” says Everett. To recreate the look, she recommends sectioning out a side before applying gel to smooth and reduce frizz. While you’re braiding, use a hair oil for shine and bobby pins to keep the cornrows in place. Once you're done, work on the rest of your hair using styling products (like a foam, cream and/or oil) for volume and definition. Finally, finish the look off with hairspray to keep its shape.
6. Fountain Ponytail
“This is a great style for the holidays because it’s flirty, but also practical—plus, it tends to compliment most face shapes,” says Clark. “It’s OK to leave the hair kind of messy when you’re doing this hairstyle because it adds to the playfulness of the style.” Section off the hair from ear to ear and gather it up into a ponytail. (Note: Clark suggests fluffing up the ponytail portion for more texture and bounce.) For more definition, apply a styling cream or gel right before for the party.
A few years ago, Alicia Keys started a trend by incorporating gems into her hairstyles. Now, she has influenced us to rock these accessories, too. When it comes to this bedazzling style, there’s no rules on placement or look. From a braided ponytail to a slick bun to even decorating your edges, the possibilities are endless. You can use hair pins or invest in some hair glue and pop individual gems into your desired areas instead.
8. Half-Braided, Half-Down
“Everything from the ‘90s is back, including this twisted hair style with curls for the holiday season. I love this look because it’s fun and easy to achieve,” says Cleveland. Like Mariah Carey and her mini me above, the look lets you show off your natural texture and play around with protective styles. Have fun with the number of braids (or twists) you add to the front and don’t forget to give your curls some love with a styling cream.
9. Hollywood Waves
“Classic Hollywood waves are perfect for your holiday party or dinner with family,” says Kaye. Whether you have long locks or short hair like Maude Apatow, any hair length can pull this glamorous style off. Kaye recommends using a one inch curling wand and sectioning off your hair before twisting each piece around the iron. A helpful tip: Make sure all your sections are curled in the same direction and gently brush out the curls for a voluminous finish.
Here’s your sign to squeeze in a haircut before the next holiday party. This layered look is just what you need to spruce things up without having to try out an intricate design on yourself. And when you’re searching for inspiration, just show your stylist this picture of Billie Eilish above from the 2021 Met Gala.
11. Side-Swept Bob
“The best holiday hairstyles are all about capturing the look of something polished yet undone and this side slick is easy to do,” explains McKernan. He recommends creating a deep part, brush one section to the side before applying a styling gel to lay it down. Then, use a blow dryer for extra bounce and complete the look with a hairspray. Don't forget to add some festive accessories (like pins and barrettes) that scream “Merry Christmas!”
12. Party Pony
It’s time to jazz up your typical pony. “This style is great for the holidays because of its playfulness,” says Stenson. “It’s popular because you can easily achieve it at home and it’s a great option for all hair types.” Once you secure your ponytail (the higher, the better), go in with a curling iron for loose swirls throughout. Stenson recommends using a firm hold hairspray to keep the style in place all night.
13. ‘90s Swoop Ponytail
The ‘90s and ‘00s beauty styles are all the rave with celebs like Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande wearing this retro pony. The key to the “Barbie ponytail” is all in the flip. Use a blow dryer/round brush combo (or a flat iron) to “swoop” the ends up and apply hairspray to keep it in place.
14. Voluminous Curls
Go big or go home with your curls. “Sometimes bigger is better and a great way to make a statement at any holiday party is to turn up the volume. This look will definitely have all the eyes in the room on you,” says Cardona. Once you complete your wash routine, add a lightweight mousse and a heat protectant to damp curls before diffusing (or air drying) them. To add more volume, James recommends shaking out your curls at the roots and using a hair pick to create a fuller shape like Tracee Ellis Ross.
15. Twisted Bun
This intricate bun adds dimension and layers to the traditional style. Lopez has a few tips to perfect the hairstyle for your next holiday shindig: “First, section out some face-framing strands and add waves with your heat tool. Then, apply a styling foam to the hairline and crown. Next, brush your hair into a high ponytail before applying a styling cream and twisting the lengths of your ponytail to create a ‘rope’ effect. Finally, twist the roped hair around the base of the pony and secure it with pins.”
16. Curly Fro’ Hawk
If you’re looking to make a statement and switch up your daily curly look, try a curly ‘fro hawk. A trick to recreating Zazie Beetz’s style is dividing your hair into sections and tying it up with elastic bands. Use a wide-tooth comb or hair pick to fluff out your curls for volume (and to hide the hair ties, of course). If you have shorter or finer hair, consider bobby pins instead.
17. High Ponytail
“A classic ponytail never goes out of style! It’s always flattering and can really be a head turning if done right,” McKernan says. How to make it a sleek, voluminous pony? “Blow dry your hair back with a paddle brush to where you want the pony to live. This step will polish the look and make it neater. Then, finish the ends with a curling iron or straightener,” he adds.
