Looking for prom hairstyles beyond the basic updo? We’ve got you covered with 20 gorgeous prom hairstyles that span all types of looks, from boho to glam.
Getting ready for your special night is about to get a lot easier with tons of cute styles to choose from in our guide!
What Are the Best Prom Hairstyles for 2023?
- Go for half-up, down, or updo styles that complement your dress
- Choose secure styles that will stay put while you dance the night away
- Incorporate different textures into your style with braids, twists, curls, and waves
Choosing prom hairstyles is a lot more difficult than people make it out to be. Think about it – your hairstyle can literally make or break your look for the big night!
Once you’ve found the perfect dress, shoes, and nailed down your date or group of friends to go with, the countdown is on to find the perfect hairstyle to go with your dress.
Narrowing down your prom hairstyle options and gathering a little inspiration will make the decision a lot easier so you can focus on having fun! The first thing to consider when you’re picking out the perfect prom hairstyle is what types of styles will look good with your dress.
Certain types of dress and neckline styles look better with updos, while others are more flattering when you wear your hair down and loose or half-up. We’ll talk about the difference in more detail later in this guide.
Once you’ve got an idea of whether you should wear your hair up, down, or half-up for prom, it’s time to think about specific styles. One thing that’s absolutely essential: You want a hairstyle that is secure and will stay put.
No one wants their updo tumbling down or the hassle of pushing wild curls out of your face all night. This means you’ll be using a lot of hairspray and/or pins for certain styles, but it’s totally worth it.
One more thing to keep in mind to build an absolutely gorgeous prom hairstyle is varied texture. Adding multiple or defined textures in your look will take it from cute to knockout.
Working braids, twists, or rolls into hair styled with waves, curls, crimping, or sleek strands to vary the texture will instantly elevate your style.
Next up, we’ll take a look at some of the most stunning prom hairstyles for you to consider. These prom-ready looks incorporate different textures and span styles from wild and free boho to classic and glam.
Make an Entrance With These 20 Gorgeous Prom Hairstyles
Make sure your hair is styled to impress with any of these prom hairstyles. You’ll make quite the entrance and love how gorgeous you feel with the perfect prom style to complement your dress!
1. Twist-Back Low Pinned Curls
This is a more casual look that perfectly balances a very formal gown with ornate beading or lacework on top. Small sections from each side are twisted and pinned in the back.
Here, curled sections get twisted and pinned to create a low updo. Pull out a few pieces around the face to finish the look!
2. Old Hollywood Soft Waves
Soft, brushed waves will help you channel your inner vintage Hollywood vixen on prom night! This look is classic and gorgeous on hair from shoulder-length and beyond. Part it just off-center or go with a deep side part to complete the look.
3. Low Tousled Bun With Loose Twists
A high-necked or strapless gown needs a pretty updo to show off those shoulders! This low bun is perfect with big, loose twists pinned in place to form the basis of the style and a tousled, messy bun. Add a jeweled barrette or hair picks that complement your dress to complete the look!
4. Wrapped Crown Braid
This braid style looks really intricate, but it’s basically a French braid done in a circle around the head. In fact, this style is a simple 3-strand braid at the ends which is just pinned into place to complete the crown circle. Recreate it with teased volume near the nape of the neck to fill it out a bit.
5. Loose Messy Updo
This is a look that goes great with a very formal dress to make it a little more fun and casual. It can also pair well with a simple dress and creates a breezy, chic vibe. The hair is teased and loosely gathered into a bun below the crown with a few strands pulled out to relax the style.
6. Flirty Half-Up Waves
If you’re torn between a full updo and wearing your hair down and loose, a half-up style might be the perfect solution.
This look takes a basic half-up ponytail and makes it a little more special by wrapping the base with hair and adding soft, beachy waves for texture. Relax the look a bit more by tugging a few face-framing strands free in the front.
7. Intricate Braided Tuck With Tiara
We love prom hairstyles that are actually much more simple than they appear. This tucked look is created with two French braids that begin low, just above the ears.
