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While we love the challenge of an intricate updo, come summertime we're all about comfort and ease. After all, less time spent styling our hair means more time at the beach. But just because a hairstyle takes minimal effort doesn't mean that it can't also be fashionable. Au contraire. For us, quintessential summer hairstyles are both practical and stylish. That means looks that will not only stand up to high temps and humidity but will also have you looking and feeling as fresh and cool as a summertime breeze. To prove it to you, we've rounded up our favorite hairstyles for summer along with styling tips from experts Giovanni Vaccaro and Ryan Richman.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for 30 quick and easy hairstyling ideas that are perfect for summer—or any time of the year for that matter.
When temperatures soar, keeping hair off of your neck is a must. Leigh-Ann Pinnock's Dutch braids will stay effortless and chic while keeping you cool. Vaccaro adds that dry shampoo is also key in maintaining hairstyles during the dog days of summer. It helps to absorb excess oil and revive second-day strands, giving hair extra volume and removing sweat-induced shine.
- "Before putting your hair up, spritz dry shampoo onto your roots and work it into tips," says Vaccaro.
- Separate hair into three sections. Beginning at the top of each section, Dutch braid hair until you reach the bottom, securing with an elastic.
- "Mix and match two different types of braids or keep it simple with one," suggests Vaccaro. "Plus, get two looks in one by keeping the braids in overnight for great texture come morning or as a protective style for your natural curls."
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: Work with your natural hair texture. While this is sound advice any time of year, it's even more so in summer when an hour of heat styling is foiled by the first signs of humidity. Le sigh. So if you have a curl or wave to your hair, play up your texture with a cut and styling that favors it. According to Vaccaro, you might want to rock a shaggy short bob or get rid of your length with a chic, blunt cut. Jennifer Hudson's chin-grazing bob is lightly layered and tousled with texture, achieving #shorthairdontcare goals to a T.
- Starting on damp hair, comb hair using a wide-tooth comb, and muss with your fingers.
- "Let it air-dry and add sea salt spray for a lived-in, natural texture," says Vaccaro.
An easy way to change up your look—and transition hair from day to night—is with an accessory. Sienna Miller's simple ponytail gets a touch of refinement with nothing more than a ribbon, making it appropriate for a more formal event. It's proof that accessories can make or break a look.
- "Twist your hair in your usual topknot (or ponytail if you have shorter hair), but use a decorative scarf or ribbon to conceal the elastic and add a texture or print to your everyday bun," Vaccaro says.
- "For added volume, use a dry shampoo at the roots," Vaccaro adds.
We already brought you a messy bun tutorial for every day of the week, but this natural hair version brings a little something extra. Curls lend natural texture, movement, and even some killer bangs, to this no-fuss style. To get the look, first prep hair with Tgin coconut oil and vitamin E-enriched Twist and Define Cream ($14). Then, simply throw hair up into a messy bun—your curls will do the rest.
Space buns are having a moment. The '90s hair trend is seeing a revival among the fashion set and is a popular summertime hair trend to wear to festivals. Janelle Monáe dresses hers up with floral hairpins. "Accessorize your look in a heat-friendly, practical way," Vaccaro explains. "Use cool, modern shapes to twist your hair up and out of the way.”
- Create a middle part and split your hair into two sections.
- Take one section and create a ponytail, securing with an elastic. Wrap the end of the ponytail around the elastic and secure with pins. Repeat for the other section.
- Now: accessorize. Add in sparkly barrettes, hair stickers, or glitter to amp up the look.
Beach waves are inherently summer. But if you can't make it to the shore, you can get this visually effortless style at home. Thanks to its texture, those fine straight strands will benefit from the added dimension and movement it creates.
- Apply a mousse, like Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus Humidity Resistant Volumizing Spray Mousse ($20), to dry or slightly damp hair. Let air-dry.
- Begin curling one-inch sections of hair with a 0.75-inch barrel.
- Spray a hairbrush with flexible-hold hair spray and comb out the curl as soon as it has been removed from the heat.
- Once all the hair is curled, use your fingers to comb through the waves one last time.
