17 Bow Hairstyles That Prove the Accessory Can Elevate Any Look

A woman with a bubble ponytail with pink ribbons

Christian Vierig / Getty Images

We all have our go-to hairstyles: a quick, loose braid, a sassy high pony, or maybe even a sleek bun now and then. But sometimes these looks start to feel a bit tired, or perhaps they're too under-done for a certain event.

In these situations, might we suggest a bow or ribbon? Bows can help add new life to a tried-and-true favorite and can be incorporated into almost any style, from a simple knot around a ponytail or bun to a full-blown ribbon braid. For advice on achieving bow hairstyles at home, we turned to hairstylists Millie Morales and Sky Kim for their expert tips. Read on for our favorite ribbon hairstyles and how to get the looks.

Meet the Expert

  • Millie Morales is a celebrity hairstylist and Garnier beauty consultant.
  • Sky Kim is a hairstylist at Serge Normant at John Frieda and a member of Byrdie's Beauty & Wellness Review Board.
01 of 17

Incorporate a Classic Bow

Model with her curly hair tied up with a bow


You cannot go wrong with a simple, classic bow. This look is perfect for curly or textured hair: Secure your hair in a curly-safe pineapple and add your ribbon accent to elevate your protective style.

02 of 17

Braid a Frida Kahlo-Inspired Crown

Model with Frida Kahlo inspired braid crown

Craig Barritt / Getty Images

Frida Kahlo—one of the original braid crown icons—was famously pictured with ribbons incorporated into her intricately braided updos. Morales credits Kahlo as an originator of the trend. "I am sure Frida Kahlo has to do something with it," she says. "She had fun with her beautiful hair and created this trademark over the years. I am almost sure this trend comes from her."

A proper crown braid can be tough to master on your own, so an easy dupe is to form two separate braids and pin them to the crown of your head. You can emulate Frida by integrating a ribbon throughout your braids before pulling them up into a crown.

03 of 17

Supersize Your Bow

Kiernan Shipka with oversized bow


We love the drama of this oversized bow, which offers a fresh take on the bow hairstyle. Sticking with a monochrome and muted color palette (like this all-black take) will help keep the oversized style from looking costumey. Follow Kiernan Shipka's lead and pair this style with a dramatic winged eyeshadow look for maximum impact.

04 of 17

Quadruple the Ribbons

Hailey Bieber with four ribbons in her hair


Why stop at just one ribbon? Multiple small ribbons are an easy way to incorporate the accessory throughout a hairstyle with ease. This quadruple ribbon look on Hailey Bieber is a great way to accent standard braids with multiple mini bows.

05 of 17

Elevate Your Ponytail

A high ponytail with small pink bow

Marc Piasecki / Getty Images

Take your ponytail to the next level with an elegant satin ribbon. Once your hair is up in a high ponytail, tie a piece of ribbon into a bow around the base. "I like to incorporate ribbons into the hair [with] braids, buns, and ponytails," says Morales. "I love the way it changes the look and makes it more fun."

06 of 17

Add a Dramatically Long Ribbon

Ariana Grande with giant long ribbon in her hair

Jackson Lee / Getty Images

One surefire way to add some drama to an everyday hairstyle? Add an extra long ribbon. A cascade of ribbon extending past the length of your hair is sure to turn heads and give off an almost Rapunzel vibe.

When selecting a ribbon for this style, longer is better—especially if you're creating a bow. We love Ariana's use of transparent ribbon in this look, which adds to the ethereal nature of the whole ensemble.

07 of 17

Use Solid Ribbons to Complement Patterns

A woman with her textured hair tied up with a yellow ribbon

Mike Marsland / Getty Images

Ribbons in solid statement colors are a great complement to pattern-heavy looks. You can use this method to bring out more subtle colors in a busy design: The key is choosing one color from the pattern and playing off its tones. For example, this gorgeous gold ribbon brings out the neutral tones in the cheetah print dress and helps to brighten the whole look, despite the darker colors being more prominent.

