Best Prom Hairstyles for Long Hair

Curl it? Leave it loose and wavy? Half up, half down? For teens with long hair, there are endless styling possibilities for the big night. We found 18 prom-ready hairstyles from celebs and got pro tips for recreating their looks at home.

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Thick, Glossy Curls


Amanda Seyfried's retro look recalls old Hollywood glamour. "It's very Veronica Lake," says Laurent Dufourg, celebrity stylist and founder of Privé Salons in Los Angeles and New York.

How to do it: Blow-dry hair. Then, starting halfway down the head, curl hair using a large-barrel curling iron. To get a big, strong spiral in front, similar to Amanda's, use a round brush to twirl together the front pieces. Add extra sheen with a shine serum.

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Video: How to Rock Retro Curls

Formal Event Hair: Retro Curls

Go retro for prom or your next formal event with fun and easy pin curls.

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Straight and Shiny


Beyoncé's sleek "lob" (a.k.a. "long bob") is easily doable, even for girls without stick-straight hair.

How to do it: "Start with getting a great geometric cut a few weeks before the prom," says celebrity stylist Ron King of bô Salon in Austin, Texas. For wavy hair, use a flat brush to blow out kinks while hair is still damp. Follow with a flat iron and shine serum, focusing on ends. For straight hair, blow-dry as usual and use a flat iron to get super-smooth.

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Prom Hair Tips

3 Surprising Tips For Prom Hair

Find out why you shouldn't wash your hair before your next formal event — and other quick must-have tips.

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The Schoolgirl Braid


When worn like Katie Cassidy, a braid is utterly grown-up and perfect for prom. To get her updated take on the classic school-girl look, just let out some loose pieces around the face.

How to do it: This style works best for girls with extra-long hair. Blow out hair with a volumizing spray or mousse, says celebrity stylist Eugene Toye of the Rita Hazan salon in New York. Then, tease hair with a fine-tooth comb working in two-inch sections throughout the head. Secure hair in a low ponytail, and pull out strands around the face to loosely curl. Braid hair starting from the nape of neck, and flip the long plait over the shoulder.

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High Pony Tail Fishtail Braid Tutorial

Pretty Prom Hair: How To Make a Fishtail High Ponytail

Look great for prom or any formal occasion.

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Soft Waves


Gentle waves keep Hilary Duff's half-up sweep looking touchably soft and sweet.

How to do it: Holding a curling iron vertically, curl just the bottom few inches of hair. "At the top, gently tease the crown area for a bit of lift—but think volume, not 1960s bouffant," says celebrity stylist Carrie Butterworth of the Patrick Melville Salon in New York City. Then, secure a small section of hair half up in the back with pins or an elastic that matches the shade of hair.

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How to Achieve Loose Curls

Formal Event Hair: Loose Curls

Loose curls swept to the side are a sophisticated style for prom or any formal event.

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Dainty Braids


A few tiny, face-framing braids are perfect, natural accessories to Blake Lively's long locks.

How to do it: First, coax hair into soft, loose waves by blowing dry with mousse and a medium-barrel thermal round brush. Then, braid three or four small plaits and pin them under waves with bobby pins. They'll be secure, yet move seamlessly with the rest of the hair, says celebrity stylist Paul Labrecque of the Paul Labrecque Salon in New York.

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Braided Halo Tutorial

Pretty Prom Hair: How to Make A Braided Hippie Crown Hairstyle

Look great for prom or any formal occasion. Follow these simple steps to style your hair in a braided hippie crown.

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The Gussied-Up Pony


Zhang Ziyi's spiraling curls and chic side part turn a standard ponytail into glossy, prom-worthy 'do.

How to do it: This style is a cinch to create, according to Toye. Make a side part by pushing bangs to one side, or just smoothing a few long layers over one side of the forehead. Work a small amount of shine serum through strands, then curl hair. Secure in a ponytail at the nape of neck. Finish with shine spray for extra shimmer.

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Super-Straight, Ultra-Chic


"Dakota Fanning's long, straight, center-parted hair is reminiscent of popular 1970s looks," says Labrecque.

How to do it: Keep the style sleek and modern by flat-ironing hair and setting with a lightweight hair spray. Separate strands with fingers for a piece-y effect.

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How to Create a Faux Short Style

Pretty Prom Hair: How To Make a Faux Short Hairstyle

Look great for prom or any formal occasion. Follow these simple steps to create a faux short hairstyle.

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Curls, Defined


Jessica Lucas wears her bouncy curls in a simple center-part.

