18 perfect prom updos for your best night ever

All Things Hair | 25 June 2018

Pretty updos for prom that’ll transform you into a prom princess. 

Heading to prom? Finding the perfect outfit is obviously key, but you can’t forget about the true pièce de résistance — your hair! And if you’re thinking about wearing your hair up, we’ve got just the thing: updos for prom inspired by some of our favourite A-list ladies.

We’ve looked to the stars to find you some dazzling prom updo hairstyles from the likes of Hailey Baldwin, Lili Reinhart and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Whether you’re aiming for cute, classic or sexy vibes, these eye-catching looks won’t disappoint.

18 red carpet-inspired updos for prom


prom updos: Riverdale star Lili Reinhart at the met gala with her blonde hair in a coiffed updo
Lili’s coiffed hair is giving us life. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

1. Coiffed hair

Keep your hair as high as your heels with teased coiffed hair like Lili Reinhart. It’s simple enough that it’ll go with any dress or make-up look, plus it’s great for boosting the look of finer hair.

TONI&GUY Root Lift Sculpting Powder

Editor’s tip: For volumised prom updo hairstyles, we’d recommend sprinkling a touch of the TONI&GUY Root Lift Sculpting Powder into your roots first. This texture-boosting powder adds just the right amount of grip to help your hair retain its lift.

prom updos: hilary duff on the red carpet with her blonde hair in a high ballerina bun wearing a black lace outfit
Pirouette into prom with this ballerina-inspired style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

2. Ballerina bun

If you’re planning on going for a dramatic makeup look, like a smokey eye or a bold lip like Hilary Duff’s, consider more simple prom hair updos, like the high bun.

Sweeping all of your hair up and out of your face will really put the emphasis on your features and make you look ultra classy in the process.

prom updos: model rosie huntington-whiteley on the red carpet with a sleek side bun hairstyle
A style that looks good from all angles. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

3. Side bun

If anyone can do a good bun, it’s Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and this side bun style is giving us major prom vibes. The ideal accompaniment for a strapless or one-shouldered gown as it draws attention to your collarbones, it’s a more unique take on the classic chignon.

Not going to prom? We think that this one would work really well for other occasions, as well as brides and bridesmaids, too.

prom updos: model olivia culpo with shiny glossy dark hair with a side parting and low bun
Sleek and glossy hair is an A-list fave. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

4. Slick side part

Slick hair with a defined side parting is a popular A-list look, seen on everyone from Selena Gomez to Miss Universe herself, Olivia Culpo. The style screams sophistication and with just a comb and a bit of gel, it’s definitely one of the prom hair updos you could easily do yourself.

VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel

Editor’s tip: If you’re eager to give Olivia’s sleek side-swept look a try yourself, the VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel is exactly what you need to master it. It’ll ensure you maintain that precise part and wet-look all night.

prom updos: Nicky Hilton Rothschild with her blonde hair in a braided chignon style
A good braided updo never goes out of style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

5. Braided chignon

Do we have any braids lovers out there? Join the club! Braids have the power to make any style look infinitely more intricate and that’s why we love them.

For example, Nicky Hilton Rothschild’s braided chignon is doing a killer job at showing off those showstopper earrings, wouldn’t you agree?

prom updos: actress Lily James with her light brown hair in an updo with a twisted detail
Twist your bangs for a little extra detail. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

6. Twisted bangs

Not great at braiding and wish there was an easier way? Avoid any prep stress with twisted prom updo hairstyles instead.

Lily James’ updo isn’t overly complicated but the way she’s twisted her bangs back and clipped them into her bun almost gives a braid-like effect – without actually having to braid. You can thank us later!

prom updos: model jasmine sanders with her golden bronde hair in a slicked back twisted updo
Jasmine Sanders can do no wrong in our eyes and this look proves it. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

7. Knot bun

Love your go-to messy bun but want to jazz it up and make it a bit fancier for prom? Try a knot bun!

Twisted hair knots are a regular feature on the runway at fashion week and with our girl crush Jasmine Sanders also a fan, we’re sold.

prom updos: model hailey baldwin with her dirty blonde hair in a french braided updo
Add a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ with a French braid like Hailey’s. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

8. French braided updo

When you see photos of elaborate prom updos on Pinterest, you probably think they’re all way too difficult, right? But here we’ve got a look that you can probably already do – you just don’t know it yet!

Instead of simply finishing your regular French braid with a hair tie, take the end of your braid and twist it around on itself to form a bun, secure, et voila – you’ve got yourself a French braided updo! See, told you you could do it!

Want to see it in action? You can follow along with our video tutorial.

TONI&GUY Sea Salt Texturising Spray

Editor’s tip: Finding it hard to braid? It could be that your hair is too silky, in which case try giving it a quick spritz of sea salt spray.

