3 Low-Maintenance Holiday Hair Looks You Can Do in Fewer Than 5 Steps

Despite being a beauty editor, I am completely helpless when it comes to styling my own hair. In fact, if I can get away with it, I pretty much let my strands air-dry into their natural waves whenever possible, or when that doesn’t work, I’ll simply scoop everything up into a high ponytail or topknot. Alas, once the holiday season rolls around (and I have about five times the number of social engagements than I normally do), I start to get a little panicked. Although I do love my natural bends and waves, it’s more of an undone bedhead look, which lends itself much better to the more lax summer season than holiday cocktail attire or fancy get-togethers. Therefore, I’m perpetually in search of easy, low-maintenance, but still glamorous hairstyles I can sport this time of year without too many tears or cuss words in front of my vanity pre-event. Anyone else with me here?

To get some inspiration, I reached out to the inventor of the Beachwaver and one of the top celebrity hairstylists in the industry, Sarah Potempa, who regularly works with stars such as Lea Michele, Camila Cabello, and Emily Blunt. Her mission: to create three different holiday hair looks on me in five steps or fewer. Keep scrolling! We have the step-by-step tutorials and must-have products shown below. 

“To add volume to the root, gently tease two to three sections of the hair—one of my biggest tips is to tease the hair by going in and down only, rather than repeatedly moving the comb up and down,” explains Potempa. 

“Spray a brush with The Beachwaver Co. Great Barrier Heat Protectant Hairspray ($28) and brush the hair into a low ponytail. Secure the ponytail with a hook elastic, leaving out a couple of pieces in the front. Next, cover the ponytail elastic by wrapping a piece of your hair around it and securing it with a hairpin. Gently tug the hair at the base to create more texture and volume.” 

“To create a clean bun for this look, I love to use an accessory like The Beachwaver Co. Wrap Up ($10). Slide the hair in, pinch it closed, and roll it under to the base. Bend the right side upward, and then the left upward, and finish by pinching it into a horseshoe shape. Secure the with a couple of hairpins.”

“Take a ribbon and tie it around the base, creating an easy bow at the top. To create a beautiful V shape at the tips of the ribbon, pinch the ribbon in half and cut it at an angle. Or, for a more dramatic bow, leave the ends of the ribbon out, and clip in The Beachwaver Co. Velvet Bow ($4)at the top of the bun.”

Create a deep side part by drawing a line from the arch of the eyebrow back to create the perfectly placed part to complement your features. Then, spritz strands with hair spray.

“Beach-wave the hair by sectioning and starting at the at the bottom and working your way up,” Potempa instructs. “Curl the iron under and on an angle under, pressing the arrow toward the face.” For the top layers, Potempa says to lift the hair up like a roller set and hold the iron parallel, which will create more volume exactly where you want it. 

Allow your hair to completely cool so that the curl pattern sets.

“Spritz your hair spray on a mini-size brush. Hold the hair in a ponytail shape with your fingers, and gently brush hair out,” she finishes. 

“Spray your brush with hair spray,” Potempa starts. “For the perfectly placed half-up pony, draw a line from the back of the ear back on both sides. 

Gently brush into a high ponytail and secure with a clear elastic.”

Tug at the ponytail to add more volume and texture on top.

Then, start beach-waving the hair in alternate directions all over. 

Tie a beautifulribbon or bowonto the ponytail for the perfect holiday look.

Up next: Kim K.’s Hairstylist Made My Hair Look Twice as Thick in 5 Minutes—Here’s How

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