5 Holiday Hair Looks You Can Do in Under Five Minutes
Here, hair experts share their favorite easy, festive hairstyles—along with tips on how to get the look in minutes.
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Thanksgiving: Wavy Hair With a Twist
If you’re venturing far for turkey day, show gratitude to your hair with this sweet holiday hair look (worn by actress Tara Sutaria), recommended by Paul Totilo, a stylist at The Salon at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. This classic, pretty look will help boost your confidence, especially if you are nervous about seeing friends and family you haven’t spent time with in a while. Plus, it’s quick and easy to create.
How to do it: Wash and dry your hair as you normally would. Or, if you’re typically someone who showers at night, let your hair dry as you sleep. Spray some light, workable hairspray, then brush to remove any stickiness. Use a curling iron—size dependent on how big you want your curl—and go to town. Truly, with this look, it’s all customizable and up to your mood. “Usually the front sections—from the ears forward—I curl away from the face. But, there is no rhyme or reason, so have fun,” Totilo says.
Once you’re satisfied with the curls, shake your hair out with widely separated fingers. Then pull an inch of hair from each side and twist the piece away from the front until you arrive at the center back of your head. Finish the look with a bobby pin to match the color of your hair, spray some hairspray for added hold—and enjoy. Or as Totilo says, go eat!
Try this: When you’re using a hot tool, you want to give your locks a little TLC against the heat, making The Beachwaver Co. Great Barrier Heat Protectant Hairspray ($28; amazon.com) a winner. For added shine, consider the BioSilk Titanium Professional Curling Iron Kit ($85; amazon.com), which exudes a little less warmth, making for killer curls with less damage.
Black Friday Shopping: The Casual Ponytail
There are the families who run 5Ks on Thanksgiving morning—and the ones who prepare for the marathon of Black Friday shopping. If you’re part of the latter crew, you need a style that can keep up with the hustle, bustle, and chaos. Jana Rago, owner and lead stylist at Jana Rago Studios, says this easy pony is effortless, on trend, and won’t damage your hair. “Whether you’re shopping online or braving the crowds, this somewhat messy high ponytail, seen on Hailey Bieber, is an easy look to accomplish in less than five minutes,” she says.
How to do it: No hot tools needed for this sophisticated style, as Rago says it’s all about the height and the accessories. Gather all of your hair and pull it back into a high ponytail, using a scrunchie. Yep, we’re going back to the 90s for this shopping look. “The scrunchie will give the ponytail a trendy look while not damaging the hair like a traditional hair elastic can,” Rago says. Then, follow the top of your ears and meet the middle of your head and fasten your high pony there. You can run a brush to fix any strays or bumps.
If you want a slightly less structured approach, carefully pull out a few shorter pieces in front of your ears for a slightly messy look.
Try this: These Celestial Silk Mulberry Silk Scrunchies ($18 for 3; amazon.com) are available in nine varieties and are soft, durable, and add a touch of character. For a bolder look, consider a patent-leather blush scrunchie, like this one from Kit-sch ($29; mykitsch.com).
Holiday Party at the Office: High Bun
If you want to put your best style forward after a long work day to celebrate with coworkers, a high bun, like the one seen here on Tracee Ellis Ross, can be the happy medium between casual and glam holiday hair. Marshall Lin, a celebrity hairstylist in New York City, recommends a polished look for any work function—especially a seasonal gathering that includes your boss or clients. “A high bun will show off your face—and your confidence,” he says. Plus, you can easily pull it off in the office bathroom when you’re already running late.
How to do it: Lin recommends starting with a texturizing spray to keep your hair looking dry but sticky enough to cooperate. Slowly, take your time and brush your hair all the way up. “The location of the bun is everything,” Lin says. “So you might want to turn your hair upside down to get the ponytail as high as possible.” Then you can use a hair tie and tighten until the ponytail is secure. For some extra dazzle, he suggests braiding your hair or twisting it, then wrapping it as a bun around the pony. To ensure it stays put if an epic dance party breaks out later, choose a hairspray you trust.
Try this: Alterna’s Anti-Aging Perfect Texture Finishing Spray ($23; amazon.com) is multi-purpose, and ideal for a spritz before and after you style. With bodifying polymeters, the formula prevents your strands from clumping together. For a texture spray that also packs major volume for your hair, try NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Volume Texture Mist ($12; amazon.com). Want a hairspray that holds—and dazzles? Try Sexy Hair Fun Bling-It-On Amethyst Sparkle Hairspray ($16; ulta.com) for a hint of glitter.
Holiday Celebration With Family: The Classic Curl
Heading home for the holidays is often a balance of spending time with family, visiting with old friends, and last-minute shopping. For family gatherings, Regina Whitworth, hairstylist and founder of Regina’s Creations, recommends classic curls that stay out of your face, like Blake Lively's holiday-worthy hair look.
How to do it: Whitworth says these classic curls work best with slightly oily hair. She recommends spraying dry shampoo on your scalp before you head to bed. “As you start getting ready for dinner or the party, throw hot rollers in your hair. You can leave them in as you put on your makeup and get everyone else ready,” she says. After you take the curlers out, pin your hair to one side with bobby pins, and gently add hairspray. You can add a fun barrette to finish the look, or leave it natural.
Try this: Before you tuck yourself into bed for a long winter’s nap, spritz on this dry shampoo from Paul Mitchell ($22; amazon.com). It’s safe for all hair types, and doesn’t leave that pesky white residue that some formulas cake on. For medium-style curls, try CHI Smart Magnify Medium Ceramic Rollers ($135; amazon.com) that are soft enough to wear while you’re primping for the party.
Romantic New Year’s Eve Celebration: Loose, Sexy Waves
A romantic holiday celebration calls for an equally romantic look. Anna Jackson, celebrity stylist at Chicago-based Boss Hair Group, suggests very loose, sexy waves. With minimal effort, you will wow your one-and-only with a holiday hair look that’s natural, casual, and sultry.
How to do it: Jackson says to blow dry your hair as you normally would, using a round brush if you’re comfortable. Then, section your hair into four quadrants, with two in the front and two in the back. Spray each section with a light hairspray. Then, using a two-inch curling iron, take each subsection and begin rolling the curling iron at the base of the scalp away from your face. “Release the hair from the iron and leave it to cool. Once done, gently finger through the curls, and let them hang,” she says. You can finish with hairspray, or keep it frizz-free with a light oil spray.
Try this: For holiday hair that looks like you splurged on a blowout, pay the one-time investment for a Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($400; amazon.com). It leaves hair healthy, bouncy, and beautiful.