Let’s be honest: most prom hair inspiration seems to be all about long hair and intricate updos, which can make finding short prom hairstyles difficult. But that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of shorter styles to choose from. Our prom hairstyles for short hair are the perfect formal hairstyles for those with short hair (be it a short bob, a lob or a pixie cut).
We’ve put together a (pretty extensive!) list of our favourite prom-appropriate ‘dos for all you girls currently rocking a short crop. So, if you’re struggling to find occasion-worthy styles, we’ve got you covered. Now start scrolling and get styling – that prom queen title won’t win itself!
1. 1950s glamour waves
If curls are your fave, take your regular ringlets up a notch for prom with glamorous movie star curls. Accentuate the volume with a deep side part and add in an ornate clip for serious old-school glamour vibes.
2. Half-up braided bun
This half-up half-down braided bun is perfect if your hair is too short to go into a full updo. For a textured finish, softly curl your strands with a curling wand before styling and pancake your braid for added volume.
Next read: More half-up bun inspiration from Instagram
Editor’s tip: Jzuzh up any of these short hairstyles for prom with a spritz of VO5 Dry Texturising Spray. Not only will this give your strands instantly more texture but it also provides extra hold to make your style last longer, making it a prom hair must!
3. Twisted bun
This simple twisted bun is a good one to try if you’re rocking a long bob. It looks complex, but it’s really not – all you need to do is take a front section of hair, twist it and wrap it around a low bun et voila, you’ve got yourself a picture-perfect prom look.
4. Vintage-inspired finger waves
For this prom season, why not draw inspiration from the 1920s and rock a seriously chic flapper hairstyle? It’s a great era from which to get party hair ideas, not only because it was a truly decadent period, but it’s also a time where women celebrated their short hair!
Editor’s tip: To get an authentic vintage look, create your waves by applying some VO5 Mega Hold Gel Spray and combing your hair into a soft wave pattern, using bobby pins to help hold the waves in place if needed.
5. Waterfall braid
Want to go all out to impress with a braid? Of all the braided short hairstyles for prom the waterfall braid is one of the most versatile. As all of the detail is up top, it means you don’t have to have long hair to get the style and can wear your remaining hair down, either in curls like this or sleek and straight.
Follow our waterfall braid how-to to get the look.
6. Romantic waves
Soft, gentle waves can look classy and wonderfully feminine – so it’s a great style for prom. Short hairstyles pair wonderfully with waves, so whether you have tresses just above the collarbones or a slightly longer pixie cut, delicate waves will always add a romantic feel.
7. Curly pixie
This prom short hair look is great if you don’t have much time to come up with a new style just for prom. All that’s left to do is add a decorative headpiece to your hair to make your style prom-ready!
8. Slicked back updo
Slicked back hair is a look we see on the carpet all the time. So, since prom is basically your chance to dress up like a celeb for the night, use this as an opportunity to channel your inner A-lister with a sleek and polished swept back style, using our tutorial.
Editor’s tip: You don’t actually have to get your hair wet to get the wet hair look, you know, all you need is a little gel! The VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel is made for looks like these, giving a wet look finish that looks shiny even once it’s dried.
9. Twisted ponytail
If understated styles are more your vibe, this pretty twisted ponytail will be right up your street. Ideal for showing off high neck or backless dresses, don’t let anyone tell you a ponytail can’t be glam!
10. The smooth bob
Smooth, straight and sleek, this polished bob is the epitome of modern sophistication. Plus it’s a perfectly understated way to wear prom hair for short hair if you’ve opted for a more elaborate prom dress and really want it to shine!
Editor’s tip: Starting with freshly-washed hair, dry it straight using a hairdryer, then use hair straighteners to go over it to achieve a poker straight look. Just don’t forget to guard your locks with a heat protectant to limit heat damage.
The TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray is practically made for this style. As well as protecting your hair, it’s also formulated with smoothing keratin and marula oil which offer up to 72 hours of frizz protection, so you can enjoy your prom hair for a few more days.
11. Embellished TWA
Thinking about embracing the natural look for prom? This teeny weeny afro with diamante accessories is proof that you can hit the dance floor with a gown and rock your short crop.
12. Double headband braid
Introducing another of our favourite short hair prom ideas: the double headband braid. As you can see, braiding the front section of your hair into two parallel French braids across your head creates a gorgeous crown effect – perfect for any prom queen.
