By Anne-Marie Guarnieri, Allure magazine
Holiday parties can feel like the time to pull out all the stops. But before you go wild with the feathers or get trigger-happy with spray, check out this list of the most common ways good evening hairstyles go bad.
Mistake #1: Ringlets of any kind
The holiday buzz can make you feel like a kid again, but that doesn't mean you should look like one. Tight curls that dangle from an updo "make you look like a little girl-or worse, old-fashioned," says hairstylist Nathaniel Hawkins. (Think Nellie Olsen.) Sweep all the froufrou into your updo, allowing only a few wisps or flyaways to fall out.
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Mistake #2: Rapunzel-worthy hair extensions
When you have long, shiny hair that grazes your butt, but only a bob's worth has actually grown out of your head, "even the straightest of straight guys will know something's up with your hair," says Hawkins. Instead of using extensions for length, try them for boosting fullness and maybe to add an inch or two, max, to the bottom. Hawkins suggests having your hairstylist razor the extensions to blend them in with your actual ends, and asking him to clip them in below the round of the head for a more believable look.
Mistake #3: Crunchy-looking curls
Here's a problem that's easily prevented-all you need is a blow-dryer and a large-barrel curling iron (chucking the jumbo bottle of gel won't hurt, either). Hawkins suggests prepping the hair with Living Proof No Frizz Wave Shaping, Curl Defining Styling Spray for Fine to Medium Hair, roughly blowing it dry, and then defining the curls by wrapping combed-out sections around the iron: "It smooths and controls the hair in a gorgeous, touchable way."
Mistake #4: Accessory overload
Your goal isn't to outshine the Christmas tree-one topper in the hair is plenty festive. Tone down the sparkle and keep your accessory simple: A well-placed barrette-like the jeweled ones placed on the side of deep side swoops at the Rodarte spring 2011 show or the flowery ones that were randomly pinned into the updos at Chanel's spring 2011 show-is all you need." We love the intricate clips and other designs by Jennifer Behr.
See also: 31 New Holiday-Party Hair Ideas
Mistake #5: Too big a tease
Unless you're dressing up for a Jersey Shore party, skip any style that adds two inches or more to your height. To create more luxurious-looking volume, Hawkins recommends gently back-combing the hair at the crown with a boar-bristle paddle brush. Then lightly tease your hair throughout and smooth it over with your palms. "If you tease solely at the crown, you'll create a crazy pouf," he says.
Mistake #6: Hair claws of any kind
Just like your flannel bunny pajamas, the clip that keeps your hair back when you're washing your face should never leave the house. Instead, secure an evening updo with one of our favorite new accessories that actually disappears in your style: the Goody Spin Pin, a coil that twists into a bun or chignon to keep it locked into place. "You'll get the same effect and height without the tacky look of the claw," Hawkins says.
Mistake #7: Product overload
It's easy enough to get carried away with the creams, serums, and pomades. The trick is knowing how to sop it all up without having to stick your head in the sink for a complete do-over. The pros' secret weapon: dry shampoo. (We love Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk and Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Dry Shampoo Spray because they don't produce flakes or turn dark hair gray.) Mist it onto your brush, then rake it through your hair to absorb the grease. Then blast your roots with the blow-dryer-the heat will dry up more of the product. And when all else fails, play up the sleekness by pulling your hair back into a glossy bun-position it high for a playful ballerina effect, or low for a more sophisticated one.
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Mistake #8: Too basic a ponytail
If your holiday festivities entail dancing, a dressy ponytail is the way to go. Worried about it looking too casual? Take a page from Louis Vuitton's fall 2010 show, where the springy, glossy ponytails were anything but. "The hair's texture can make or break the style," Hawkins says. He recommends using hot rollers that add a little bounce to up the style's elegance. Secure the hair at ear level or below; for added polish, cover the elastic with a small section of hair and pin it beneath the tail. Then run a drop of serum over the front of your hair for high shine.
Mistake #9: A top-heavy look
Too much teasing, together with pulling back too much hair, can leave your half-up/half-down style looking like a makeshift mullet. Instead, "use the ends of your brows, not your ears, as a guide for how much hair to pull back-it adds an instant lift to the face and lets the rest of your hair fall over your shoulder," Hawkins says. Set the hair with hot rollers first to get the finished, bouncy ends that elevate the style for evening.
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio