The styling opportunities for long hair are as endless as your strands, but it can be all too easy to just get yourself into a messy-bun-and-go rut. While thinking of ways to jazz up our look, from braids to ponytails, we sought out 30 quick and easy hairstyles for long hair to provide you with a healthy dose of inspiration.
From playing with accessories to ponytails with a twist, keep scrolling for our favorite easy hairstyles for long hair. Trust us—you don't need to be a professional to re-create these. But just in case, we asked several expert stylists for their advice. Read on for 30 expert-approved easy hairstyles for long hair.
This gorgeous hairstyle (seen on Nina Dobrev) looks super impressive but is so easy to recreate. All you need is the ability to three-strand braid and a scarf, cord, or rope to tie around the base. Follow hairstylist and director of education for NEUMA, Gina Scipioni's tips:
- First, gather the hair into a ponytail at the nape of the neck and secure with an elastic.
- "Then, detangle hair and separate it into three equal sections."
- "Be mindful of keeping each strand tangle-free with NEUMA’s neuStyling Smoothing Crème ($13) while working and label the three strands 1, 2, 3 (or left, middle, right) to make it easier to keep track."
- "Start by picking up the strand closest to your dominant hand and cross it in between the other two strands. It is now the new middle strand."
- "Repeat that, starting with the strand on the opposite side. Every time, alternate sides. Cross the outside strand over top of the middle strand."
- "Remember, the braid will start to look like a chain of hearts when completed correctly."
Not a fan of the standard pigtails and looking for something a little funkier? Tessa Thompson makes the case for a mature version of pigtail plaits.
- Repeat the three-strand braid steps from #1, this time creating pigtails.
- Leave a few tendrils of hair out to frame the face.
- Style your edges if you'd like, using a product like Kim Kimble Edge Taming Pomade ($13).
Stacked Bobby Pins
This hairstyle takes your look from everyday to evening-ready in seconds.
- First, take good care of your hair. "Keep hair hydrated and detangled by practicing good wash day routines, and style hair using suitable styling products (if hair is curly use the LOC/LCO method)," says afro hair specialist Sarah Sango. "Use correct styling tools such as wide-tooth combs and tangle teezers, as well as satin or silk pillowcases and bonnets to help preserve styles."
- Brush your hair back behind your ear so it's smooth and sleek.
- Add a trio (or more) of bobby pins in a range of colors. "Take good care while placing decorative bobby pins onto hair; use grips that will hold barrettes in place; gently remove grips without pulling or breaking the hair, and make sure all pins have sealed ends to prevent snagging," says Sango.
Knot Your Average Pony
This impressive ponytail-esque style takes your everyday look from zero to 100. Here's how to pull it off:
- Pull the front of your hair back into a half ponytail and start to twist it as if you're putting hair into a bun.
- Once you've created one loop, knot the rest of the hair through the bun and secure it, leaving the rest of the ponytail long and loose.
- Finish with a barrette or bobby pin for extra cool points.
This easy hair hack can tame wayward coils while making them look even more gorgeous. Follow Scipioni's advice for the perfect half-up/half-down:
- "One great tip to be mindful of is to look at your face shape and structure as well as decide whether or not your ears are seen or hidden."
- "These two factors can make or break the style and take a look from boho chic to minimalist to rock 'n' roll with just a few simple changes."
- "It’s a great idea to try out new half-up styles before intending to wear them, so it’s easier to make tiny modifications that help the best features really shine through."
This look involves the same technique as a ribbon bow, but with a slightly more standout look.
- "For a scarf, it's important to think about what look you are going for. I love movies and I always think about the 1960s when Elizabeth Taylor wore scarves. She folded them tied it like a headband with a knot at the nape of the neck, so chic," says celebrity stylist Ted Gibson.
- To get this look, simply wrap and tie a bandana or silk scarf around your ponytail and leave the rest loose.
Use Scipioni's "OK test" to check out whether the scarf is a good size: "If the scarf is too thick to fit through the hole made by the pointer and thumb, like when making the OK sign with your hand, then it’s usually too thick to use in the hairstyle."
Fishtail braids look impressive, as seen here on Laverne Cox, but are easier to do than most. Follow our simple instructions on how to do a fishtail:
- "Use a product like Shooting Star Texture Meringue ($52) on wet hair to create your braid. This will help you have control over the hair so it can look precise and cool," says Gibson.
- Brush your hair over to one side and begin to braid. As with the rope braid, you can secure the hair into a ponytail for more ease, or keep it free for a less polished look.
- Braid the hair in two sections, crisscrossing pieces for that tight, fishtail appearance.
- Then, loosen the braid's weave by pulling it apart with your fingers or backcombing. Secure the bottom of the braid.
Mastered the low ponytail? Step it up a notch by adding a stretchy headband to the top of the head, as seen here. The best part is that you can dress it up or down.
Use the same technique as the bandana style but with a bow (or two or three) to finish, as exhibited here on Skai Jackson.