The French braids quickly transform into hanging braids and are twisted and pinned in the back to form a “tuck” with tons of volume. Add a sparkly tiara to make it the perfect prom hairstyle!
8. Low and Voluminous Curly Updo
A highly-textured, voluminous updo like this looks super impressive for prom night and will be a great style with a gown where you want to leave your shoulders bare. It starts with a low bun using a small section from the middle of your head just above the nape of your neck.
From there, individual sections are curled and pinned in place to fill out the bun and add lots of texture. Finish with a jeweled clip or barrette to match your dress!
9. Sleek Spiral Braided Half-Updo
This look is straight and sleek with smooth texture that looks great with a simple dress. Tiny French braids follow along the sides and lead into hanging braids in the back just below the crown. The braids are coiled into spirals and pinned in place to add a polished touch to this sleek half-up style.
10. Swept-Back Side Chignon
This kind of low and loose style can really suit any dress and looks perfect for prom night. The hair is parted on the side and swept back into a low, loose chignon on the side to keep it from looking too “slicked back” and severe. Pieces are pulled out and curled around the face for a relaxed style.
11. Curly Updo With Split Front
A simple gown that needs a little pizzazz or a strapless dress will look amazing with a formal updo like this. The hair is split down the center in front with the long bangs draped back and upward into the bun. With some extra volume at the crown and tightly defined curls forming a lush bun, this is a stunning option for prom.
12. Mega-Volume Faux Hawk Updo
When it comes to prom hair, go big or go home! This style is edgy and takes the shape of a voluminous faux hawk with a pinned, teased, and slightly-crimped section styled high up front. The hair is gathered in a high ponytail and pinned down the back of the head to hold everything in place.
13. Vintage Side-Tucked Short Curls
If you’re rocking short hair and wearing a dress with classic, vintage vibes, you can’t go wrong with soft curls and a little extra volume at the crown. Tease lightly and direct the hair at the crown backward, then tuck one side behind your ear and pin in place so you can party all night.
14. Curly Partial Half-Updo With Barrette
Try this unique almost half-updo to keep your hair out of your face without wearing it up. The hair is curled tightly all over and sprayed to stay in place behind the shoulders.
Curls are arranged and draped with gaps in between to layer the texture and keep strands from falling into your eyes. Add a pretty barrette and you’re golden!
15. Voluminous Twisted Crown Braid
This look is completely enchanting and can be as formal or casual as you want. You’ll need lots of volume and texture to fill it out, so tease away, use lots of pins, and work some texturizing spray into your strands.
A rope braid that begins near the nape of the neck is tugged and loosened to form a loose twisted coil that’s wrapped around the head like a beautiful boho crown.
16. Sleek and Straight With Jeweled Tiara
Want to look and feel like an absolute princess on prom night? You can’t skip the tiara. Rock simple sleek, straight strands and let the jeweled tiara do all the work! Try this look with an ornate or very formal gown to instantly elevate the style.
17. Glam Side Part Retro Waves
If you’ve got a retro dress picked out, you’ll need a hairstyle that’s worthy of it! Try old-fashioned waves that curve toward the face to get the right look.
Tug on curls after releasing them from the curling iron to loosen and soften them. Once cooled, you can lightly brush through to make the texture a little more cohesive.
18. Polished Coiled Bun With Upswept Bangs
This style is easy enough to DIY and goes well with any type of dress. Separate your long bangs (or a small section of hair from the front) about an inch back from your hairline that extends from one temple down to the ear on the opposite side.
Gather the rest of your hair up into a high coiled bun, pinning and spraying for security. Finish by draping the front section back and up to the bun, pinning to hide the ends.
19. Twisted Half-Up Fountain Curls
Twists on the side come together below the crown to form a simple half-updo with tons of texture. Where the two sections gather, invert the half-up ponytail so the ends fall up and over the twist to form a fountain. Big curls add volume and give this style a thick, lush look.
20. Draped Side Updo With Hanging Curls
This looks intricate and super complex, but it’s actually pretty simple to pull off! A deep side part is the foundation for this look and the hair is swept back into a loose side ponytail.
