You don't need a professional to get hair that's as gorgeous as your gown; you can easily create an eye-catching style on your own. These versatile looks deliver maximum impact but require minimum skill. The hardest part is choosing one for the big day.
Using your fingers, work a dime-size dollop of frizz-fighting serum, such as Living Proof Style Lab Collection Satin Hair Serum, through hair. Make a deep side part; brush hair thoroughly to make it glossy.
Take a one-inch piece of hair in the front; roll it up and around two fingers and clip for five minutes. Remove clip and gently pull that piece back along the hairline, incorporating sections from the right and left sides (each one about three inches wide) and overlapping as you go; secure to the back of your head with bobby pins.
Work in a quarter-size of Paul Mitchell Curls Twirl Around Crunch-Free Curl Definer. Spiral-curl hair with a one-inch curling iron to create loose waves. Make a deep side part. Starting at the part, french-braid along the longer hairline, pulling in small sections as you go.
Next, sweep hair into a low ponytail an inch or two away from the nape of your neck, and secure it with a clear band like Scünci No Damage Elastics (available at drugstores). Create volume at the crown by grasping a small piece of hair from the middle of the pony and holding it steady as you slide the elastic up toward your head with your other hand.
Position one hand at the center of the back of your head, fingers down, and use the other to wrap your ponytail around your index and middle fingers, forming a twist. Secure it along your head with large pins, such as Goody 3" Bobby Pins (available at drugstores). Snip the elastic with scissors (better yet, ask a bridesmaid to do it).
Using your fingers, gently loosen strands at the crown and sides of your head, and around your face. "That imperfect wispiness is what makes this chic and youthful," says New York City stylist Oscar Blandi. Finish with firm-hold hair spray to make the look last. Try BlowPro After Blow Strong Hold Finishing Spray (ulta.com).
Pull your hair back into a low ponytail and begin securing it with an elastic, but stop halfway when pulling your strands through for the last time, forming a loop with a dangling tail. "Run your hand over the tail to bring wild hairs together," says Myron Chin, a New York City stylist. "Part of what makes this look so pulled together is a smooth shape."
Slip your finger through the loop of hair, press it up until it meets the back of your head, and attach it with wire U-pins, which "hold a ton of hair but are really discreet," says Chin, who likes Sta-Rite Hair Pins (sallybeauty.com). To use one, insert it with tips pointing up, and then flip it so the ends are facing downward, and push in.
To complete, draw the hanging tail section from the left side of your original ponytail's base to the right, tucking its ends under the top loop, and anchoring it with pins to create a bun. The Bombshell Collection Rubberized Bobby Pins have a griplike coating so they won't slip out mid-dance-floor dip (folica.com).
Take a 2-inch section of hair from the front of your head and mist it with medium-hold hair spray; try Oscar Blandi Lacca Hairspray (sephora.com). Curl it under with a 1-inch-barreled curling iron, and hold for 5 seconds before releasing. Galazka's favorite is Hot Tools Professional 1" Curling Iron.
Roll the ringlet up around your finger to create a circle, and secure with a clip that won't form creases, such as Salon Care Metal Duckbill Clips (sallybeauty.com). Repeat, working from your forehead to the nape of your neck, curling, twirling, and pinning, until all your hair is up. Let the pinned curls cool for 10 minutes to help set the style.
Unclip the bottom third of your curls, spritz them with hair spray, and lightly brush the ringlets into waves with a paddle brush. Then repeat with every pinned-up layer until all your hair is combed out, and rub a drop of serum onto your ends for extra shine. We like L'Oreal Paris EverStyle Smooth & Shine Serum (available at drugstores).
Once all your hair is curled, break up the ringlets with your fingers to form waves that will help keep the braid together. Use your natural part as a starting point, and create a side French braid, hugging your hairline and grazing the top of your ear as you go. Tie it off with a clear elastic. If the style's not perfect, that's even better for a laid-back feel, Chin says.
Working from the top of the braid, lightly loosen the woven strands with your fingers (it's okay if small pieces poke out here and there -- actually, that’s the idea). Try pulling out a couple of wisps for added softness, too. When you like the way it looks, mist hair with firm-hold hair spray, applying it more heavily on the braid itself.
Grasp the end of your braid, and gently roll it up until it rests underneath your ear and to the side of your neck. When you've got it in place, secure the updo with U-pins. The style should be fairly indestructible, but a few final spritzes of hair spray won't hurt. And when you eventually take it down, you'll have masses of lush waves.
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