15 Modern Half Up Prom Hairstyles for 2024 (2024)

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Wondering how to wear your hair for prom? Half up prom hairstyles are the best of both worlds, giving you the flowing length of wearing your hair down with the formal polished look of an updo.

If you just can’t decide if you’d rather wear your hair up or down, settling on a modern half up style just might be the sweet spot. Get inspired with 15 examples and tips to consider below!

What Are Half Up Prom Hairstyles?

  • Ditch stiff, starchy curls in favor of soft, looser ringlets or waves
  • Focus on adding texture to the loose ends for a formal look
  • Gather the top half or a little less to balance the style
  • Make style security a top priority with pins and hairspray

When it’s time to dress up and show off your formal side this spring at prom, you want a hairstyle that suits the occasion with modern style and a balance of trendy and classic.

Half up prom hairstyles are always a safe bet because they’re easy to tweak to suit the current trends. But the “bones” of a half up, half down hairstyle are super classic – they never go out of style.

When you choose a half up prom style, you’ll truly get the best of both worlds. Half up styles have the benefits of wearing your hair down and loose plusthe pros of a prom-ready updo.

Half up prom hairstyles are a great way to add extra volume to the top and sides of your head for a more balanced face shape. They make it easy to keep cool while you dance the night away with half your hair lifted off your neck and shoulders!

Half up hairstyles for prom also help reduce the “bulk” and thickness of the hair resting on your shoulders and chest to show off more of your gorgeous dress. It’s a win-win-win situation.

The 4 Keys for a Perfect Formal Half Up Hairstyle

That means you can safely leave the stiff, starchy curls of proms past, well, in the past. Instead, opt for looser ringlets or waves with a wider diameter for a softer, more modern look.

Focus on adding texture through the ends of your half up style, like soft waves or glamorous spiral curls. It’ll up the formal factor of your style and make it feel more complete.

When you’re browsing different half up prom hairstyles to try, remember that you can tweak the look by adjusting the amount of hair you include in the updo portion.

They’re called “half up” styles, but you might like the way a style looks using much less than the top half. Finally, you need to think about your hairstyle security for a special night like prom.

Bobby pins, U-shaped hair pins, and medium to firm hold hairsprays are pretty non-negotiable for most half up prom hairstyles. The last thing you want is a fallen hairstyle halfway through your favorite song!

Keep reading to see some of our favorite half up prom hairstyles that perfectly blend modern and classic looks.

15 Half Up Prom Hairstyles to Complete Your Look

If you’re looking for the perfect half up prom hairstyles to pair with your dress, you need to check out several looks to get a sense of what will look best.

Put your own twist on a half up style with any of these stunning options!

1. Half Up Draped Fishtail Braids

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Fluffy fishtail braids are the focal point of this half up style with loose partial waves finishing the look. This style works best with hair on the thicker side so you’ll have enough strands to fill out the look.

Two fishtail braids connect below the volume-boosted crown with cascading bendy waves for the loose half. Try decorative hair picks, studded pins, or jeweled clips to dress up the meeting point in the back.

2. Half Up Twists With Waterfall Curls

Big, full ringlets are a classic prom hairstyle staple that works well with half up styles. Smoothing the top half back then tugging on small sections will texturize the top.

Small sections from each front side are twisted to join in the back, where the texture switches to cascading ringlets with a large diameter.

3. Boho Chic Half Up Braids

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Alexandra Dikaia/Shutterstock

More relaxed half up prom hairstyles might be a good fit with your dress if you’re embracing boho chic or more casual vibes.

Combine multiple braid types – a loose fishtail, hanging 3-strand braids of various sizes, and loose twists – to pull off this layered, textured look. Finish the loose hair with big curls that end a few inches above the ends.

4. One-Shoulder Half Up Soft Curls

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A quick way to give half up prom hairstyles a more modern twist is creating a one-shoulder style. You’ll drape hair back on each side (use a side or middle part for added interest from the front) to create the base.

Pull your hair over one shoulder, pinning underneath to secure the style in place. Curl the ends and tug a few face-framing tendrils loose to give it a breezy look.

5. Pinned-Back Faux Half Up Vintage Curls

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If you want a little twist on a classic half up style, try the pinned-back style with loose, vintage curls. It’s not quite a “half updo,” but it has a similar look and really blends the benefits of wearing your hair down and up.

You’ll create a deep side part, securing the thinner side with a few bobby pins and hairspray. Go big with the volume on the loose side, adding root lift spray or volumizing powder for the most lift.

6. Spunky High Half Up With Face-Framing Tendrils

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Prom day in Portsmouth, July 2018 with young lady wearing black prom dress/Bright1/Shutterstock

A high half updo is equal parts trendy and classic, with extra volume on top that’s amazing for round or square face shapes. Secure the top half (or less) in a high ponytail. Lightly tease the base of the ponytail for more volume.

Finish the ends with spiral curls, a few random tiny braids, and face-framing strands pulled out to curve around your cheeks.