With defined ringlets throughout the ponytail, curls are pinned up to hide the ponytail and fill out the look to make it glamorous.
Tips and Things to Consider
Find some prom looks you love? Perfect! Before you dance the night away, check out these helpful tips and tricks to make the most of your prom hairstyle.
- Create balance with your hairstyle. If your dress is super-formal or daring, you can go with a simpler hairstyle to balance the look. Likewise, if you’re going with a basic, simple dress, you can easily take things up a notch with an intricate style or updo! Use your hairstyle to complement and complete your look – don’t let it be an afterthought.
- Make sure it’s secure. We’ve been there, so trust us here. More pins and hairspray equals a better prom night. If you’re sporting any sort of updo or half-updo – heck, even a down and loose style you plan to tuck behind your ear – you’ll want lots of bobby pins/hair pins and hairspray to keep it in place. The last thing you want is having to make constant readjustments or have your updo become a cascading downfall halfway through the night. Err on the side of caution and make sure that sucker’s secure before you head out on prom night!
- Use hair accessories to instantly dress up a style. Even more basic hairstyles like easy updos, coiled buns, low chignons, and sleek, straight styles can be easily elevated with the help of some fancy hair accessories. Jeweled or metallic barrettes, hair picks and pins, flowers, headbands, and tiaras are prom favorites and will really make your style look put-together.
- Do a trial run if you plan to DIY. Doing your own hair for prom can be super-rewarding and save you some cash. If you’re going this route, make sure to do a trial run well before the big night to ensure you’ve got the style perfected and know what to do. Doing an early trial run means if you just can’t make your chosen style work, you’ll still have time to book a stylist!
- Go big with volume to fill out updos. Most updos and half-updos will benefit from lots of volume and lift to fill and fluff them out a bit. Creating big volume is easy with the right products and techniques! Backcombing and teasing will temporarily mat the hair and give you lift while texturizing spray and hairspray add grit and grip to keep the volume all night long. Smooth the hair on top to cover any teased sections and you’re good to go!
Choosing the Perfect Prom Hairstyle for You
If you can identify the hairstyles that suit the type of dress you’re wearing to prom, you’re guaranteed to look amazing. Choosing the perfect prom hairstyle for you starts with picking out styles that suit your dress type and neckline.
The general rule is that dresses that are strapless, one-shoulder, high-necked, or feature heavy detailing around the neck or shoulders should be paired with a pretty updo style.
If the dress is designed in a way that highlights your shoulders or neck, you don’t want to cover those areas up by wearing your hair down! If you have short hair that hits above the shoulders, you can wear your hair down or half-up if you’d prefer.
Some of the styles above that will suit these types of dresses include curly updos, side-tucked short curls, low chignons, and full braided looks like crown braids.
If your dress features basic spaghetti or regular straps, a wide boat neck, a sweetheart neckline, or features more detailing around the waist or bottom, you should rock a half-updo or wear your hair down.
Remember, if your hair is short, you can really choose any type of style since it won’t interfere with your dress’ neckline!
Styles from this list suitable for these types of dresses include any down and loose hairstyle (curly, wavy, or sleek and straight), flirty half-up twists with waves, and a draped side updo with hanging curls.
Another way to make sure prom hairstyles are just right for you is adjusting it to suit your face shape.
- Oval faces: Create even volume on the top and sides or boost height at the crown
- Round faces: Add more volume on top and at the crown, less on the sides
- Square faces: Add more volume on top, less on the sides with face-framing strands
- Heart faces: Create more volume on the lower sides with down or half-up styles
To make any prom updo style a little looser and more relaxed, tug out a few small strands around your face and near the back. Use a curling iron or waving iron to create some texture in these pieces for a flirty, more casual look.
Finding your prom hairstyle takes care of one of the most essential prep steps for prom!
Once you know how you’ll wear your hair and have your gown, shoes, nails, and jewelry figured out, you’re free to sit back and enjoy the countdown to the big night. Get ready to have the time of your life and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!