18. Textured Twist
OK, we’ve mentioned the French twist, but here’s how curly and wavy gals can get in on the fun. Wiley recommends starting with a pre-styling refresher spray to add some moisture and shine before you tackle the twist. Divide your hair into two parts (one section at the front of your head and the other in the back). Start at the back by gathering and twisting your curls at the center before pinning them into place. Then, gather the top section and blend it seamlessly into the twist. (BTW, it’s totally fine to have some loose curls cascading down for a more relaxed look). Wiley also suggests completing the French twist with a strong-hold hairspray.
19. Messy Curly Bun
Want to look like you put effort without really doing too much? Follow these steps: Make a bun at the top of your head. (Don't worry about it looking perfect.) Then pull out a few strands for that “messy look” and finally add a snazzy headband. It looks like you’re all set for the office shindig.
20. French Twist Updo
We’re talking Disney princess peak glam here, folks. According to McKernan, it’s all about starting with a low ponytail and twisting it up to towards the top of your head. Then, secure it with bobby pins, barrettes or a decorative hair comb. A pro tip: Applying a dry shampoo to the French twist to make the pin stay put.
22. Baby Braids
This style is always a great addition to any hairstyle, especially for the virtual Secret Santa. “Hailey Bieber [and other celebs] have been wearing small braids and it caught on,” explains Kaye. “I’ve started to use hair jewelry on celebrity clients and I love putting them in the small braids.” This low-maintenance look is pretty simple and great for all hair types to try out. Once you part your hair, gather two small sections at the hairline. Braid each section (classic three-strand twist or French technique) and securing the ends with a small elastic band.
From Pamela Anderson to Cardi B, this tousled updo is a winner for the holidays. To achieve the look at home, Stenson recommends prepping your hair with a texturizing spray to increase the volume and fullness of your look. He adds, “Once your hair is prepped, begin twisting it from the nape of your neck and bend the ponytail in half as you continue to twist. Elevate the hair to lay against the back of your head and secure it just below the crown with a banana clip. After the clip is in place, gently tug at the hair at the crown to plume it into the shape you want.”
24. Voluminous Blowout
Another ‘90s look that should be on your radar is the fluffy hair trend. “I’ve noticed people are requesting more easy-going super low maintenance but premium looking hair,” says Clark. “Around the holidays people don’t really want to fuss with their hair because they have so much to prepare for the holidays. Even a few loose curls are just enough!” This Kate Middleton-approved blowout is achieved by dividing your hair into sections and applying a smoothing oil before (and after) every run with the blow dryer. For a sleeker look, go over the sections again with a flat iron and use a hairspray to leave a silky, shiny finish behind.
25. Hollywood Flip
“This style looks elegant without overdoing things. It instantly dresses up the hair, making for a glamorous look that is perfect for any holiday party,” says McKernan. If you have short hair like Florence Pugh, create a side part and focus primarily on the front sections of your bob. McKernan suggests using rollers to get the flipped ends just right and applying a heat protectant to maintain its volume. You can also use a blow dryer and a round brush or a curling iron to achieve the look, too. Remember: The other side should be smoothed down to give your new flip all the attention.
You can never go wrong with a high bun. Invest in a brush, gel and hair ties to recreate this look. Start with a high ponytail before wrapping it around and securing with a hair tie. Then use a styling gel to sleek down frizz or flyaways for a crisp finish. Similar to Janelle Monáe, add some gems to make it festive.
27. Loose Dutch Braid
If you’re keeping things casual but chic, this loose braid is right for you. It doesn’t take too much of your time—so you can get back to wrapping any last-minute gifts. McKernan notes this style is great after a blowout and perfect for people with fine hair (especially those that have a difficult time holding a curl). Just remember to secure it with an elastic band, leave a few pieces out for that loose finish and a spritz of dry shampoo to keep the whole look together.
28. Intricate Cornrows
“Styles with chic, straight backs or cornrows braided into hearts and other unique shapes are a fun way to express yourself and your creativity,” says Courtney. If you’re not much of a braider, reach out to a professional and provide references (like the one of Yara Shahidi above) to get the exact look that you want for the holidays. When you’re marveling at your creation, use edge control to lay down your baby hairs for a sleeker look. Courtney also suggests adding beads, clips, glitter and even a pop of color to give it a seasonal flair.
29. Braided Top Knot
Follow the same steps of creating the regular style (see #26), but this time remove a few strands to braid and wrap that around the front. If you have shorter hair, consider extensions to get the job done.
30. Braided Low Ponytail
A low ponytail? Great. A braided one? Fantastic. A braided ponytail with shimmering stickers? A holiday hairstyle for the books. "It's so popular because you can rock it in various ways. High, low or flipped to one side. It's a protective style that gives you longevity and drama," adds James. "You won’t have to worry about your natural hair reverting or frizzing while you’re frolicking around the dance floor or when trekking out in the elements to your holiday festivities." James also notes a strong gel can keep your hair smooth and jewels in place for the night.