Topknots are as versatile of a hairstyle as they come. Iterations will vary depending on personal taste and preference. "I like the nape of the neck and the sides to be fairly tight to create an edgier look with a bit of a facelift as a bonus," says Richman. But for something a bit more low-key and free-spirited, we look to Paz Vega for inspiration. Face-framing curtain bangs and loose tendrils are It-girl cool.
- Split the hair into two sections at the top of the ears. Tie the front section on the crown of the head or where desired and secure with an elastic.
- Gather the rest of the hair and brush it up to the first ponytail you made and secure it into one ponytail. "Sectioning the hair will give you more control over how tight you can make your style," comments Richman.
- "Use your fingertips to gently pull out a few pieces of hair around the face for softness and spray your style, including the ponytail you made, with Bleu by R+Co Lifestyler Volume and Texture Spray ($53) for the perfect airy texture," Richman says.
- Split your ponytail in two, twist the pieces together, and twist the ponytail down into a knot. Pull out a few letting some of the pieces stick out where they may. Use a few pins to secure the knot.
Naturally textured hair offers a fresh take on the pompadour. This is a low-maintenance style that starts with the right cut and ends with the right products. Hair should be cut short on the sides and left longer on top.
- Wash hair and let it air-dry naturally.
- Apply a small amount of pomade, like Cantu Shea Butter Hair Dressing Pomade ($4), and distribute throughout the top portion of your hair.
- Use a hair pick—we like Pattern Hair Pick ($9)—to detangle and style hair, adding height and volume.
- Douse with TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Extend Hold Level 4 Hair Spray ($8).
Gemma Chan's hair is a dream. Her loose chignon with face-framing tendrils is ideal for a night out in the summer. It can go from casual to elegant depending on the style of accessory used. Best of all? It works well on all hair types and textures.
- Using a wide-barrel curling iron, create a center part and curl hair all over the head in sections.
- Once hair is curled, pull the bulk of the hair back into a low chignon.
- Keep two sections of hair free at the front, to frame the face.
- Place a headband over the entire look.
The low ponytail gets a major upgrade with loads of texture and volume. Adding a slicked-back crown takes you straight to an evening look—while also humidity-proofing hair. To really make an impact with this style, a lengthier mane—whether it be natural or with the help of extensions—with a curl or wave is highly suggested.
- Create a deep side part using a wide-tooth comb.
- Pull hair to one side and slick down with a strong-hold gel, such as Bumble and bumble Bb. Sumogel ($31).
- Secure hair in a low ponytail with an elastic or hair tie.
- Distribute a quality curl cream throughout your 'tail to keep coils hydrated and defined.
Lucy Boynton is typically seen rocking her signature bob but here she goes for a tousled updo that pulls at our heartstrings. Her tousled texture adds a refreshing take on the traditional milkmaid braid. Ane while it may look complicated, it actually couldn't be easier to achieve. It also benefits from the texture that comes with day-old hair—just sayin'.
- Create two braided pigtails on either side of the hair.
- Pull one braid over the top of your head, pinning it at the bottom, middle and end.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Loosen the braids by gently pulling with your fingers.
- Pull out a few strands to tousle all over to lend a casual-cool vibe.
A scarf is the multipurpose hair accessory you need in your life. It protects styles both while you sleep and during waking hours. In the summertime, it's ideal for maintaining your updo and adding a stylish flair. "Use your choice of scarf length to wrap your hair completely, or just get it off your neck," recommends Vaccaro. "This style is perfect for second-day hair or when you don't feel like styling it."
- For this look, start on dry hair (even air-dried hair works, as it shows off natural texture).
- Take a scarf and wrap it around the hair, tying it in a bow or knot on the top of the head.
Who better than Ariana Grande to model a high, slicked-back ponytail? An easy look that still manages to look chic, the power pony works as well for day as it does for night. This style works best on long tresses that are medium to thick density, whether worn straight or curly. But in case your hair leans a little thin, there are tricks to feigning a fuller ponytail.
- "Brush all your hair up to the top of your head and tie it tight with an elastic," suggests Vaccaro.
- Ensure your hair is flat against the head by combing through the tops and sides.
- "You can even add in extensions for length or fullness to dial up the drama and add a punch of power to your pony.”
