Formal Updos at iVillage Beauty & Style

Personal Hair Advisor: Formal events call for glamour and much time and effort goes into choosing the dress, the shoes, the jewelry. Of course, no ensemble is complete without great hair to complete the look! I think that for formal evening occasions a simple hairstyle is always best. You want everyone to be looking at you, not at your complicated 'do.

If you have long hair and are wearing a dress that bares some skin on the top (either strapless or spaghetti straps), leave it down and play up the texture a little. You can use a large-barrel curling iron to make some big, soft waves. Using Velcro rollers is also an easy way to create beautiful body and bounce once your hair is dry. To keep your hair off your face, take a piece at each temple and pull it straight back. For an added touch, twist each piece inward before you secure it with a festive hair accessory. Something with a little sparkle is always pretty.

If your dress has a high neck, I recommend wearing your hair up. You still want to keep it simple, though. A twist or chignon is very elegant, but not too fussy. After you've created your up-'do, be sure to pull a few strands down around your face to soften the look and create the illusion that you threw your hair up effortlessly! You can still use accessories when your hair is swept up, just don't overdo it. One well placed sparkling accent in your hair is plenty.

Women with short hair also have several options for formal occasions. For a super-sleek look, part your hair on the side and use styling gel to add shine and keep your hair flat against your head. If you want a style with a little more body, go a bit messy on the top and around the crown, while keeping your silhouette tight around the ears. Use gel and finishing cream to separate your hair into small sections and achieve the "piece-y" look on top. Then smooth it down on the sides.

Whatever style you choose, test it a few times before the big night. Practice makes perfect. This will also give you the chance to experiment with different looks and find the one that works best for you.

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