The 10 Hottest Prom Hairstyle Trends

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The Best Hairstyles for This Year's Prom

Bella and Gigi Hadid
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Here, we've handpicked 10 most popular prom and homecoming hairstyle trends that will stand the test of time. But, first, consider the following tips.

4 Rules to Live By When Picking Your Prom Hairstyle

When it comes to finding the perfect hairstyle for prom or homecoming, abide by these 4 rules and you'll be good to go:

No. 1: Choose the dress first. Your hair should complement your dress, not compete with it. The same goes for your prom makeup. Figure out your makeup last -- after you've chosen the dress and hairstyle.

No. 2: Consider your personality. You want to be comfortable at prom, which means you want to look like the very best version of yourself. If you are a casual girl who never wears makeup, the prom is not the day to break out your inner Kim Kardashian. Leave the formal updos for the classic, traditional girls in your school.

No. 3: Work with your hair texture, but consider changing it up to surprise everyone. Curly hair looks amazing either down or up, left curly or blown-dried super-straight (that will surprise everyone!). Straight hair can be curled into waves and wound into ornate updos (with the help of pins and hairspray). Wavy hair can be either straightened or curled and is the perfect texture for half-up/half-down styles as well as updos.

No. 4: Finally, when selecting styles, think ahead 20 years. Those prom photos may show up on 2038's version of Facebook, so you want to look fabulous and timeless. 

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The Messy Updo

Messy is trendy and has been for a few years. These prom and homecoming hairstyles are incredibly stylish, yet aren't shellacked in place.

Hair type: Messy updos work best with a bit of wave or curl in them. If you have super straight hair, you'll need the help of a curling iron or hot rollers before attempting the updo. You also need hair that's at least to the shoulders or longer. While you can do these yourself, I recommend the help of a pro or at least a friend.

Personality: Messy updos work with all personalities.

Dress type: Works great with strapless dresses because they show off the neckline. Great for dresses with straps, too. Avoid this look if you have an ornate dress, if you have a lot going on below the neck, you want something simple and sleek above the neck.

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Half-Up/Half-Down

Saoirse Ronan with half updo on red carpet
David M. Benett/Getty Images

Guys love to see your hair, that's no secret, but wearing your hair down can be too boring for prom. These half-up/half-down looks are particularly sexy because they feature both your skin and your hair.

Hair type: This style works on all hair lengths and textures, except hair that's shorter than the chin. To keep this look from being boring, you might add curl, waves or extensions to your hair.

Personality: This is a classic prom trend, so it works best for girls who prefer traditional, classic looks. But you can funk this style up with a beehive pouf.

Dress type: These styles work well with strapless dresses

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Classic Updo

Zendaya with classic updo hair
Don Arnold/Getty Images

These classic prom hairstyles include mostly updos featured on the celebrity red carpet. Choose from a variety of classic hairstyles, a roundup of chignons and a gallery of ballerina buns. Be careful not to make your updo too tight, or pulled-back because all you will see in pictures is your forehead and neck. Opt for a side part with bangs angled gently over the forehead.

Hair texture: Works on all hair types from straight to super curly. Hair should be at least to your shoulders.

Personality: This style is best on classic, traditional girls.

Dress type: Works well with most dress types. Avoid casual, flowing dresses. Great hairstyle if you are featuring a necklace, earrings or an ornate bodice.

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Long Hair

Jessica Alba with long hair on red carpet
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Who says you have to put hair in an updo for prom? You can go straight and sleek, or opt for bouncy curls or beachy waves. Just don't show up at prom looking as you do every day at school. If you are wearing your hair down and loose, make sure it hits below the top of your dress. Otherwise, it can look boxy. If your hair isn't long enough, you can get extensions just for prom. Or grow out your hair.

Hair texture: Works on all hair types.

Personality: Works with all personalities, except traditional girls, who are better off with an updo.

Dress type: Balance out a tight-fitting, curve-hugging dress with loose, flowing waves or curls. This look works well with strapless dresses and spaghetti straps. Avoid wearing your hair down if the dress is a halter or covers the chest.

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Short Hair

Mary J. Blige on red carpet
Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

Who says you have to go long at prom? Short hair is sassy and sophisticated. With the right dress and jewelry, even a pixie cut can look dressed up.

Hair texture: Works on all hair types except super thick and curly.

Personality: Edgy, funky, casual, sporty.

Dress type: You can wear any dress with short hair. Consider a dress that flatters your body shape rather than your hairstyle.

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Braids

models show off braided hairstyles
Arun Nevader/Getty Images

Braids are more popular than ever. Try a bun wrapped in a braid, a braid as a headband or curly hair loosely braided into a romantic updo.

Hair texture: Straight or wavy. Works on all hair lengths, except super short.

Personality: Casual, romantic, sporty.

Dress type: It really depends on the braids.

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Ponytail

Jessica Alba with ponytail on red carpet
C. Flanigan/Getty Images

A sleek ponytail or the super trendy side ponytail can set you apart from the crowd at prom this year. Paired with the right dress and jewelry, a ponytail can be your best prom hair option.

Hair texture: Works best with long, straight hair. If you have wavy hair, straighten it with a flat iron first. Avoid a ponytail if you have curly hair. Play up your makeup with smokey eyes.

Personality: Great on sophisticates, sporty girls, casual girls and book worms. Just be sure your hair doesn't look as if you pulled it back for soccer practice.

Dress type: Short dresses with flouncy skirts, modern dresses and long, curve-hugging dresses all work great with a ponytail.

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Side-Swept Hair

Jessica Chastain with side-swept hair
Jun Sato/Getty Images

Celebrities love side-swept looks on the red carpet because they look amazing.  

Hair texture: You need longish hair for this look.

Personality: Works on anyone who's willing to try something new.

Dress type: A popular look on the red carpet this year was one-sleeved dresses with hair pulled over to the side. If your dress has one sleeve, this is a great option for you. Pile the hair over the sleeveless side.

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Accessorized Hair

Kasia Smutniak wearing bejeweled updo hairstyle
Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images

There are so many cool ways to bejewel or accessorize your prom hairstyles. Wind a ribbon in curly hair, put a vintage broach-turned-hairpin on the side of your updo or half-do or braid a jeweled strand into your side 'do. Here are just a few red carpet ideas to inspire you:

Hair texture: All.

Personality: Daring, sophisticated, romantic, sporty and girlish.

Dress type: Best with simple dresses. Also, be careful not to over-accessorize. If you are wearing jewels in your hair, skip the necklace and wear a bracelet and simple diamond studs instead.

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Faux Bob

Frieda Pinto with faux bob
Mike Marsland/Getty Images

This look has been around the red carpet for awhile and done right can be absolutely adorable. Everyone will think you cut off your hair!

Hair texture: Best on wavy hair or hair that's been curled. Must be below the shoulders.

Personality: Daring, romantic, trendy.

Dress type: Works well with dresses with sleeves, sleeveless dresses and any dress that would work with a bob hairstyle.