Mastering styling your hair in the back of a moving vehicle is a museum-worthy piece of performance art—especially when you’re running late to a holiday party you’ve promised you’d make an appearance at. If you’ve waited until the absolute last minute to leave your desk because you’re heading to a mid-week shindig but would really rather head home where you can put on sweats, pour a glass of wine, and fire up your Netflix queue, your crew doesn’t have to know via your disheveled hair. Inspired by celebrity red carpet styles, we’ve rounded up four easy ‘dos you can actually do in the back of an Uber on your way to the function. The finished products? All worthy of a five star rating.
1. Kerry Washington's Tousled Side Braid
Kerry Washington’s undone side braid that she wore at the Critics’ Choice Awards is the kind of effortlessly cool style we love that actually requires minimal effort. If you stayed late at work and are calling a car to hit up a party only 10 blocks away, you can create this plait in seven.
HOW TO STYLE IT:
First off, you want your hair to look tousled, not messy. Leave your natural texture as is, but tame flyaways and frizz by running a pea-sized amount of Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-In Cream ($8; walgreens.com) throughout your dry hair once your Uber trip has started. Takisha Sturdivant, Washington’s hairstylist suggests adding in some extensions for length, but if you don’t keep clip-ins in your bag, consider this step optional. Divide your hair into three large sections and lightly tease each using a comb. Next, bring it all to one side and braid it loosely. For a more tousled finished look, the pro says to gently pull the hair in the plait apart to add more texture.
2. Julianne Hough's Low Pony
A low-pony may be the style you fall back on when you’ve hit snooze a few times too many, but Hough’s style that she wore to a recent fundraiser in L.A. has a simple, but chic detail that instantly takes it from a mid-week second-thought updo to party-worthy.
HOW TO STYLE IT:
Run a pocket-sized detangling brush like Tangle Teezer’s Original Detangling Hairbrush ($15; sephora.com) through your hair to smooth it out for your pony. Next, gather your strands into a low-pony at the nape of your neck and secure it with a hair elastic. Take a one-two inch piece from the tail and wrap it around the elastic to conceal it, using a couple bobby pins to hold it all in place. Once you’ve set the pony, spritz a hairspray with a soft finish like Living Proof’s Flex Shaping Hairspray ($25; sephora.com) to keep it intact throughout the night without any crunchiness.
3. Hailee Steinfeld's Half Up Half Down Waves
If your natural texture falls flat by mid-day, consider Hailee Steinfeld’s half up half down boho waves she wore to the MTV VMAs your backseat solution to party-ready hair when you’re headed to an event where it’s inevitable that photos will be taken.
HOW TO STYLE IT:
Texture was Dove Celebrity Hairstylist Mark Townsend’s mantra when he was creating Steinfeld’s half up, half down style. After applying Dove Curls Defining Mousse ($4; target.com) throughout the star’s damp hair, he rough dried it to keep as much of her natural texture as possible. Once Steinfeld’s strands were fully dry, Townsend used a flat iron to create S bend waves allover, teased the roots, and sprayed Dove Refresh + Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo ($5; target.com) throughout her hair. Next, he pulled the front of her hair back in an almost-braid on-top and secured it with an elastic. Then he went in and added random small plaits throughout. If you happen to have pieces of leather and velvet in your purse, work them into the braids like Townsend did for bonus points. Finish the look by spritzing a wave spray like Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray ($39; nordstrom.com) to take your texture to the next level.
4. Chrissy Teigen's Sleek and Straight Strands
The sleeker the better was Jen Atkin’s M.O. when styling Chrissy Teigen’s straight hair for her appearance at this year’s American Music Awards. Luckily, this classic red carpet look is easy enough to recreate at home—and involves minimal upkeep during the day and after hours.
HOW TO STYLE IT:
Although you can quickly touch up straight and shiny hair like Teigen’s, there's some morning prep work required. Atkin ran a combination of TRESemmé TRES Two Extra Firm Mousse ($4; target.com) and Ouai Hair Oil ($28; sephora.com) throughout Teigen’s damp hair, and blow-dried it straight with a paddle brush. Next, Atkin applied TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Flat Iron Smoothing Spray ($5; target.com) before flat ironing the star’s strands in small sections to protect it from heat damage.
If you experience frizz and fuzz as the day goes on, follow Atkin’s lead and keep a clean, old toothbrush in your bag for a quick fix. Spray it with TRESemmé Climate Control Finishing Spray ($5; walmart.com) and use it to tame any flyaways, then use your fingertips to apply a small amount of Ouai Matte Pomade ($24; sephora.com) for added hold. For even more shine, you can run another small amount of Ouai Hair Oil through your strands for an extra glossy finish.