- "When styling long hair with a bow, a good rule of thumb is the bigger the bow, the lower it should go," says Scipioni.
- "This is a great reminder that a large bow that sits high on the head can create a child-like appearance; however, a large bow at the base of the style adds a touch of style and elegance with a hint of flirtation."
Give your hair a sporty-meets-avant-garde style with this high-fashion ponytail. Here, hair is secured in two places with a mini braid adding interest to the back. Watch the tutorial from Mane Addicts' stylist Sienree:
- Prep clean and dry hair with an oil like Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil ($28) and brush through. You can also use a curling iron to create a wave if you desire to change up your texture.
- Secure the ponytail at the nape of the neck using a bungee cord hair tie like these from Kitsch ($4).
- Wrap a small piece of hair from the ponytail around the base of the ponytail to hide the cord and use a bobby pin to keep it in place.
- Then, take a piece of hair from the top of the ponytail. Wrap around the base of the ponytail and two fingers, then thread the piece of hair through the loop.
- Continue weaving the strand of hair around and through. This will create a sort of half-braided cuff.
- For a slick look like this, use a serum to tame flyaways, and be sure to wear over-the-top earrings.
You might've seen that headbands are back in business, but we also love the look digital influencer and model Linh Dang Khanh Nguyen created using a headscarf. It's also the perfect way to disguise greasy roots. Win-win.
"To get fake bangs you can go to any wig store to get them. The trick is trying to make them look real. I like a ponytail look with them," says Gibson. That said, if you have enough length, you can fake bangs with your hair. It works especially well on super curly textures. Just do a reverse ponytail with the hair falling forward over the forehead instead of back towards the nape of the neck. You can also add a scarf or headband to make the pseudo-bangs appear more real.
The Flip Over
This may be the easiest hair update ever. Take a cue from Zendaya and flip over your part—particularly dramatic when you have loose, blown-out waves as seen here.
- "A fantastic way to achieve a big bouncy blowout that lasts is to set it! Start the set by shampooing and conditioning your hair. (I recommend ColorProof SuperPlump Volumizing Shampoo, $61, and Conditioner, $30)," says Scipioni.
- "Gently towel blot the hair to get out the excess water and detangle with a wet brush." Scipioni recommends the Wet Brush Paddle Detangler ($8).
- "Begin the blow dry with a paddle brush, and don’t forget the concentrator nozzle on the blow dryer. That helps to reduce frizz and flyaways. Slowly brush the hair while blow-drying to remove up to 70 percent of the water from it."
- "Now, mist the hair with a blowout mist roots to ends, and it’s time to begin round brushing. Make sure to elevate the hair high above its natural fall to ensure that the anti-gravity look will remain intact."
- "As each section of hair is finished being round-brushed, lightly spray a hairspray and then roll the hair down on itself towards the scalp to look like an old-fashioned roller set."
- "When the hair has cooled, gently remove clips or bobby pins starting from the bottom working up to the top."
- "Give a light mist of a weightless spray to provide flexible hold and enhanced shine." She likes NEUMA’s neuVolume Blow Out Mist ($31).
It's a classic for a reason. The messy bun—wherein hair is piled on top of the head, and casually arranged—always looks great. "It's always about the right texture in the bun. It's important to know if you want it to be dressy or played down. A little smoothing is more chic and sophisticated," says Gibson. Take a cue from Rita Ora and slick hair back, leaving a few tendrils loose.
The longer the hair, the more room you have to play. We love this casual-cool knotted ponytail. Check out this tutorial for a pigtail version of this style:
- Divide hair into two equal sections. Secure with a small elastic at about jaw height.
- Knot a strand of hair around the base of the first pigtail and continue weaving downward until you run out of hair, then secure with another hair tie.
- Add another elastic several inches down, pulling the hair on either side of the pigtail outward to create a bubble effect.
- If you have enough hair, repeat the knotting steps from above, adding one final elastic several inches from the bottom.
- Repeat on the other pigtail.
This is a super-sized messy (yet polished) bun twisted into the shape of a Nautilus shell. "What I love about this look is that it isn’t perfect. It looks cool and doesn’t look too done. That’s the importance of hair right now," says Gibson.
Similar to the knotted pigtails, this bubble ponytail by stylist Justine Marjan is even simpler to pull off. Follow her tutorial:
- Add a coat of hairspray for some light hold and texture, brushing back into a ponytail. Secure with a cute hair tie or scrunchie.
- Spritz some more hairspray onto the bristles of a toothbrush and run over the crown of the head to control flyaways.
- Brush the ponytail, teasing a bit at the base.
- Continue adding hair ties every few inches down the ponytail, pulling at the sides between each to add volume.
A massive silk scrunchie wrapped twice around a low ponytail is all you need for an eye-catching style on long strands. "Make sure there is enough product for hair to hold scrunchie," says Sango. "Scrunchies are nice to use to decorate buns and pineapple styles."
