20 Glamorous Side-Swept Hair Looks

From Constance Wu to Tracee Ellis Ross.

woman with side swept hair and pearl clips


A frequented favorite on the red carpet is side-swept hair, and we’ve seen it in a variety of ways: Classic Hollywood waves, natural curls, ponytails, buns, braids, and soft blowouts. Keeping the hair side-swept is a quick way to elevate your hairstyle for any event. Dress it up with a rhinestone barrette, or go accessory-free and secure with bobby pins. Either way, this style is minimal effort for maximum payoff. Ahead, 20 glamorous ways to wear side-swept hairstyles.

01 of 20

Short Waves

constance wu wearing short side swept hair


Dia Dipasupil / Staff/ Getty

People often associate side-swept styles with long, cascading waves. But medium and short-length hair looks just as glamorous pulled over one shoulder. Here, Constance Wu shows us how it's done, just add low-maintenance waves and a deep side part.

02 of 20

A Formal Classic

Sandra Bullock

 Steve Granitz/WireImage

The classic side-swept look that's bound to make an appearance on the red carpet is a great option for formal events. To channel this look, wrap your strands around a 1" barrel towards the face to give it that forward framing bend at the eye line.

03 of 20

Over-Directed Parting

Jessica Alba

 Jeff Vespa/WireImage

One super quick way to add a little extra glam to your hair style is to over-direct your side part, pulling a few strands past your regular comfort zone. It's a minor adjustment that gives a major change to your style.

04 of 20

Tighter Curls

Yara Shahidi

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Here, Yara Shahidi maintains the classic deep part that's associated with side-swept styles, but she's pinned her curls into a faux bob. This is a low maintenance way to wear side-swept hair, as well as a solution for those who don't want to heat style their natural curls.

05 of 20

Soft "S" Waves

Leslie Mann

 Jason Merritt/Getty Images

If your hair holds a curl well and you're in the biggest time crunch to get out the door looking "event ready" (this one goes out to all my fellow mamas), here's what you do: Grab a large 2" barrel and some hairspray. Lightly spray your strands all over. Then grab 2" sections of hair, wrap them around your iron, and brush it all over to the side. Using a larger barrel means larger sections and larger sections means less time spent styling. You'll end up with a soft "S" wave like Leslie Mann's, so it's truly a win-win.

06 of 20

One Side Back

Jennifer Lopez

 Steve Granitz/WireImage 

If you decide to tighten the side being brought over, use matte bobby pins to get a nice and secure grip. They blend into your hair color without a shiny, slippery surface. They never show up in photos so you'll be instantly photo ready.

07 of 20

Braid It Back

Amber Heard

 Tony Barson/FilmMagic

If your hair is heavy and you're having a hard time pinning your locks to the side, try braiding it back and securing it with a clear elastic (or x-crossed pins) at the opposite side of your neck. The braid can be a simple three strand, or you can spice things up and go for a fishtail or inverted french braid. Do what comes easiest to you so that you can keep good tension for that side-swept effect!

08 of 20

Side-Swept Goddess Braids

tracee ellis ross wearing green blazer

Jon Kopaloff / Stringer/Getty Images 

Here, Pattern Beauty founder Tracee Ellis Ross wears her hair in long, side-swept goddess braids, a style that's equally protective as it is stunning.

09 of 20

Extra Long Locks

Demi Moore

 Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

More length doesn't necessarily mean more time in front of the mirror. Even if you're carrying waist length locks, use a waver instead of a barrel iron (like this option from R Session) and you'll have unique, easy to achieve waves. Sweep them to the side and you're good to go.

10 of 20

Disco Fever

Blake Lively

 Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Every era has its own unique take on the side-swept look. Here, Blake Lively brought the disco vibes back full swing with these 3/4" wrapped curls. This style definitely leans on the longer side, but short and medium styles can pull this look off too.

11 of 20

Long and Loose

Selena Gomez

Jason Merritt/Getty Images 

For a look like Selena's, wrap your hair around a 1 1/4" curling iron all over and in the same direction, leaving the ends out. Finish it off by brushing through the hair with a mixed bristle brush. For longer lasting hold, spray your brush with hairspray before combing through.

12 of 20

Touch of Romance

Teyonah Parris

 Noam Galai/Getty Images

Teyonah Parris wears the ultimate side sweep with this statement over-directed braid. For added elegance, she's sprinkled a touch of baby's breath into the mix to keep this look fresh and delicate.

13 of 20

The Ear Tuck

Emma Watson

 Mike Marsland/WireImage

Consider starting your waves at the tuck of the ear. Spraying the top of the hair with hairspray to keep those flyaways down will translate into a smooth and simple side-swept style that's great for your big presentation at work, a black tie event, or your next holiday party.

14 of 20


Cara Delevigne

Jamie McCarthy/FilmMagic 

Cara Delevigne sports her 1" barrel curls to one side with the help of a matching accessory. Accessories are having a moment and the one you use can determine just how casual or formal your style is. (P.S., these are are trending favorites.)

15 of 20

No Pins Needed

laverne cox standing at a podium with side swept hair
Randy Shropshire / Stringer​/Getty

Here, Laverne Cox wears a more relaxed side-swept style. Her hair likely isn't pinned in the back to secure all of her hair to one side. Instead, she's pulled it all to one side and allows pieces to fall out of place naturally.

16 of 20

Middle Part

Brittany Snow

 Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

You don't need a deep side part to wear a side-swept style. Take your tousled waves from beachy and casual to side-swept and sophisticated like Brittany Snow has done here.

17 of 20

Side-Swept Braid

Eva Longoria

 Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Eva Longoria's long, three-strand braid is both side-swept and wind-swept. To keep bits like this textured and in tact, use a touchable medium hold hairspray. Spray along the braid and gently pull the braid apart, massaging the product in with your fingers.

18 of 20

Twist Back Braid

Nicole Kidman

 Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Beginning with a simple twist and ending in a ponytail, this side-swept look makes its way from one side to the other by way of a braid. The end result is a side swept braid hybrid for a unique take on the classic style.

19 of 20

Second Day Sweep

Charlize Theron

 Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Starting with the classic 1" side-swept waves is an ideal foundation for those occasions that call for multiple days of festivities. Add some texturizing dry shampoo and a headband, throw it up into a loose side bun using hair pins to secure it place, and you've got the perfect second day, side-swept style.

20 of 20

Classic Glam

Katherine Langford

 George Pimentel/WireImage

If you're ever unsure about which iron size to use, opt for a 1" barrel or wand. Take a wide-tooth comb or hair brush through your waves and you'll have a classic, side-swept glam look like Katherine Langford's in no time.

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