Prom doesn't have to be all about fancy schmancy updos that have you in a salon chair for hours and shellacked under a helmet of hairspray. Take a cue from some of the hottest starlettes gracing the red carpet this year like Dianna Agron, Rihanna, Sky Ferreira, and Katy Perry, and go for something a little more unexpected, modern, and fun. These ladies have rocked some of the hottest hairstyles of the year (the braided updo, the pin-up look, the old Hollywood waves, and the super sleek pony), and what's more, you can actually cop these looks yourself! Don't believe us? Fire up your styling wands and read on!
THE BRAIDED UPDO
Try Dianna Agron's braided updo from the 2012 Screen Actors' Guild Awards.
Photo: Getty Images/Sephora/Ulta/Goody
The braid has been one of the biggest hair trends of the past year, and Dianna's look here for the 2012 Screen Actors' Guild Awards is extra special because it features the ultimate in plaits: the fishtail. In truth, Dianna's hairstyle looks more complicated than it actually is, so crack those knuckles, do a few dexterity warm-ups, and let's get started!
STEP 1 Spray your hair with a little texturizing spray to give your hair a beachy look. This will also help to keep your braid in place while you work, instead of slipping undone.
STEP 2 Section out a three inch band of hair along your front hairline going from ear to ear, kind of like you have the thickest, longest, most awkward set of bangs ever.
STEP 3 Braid this section, starting above one ear and making sure the braid runs parralel to your hairline. For a fishtail braid, divide this section into two equal parts, and pull a thin piece of hair from along the edge of the hairline and pull it over the large section next to it. Repeat on the other side, pulling a thin piece from the outside of the section over and in to the middle, and keep repeating on each side until the entire front section is braided.
STEP 4 When the front fistail reaches your other ear, end the plait with a regular braid and secure with a clear elastic.
STEP 5 Finger comb the rest of your hair to give it a tousled look, then twist and bobby pin up your hair as desired. Finish it all off with a little hairspray to give it some extra mileage, then step back and admire your work!
ALTERNATIVE Still convinced that you're all thumbs? Just slap on one of these handy braided headbands in your matching hair color and go!
Get Rihanna's retro pin-up girl hairstyle.
Photo: Getty Images/Ulta/Goody/Nordstrom
Rihanna's pin-up victory rolls might seem a little outlandish for prom AT FIRST, but pair it with a cute sweetheart necklined frock for a retro rockabilly look, and we're sure you'll be inundated with glowing compliments and a chorus of "HAY GURL HAY"s.
STEP 1 Part your hair on whatever side you normally part it, and section off about two inches of your hair along your front hairline for rolling. The length of your hair will dictate the size of the roll, so keep that in mind. Then, tie back the hair you won't be rolling, so it doesn't get in the way.
STEP 2 Add a bit of mousse to the rolling section to manage flyaways and keep your rolls from looking fuzzy.
STEP 3 For each roll, hold your hair at full length away from your head, and roll the hair around two fingers toward your crown. Bobby pin the roll in place and gently remove your fingers, being careful not to pull the hair from the center of the roll. Repeat on the other side, and untie the rest of your hair.
THE SIDE-SWEPT MANE
Get Sky Ferreira's side-swept hairstyle.
Photo: Getty Images/Hair Products/Target/Nordstrom/Goody
Old Hollywood waves like Sky Ferreira's have been a go-to for pretty young thangs all over the red carpet this year. They're romantic and feminine, but the whole asymmetrical look is also a little edgy. Wear it with a slinky long gown and a bold red lip for the full wow-factor.
STEP 1 Create a clean deep side part using a part comb and the arch of your eyebrow as a marker for where to start it, being sure that about two-thirds of your hair cascades along the side.
STEP 2 Run a bit of volumizing mousse through your hair to give it body and texture. Leave your hair as is for a more natural interpretation of the look or style with a large barrel curling iron for a more polished look.
STEP 3 Tuck the less dense third of your hair behind your ear, and drape along the nape of your neck. Spray with hairspray to be sure it holds, or even secure a bit with bobby pins for extra security.
THE SLEEK HIGH PONY
Get Katy Perry's sleek high ponytail look from the 2012 Kids' Choice Awards.
Photo: Getty Images/Kohl's/Avon/Ulta
The sky-high ponytail isn't just for teen movie cheerleaders anymore. In fact, it's becoming more of a hallmark of feminine strength for ladies like Kat Graham, Iggy Azalea, and of course, Katy Perry. We like this look with everything from a minimalist floor-length sheath to a full-skirted truncated ballgown.
STEP 1 Wash and gently blot your hair dry, being sure not to rub so the cuticle stays smooth. Run a conservative amount of hair gel and heat protectant spray through your hair. Then, blow dry your hair in small sections using a paddle brush and aiming the dryer at the ends of your hair to keep the cuticle smooth.
STEP 2 Flat iron your hair in small sections, using the lowest heat setting possible. Gently glide the iron from roots to ends, always keeping the iron moving to prevent crimps.
STEP 3 Create your ponytail by centering it super high, pretty much on the top of your head. Use the paddle brush to brush all you hair in that direction until it's as smooth as possible. Wrap a hair elastic around the pony until it's taut. Pull two sides of the ponytail ends to tighten it even more, but be careful not to create lumps on your crown. If you're having a hard time getting it smooth, use a little gel or pomade to smooth it out but not too much or it will look greasy.
STEP 4 Take a small section from underneath where your ponytail flops over and wrap it around the base of the ponytail to hide the elastic. Use a bobby pin to secure the end of that piece into the base of the ponytail. This will also keep your ponytail perky and upright.
STEP 5 Touch up your ponytail with the flat iron, apply some shine spray to make it all glisten, and douse that sucker in a good amount of hairspray to make sure all your hard work doesn't go to waste!