Fake a bob by tucking the ends of your hair into a wider neck top or sweater, such as a turtleneck. This probably won't work as well if you have hair that goes down to your butt.
Half-Up Space Buns
Space buns are '90s throwbacks that remain eternally cool, and this half-up style is thoroughly modern. Follow Scipioni's tips to get the look:
- "Start by evenly distributing a pea-size texturizer on fingertips and then through the half up portions of the hair as a way to keep flyaways, frizzy, and baby hairs in their place." She loves the NEUMA neuStyling Texturizer ($20).
- "Create the half-up space buns like two high pigtails using the tiny elastics."
- "On the last pull-through, wrapping the elastic only pull the hair through about one-third of the way."
- "Then, with the remainder of the strand that was not pulled through, wrap it around or braid it around the outside of the bun."
- "To secure these ends, use another miniature elastic or two bobby pins crossed at the base of the buns. This will help give support to your trendy space buns, so they won’t go flat no matter where in the universe you’re heading!"
Similar to the scrunchie, this style employs an oversized barrette to gather all the hair at the nape of the neck. Whether you have straight, curly, or wavy hair, you'll want to add a bit of texturizer or gel to ensure the clip doesn't slide around.
Curtain bangs are all about the cut, and they're less maintenance than other styles of fringe when done correctly. You can always blow dry them to make sure they lay properly on the forehead.
Curly hair is eye-catching enough to be a style all on its own. We love Rihanna's long spirals paired with a trendy middle part. "Long, curly hair can definitely have its challenges, but here are a few pro tips to consider," says Scipioni:
- "Start with prepping the hair, detangling, and heat protecting it with a hydrating spray like ColorProof Powderfix Instant Volume Texture Spray ($22), which could be a game-changer since curly hair has a natural tendency to need extra hydration."
- "When refreshing curls second or third day, reach for a blowout mist since it adds touchable texture and definition to curls even without the addition of heat."
- "With a good amount of water in the hair, apply [NEUMA] neuStyling Gelee ($25) liberally, starting with about a quarter-size or more when needed. It will lend great bounce and flexibility to curl patterns and adds a nice natural shine."
- "When caring for curls at night, gently pull long waves, curls, and coils up over the pillow at night away from the face and neck where they will get smashed during sleep can really save time restyling the next day."
- "Finally, taking the time to get to know your curl pattern will make a big difference in your ability to style and re-style. It’s much easier to go with the flow of your curls than to fight nature; embrace what you have!"
Adding a few small, face-framing braids is a simple way to give your look a '60s vibe. Tinier braids can be left undone, without elastics, for a chic, unpolished effect. "I cannot stress enough that do it yourself looks are the coolest," says Gibson. "Don’t think that you have made a mistake—play with textures, play with shapes."
This braided twist on the classic ballerina bun combines the colorful bobby pin idea from #2 with an updo. Whether or not you choose to braid the hair first or stick with a simple version of this style, Sango recommends using a hair donut to get the perfect shape.
Shay Mitchell's bun is similar to Jourdan Dunn's above, but with a higher placement. This detail takes the polish to sky-high levels.
This gorgeous twist looks complicated, but we promise it's not. Follow the steps from this tutorial by stylist Jenny Cho to achieve:
- Start by working a hydrating cream into clean, dry strands.
- Then, take a decorative hair stick and twirl the hair into the desired shape. Leave a few inches at the ends free.
- Spritz the loose hair with some hairspray and brush it out.
- Use a few bobby pins to add the remaining hair to the twist.
Twists and Curls
Gorgeous chunky twists are a great, protective way to style long, curly hair. Follow the instructions from this video tutorial by Jasmine Brown:
- Start with damp, towel-dried hair.
- Using a comb, create a sharp, slightly off-center part.
- Separate two front sections of hair. These will be used to create the twists. Apply a styling cream to those two sections and comb through.
- Begin creating the first two-strand twist using about half of the sectioned-off hair. Move diagonally from the hairline back, and keep twisting until you reach the ends.
- Complete three twists on either side. The thickest one should be the farthest in, closest to the hairline.
- Next, style the remaining curls as normal by adding your favorite products and scrunching with a microfiber towel.
Elongated French Twist
The French twist is classic, but there are endless variations. We love this elongated, slightly raised take on the tried-and-true prom 'do by stylist Irinel de Leon. Making the shape is so simple and only involves a few bobby pins to hold it in place. The best part? It's beautiful on all textures. "This can most certainly be done on curly hair. Your curls will just add an extra touch with the texture," adds Sango.
'90s Half-Up Pigtails
Half-up pigtails are another fun way to style long hair. It's so simple—just brush the front pieces of your hair up into pigtails. "If you want to achieve this exact look and you have naturally curly hair, you can softly blow the hair out to stretch, and loosen curls with a heated curling tong on medium heat to prevent heat damage," says Sango.
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