Tracee Lee Ellis's hat hair is the only kind we condone. "Throwing on a hat is the easiest way to get hair out of your face and quickly look put together," says Vaccaro. Not to mention, a wide-brimmed sun hat—with its customized shade—will offer much-need relief and protection from the summer sun.
- Gather your hair into a high bun and secure with an elastic.
- For added hold and to keep flyaways at bay, use some super-hold gel.
- Place your hat on top.
While "tousled texture" may be the most popular term in the summer hairstyle lexicon, Kaia Gerber makes a strong case for a more polished look. Her chic retro bob features polished waves over tousled texture, making it the perfect nighttime coiff.
- Using a comb, create a deep side part or whatever part will best flatter your face shape.
- Section hair and gather each into hot rollers.
- Let set for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove curlers and use fingers to gently brush through curls.
- Douse with a strong-hold hairspray.
Protective styles for textured tresses are always a good idea but especially during summer when heat and humidity can do a number on hair. Tessa Thompson's sweet double plaits get an added flair with her laid edges. Not sure how to shape those baby hairs? We've got you covered.
- Part your hair down the middle, then create two even sections of hair.
- Starting on one side, separate the hair into three sections, braiding by pulling outer sections into the middle and working all the way down.
- Secure with an elastic.
- Using a styling product, such as Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Edge Control Smoother ($16), and a toothbrush or small comb, lay your baby hairs at your hairline flat, then twist into small waves.
Similar to a milkmaid braid but slightly more complicated, a crown braid is essentially a sideways French braid that curves around the head. Pair with a hot pink lip like Ana de Armas for the ultimate summertime look.
- Use a comb to position the front half of the hair forward, so it hangs in front of your face.
- Taking one section of hair, divide it into three pieces to create the French braid. Cross the rightmost strand over the middle strand to make it the new middle strand, adding some hair to the far-right strand as you go, then repeating on the left until you reach the end of the hair.
- Continue around the head, putting as much hair into the French braid as you can.
- Tie a regular braid with the remaining hair.
- Pin the regular braid up into the head to create a crown.
"Wet" Blunt Bob
A razor-sharp blunt bob alone is statement-making. Combine that with the ever-trendy wet-look hair and you've got yourself an incredibly sophisticated style—albeit one that doesn't require much in terms of prep time. The fastest route to getting this look might be going for a quick dip but alas, it will never hold up to the forces of summer heat and humidity. For that, there's a better way.
As easy for day as it is chic for night, a wavy ponytail offers the best of both worlds. And with texture like Jamie Chung's, it reads as effortlessly cool.
- Prep damp hair with a texturizing foam, like Sexy Hair Texture Foam Party Lite Texturizing Foam ($20), and let air-dry.
- Gently pull hair into a high ponytail, securing it with an elastic.
- Slightly tease at the roots for a boost of volume.
- Pull out a few strands to frame the face and curl with a wide-barrel curling iron.
- Run fingers over your hairdo to loosen and tousle.
- Finish with a dry texturizing hairspray like Amika Un.Done Volume and Matte Texture Spray ($27).
Bubble braids are making a splash this summer. They give off fun and flirty vibes that are perfect for a day spent at the beach. Depending on how dense your hair is you may opt for a single bubble braid or multiple like Celeste O'Connor here.
- Create a side part, and pull hair back into a ponytail or braid.
- Apply a product such as Cantu Extra Hold Edge Stay Gel ($4) to edges and use a comb or toothbrush to style them against the forehead, so that they lay in a curl or wave shape.
An angled bob gets a summertime makeover with an ombré color melt and undone texture. A half-up, half-down style keeps the bulk of hair out of your face. And it looks even better on second- or third-day hair.
- "Prep your second-day hair with a bit of R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste ($29), focusing at the root," says Richman. "This will give your hair the grit it needs for cool texture and will give you more control while putting your hair up."
- Pull a top section of hair into a high ponytail, using a brush to smooth the tops and sides.
- Secure with an elastic, then wrap the ends around the elastic to create a mini bun. Seal with a scrunchie.
Another fun braided style, the fishtail braid takes a little bit of practice to perfect but adds up to so much drama. Our favorite way to wear it is à la Gabrielle Union where subtle highlights create further dimension.
