Hair & Makeup

5 of the best wedding hairstyles for 2021

Whether you’re a bride, a bridesmaid or a guest, big-day hair should be as flawless as your outfit. MALENA HARBERS shares five hairstyles and instant updates to try for your next nuptials

Candice Swanepoel (wearing white), Tessa Thompson

Wedding beauty rules that once dictated stiff up-dos for brides and matching chignons for bridesmaids are long outdated. The past year has encouraged us to shy away from pomp and lean towards less contrived, more effortless styles that feel carefree and relaxed. Experts all agree that regardless of your role on the big day, your hairstyle should reflect your personality, as well as the overall vibe of the celebration.

“Take the look that you feel most comfortable with in your everyday life and enhance it,” says A-list hairstylist George Northwood. “So, if you wear a ponytail all the time, and believe it suits you best, opt for one that is slicker than your daily look for the wedding day.” In need of some inspiration? These are the best new-season tips to future-proof your ’dos.

Wear it wavy

If you always wear your hair down, opt for pulled-out, natural waves as seen on the Isabel Marant SS21 runway – they’re more romantic than straight strands and more modern than perfect curls. “They work on all hair textures and lengths, too,” says hairstylist Sam McKnight. But hair prep is key: “For curly hair, blow-dry it smooth with an anti-humidity cream to stop frizz. People with straight or wavy textures should spritz sections with hairspray before wrapping them down the barrel of a medium-sized curling iron.” Add a center part to finish for an added effortless feel.

Try an undone bun

Always wear your hair up? This slightly imperfect take on the classic ballerina bun is the modern up-do, according to Northwood. Take inspiration from the Duchess of Sussex, who wore a relaxed bun for the evening reception of her wedding. “The trick is to keep loose tendrils around the face for a softer feel,” says Northwood (who was the man behind Meghan’s evening hairstyle), “which ultimately keeps the look timely.”

Put a ribbon on it

Ribbons are perfect for the minimalist bride. Equal parts elegant and playful, narrow monochrome iterations topped high half-ponytails at Giambattista Valli SS21. “I always keep ribbons in my kit,” admits McKnight. “A black velvet ribbon tied simply around a ponytail or half-up, half-down shape gives these effortless styles added polish.”

Add a headband

“Short hair looks great with a headband,” says Lily Collins’s hairstylist Gregory Russell. Depending on your usual style, “keep hair natural and soft, or sleek and shiny with a side part.” Maximalists will love the season’s statement headbands, such as the bold floral styles at Dolce & Gabbana. This look calls for the focus to be on your hair, so keep your dress and your makeup minimal.

Make it last

Whichever style you choose, there are little tweaks you can do to make sure it stays put long after the vows are exchanged. “If you’re not sure what style to choose, go for an up-do because it will generally hold longer than hair left down, even when you’re on the dance floor,” says celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin. “If you decide to keep your hair down, go easy on the hairspray – it makes hair fall the second that humidity hits. The trick here is using clip-in extensions; even if the curls fall, your hair will still look full. And finally, hair always photographs smaller, so go big or go home.”

Diane Kruger



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