08 of 17

Use Textured Ribbon for Contrast

Hailey Bieber with a high ponytail with a wrapped in a velvet ribbon

Theo Wargo / Getty Images

This now-iconic Met Gala look relied on a ribbon to raise a basic ponytail to red carpet-ready glamor. Ribbon fabrics vary, so try using something with texture to add intrigue and definition to your look.

When attempting a sleek hairstyle like this one, Morales recommends using a leave-in conditioner to smooth and control your hair, like Garnier’s Miracle Frizz Tamer 10-in-1 Leave-In Treatment ($10).

09 of 17

Coordinate Your Whole Look

Finding a similarly patterned ribbon is a great way to tie your hair into your outfit. Here, a simple low ponytail is instantly elevated by a hair ribbon that coordinates with the striped pants. Keeping a neutral color, like a white top, in between will help you avoid looking too matchy-matchy.

10 of 17

Accessorize Your Ribbon

hair styled with multiple clips and bows

Christian Vierig / Getty Images

Ribbon hairstyles can be further elevated when paired with other clips and accessories. In this look, the bow is placed smack dab in the middle of a sea of bejeweled barrettes. You can replicate this with any hair clips (or even brooches) you have on hand.

11 of 17

Add a Bow to Your Braid

Olivia Dean with a long braid, tied at the end with a bow

Karwai Tang / Getty Images

"There are so many ways you can incorporate a ribbon into your hair, but some of my favorite ways to do it are weaving it into a loose braid or tying it at the end of your braid," says Kim. "The fun part is choosing [from] the different materials you can use, from thick satin ribbons to printed scarves."

For a braided bun, start by braiding your hair and incorporating the ribbon of your choice into the braid. Once finished, wrap the braid into a bun and secure it in place. Make sure to tease the braid a bit before pulling it into a bun and again once it's secure to ensure the ribbon pops.

12 of 17

Serve Serious Sparkle

A sparkly black bow in the back of a woman's head

Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

If a simple ribbon isn't delivering your desired effect, consider swapping in a bedazzled bow or adding rhinestones to a ribbon you already have. We love how the sparkles on this dark-colored bow accentuate the center and create a starburst effect.

13 of 17

Upgrade Your Elastic

short hair pulled into a low ponytail with a bow

Christian Vierig / Getty Images

Short hair looks great when pulled back into a low pony at the nape of the neck—especially when you swap your elastic for a small, chic bow. The black bow beautifully complements the black coat and light hair in this look. Kim suggests beginners "start with a messier look so that imperfections are less noticeable and actually look good with them."

14 of 17

Create a Bubble Braid Using Bows

A bubble braid made with hot pink bows

Christian Vierig / Getty Images

With the rise in Y2K hairstyles, why not combine the bow trend with one of the easiest early aughts styles to recreate, the bubble braid? Start by pulling your hair into a low ponytail, then use small pieces of ribbon to create the bubble braid sections. Feel free to alternate colors or even span the whole rainbow with your ribbon color choices.

15 of 17

Secure a Half-Up Hairdo

half up hair do with a black satin bow

@justinemarjan / Instagram

A half-up hairdo is an effortless style that can take you from work to happy hour. This half-up look is made even more chic by the addition of a black satin ribbon. When you secure your half-up hairstyle with a ribbon, you make it more sophisticated—instantly leveling up this classic 'do.

16 of 17

Use Ribbon as a Headband

Barbara Palvin with her hair worn down, with a big pink ribbon bow headband

Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Whether leaving your hair down or whipping up a quick messy bun, a ribbon headband is a great way to make a last-minute hairstyle look more intentional. A bonus: Ribbon headbands may be more comfortable than traditional headbands since you can customize how tightly they fit.

17 of 17

Max Out on Mini Bows

two models with many mini bows in their hair

@sandyliang / Instagram

Why wear one bow when you can wear many? This maximalist approach to incorporating bows takes minimal effort to execute. To try this runway look at home, we recommend using mini clip-in bows and staggering them throughout the length of your hair. To avoid doing too much with this already over-the-top style, keep your strands simple.

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