How to do it: Try this curl-perfecting technique from Nicholas Penna Jr., head stylist and owner of Salon Capri in Newton, Massachusetts: To add texture, take a lock of hair and curl it with a curling iron. Take another lock of hair and curl it with the first. Release, spray with a firm-hold hairspray, then separate locks gently with fingers.

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How to Accessorize Bouncy Curls

Pretty Prom Hair: How To Make Big Curls with a Bow

Look great for prom or any formal occasion. Follow these steps to style your hair with big bold curls.

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Full and Fabulous


Pump up the volume with a full 'do like Amber Heard's.

How to do it: Start by working a root lifter through hair. To really amp up locks, curl hair with two different curling irons, one medium or small, and one larger. Finish with a texturizing spray. "To make sure curls last through the after-party, set them with a bobby pin for about 10 minutes after you curl," says Dufourg. "They'll hold their shape even better." (Plus, your daughter can do her make-up while they cool.)

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Video: How to Get Bombshell Waves

Pretty Prom Hair: Bombshell Waves

Look great for prom or any formal occasion. Follow these simple steps to style your hair into beautiful bomshell waves.

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Gentle Waves


Leighton Meester's gentle waterfall of waves is ultra-pretty—and not at all fussy.

How to do it: To create not-so-perfect waves, curl just the last few inches of hair. Don't start at the top, or hair will be too full, cautions Butterworth. Finger-tousle curls to loosen, then finish with a few spritzes of hairspray.

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Get East Beachy Waves at Home

How to Create Perfect Beachy Waves

Get perfect beachy waves every time with this easy tutorial.

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Sleek and Simple


Ellen Page's just-barely-wavy blow-out is the perfect complement to any gown, according to Penna.

How to do it: Add volumizer to hair to maximize fullness. Then, use a round brush to create volume and loose waves while blowing out hair. When dry, brush and add a dab of shine serum to keep strands looking sleek.

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Sassy Ringlets


Keke Palmer brings retro, springy curls back, but makes the style modern by pulling her ringlets into a trendy side-pony.

How to do it: To make the curls, hold a curling iron at vertically and use fingers to wrap hair around the barrel. Then, gently slide the iron out of the curl, drawing downward. Roll up the ringlet again with fingers and spray generously with hairspray. When the curl cools and the mist dries, release. Don't comb or brush the coil, says Toye, or you'll loosen the curl.

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Rock Star Waves


Cascading waves, like Vanessa Hudgens', can add edginess to any prom look.

How to do it: "To create the funky waves that Vanessa Hudgens rocks, use a flat iron to make an 'S' wave—as you straighten, rock the iron back and forth to create the wave," says Penna. (This technique can be tricky, so ask a stylist for help, or practice a few weeks before prom night). Let the waves fly free like Vanessa, or loosely tie them back.

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Learn How to Clip In Hair Extensions

Pretty Prom Hair: How To Clip In Hair Extensions

Look great for prom or any formal occasions Follow these simple steps to clip in hair extensions.

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The Go-Low Pony


Jamie Chung's low ponytail is casual yet glamorous.

How to do it: Part hair in the center. Make a low, loose ponytail, and let a few pretty tendrils fall loose to frame the face, says Butterworth. Add a few curls to the ponytail with a big-barrel curling iron.

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Wavy Layers


Girls with naturally wavy hair can easily achieve Alia Shawkat's floaty layered look.

How to do it: After washing, apply mousse to hair (concentrating on roots), scrunch with fingers, and let it dry au natural, says Dufourg. Then, finger comb the waves and tousle. Voila!

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Half-Up, Half-Down


Extra volume at the crown puts a fresh spin on America Ferrera's half up, half down look. "This is a great look for round faces, as it lengths them," says Dufourg. It'll accentuate cheekbones and make the face appear instantly slimmer.

How to do it: Work in a dollop of volumizing mousse and tease hair on the crown of head. Then, brush hair back and pin half up half down. Add some flare with a barrette or bow.

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Sweet Spirals


Pretty waves like Emma Roberts' have an air of carefree glamour.

How to do it: "Make a deep side part, then wrap hair around a large-barrel curling iron held vertically," says Labrecque. "If you want your bangs held together and swooshed to the side, like Emma Roberts', add a dab of pomade for hold."

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How to Get Wavy Hair

How to Get Perfect Wavy Hair

Watch our video to learn how to create perfect waves in just a few simple steps.

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Retro Waves


Haley Bennett's gentle tousle is a take on the classic 1940s wave, according to Labrecque.

How to do it: Curl hair with a large-barrel curling iron and spritz with a soft-hold gel. Gently finger-comb curls and use a touch of weightless hairspray to set.

Copyright © 2010 Meredith Corporation.