If most “glamorous” holiday styles seem too complex or time consuming, you’re not the only one.

Read on for our favorite tips to achieve the best holiday hair you’ve ever had. Our promise to you: none of these will leave you trapped in the bathroom for hours with complicated tools or giant clouds of lung-coating hairspray.

1) Prepare Yourself

First and foremost, prepping the hair with the right products will give you the foundation you need to create the perfect style that will last all day (and night) long.

Beginning with clean, damp hair, apply a generous amount of volumizing spray or alcohol-free mousse (pictured) and a bit of cream leave-in conditioner. Next, either let your hair air-dry or blow-dry straight or curly. Volumizing products are key here, as they add structure to the hair and will help hold the style in place. We also recommend avoiding serums or oils, unless you have very dry/coarse hair, as they tend to weigh hair down too much for special occasion styles. Another way to add volume is by sprinkling a little dry shampoo (or powdered clay-found in the bulk section at your local health food store) throughout the hair and at the scalp, to absorb the oils. This also adds more workable texture to the hair, allowing for ease with styling techniques such as backcombing.

2) Fringe Details

Also known as the world’s cheapest facelift, bangs not only create lift and a sense of youthfulness, they can also add a whole lot of style to something as simple as a ponytail. We also love the fact that they accentuate the eyes and soften facial features. Be sure to consult with your stylist so they can make recommendations on what fringe will best suite your face shape and personal style.

To style, use a small amount of a styling crème (this is our favorite) on your fingertips to piece out the ends of your fringe to create definition. Or swoop your bangs off to the side for a sleek classic look.

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3) Parting Ways

One very important element to any great style is the way the hair is parted. Keys points to remember here:

Deep side part: the most formal of all parts, this is a great way to go if you desire a fancier look. Added bonus: any face shape can pull it off.

Center part: will appear less formal and more relaxed. Very stylish when paired with loose waves and/or the perfect headband (see below).

Side part: The ultimate balance between a fancy deep side part and a laid back middle part, this is a go-to style for anyone looking for the perfect in-between look. Especially flattering for round or square face shapes.

For even more on the best side part and face shape pairings, check out this article: http://bit.ly/1uTtm3t

Partings #hair

4) Accessorize

A great way to add some holiday cheer to your hair is with various accessories. One of our favorites happens to be headbands. Headbands are magical because they have the power to create illusions that balance the face shape and dress up the hair, with minimal effort. They also provide interest by acting as the focal point of a style and can either be bold and dramatic or simple and understated. As for the placement of the headband, that depends on face shape (doesn’t everything?). Rule of thumb: The wider/round the face, the further back from the hairline it should be placed. If you are working with a more narrow or petite face shape, place the headband closer to the hairline. Round, square or short face shapes will also benefit from a little backcombing and/or volume just behind and/or in front of the headband, to lengthen the face. As for thickness of the headband, that will depend on (you guessed it!) face shape. Thin headbands will be more delicate and lengthening for round or square shapes, and thicker bands will serve well on a head and face that is more petite. Really though, there are no hard and fast rules about the thickness of the band. It’s one area you have a lot of room to play around with.

Hair Accessories #hair

5) Pony Up

Ponytails can be an easy style option for long to medium hair to create a simple, elegant look. You can also dress it up with some fun accessories! Ponytails are easiest to create on hair that has been freshly washed and conditioned. You can blow dry your hair straight using a cream or serum. Wrap the end of your pony in a barrel curling iron for a fun retro-looking wave. For a soft romantic look, leave a few pieces of hair out to frame the face.

When it comes to ponytails, the question is always High or Low? To answer that, a low pony creates a chic, modern,  sophisticated look. And, like a great fringe, high ponytails can also double as a mini-facelift! If you tend to have a long nose or chin, the low ponytail will be the most flattering option, as it draws the eye downward and has a shortening effect. If you have a round or square face shape or flat features, the high ponytail will create the most balance, elongating the face and creating lift, drawing the eye upward.

Try this “Fast Face Lift” trick from celebrity stylist, Robert Vetica:

1. Section off hair at the crown, create a micro-mini braid on either side just above the eyebrow, moving from the outer corner of the eye into the hairline diagonally. 2. Secure the braids with tiny elastic bands, pull upwards slightly to create an eyebrow lift effect. 3. Use a micro elastic band to tie the two braids together just under the crown in the back of the head.

Tips: 

1) Apply some leave-in conditioner to the ends of your hair to keep flyaways at bay.

2) Never use typical rubber bands to secure your ponytail! These put too much tension on the hair and can cause breakage. Opt for a soft hair-safe elastic instead.

High Ponytail  How to: 

  1. Put your fingers at the crown of your head

  2. Gather up a large section of hair (about 3 inches wide by 2 inches deep)

  3. Tease it on the underneath to give it volume

  4. Run your hairbrush over this section lightly

  5. Pull hair into a ponytail just above the middle point at the back of your head

  6. Secure with a hair-covered elastic or wrap a strand of your hair around the elastic itself

  7. Pin the end of the strand underneath the ponytail with a bobby pin

  8. Finish with some hairspray on the sides and back of the hair

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Low Ponytail How to: 

  1. Part your hair deeply on one side (or in the middle)

  2. Brush it smoothly over across your forehead

  3. Tuck any stray pieces behind your ear or mist with hairspray

  4. Keep the hair sleek and close to your head

  5. Pull it back

  6. Secure the ponytail at the nape of your neck

  7. Apply a light mist of hairspray (preferably one that doesn’t coat your lungs with plastic-like this one, here), to tame flyaways.

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For more ponytail inspiration, look no farther than this article: http://bit.ly/1zErsUp

6) Finishing Touches

Hairspray can be invaluable when creating a beautiful holiday look, just be sure not to overuse it. When applying hairspray, be sure to hold the bottle about 12 inches away from the hair, and spray only a light amount at first. If needed, add another layer, until the desired hold is achieved. This will help you avoid the crunchy, unnatural helmet-head look. Our favorite way to use hairspray is to apply a little to our hands, and gently run them across the top and sides of the hair to catch any flyaways.

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Whether you are a styling veteran or just starting to explore a wider range of styling options, these timeless tips will carry you farther than most for great style and gorgeous hair, with minimal time and effort.

Now, we want to hear from you! What are your favorite ways to save time while still looking fabulous? Let us know in the comments below!