When it comes to bridesmaids’ hair, one size definitely does not fit all. These celebrity-approved looks will flatter everyone’s individual styles, and last all day and night.
Being a bridesmaid is a tricky job. You have to remedy family tensions, be one step ahead of the bride’s every move and be a constant source of support through the seemingly-endless wedmin. But arguably above all these duties, you have to present yourself as a blank canvas onto which the bride’s hair, makeup and sartorial vision can be superimposed.
Hair is an incredibly personal and political part of us, as women and as people. We have spent years figuring out what works and what doesn’t. We know how it reacts to heat styling, whether is looks better air-dried or blow-dried and exactly where our parting falls.
To say we are particular about our hair is a given, and being told to execute an elaborate chignon for a friend’s wedding might contradict your years of experience. Or of course chignons might be your go-to evening style. It’s down to what works for you and what you’re comfortable with, because there is nothing worse than wasting a night feeling self-conscious.
Scroll through these hair photos for inspiration and decide what you could achieve and feel good in. The bride can’t ask for much more than that.
Ciara is serving a serious pony here, and bridesmaids can, too. The focus here is the volume, so you’ll need a great texture spray to help boost and hold the height.
Step 1: Blow dry your hair into a smooth, straight-but-not-poker-straight style. Spritz in the texture spray and fluff your hair up to create some volume over your scalp. If you have a fringe keep separate and bring it forward and clear of the rest of your hair.
Step 2: Pull your hair into a high pony gently so you don’t lose the volume. Gently ruffle the pony tail and fringe to give a it a slightly imperfect appearance.
Sleek, flattering, modest. Cara Delevigne’s mid-bun is a masterclass in how less is more. For the long-haired women in the party, a style like this is low maintenance and can show off a backless dress like little else.
Step 1: Using a brush, pull your hair into a ponytail midway up the back of your head. Secure this with two bands so you don’t have to worry about it falling down.
Step 2: Now twist your ponytail from the base and wrap the twisted length around the base of the pony tail. Use bobby pins to fasten the hair in place, but be sure to use ones in the same colour as your hair so they blend in.
GHD Platinum+ White Straighteners, £149.99
Kerastase Elixir Ultime L'Huile Rose, £41.40
Side swept dreadlocks
A swipe sweep is a perfect way to add some elegance to a formal bridesmaid look. Scalp and hair care is essential in this protective style (you definitely want to ward off any braid itch), and then you need some embellishments to adorn yourself. Either DIY them using this tutorial, or find an afro hair specialist who’ll do them for you - for all of those London-based, Kemi at @khairsforyou works total magic on hair while ensuring it’s protected.
Step 1: Form a deep parting starting from just above your eyebrow arch, extending it backwards towards your crown.
Step 2: Use a braid spray, leave-in conditioner or oil to smooth down any flyaways at the roots.
Step 3: Slick down baby hairs with a gel and edge tamer brush.
Briogeo B. Well Castor Oil, £24
Vernon Francois Scalp Nourishment Braids And Locs Spray, £16
KeraCare Edge Tamer, £5.70
Smooth side-part ponytail
Glossy and straight, this style is perfect for a more formal winter wedding where humidity won’t create a halo of frizz. Alternatively, execute this in summer with extra hairspray.
Step 1: Spritz through some heat defence spray before straightening all over. Using the end of a pen, create a side parting. Then use a hairbrush to sweep the hair into a ponytail, keeping the parting clear.
Step 2: Secure with hair bands the colour of your hair and finally spray some hairspray to keep flyaways down.
Afro with flowers
Who remembers Solange’s impossibly romantic wedding hair, with the tiny flower buds that Beyonce carefully placed there during the reception dinner? This look must be inspired by hers, and it’s almost effortless to recreate.
Step 1: Pick out your hair for added volume.
Step 2: Mix a little bit of leave-in conditioner with water and finger coil the ends to define.
Step 3: Place your favourite flowers wherever you want - the more true to your taste, the better.
Equi Botanics Marula Oil Leave in Conditioner, £17
Glamour Studio Wide Afro Comb, £7.91
Meghan’s bun with tousled pieces
Admit it, at some point in the past couple of years, you have had serious Meghan Markle hair envy. Ever glossy and in a perfect tousled wave, she embodies bridal chic at all times.
Step 1: Use a mask on your hair before washing, then roughly blowdry pointing the hairdryer down the root shaft to make it appear glossier. Run a serum or oil through the mid to end lengths of your hair to give it some shine.
Step 2: Create a centre parting for the first inch of hair and pull down two small shorter sections either side of the parting to create the fringe. Using your hands, scrape up the rest of your hair into a bun, leaving the strands down, and secure.
Fluffing out textured hair with a comb or brush makes for some beautiful volume and character. Make it frame your face in a halo or comb through a ponytail or fringe-y bits for a subtle statement.
Step 1: Lightly comb through hair, focusing on the roots for volume.
Step 2: Spritz the ends sparingly with a nourishing salt spray for texture.
Step 3: Blow dry for a few minutes, either with a diffuser for volume and definition or with the comb to stretch hair out.
Wooden Afro Comb, £10.95
Herbivore Sea Mist Texturizing Salt Spray Coconut, £10
BaByliss Curl Dry Hair Dryer, £20
The ultimate in bridesmaid’s hair, a loose wave. Versatility personified, these work just as well on a beach in the Maldives as they do in a country chapel. Plus, they’re very low-maintenance.
Step 1: Using straighteners, run them down the first couple inches of hair, before twisting them in a motion away from your face continuously to the end of the section. You don’t want curls, you want a slight wave, so move fast and play around until you get your technique right.
Step 2: Repeat the process over the rest of your hair, and then shake it out with your fingers to break any curls. Spritz through some hairspray to keep the waves in place.
BaByliss 2481U Straight & Curl Hair Straightener, £120
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer, £8
For those with a cropped bob, adding in some texture is the way to go. Marion Cotillard beautifully demonstrates how glamorous a simple side parting can be.
Step 1: Using a round brush, blow-dry the hair with a slight wave.
Step 2: Use some product to rough it up to keep the texture all day.
Chic pixie crop
Cropped hair is extremely low maintenance, so doing your hair for a wedding won’t be a hassle. Follow Zoe Kravitz’s lead with a soft, brushed through look.
Step 1: Brush the hair and run some pomade through to keep some texture.
Hair By Sam McKnight Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist, £25
Kent Brushes Woodyhog Hairbrush with Wooden Quills, £10.95
If boho-chic is your theme, follow Hailey Baldwin’s lead at the MET Gala last year. Florists can easily produce headbands using flowers that are in keeping with the rest of the wedding.
Step 1: If your hair is naturally straight, create some soft waves by gently curling your hair with a wide barreled wand. Don’t hold it for long, and keep the heat down.
Step 2: Now you want to brush out any obvious curls with your fingers to leave you with some gorgeous texture.
Step 3: Create a middle parting, and secure your flower headband in place just before the top of your head. Add kirby grips for extra hold.