- Part hair and gather to one side into a low ponytail.
- Divide the ends into two smaller, equally-sized ponytails.
- Taking one ponytail, separate a half-inch section of hair from the outside and pull it across the top over to the right.
- Repeat on the right side, pulling a half-inch section of hair from the outside of the right ponytail across the top and to the left.
- Repeat the above steps until you reach the bottom and secure the ends with an elastic or hair tie.
If you have curly hair and a lob-length haircut, this is an easy way to embrace your curls, play around with your part, and change up your look. Just be sure to keep strands moisturized since dry hair will result in a frizzy mess instead of a head full of curls.
- Post-wash, apply a leave-in conditioner to strands—you can't go wrong with Christophe Robin Hydrating Leave-in Hair Mist with Aloe Vera ($39)—and part hair using a wide-tooth comb.
- Apply a texturizing spray or curl mousse, like Oribe Curl Mousse ($39), to tresses and scrunch with your hands for added volume.
- Allow hair to air-dry.
When temps rise, you want a cut and style that will keep you looking and feeling cool—and Kristen Wiig's super sleek pixie does just that. It's simplicity meets sophistication meets summer. Don't worry about staying on top of color here, as dark roots add a nice contrast and a tinge of grit to an otherwise prim and proper look.
- Starting on damp hair, create a deep side part.
- Apply a lightweight gel, such as Garnier Clean Styling Gel ($3), and mousse, like Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Sculpting Foam ($25), throughout hair.
- Comb down hair with a wide-tooth comb so that it lies flat.
- Finish with some hairspray—we're fans of Redken Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist ($22).
When heat and humidity are in the mix, long, natural hair can feel like its weighing you down. But the solution is simple and doesn't require you to compromise on length. Go with a protective style like Zazie Beetz's flat twists. This is a versatile look that can even be styled further into your updo of choice.
Freida Pinto's mussy ponytail is everything we could ever want—and more. A high ponytail is sport-chic and the easiest way to keep hair out of your face in the summertime.
- Pull hair into a high ponytail, using a hairbrush to smooth the top and sides.
- Secure the ponytail with an elastic or hair tie, and smooth on some serum to tame flyaways.
- Spray on a texture spray and add waves with a wide-barrel curling iron, if desired.
- Muss hair with your fingertips, pulling a few face-framing strands out, and finishing with hairspray.
Yes, hair is down for this look, but the short length ensures it stays off the nape of your neck (so it works even at the hottest time of the year). Ask your stylist to cut long, varying layers into your textured tresses. They'll lend an organic shape to this 'do which contributes to its visually effortless aesthetic.
Low Braided Bun
Alicia Key's cornrow-bun hybrid hits all the right notes. It's cool and effortless but still looks refined enough for an event—be it a daytime pool party or evening fête.
- Beginning on hair that's already braided or cornrowed, create a ponytail at the base of your neck and secure it with an elastic.
- Loosely wrap the ends of the hair (i.e. the braids) around the elastic.
- Pin the ends into place and spritz the entire look with shine spray.
- Use a gel and a small comb to define your edges or set them into a wave-like shape.
Lashana Lynch shows us how less is more with her super short pixie cut. Natural curly texture lends shape to this super short style; meanwhile, grays peeking through create natural highlights and dimension. Apply a dime-sized amount of DevaCurl Styling Cream Rich Moisturizing Definer ($30) to keep this 'do looking fresh.
If you're planning to let your hair down this summer, a shorter cut will (usually) help to cut down on precious styling time. Still, it's important that you talk to your stylist first before going in for the chop since hair type and texture will determine which is the right cut for you. For instance, without the weight of a lengthier mane, curls are prone to frizzing up and out. So opt for long layers to bring bounce and definition to your coils. Those with straighter strands might want to go the route of Lucy Hale and get a bob with choppy layers to create body and movement.
- Spray clean roots with dry shampoo, to add some grit to the hair.
- Part damp hair to your liking, allowing it to air dry for natural texture (and using a straightener on sections to get a slight bend in the hair, as needed).
- "To tame any unwanted flyaways try using R+Co Moon Landing Anti-Humidity Spray ($32) in place of hairspray to help lay down flyaways without a crunchy finish," says Richman.