celebrity hair inspiration
26 August 2020

5 Easy and Chic Formal Hairstyles for long hair

COVID-19 has caused the cancellation of a lot of things, including, most recently, school formal season. But, we’re here to say: no formal, no problem. If your school formal was cancelled, you can still host a celebration - just digitally. Don’t let a good gown go to waste and instead plan a virtual school formal party with your friends. Unlike most parties, the planning is pretty simple, the venue is sorted, the playlist can be streamed from Europhia soundtrack and now all you’ve gotta think about is your beauty look. 

When it comes to a school formal or any special occasion, they say finding the dress is the hardest part. And while that may be true, when it comes to a virtual affair, it’s what is above the shoulders that counts. Lucky for those with flowing mermaid names, there's no shortage of options when it comes to prepping your hair for a special occasion. Whether you wear it curly or straight (or somewhere in-between), long hair lends itself to any number of braids, updos, and ponytails and contrary to popular belief, long hair is actually pretty low-maintenance to style. 

With plenty of styling inspiration out there, it’s no easy feat to narrow down on the best examples, but we found 5 of the coolest 2020 takes on formal hairstyles that will have you looking like the belle of the ball. From Gigi Hadid’s tumbling waves to Rosie Huntington Whitely’s beachy updo, each can be recreated sans the need for a salon appointment and will work for a variety of formal - and even not-so-formal - occasions. Keep scrolling for the best formal hairstyles that will get you in the party mood, even if you’re housebound.

1. The Beachy Updo



A post shared by Rosie HW (@rosiehw) on


Image: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj_Jn92AfTe/

Beach waves aren’t just for the beach. Pull your tousled style into a high top-knot and you have yourself a glam twist on the classic bun. The key to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's effortless-looking hairstyle is the texture and face-framing pieces, making this beachy look natural and easy to create. Here’s how to do it at home. 

What you’ll need:

How to: 

Step 1: Roughly blow-dry your hair using the Digital Sensor Hairdryer with your fingers until dry.

Step 2: Curl small sections of hair with the Curl Secret Optimum on the natural curl setting to create loosely defined curls. 

Step 2: Gather the hair on the top of the head while leaving face-framing, random curls down, and then twist the hair into a messy top knot and secure with a hair tie and bobby pins. 

Step 3: Finish with a spritz of texturizing hairspray for extra hold and piecy texture at the front. 

2. The Face-Framing Ponytail



A post shared by justine marjan (@justinemarjan) on


Image: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4ko1cuB0j2/?utm_source=ig_embed

You can never go wrong with a wavy ponytail and Ashley Graham gets it just right with this soft, face-framing look. One of the most basic and most versatile hairstyles to recreate, this take on the classic pony is given added oomph with a hair volume trick, lots of texture and tousled face-framing tendrils. Here’s how to recreate it yourself. 

What you’ll need: 

How to:

Step 1: For a smooth start go over dried hair with the Frizz Defense Straightening Brush. This will eliminate flyaways, smooth any static and create a clean base for the rest of the look.  

Step 2: For the next step, leave two face-framing pieces out and tie the rest of the hair into a mid-to-high ponytail and secure with a clear hair tie. 

Step 3: To add volume and curl, split the ponytail into four sections before reaching for the 38mm Ceramic Curler. With 10 different heat settings and ceramic technology it ensures an even and consistent heat and fast, healthy styling. Curl the end sections of the hair, repeating the process with each section. Then for that added oomph and volume, brush out the curls for a soft shape. 

Step 4: For the face-framing front pieces, create a slight bend in shape by wrapping the hair out away from the face with your fingers to create a soft, curved shape.

Step 4: Apply a dab of a matte pomade to your hands and rub them over the tendrils at the roots to tame flyaways. 