31. Goddess Braids
The holidays are for being bold and packing a statement. This protective style is a prime example to show up and show out in December. “I believe that after spending over a few years at home, the girls are coming back outside to WOW people!” Courtney expresses. “Intricate styles and length will be sure to attract attention. The added benefit is that protective styles will give you a little less to worry about while traveling and enjoying time with friends and family.”
32. Bubble Braids
The bubble braid continues to be a favorite for special occasions since it's a simple yet stylish look. It takes an ordinary ponytail and adds a little pizzazz to your locks. You’ll have this style perfect before the Friendsgiving coming up. To prep for the season ahead, decorate your braid in ribbons and bows.
33. Bedazzled Headband
Regardless of what hairstyle you rock in the season ahead, a shiny accessory can really elevate the look. Like Danai Gurira, a snazzy headband is the easiest way to go if you’re just looking for a quick way to compliment your outfit.
34. Beaded Braids
Are you currently rocking a protective style? Consider adding some accessories to elevate the look. “Knotless braids adorned with assorted beads have a decorative appeal. From the colors to the types of beads [you use], this style can be customizable to fit any festive holiday vibe,” says Smith. Visit your local beauty store or find some stylish ones online. Tip: Applying braid gel at the ends can offer more grip and shine to the look.
35. Deep Side Part
A deep side part with one side tucked behind the ear is a signature holiday hairstyle. “It’s a timeless look that features romantic, sexy waves,” says Valles. According to the expert, it can work on all hair lengths and textures. However, if you want to sport lengthier tresses like Gwendoline Christie above, Valles suggests trying tape-in extensions and using a two-inch curling iron to blend them into your natural hair.
36. Butterfly Bob
Here’s a cute bob variation of the popular the butterfly cut for naturalistas. “As the cold weather approaches, this is the perfect hairstyle to spice up your traditional silk press this holiday season,” says Wright. The “butterfly bob” features shoulder-length locks with heavily feathered layers and face-framing pieces near the hairline. While all hair types can try this one, Wright notes that those with textured hair should preserve the look properly at night by wearing a scarf or bonnet, while those with finer or straighter locks should use a hair tool to maintain the style. He adds, “You also want to keep the hairstyle hydrated and manageable by using a leave-in conditioner that won’t weigh down your hair.”
37. Slicked-Back Bun
Need a last-minute holiday hairstyle? This low bun is the way to go. “A slicked bun is a staple for everyone. It’s quick, easy and requires little technique to do. It’s also a great low maintenance style that you won’t have to worry about fussing with throughout the night,” says Wright. To create a similar look to Meghan Markle above, Wright suggests using a curl cream for a sleeker finish.
38. Knotted Half-Up Style
“A regular half-up style can be elevated by adding a simple knot that creates texture and an intricate touch to the look,” says Korab. It’s also easily modified to suit your strands. If you have curly or wavy hair, she suggests applying a hair oil to shape and twist the knot. Meanwhile, those with straighter locks should apply a mousse to prep their hair and hold the style in place.
39. Neptune Hair
Mermaidcore is still thriving, as evidenced by this Serena Williams-approved hairstyle. “Countless celebrities have been sporting these flat ‘S’ shape waves with a middle part and lots of volume. Also called ‘neptune waves,’ these waves are more fluid and stretched out with thinned ends and a fluffy silhouette,” says Smith. To recreate the pattern at home, the pro recommends braiding your hair before bed and leaving them in overnight. In the morning, apply a heat protectant and use a blow dryer to lightly run heat through your braids. Finally, unravel each section to reveal your fresh beachy waves in the middle of December.
40. The Veil
“We’ve seen this look flooding Fashion Week and it’s been seen on many celebs at recent events. It’s perfect for creating a minimal aesthetic but can also be utilized to balance out bolder outfits or statement earrings,” says Smith. To recreate the look, create a sharp middle part and brush back the top section of your hair so sits nicely behind your ears. This quick technique accentuates your facial features quickly, which is great for when you’re on a time crunch. Smith adds, “For a softer alternative, create a more irregular parting and add sea salt spray for more texture through the lengths of your hair.”
41. Finger Coil Curls
Whether you have curly or coily hair, this easy technique will add more definition and dimension to your pattern. To recreate Ice Spice’s signature look, section your hair off into two to four sections (depending on your hair length) before applying a gel or mousse to them. Begin wrapping a small strand of hair around your finger in the direction of the curl until you reach your scalp. Hold for about 30 seconds before gently unraveling to reveal a tighter pattern.
42. Winter Waves
“These glamorous waves are great for the holidays because they can be customized for events ranging from casual to black tie formal. It’s also great for all hair types,” says Stenson. To get the look, the stylist recommends blowing out your hair before going over each section with a one-inch curling iron. Just be sure to wrap your hair in the same direction for more uniform waves. He adds, “Once your hair is cooled off, use a brush or comb to shape the waves into your desired position and finish the look off with some hairspray.”
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