7. Merged Half Up Braids and Waves

What do you get when two half up 3-strand braids merge together? A cute fishtail braid, apparently! It’s pretty and simple to style on your own if you don’t want to shell out for a stylist.

Braid two sections from the front sides of your hair at an angle toward the back. Use the ends of the braids to start a fishtail braid and weave down close to the ends before securing with a clear elastic.

Loose waves offer a great, beachy texture for the loose portion of the style!

8. Side-Swept Half Up With S-Waves

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Olena Zaskochenko/Shutterstock

If you love half up prom hairstyles that are a touch dramatic, this is a good option to try. Big, S-shaped waves fill the loose portion with texture and alluring curves while the side-swept top half creates a flattering shape.

Hairspray and bobby pins are essential to make this a lasting look for prom night. You can use a little heat protectant and hairspray before you curl your hair to ensure your waves stay put!

9. Short Half Crown Braid

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Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Rocking short half up prom hairstyles can be really cute with simple additions like a wrapped, half crown braid. The lilac color is gorgeous, but this style really lets the length and texture shine.

Best of all, this short look works with bangs, short bobs, asymmetrical short cuts, and shoulder-length cuts. Try it with jeweled pins for a more formal look!

10. Half Up Twists and Voluminous Curls

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Chunky twists created with sections of hair taken from each front side are the bones of this pretty prom hairstyle. Twist each section toward the back, securing with bobby pins spritzed with a little hairspray.

The ends are curled in 1″ sections for the most texture and curve. You want big, bouncy curls, so don’t brush through or rough them up with your fingers too much. A pretty barrette or clip is great to finish it off!

11. Braided Half Up Flowers

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Alexandra Dikaia/Shutterstock

Want the focal point of your style to be a little more whimsical and fun? Try braided flowers that are actually much simpler than they look.

After pulling the top section back and securing it, create 3 separate 3-strand braids next to each other below your crown. Pancake each braid, tugging each bit to flatten and fluff it out. Spiral-wrap the braids around their own bases to create flowers.

12. Invisibly Pinned Wavy Half Updo

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Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Try creating an “illusion” with your prom hairstyle by using invisibly-tucked bobby pins to hold your hair in a loose, subtle half updo. You need loose waves or brushed curls for texture through the ends.

Drape and tuck small sections from the front somewhere behind your ears. Use bobby pins to secure each section, then drape a little more hair over the pins to cover them. This works with side and middle parts!

13. 3D Pin Curl Crown Half Updo

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Cynthia Farmer/Shutterstock

Bring classic pin curls into your prom style with this cute option! A side part gets divided into smaller sections angling toward the crown. Each one ends in a 3D pin curl, tugged apart for a little more volume on top.

This creates the look of a crown on top, especially when you accessorize with small jewel clips or pins for emphasis.

14. Classic Half Up Spiral Curls

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Rob Marmion/Shutterstock

You can’t go wrong with classic half up prom hairstyles like this! Simply sweep the top half of your hair back and secure below the crown. Add big, voluminous curls through the loose length for texture.

Amp this style up a bit by teasing the deeper layers of the top half before smoothing hair over it for a pristine look. You can also use a metallic clip or barrette in the back for another special touch.

15. Tousled Half Up Loose Curls

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Alan Poulson Photography/Shutterstock

You might experiment with a few half up prom hairstyles and find that you just look better when you don’t use the full top half of your hair for the updo portion. If that’s the case, try this!

Teased hair on top (leaving out the sides) is brought back and secured in front of the crown. Gently tease the sides and back for more lift, adding loose curls through the length to finish the style.

Things to Consider

Wearing your hair half up for prom is almost always a good idea, but it works best when you keep the following tips and considerations in mind.

  • Your dress style should suit it. Half up prom hairstyles are great for some necklines, but not others. Avoid wearing a half up style if your dress has a high or halter neckline, an asymmetrical neckline, or a boat neckline. Strapless and off-shoulder dresses are meant to show off your collarbones and cleavage, so half up styles can mess with the look. Half up styles look great with sweetheart, v-neck, keyhole, square, and scoop necklines.
  • Your hairspray choice matters. Making sure your half up hairstyle stays put all night isn’t an easy feat. You’ll need a good hairspray that offers superior hold without making your hair feel sticky or stiff. Look for a medium hold or firm hold hairspray to keep your half updo in shape all night! Spritzing your bobby and hair pins with it will help them grip your strands better, too.
  • Keep your hair’s tendencies in mind.No one knows your hair as well as you. Think about the usual tendencies and quirks of your mane to pick the best prom hairstyle. Will it hold a curl for several hours? Does it tend to get frizzy in hot and humid conditions? Does it feel heavy when you wear it up, even if it’s just the top half? Consider these questions before you settle on a style.
  • Do a trial run first.The last thing you want is relying on a specific half up style only to discover on prom day that it’s not working out the way you’d planned. It’s smart to do a trial run – heck, several trial runs – with the styles you’re considering to see which ones best suit you and your dress style.

