Your makeup shouldn’t have all the fun. But, when it comes to taking the hair up a notch, there’s no reason why you can’t play dress up and pull off a polished and sophisticated look for your strands. Party hair is making a resurgence, and it’s drop-dead gorgeous. However, celebrity hairstylist Bradley Leake says party hair is not what it once was. “It’s not these more elaborate up-dos only achievable at a salon,” he shares. “The beauty of today’s “party hair” is it is fit for any occasion. Everyday hair has become event hair, and we are so here for it.”
According to hairstylist Clariss Anya Rubenstein, party hair is a style with flair and clear direction. However, if you want to rock something more than the average style daily, there’s no reason not to. “Think of party hair as a sleek pony, disco curls, stick-straight, gleaming iconic Cher hair, or even some bold accessories,” she shares. “We’ve been inside with our messy top knots and undone hair for so long, and we are ready to come out swinging with some glam looks.” So, if this spring calls for a night out or a special occasion, consider one of these party styles for head-turning hair.
No hair type is off-limits when it comes to party hair. There’s something for every hair texture and experience level and a multitude of looks to experiment with. “Fine hair can easily be made sleek by pulling it back, whereas thicker hair lends itself to more voluminous looks,” says Rubenstein. She suggests something soft and a bit on the messy side for super-short hair or go on the opposite spectrum and try a wet look. Even aging strands are fair game. “Aging hair can hold volume as long as you are doing it right,” says Rubenstein.
Make sure to stockpile your hair drawer with all the essentials, which hairstylist R + Co Collective Member Marwa Bashir says should include a style setting product, such as a mousse or a setting product, and hairspray. Also, make sure to have shine spray on hand, too. Leake suggests stockpiling go-to styling tools, including the Boujee Beauty Brand BIG G Curling Iron for flipping up the ends, Hidden Crown XL Curl Bar for beautiful bouncy waves, and Hidden Crown Clip-In extensions for extra volume. When using heat, it’s critical to prep the hair with a heat protectant, like Color Wow Style On Steroids, which is a heat protectant, texture spray, and volumizer in one.
And once you let your hair down post-party, it’s the perfect time for some TLC. “Party hair isn’t always done with a simple blowout, so a treatment after working with hot tools is always a good idea,” says celebrity hairstylist Nunzio Saviano.
Meet the Experts
Bradley Leake, a celebrity hairstylist, ColorWow Brand Ambassador. He is also an advocate of Hidden Crown Hair, a luxury haircare brand of hair extensions.
Clariss Anya Rubenstein, a celebrity stylist and beauty expert, who's touched up the likes of Alison Brie, Sofia Vergara, Kat Dennings.
Marwa Bashir, hairstylist, colorist, R + Co Collective Member.
Nunzio Saviano, an award-winning, celebrity hairstylist.
Franck Izquierdo, the co-founder of IGK Hair Care.
Aaron Grenia, the co-founder of IGK Hair Care.
Super Sleek Strands
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Not into big waves? No worries. You can still wear party hair and go more on the sleek side, which is equally as sophisticated and just as timeless and classic.
For more of a straight style, consider one of two looks: either a super elegant smooth ponytail for a simple yet stylish ‘do, or stick straight Cher-inspired locks. If there’s one hairstyle that stands the test of time, it’s pin-straight, ultra-glossy strands, which look killer on shoulder-length cuts and longer hair lengths, too. If your hair comes in on the shorter side, a pair of clip-in extensions are an easy way to achieve added length.
To prep the hair before styling, you’ll want to infuse it with as much moisture as possible so that it looks healthy and shiny. So first, use a moisture-rich mask, like Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner. Then, blow-dry the hair straight. From there, you’ll want to run a straightening iron through the hair in small sections and bring it down to the ends to create smooth-as-silk strands with absolutely no bend. “After flat ironing, the hair, use a shine spray, like Authentic Beauty Concept Glow Touch — this spray is amazing because it leaves hair super shiny and with zero weight, grease, or hold,” says Rubenstein. If you plan on wearing it down, part the hair down the middle precisely with a tail comb and finish it off by running a shine-inching pomade — R + Co Continental Glossing Wax is Rubenstein’s go-to — to perfect the look.