Sea salt sprays (like the TONI&GUY Sea Salt Texturising Spray) give the hair a more tousled, beachy texture, which works better with braids and gives them more hold.

prom updos: actress Alicia Silverstone with her light brown hair in a wispy milkmaid braid style
We’re totally buggin’ over Alicia’s boho style. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

9. Milkmaid braid

Okay, so we’re almost tempted to keep this one to ourselves as it’s a bit of a secret hair hack of ours, but we’re nice so we will share it with you. Like the look of Alicia Silverstone’s boho, whimsical updo? Well, it is, in fact, a milkmaid braid which just so happens to be one of the easiest prom hair updos to DIY ever.

Take a look at our step-by-step how-to – you’ll be shocked at how straightforward it actually is!

prom updos: back shot of jessica chastain with classic french twist hairstyle on the Cannes film festival red carpet
Look like a silver screen star with a classic French twist. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

10. French twist

If you’re eager to add something different to your mane, we suggest you give this classic French twist hairstyle we saw on Jessica Chastain a chance.

While this elegant updo may look impossible to recreate, it isn’t! Don’t believe us? Just follow our simple tutorial on how to do a French twist. Trust us, you’ll be channelling your inner French girl in no time!

prom updos: lily collins with braided bun updo hairstyle at the golden globes
Channel your inner princess with this braided updo! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

11. Braided bun

When British actress Lily Collins rocked up to the Golden Globes with this incredible braided updo, we knew this Disney-worthy hairstyle would be destined for prom. And before you get major envy, you can read our tutorial on how to get a braided updo at home.

prom hair updos: abbey lee kershaw with messy undone updo hairstyle
You’re guaranteed a night to remember with this gorgeous look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

12. Messy updo

Looking for prom updos that are stylishly modern? Then prepare to fall in love with this romantic messy updo we spotted Abbey Lee Kershaw sporting – isn’t it gorgeous?

With lush tumbling curls and a few wispy tendrils at the front, this easy-breezy style is basically every lazy girl’s dream come true (we can all relate!).

prom updos: side shot of draya michele with sleek hairstyle with metallic foling in it at the espys party
Gilded gold or shimmering silver, metallic hair is where it’s at. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

13. Metallic updo

Head to prom perfectly on-trend with a sophisticated,  low-slung bun, just like Draya Michele did for this exclusive event. Try pairing the look with metallic specks for some major high-fashion vibes.

The best thing about this surreal look? It works a treat on ladies with short and long locks, and on all hair types, too – yay!

VO5 Fixing Spray For Glitter

Editor’s tip: Can’t figure out how to get your glitter foil to stay? The VO5 Fixing Spray For Glitter will do just the trick! Just spray directly onto the areas you’ve applied the foil and it’ll keep your style in place – without making it sticky.

prom updos: keke palmer with triple box braided updo hairstyle on the instyle red carpet
Not sure how to style your box braids for prom? Look to Keke Palmer’s hair as reference! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

14. Triple box braided updo

Currently rocking box braids? Strike the perfect balance between edgy and stylish by working your braids into an elegant triple-twisted updo.

This effortlessly unique ‘do is ideal for when you can’t take the heat of having a full head of box braids, but still want to rule the dance floor. Ready to get into the groove?

prom updos: front shot of rihanna at the Valerian and the city of a thousand planets red carpet with a soft undone ponytail
Honestly, who wouldn’t want to look like RiRi? Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

15. Romantic curly ponytail

Trends may come and go, but ponytail hairstyles will never go out of style. Now we know what you’re thinking: a high ponytail? Yawn, right? Well, not if you add in some romantic loose curls, like Rihanna has done.

Sometimes in the world of prom updo hairstyles, it’s the simplest of looks that are the most beautiful. Now, who’s ready for their prom picture? You are!

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray

Editor’s tip: Not naturally blessed with curly locks? If you’re using a curling wand to recreate RiRi’s look, remember to prep your hair with heat defence like the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Protection Shine Spray to protect it from damage.

prom updos: amanda seyfried on the red carpet with double dutch braided bun updo wearing red dress
Double the fun with this gorgeous hairstyle! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

16. Double Dutch braid bun

Now, if there are two things we can’t live without, it’s double Dutch braids and buns. And while we’re so often torn between which look to rock, Amanda Seyfried shows us how to combine them in the most elegant way possible!

The second we saw her red carpet look we fell completely and utterly in love. And luckily for you, you can DIY this ‘do at home by following our lovely double dutch braided bun tutorial.

prom updos: back shot of kate bosworth with sleek twisted floral updo hairstyle at the met gala
An accessory or two never goes amiss. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

17. Floral updo

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: hair accessories are the quickest way to jazz up any prom hairstyles and updos.

Whether you decide to pair your updo with flowers (like Kate Bosworth has done, here) or some pretty pearls is all up to you, but one thing’s for sure: you’ll be tressed to impress!

prom updos: side shot of Once Upon A Time star Jennifer Morrison with fishtail plait hairstyle on the red carpet
There’s nothing fishy about this elegant hairstyle! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

18. Fishtail plait

Have you mastered the fishtail plait? There’s no better time than prom to put your styling skills to test by copying this ethereal fishtail braid updo as seen on Once Upon A Time star Jennifer Morrison, here.

This elegant and effortlessly-chic hairstyle is super easy to create at home, and if you need some guidance, we’ve got all the info you need in our step-by-step guide.


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