So, Are Half Up Prom Hairstyles the Best Choice?

Half up prom hairstyles are popular for a lot of reasons, but it can really be summed up simply: They look great on everyone and are so versatile.

From loose, boho styles to shapely, classic looks, there’s a lot you can do with the half up style base. Half up prom hairstyles are often the best choice if you’re struggling to choose between wearing your hair down or up!

The only times half up styles aren’t recommended for prom are when your dress is strapless, off-shoulder, or has a super high neckline. For these dress necklines, full updos are a better choice.

If your dress neckline is square, scoop, sweetheart, straight, keyhole, or v-neck, a half up style will be absolutely perfect.

Try to choose a texture for your loose hair that matches the formality of your dress and you’ll love the look for your special night!

15 Modern Half Up Prom Hairstyles for 2024 (2024)


Is half up half down still in style? ›

Half-up, half-down hairstyles are so easy to execute that they've become my tried-and-true go-to look when I'm short on time. I love that it never goes out of style and works with every hair length, but the celebrity-loved look—seen on everyone from Gigi Hadid to Issa Rae—is inherently versatile, too.

What hairstyle is good for prom? ›

Pigtails are making a comeback, so it might just be the perfect year to try them out for prom. To give them a more elegant feel, follow Jenny Park and dress them up a little bit. You can try fastening them with bows, doing curly or wavy hair, or opting to wear your braids in this style.

How should I have my hair for prom? ›

Your natural hair type can guide you in choosing a prom hair idea that will stay put all evening. A sleek and classic chignon will never go out of style and just oozes effortless sophistication. For dishevelled elegance, go for a half-up 'do, adding texture and embellishment to your lengths with curls and waves.

Are beach waves still in style in 2024? ›

Forget super harsh lines, as these days it's all about making these waves look as soft and natural as possible. Dua Lipa recently rocked this trend at the 2024 Grammy Awards, and it's even been spotted on the runways at London Fashion Week.

What is the half wave hair trend? ›

“The half wave consists of a straight root, with a loose wave from the eye lid, or ear lobe, with loose, relaxed ends,” he explains. It's perfect if you want a style that's a little more undone and natural-looking—like you woke up and shook your hair out, rather than spent the morning coaxing it into shape.

How to do a cute half up ponytail? ›

Tie both sections together into a ponytail at the back of your head. However, on the last pull-through of these sides to form a ponytail, don't pull it all the way down. Instead, leave it halfway in a loop. Leave the remainder of your hair flowing down and free of the elastic.

How to elevate half up half down? ›

If you want to stay minimal with your hair accessories and are looking for a casual way to elevate your updo, try a scrunchie. Not as boring as the traditional hair tie, scrunchies add so much to your look—all the while being super simple!

What is the easiest hair for prom? ›

You can never go wrong with a straight hairstyle. It's a low-maintenance hairstyle that looks sleek and sophisticated. This hairstyle is sure to hold up through all the dancing you'll be doing on prom night! Incorporating a braid into any natural hairstyle is the perfect way to add an interesting element.

How to look flawless at prom? ›

Prepping for Prom Perfection: The Importance of a Flawless Base
  1. Cleanse: Start with a clean face. ...
  2. Exfoliate (Optional): If you have dry or flaky skin, gently exfoliate your face 1-2 days before prom night. ...
  3. Moisturize: Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to hydrate your skin and create a smooth canvas for makeup.
Apr 5, 2024

How do you stand out at prom? ›

Here are some tips for finding the perfect unique prom dress:
  1. Look for interesting fabrics. One way to make your prom dress stand out is to choose a dress made from an unusual fabric. ...
  2. Go for an unusual style (i.e. unique characteristics) ...
  3. Consider asymmetrical necklines. ...
  4. Wear an iridescent prom dress.

Should hair be up or down for prom? ›

"If it's off the shoulder, a sweetheart cut or strapless, wearing your hair down would look the best," said Lathan. "For those that have a lot going on along the neckline or have a lot of jewelry, try an updo.

How to curl hair for prom? ›

Begin by parting your hair to the side and start to curl the side with the lesser amount of hair away from your face. As you curl around your head, begin curling inward, which will create those signature classic Hollywood curls. Voila! You will be ready to take on prom night like a Hollywood celeb with this hairstyle.

Is half and half hair a trend? ›

This bright and bold trend allows you to wear two of your favorite hues simultaneously (while embracing different sides of your personality). If you like your hair color to be as unique and extraordinary as you are, half and half hair color is the trend for you.

How long does half up half down style last? ›

A: The half-up half-down sew-in typically lasts between 6-8 weeks, and in some cases, it can last up to 3 months.

Is half up half down professional? ›

Is half-up, half-down hair professional? We think so, but it ultimately comes down to what you're comfortable wearing.

Are half ponytails in style? ›

Half ponytails are everywhere right now. A versatile style that offers the best of both worlds, it's had a revival in recent weeks thanks to a number of influential celebrities. An easy trend to recreate, it's the perfect hairstyle to take your look from day to night.

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