Braid beginner? You can start with a classic headband braid first to make it easier.
13. Half-up bun
Left your hair ’til the last minute? Don’t panic – you don’t need to spend hours to have a great prom hairstyle. This half-up messy bun is a fun and playful look that you can do in a flash and you don’t need to worry about it looking perfect.
14. Pastel bob
Prefer to play with colour? Pastel hair is just perfect for creating a standout style for prom and short hairstyles, like this, are a great way of introducing a colourful, fairy-tale touch to your look. From mermaid-green hues to delicately pretty pinks and lilacs, going pastel for the night is easier than ever with temporary spray-on dyes, hair cosmetics and hair chalks.
15. Messy top knot
You don’t have to worry about finding a hairstyle that matches your dress – this messy top knot will go with any outfit.
16. Bobby pins
Don’t have time to go out and buy a new hair accessory? Or don’t want to spend money on a clip you’ll only wear once? You might already have something on your dressing table you can use…
17. Faux hawk
If you’ve got a short bob or pixie, a fresh faux hawk might be just what you need to complete your look. With extra height at the top and slicked back sides, it’s just the right balance between edgy and elegant.
18. Beachy waves
It’s hard to go wrong with classic beachy waves. It’s always in style, it’s universally flattering, and it would go well with any dress. If you’re in need of inspiration, check out the red carpet looks of JLaw, Kaylie Cuoco, or Julianne Hough- they’ve been spotted many times rocking the look with different lengths.
19. Glamorous rock chick quiff
Romantic styles not your scene? Prom hairstyles don’t have to be all ethereal and romantic, so rebel against the traditional with a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired quiff.
20. Crown braid updo
Don’t be fooled by the intricacy, this crown braid updo is a whole lot easier to do than you’d think. Rather than going the full way around the head, it’s made up of two large Dutch braids, tied together at the ends in a bun to create a crown effect.
See, we told you prom hair for short hair could be impressive! And you can learn how to master the crown braid on shorter strands, here.
21. Sweet side part updo
Changing your parting can be a great way to transform your look for prom – or any other event. And if you’re looking for short prom hairstyles that you can enjoy without having to spend hours getting ready, this one might be perfect for you as it’s so effortless.
22. Knot bun
Want to make your basic bun pretty for prom? Just swap your regular updo for something altogether more fashionable by trying runway-inspired knot bun. Who said simple wasn’t stylish?
23. Dramatic curls
Want to go big on drama for prom? Transform your bob into a voluminous mane of big, bouncy curls using hair rollers to create deep, beautiful ringlets.
Never used rollers before? Here’s how to use them.
24. Twisted bangs
Open up your face and flatter your fringe with these simple yet effective twisted bangs. To make it more party appropriate, you can also add in some curls to enhance any layers you might have and give a more choppy, textured look.
25. Floral afro
Want to really set yourself up for a prom queen nomination? This hairstyle will wow as soon as you walk through the door. If you don’t win, who cares, you did a great job at adoring and celebrating your very own crown!
Not feeling too confident when it comes to hair styling? Don’t stress, because there is a quick and easy way to make your short crop prom-ready: hair accessories! We know that some might consider this a cheat (well, it is one of the simplest prom hairstyles for short hair on our list), but in our opinion, accessories really can make or break an outfit.
As we mentioned above, prom hair for short hair doesn’t have to be anything too crazy or over the top. Sweeping your hair back with a headband is sometimes all you need to give your hair a night-time update – leaving you with plenty of time to spend perfecting your makeup.
28. Half-up bouffant
Go vintage this prom season with a retro style like this half-up beehive. One part Audrey Hepburn and one part Amy Winehouse, it’s everything good prom hairstyles for short hair should be – timelessly on-trend.
Editor’s tip: Flat roots leaving you underwhelmed? For a bumped-up beehive, try spritzing some of the TIGI Bed Head Oh Bee Hive! Dry Shampoo into your roots, then teasing your hair towards the root. The difference in volume will be instantly obvious!
29. Half-up double unicorn braids
What’s a girl to do when faced with so many different hairstyles? Tie them all into one epic look, of course! This 3-in-1 half-up, braided and wavy style is ticking so many style boxes – guarantees that there’ll be no risk of accidental twinning with anyone else.