Everything You Need to Know About Offering Special Occasion Hairstyles in Your Cosmetology Practice



Weddings, proms, black tie events, and holiday parties … Every special occasion calls for a trip to the salon for a style and color that’s right for the event and that goes perfectly with the outfit.

If you have plenty of special occasion styles in your bag of tricks, you can enjoy a boost in business and a reputation for being an expert in updos and other popular hairstyles.

There’s no better way to refresh your skills in special occasion styles than through a course or program in today’s trending hairstyles, many of which are offered online to accommodate today’s busy hairstylists.

Although your initial cosmetology program included hands-on practice in hair styling, it is always beneficial to keep up on the latest hairstyles so you can provide your clients with hairstyles they see on their favorite stars and in their favorite fashion magazines.

Whether your clients are looking for sleek and stylish or romantic and timeless, there are a number of hairstyles that you should be able to pull off masterfully at a moment’s notice:

Side Sweep

The side sweep is a classic style and appropriate for both younger and older clients. Here’s how to achieve this romantic look:

  1. Starting at the nape of the neck, use a large barrel curling iron to create soft curls. Backcomb the roots to add volume as you go.
  1. Once you have curled all of the hair, run your fingers through it to gently tousle the curls.
  1. First section out the crown and the heavy side and secure. Starting at the hairline along the back of the neck, pin the hairline, toward the opposite ear.
  1. Pick up the hairline at the opposite ear, bring both sides together, and secure them with an elastic, creating a ponytail.
  1. Flip the ponytail inside out and then gently pull the side sections to loosen them. Aim for a loose, draped look.
  1. Release the crown and sweep it all to the heavy side, securing with bobby pins.
  1. Release the heavy side and loosely bobby pin it back to the ear, leaving some to hang in curls around the face.

Waterfall Braid

The waterfall braid is a romantic, yet casual style that is ideal for everything from proms to weddings. This special occasion style is best reserved for your clients with shoulder-length and longer hair:

  1. Pull the hair to the left side of the head, over the ear.
  1. Starting at the right ear, create three strands as you would if you were French braiding the hair. Take the left strand and pull it into the middle and then take the hair from the top and pull it into the middle, too.
  1. Take the right strand and drop it down and then take a section of hair directly behind the strand you just dropped and move it to the middle part of the braid. Continue doing this as you work toward the left side of the head.
  1. Once you’ve reached the left side, drop the right strand of hair and wrap and the left strand over the middle strand.
  1. Secure the strand in place with a bobby pin.

Braided Bun

The braided bun is a super cute and simple style that is easy to pull off in just a few minutes.

  1. Create a side part, pull the hair into a medium ponytail, and secure with an elastic.
  1. Braid the ponytail into a braid.
  1. Once finished, wrap the braid clockwise until a bun is formed, and secure with bobby pins.

Grecian Flip

The Grecian flip is a fun and flirty style that is adorned with an elastic headband.

  1. Put an elastic headband on above the hairline in front.
  1. Take the hair behind the ears and begin tucking it into the headband, securing with bobby pins.
  1. Work around the head, tucking sections into the headband and securing until all of the hair is tucked and the headband is no longer visible from the back.

French Twist

The French twist never goes out of style, offering up a fashionable and tasteful look for women of all ages.

  1. Take a section of hair in the front of the head and clip it out of the way.
  1. Take the rest of hair and start twisting it. After you’ve twisted about three-quarters of the hair, tuck the rest under the twist and secure it with bobby pins.
  1. Unclip the front section of hair and tease it gently at the roots.
  1. Bring the teased section of hair back and tuck it inside the twist you created, securing it with bobby pins.

Chignon Bun

The chignon bun is timeless, romantic, and quite beautiful when executed properly.

  1. Use a large-barreled curling iron to create loose waves throughout the hair.
  1. Starting at the back of the head, gently tease the roots, working slowly and holding it in place with a texturizing spray for added volume.
  1. Using a bristle brush, gently begin brushing it back.
  1. Pull all of the hair back into a ponytail at the nape of the neck and secure with an elastic.
  1. Tease the ponytail until it looks fluffy.
  1. Using your fingers, gently roll the hair under and tuck it into the base of the ponytail. Secure the hair with large hairpins.

Accessories for Finishing a Special Occasion Hairstyle

Adding a carefully chosen hair accessory can add flair, romance, and charm to a special occasion hairstyle. Consider weaving and twisting real or artificial flowers or ribbons into a waterfall braid or adding a beaded clip or headband into a messy bun or chignon.

Other unique hair accessories that can enhance a special occasion style include:

  • Gem/rhinestone bobby pins
  • Acrylic hair gems
  • Gemstone barrettes
  • Decorative hair combs
  • Rhinestone tiaras, headbands
  • Vintage-inspired barrettes
  • Fabric head wraps

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