12 Holiday Hairstyles Perfect for Any Occasion

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Holiday Hairstyles
Getty Images/InStyle

Holiday hairstyles don't always have to consist of sparkly hairbands or pins — unless that's what you want.

Although glitter may be the unofficial mascot of the season, there's other ways you can get festive with your hair.

Meeting your significant other's family for the first time, your office's cocktail party, or a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange with friends are just a couple examples of the situations you'll be thrown into over the next few months that call for a look that's a level up from your usual top knot or air-dried waves.

To help get you inspired, we turned to red carpets past to compile a set of hairstyles that work for any formal or informal occasion you might be attending. Keep scrolling for 12 ways to wear your hair this holiday season.

Messy Braid

Holiday Hairstyles

Whether you're headed to a fancy intimate dinner or catching up over drinks with your friends from home, Dakota Johnson's edgy spin on a classic braid, is your hairstyle solution.

Johnson's hairstylist Mark Townsend shared a close-up view of the braid on Instagram for reference, and used Dove products to create the plait's texture and set the style.

Celestial Hair Clip

Sophia Bush 
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic (2)

If you aren't feeling particularly festive this year, a sparkly constellation-inspired hair pin is a foolproof way to get into the spirit of the season. For effortless waves like Bush's, use a flat iron or curling wand starting at your mid-lengths to create bends, then spritz a texturizing spay like R+Co's ZIG ZAG Root Teasing + Texture Spray at the roots for lift and separation.

Bedazzled Blunt Bob

Holliday Hairstyles

As far as we're concerned, there's no such thing as too much glitter during the holiday season. While Saweetie's sparkly slicked-back bob looks elaborate, it's actually easy to nail. Simply use a pomade or gel (we like Cantu's Avocado Styling Gel because it doesn't dry out hair), and set your hair in place. Next, place tiny rhinestones wherever you'd like. And if you want to add an early aughts twist to the style, flip your ends using a curling iron.

Loose Waves

Reese Witherspoon 
JB Lacroix/ WireImage

Logging on to a Zoom cocktail party from your at-home desk? When blowing out your hair in the morning, use a large round brush like this one by Moroccanoil. Start at your roots, turning it under as you work down the hair shaft for extra volume and movement that will last throughout the day. For an extra shiny finish like Reese Witherspoon's, run a nourishing, shine-boosting oil such as Joico's K-PAK Color Therapy Luster Lock Glossing Oil through your hair once you've wrapped up blow-drying.

High Ponytail With Sparkly Barrette

Holi

Yes, it's true: The hairstyle that your mom used to give you on school picture day is one of this season's trendiest hairstyles — and it works for low-key family dinners or New Year's Eve parties. If you're going to be using hot tools to create loose, bouncy curls like Gigi Hadid, before tying your hair up into a high half ponytail, use a heat protectant spray such as Bumble and bumble's Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer to prevent damage. And a sparkly barrette is an easy way to make your pony feel festive.

Pearl-Embellished Side Part

Best Holiday Hairstyles
Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Have a bob and think you're limited on style options? No worries, simply embellishing your part like Lucy Boynton did at the 2020 Oscars is an easy way to dress up your cut. Add subtle waves to your bob with a curling wand, then lay down the pearls. Boynton's stylist Jenny Cho used Gorilla Snot Gel to get the embellishments to stay in place on the red carpet.

Bubble Ponytail

Serena Williams 
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images; ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Serena Williams' three-tiered ponytail is guaranteed to be a conversation starter at the New Year's Eve party you're hitting up — even if it's over video call. After sweeping your hair up into a high ponytail, add detail by sectioning it off into three tiers with the hair clips of your choice. The tennis player's gold-accented updo was created by hairstylist Vernon François who prepped the tennis player's hair using his Mist Water to lock in moisture, and his Leave-In Conditioner on the ends of her ponytail to protect her hair.

Half-Up Half-Down Bun

Holiday Hairstyles

If you style your lob in messy, textured waves on the reg like Kristen Stewart, a simple updo is a foolproof way to make your go-to look feel special for the holidays. The Spencer star's stylist Adir Abergel left one front section of the star's hair out of the low bun he created at the nape of her neck to lean into Stewart's signature edgy style. To give your waves that piecey, bedhead look, spritz Virtue's Create Texturizing Spray on your finished style.

Big Afro

Holiday Hairstyles

The secret to Tracee Ellis Ross's gorgeous afro is part good genes (her mother is the queen of disco) and part products from her Pattern haircare line. For soft, defined curls, try the Styling Cream, which offers deep hydration and hold.

Bedazzled Pigtails

Best Holiday Hairstyles
Parais Griffin/Getty Images

Yes, pigtails can be a formal hairstyle. Just add some rhinestones to your braids. Along with the embellishments, Yara Shahidi finished off her look with laid edges. For the same smooth finish, try Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Edge Gel, which contains hydrating oils that keep baby hairs from getting dried out.

Braided French Twist

Holiday Hairstyles

With a protective style like boho box braids, the style possibilities are endless. Case in point: Zoë Kravtiz's elegant French twist created by Nikki Nelms for the 2021 Met Gala.

Statement Headband

Holiday Hairstyles

A decadent embellished velvet headband is guarantee to make jaws drop when you join a Zoom call or show up to an in-person gathering. Here, hairstylist Neil Moodie accessorized Gemma Chan's side-parted pony with a custom piece by Miss Sohee. Love a super sleek pony like this one? Prep hair with a smoothing treatment like L'Oréal Paris' Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum.

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