Formal Prom Hair Styles

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Sarah Hyland

Sarah Hyland
Sarah Hyland. Kevork Djansezian / Getty

In this gallery of formal prom hairstyles, we share 30 gorgeous updos that we went gaga over. You'll see classic formal styles, side dos, some mussy looks and a few braided updos. All of them are simply gorgeous.

When it comes to choosing your hairstyle, I recommend:

  • Pick the dress first. This will help you determine if you want your hair up or down and just how formal or understated you want your hairstyle.
  • You don't want your hair competing with your dress or your jewelry. Keep it simple, unless the dress is simple and you can make your hairstyle front and center.
  • Consider your hair texture when choosing an updo. The super mussy, wavy hairstyles that are trendy and all over Pinterest are gorgeous, but they aren't going to work on someone with pin-straight hair that's not super long.
  • It's best to have a consultation and initial run-through before your big day. When I had my hair consultation for my wedding, I ended up with a hairstyle I hated. I was able to communicate with the stylist and on my wedding day, I actually loved my hair. If it wasn't for the consultation, I would have been so upset.

Enjoy this gallery!

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Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Panettiere. Frazer Harrison / Getty

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Lily James

Lily James
Lily James. Getty Images

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Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl. Andy Kropa / Getty Images

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Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley. Dave Hogan / Getty Images

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Shay Mitchell

Shay Mitchell
Shay Mitchell. Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

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Anika Noni Rose

Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose. Kris Connor / Getty Images

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Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

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Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

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Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde. Jason Merritt / Getty Images

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Diana Argon

Dianna Agron
Dianna Agron. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt. Jason Merritt / Getty Images

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Emmy Rossum

Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum. Brad Barket / Getty Images

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Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain. Dave Hogan / Getty Images

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Claire Danes

Claire Danes
Claire Danes. Rob Loud / Getty Images

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Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick
Anna Kendrick. Michael Buckner / Getty Images

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Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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Emmy Rossum

Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum. Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

How to get this look:

1. Finger comb hair back from forehead (messy is good, so skip the comb). You want hair to go straight back because you don't want a part.

2. Pull hair into a ponytail just above the nape of your neck. Wind hair into a bun and secure with an elastic band. Pin back strays with bobby pins (have someone help you). If you want a really messy look, leave the stray hairs out.

3. Hairspray will keep the 'do in place. You can tug some strands of hair up so it's looser than the rest of hair.

Here is the classic prom hairstyle photo gallery:

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Emmanuelle Chriqui

Emmanuelle Chriqui
Emmanuelle Chriqui. Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

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Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

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Maggie Grace

Maggie Grace
Maggie Grace. Larry Busacca / Getty Images

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Becki Newton

Becki Newton
Becki Newton. Rob Loud / Getty Images

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Gwen Stefani

Singer Gwen Stefani arrives at the 2009 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 22, 2009 in West Hollywood, California
Singer Gwen Stefani arrives at the 2009 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 22, 2009 in West Hollywood, California. Michael Buckner / Getty Images

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Add a Braid to Your Updo

Berenice Bejo
Berenice Bejo. Michael Buckner / Getty Images

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Add an Antique Brooch Used as a Barrette

Wrap bun
Sarah Potempo / Instagram

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Sarah Dunn

Sarah Dunn
Sarah Dunn. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

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Amber Heard

Amber Heard
Amber Heard. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

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