3. The Braided Headband 



A post shared by Style , Fashion & Hollywood (@dailydozoffashion) on


Image: https://www.instagram.com/p/CCq8IMlhwts/

Lazy girls, rejoice: Party hair won't cost you a two-hour price tag this season. Enter, the braided updo. This hairstyle looks complicated but is surprisingly easy and is a great no-fuss hairstyle for times when your mane just refuses to behave (humidity, anyone?). 

Versatile too, this braided headband will work on all textures and can easily be elevated with the simple addition of accessories. A bejewelled barrette will help you serve up a 90s-inspired statement, while fresh flowers will bring a romantic touch.

What you’ll need:

How to:

Step 1: Start by achieving a super-smooth base and go over your hair with the Frizz Defense Straightening Brush. This will get rid of any kinks, tame frizz and leave a healthy sheeny base.

Step 2: Separate your hair down the middle into two equal parts and starting with the left side, take a handful of hair and separate it into three pieces.

Step 3: Follow the Dutch-braid mantra, "left under, right under," and add small sections of hair as you braid.

Step 4: Continue braiding around your hairline and secure it at the top of your head.

Step 5: On the right side, create a second Dutch braid (following the same steps above) and wrap it around your head on the opposite side, making sure the two meet.

Step 6: Wrap the ends around the first braid and pin it in place with bobby pins. 

4. Bombshell Curls 

Gigi Hadid Bombshell Curls

There’s a reason bombshell curls make an appearance on every red carpet - the volumized, tousled look is the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. The best way to achieve big, bouncy curls, is to switch over to hot rollers. They’ll help to add volume to your roots, keep your strands shiny and smooth, and give you curls that can last for a few days. So if you want near-instant curls with minimal effort, more volume, and far more longevity than your usual barrel iron style, read ahead on how to create dreamy, voluminous waves using hot rollers.

What you’ll need:

How to:

Step 1: For your smoothest results, you want to ensure your hair is tangle-free. Starting with dry hair, make sure to brush through it thoroughly using a fine-tooth comb starting at the ends and working your way up to the scalp to ensure there are no tangles in sight.

Step 2: Section the hair according to your desired parting to make it easier to style. Then taking the Ultimate Salon Setter hot roller set, start with the roller at the top of the section and then, holding it vertically wrap the hair around it to right and secure with a clip. 

Step 3: Follow this step in sections, until your whole head is complete. Let the rollers set until cool. 

Step 4: Once cooled, one by one remove the clips and gently slide the rollers out of the coiled curl, rather than pulling down. 

Step 5: Lightly brush through the curls

Step 6: Finish with a spritz of hairspray. 

5. Half-up Waves 

Florence Half up hair inspiration

As you’ve probably gathered by now, there’s plenty of hairstyles that are worthy of a school formal or evening occasion, but there is nothing quite as perfect as the half-up formal hairstyle. With twisted tendrils and free-flowing waves, the half-up is inherently photogenic while also complementary to nearly any dress style. What more could you want?

To learn how to create what we think is the quintessential formal hairstyle, follow the steps below and finish the look off with an on-trend accessory of your choice. 

What you’ll need:

How to:

Step 1. Starting with freshly dried or second day hair, add texture and soft waves using the Keratin Protect Undone Waves. 

Step 2: Lift the crown of your hair and take a triangle-shaped section from the crown of the head and lift up.

Step 3. For added volume, gently back-brush this section of hair with a brush. 

Step 4: Not for the twists at the front section, grab the section of hair on the right side of your face, and twist away from your face all the way until you reach the ends.

Step 5: To add texture to the twisted front piece, hold the end of the twisted section with one hand, and with the other gently pull on the outer edges for a full, textured appearance.

Step 6: Take your twist to the back of your head and fasten in place with a bobby pin.

Step 7: Repeat the same twisting process with the front section on the other side of your face. 

Step 8: Now for the fun part! To make this hairstyle all the more special, add a hair accessory of your choice.

For more hair inspiration, styling tips and how-to tutorials, visit our blog! We also deliver fantastic hair content straight into your inbox, so join our mailing list to never miss a post. 

Love your style, from the VS Sassoon team.  X