To take it up a notch, sweep the hair into an ultra-high and shiny ponytail — think Arianna Grande’s classic hairstyle. Next, apply a shine-boosting pomade to grip the hair, like Kristen Ess Hair Shine Pomade & Edge Control, and brush hair into place using a boar-bristle brush, which will further help smooth everything down and into place. Finally, a hair elastic secures the hair into a perfect ponytail. “A bit of Color Wow Dream Coat smooths and seals the ends (it’s also humidity resistant) for a sleek pony you can maintain,” says Leake. If thin or short hair hinders your ponytail, Leake suggests throwing on The Hidden Crown Bungee Ponytail, which is “a quick and easy way to achieve the ponytail of your dreams instantly.”
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Retro, 70s-inspired curls and waves are back, but they’re more constructed and refined with a lot less fluff this time around. Franck Izquierdo, the co-founder of IGK Hair Care, says the younger generation wants big, bouncy hair because the 70s are making a strong comeback. “I’ve seen a lot of people using Bridgette Bardot’s hair as a reference.”
To create this style, you’ll need a great texturizing spray for added volume such as Unite Texturiza Spray and a small-barrel curling iron like GHD Thin Wand 0.5″ Curling Wand to create tighter curls. Keep in mind that dirty hair tends to hold a curl better than just-washed hair because it has a little more grip and buildup, so wash the day before you plan on rocking this style.
First, heat up a small-barrel curling iron to achieve a tight curl pattern. Next, Rubenstein says to tease the hair and spray it with the texture spray. After curling the hair (let the curls cool before tousling them or brushing them out depending on how much ‘softness’ you want), flip your head over with your face towards the ground and then flip it back.
Velcro rollers are your best friend to create a similar albeit more voluminous and fluffier, fuller curl with less heat. While still staying within the realm of big, 70s-inspired hair, wrap individual sections of hair around jumbo-sized Velcro rollers and let them sit for about 20 minutes. Bashir says once you blow-dry or curl the hair and it’s still hot, setting the volume or curl in a roller to cool in that position will allow the style to last extra long — just do not touch or brush hair while it’s still hot. Then, once cool, brush out the curls and lock them in place with a light spritz of hairspray.
Sexy Mermaid Waves
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A cleaner, more refined take on beach waves is mermaid waves, which offer a bit more structure but still that effortless, cool-girl effect. Aaron Grenia, the co-founder of IGK Hair Care, says to do this easy look, start with two side braids and apply IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond-Building Dry Hair Mask, a leave-in treatment. “Sleep on the hair like this, and when you wake up in the morning, take the braids out for lived-in texture,” he suggests. Then, separate the hair in half and part the hair in a half-up, half-down style. “Secure the top part of the hair in a messy bun in the back with the bottom half of the hair left down and loose.”
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The more elaborate and chicer your ‘do is, the more it dictates a fancy hair accessory or some bling. “Party hair loves an accessory and adding a crystal-encrusted pin is a great way to add a little flash,” says Rubenstein.
To add even more glamour to the hair, Saviano likes using hair extensions for fine, limp hair along with hair accessories, which he says also help keep the hair in place, so it’s secure all night. “Hair accessories look great just about on any look or style when placing them just right,” he adds.
Sparkly accessories work on all hair types and styles — straight, wavy, long, or short. The key is to use various party barrettes and pins and place them strategically in one area — sort of like clustering them together unintentionally. “Barrettes and decorative pins always amp up an updo,” says Bashir. Likewise, she says headbands pair well with a beautiful blowout and is great for adding bling and bringing the wow factor, like those from Jennifer Behr and Kitsch x Justine Marjan.
If a more low-key, sparkle-free look is more your style, Leake says to dress up the hair with a black bow or satin scrunchie from BRDY JAY. “These hair accessory essentials make for effortless beauty.”
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