How To Choose Formal Hair Styles

Wearing elegant gown

Choosing a formal hairstyle can be just as important as choosing the right dress. Whether you have long or short hair, you'll want to know your hairstyle options ahead of time. With a little planning and a firm image in mind of how you want your formal hairstyle to look, you'll ensure the best-looking you at your formal event.

  1. Check out your options. Finding out your options is the first step in choosing your formal hairstyle. Look through magazines and websites to find out what hairstyles are popular this season. Make sure to keep in mind your hair type while browsing. If your hair is very fine and thin, flip past the hairstyles showing off a head full of thick, cascading curls. Instead, opt for hairstyles that closely resemble your own hair type and length.
  2. Keep your face and face shape in mind. Round faces do well to sport hairstyles with some height on top, whereas long faces should have some sort of bang to shorten the appearance of the face.
  3. Match hair to your dress. Don't forget to keep your dress in mind when choosing a formal hairstyle. Your hair and gown should compliment, not combat, each other. If your dress is very intricate with a lot of details, you may want to choose a hairstyle that is on the simpler style. Having a glittery dress with an equally glittery hairstyle is overkill. 

  4. Decide what the focal point will be -- the dress or the hair. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you have a backless dress try choosing a formal hairstyle with your hair up to better show off the lines of the dress. If your dress is simple and either sleeved or with straps try your hair down or with only the sides up.
  5. Cut it out. When you find a few styles that you like, either cut them out or print them and keep the pictures handy -- you're going to need them to show to your stylist. Try to choose pictures that clearly show the hairstyle. If you can get pictures of the same hairstyle from two or more different angles, that will help your stylist even more. Also, make sure the pictures are in color. Black and white pictures don't show details as well.
  6. Get a consult. Your next step is to seek out a professional hairstylist that can create the hairstyle you want. If you have a regular stylist who's already familiar with your hair, you can book a consultation with her two or three weeks before your event. If you don't have a trusted hairdresser, get the names and numbers of hairstylists from friends or family whose hair you like. Since this would be a first encounter for both of you, leave plenty of time to find a different stylist if you don't feel as though you've clicked with the first one.
  7. What your stylist should do. During your consultation, don't forget to bring the pictures of your favorite formal hairstyles from your earlier search. It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to describing a hairstyle, nothing could be truer. Once your stylist knows what type of style you're after, she should take the time to consult with you on how well your choices will work with your own hair and face shape. She should offer alternate suggestions to tailor the style to suit you better, should you need it.
  8. Get any necessary services done. If any pre-styling services need to be performed, such as a trim, color touch-up or conditioning treatment, they can be done either during the consultation or at another appointment before the big day. You'll want to have your hair in its best condition for your event, so don't let split ends or roots ruin an otherwise perfect hairstyle.

Once you have the right formal hairstyle treat it with care throughout the night. Slip clothes on and off carefully and try to keep touching your hairstyle down to a minimum. You'll also want to make sure you've got an emergency repair kit in your purse in case your hair needs it. Carry a few bobby pins in your purse if your hair is pinned up, just in case something comes loose, and if you have the room, a travel sized, humidity resistant hair spray is always a good idea.


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