So, you've successfully grown out your hair. Congratulations! Growing out your hair is a serious (but gratifying) commitment—not just because of how long it takes, but because of everything you need to do to maintain it. Dealing with all that hair can feel exhausting, and is almost frustrating enough to make you want to chop it all off.
But don't grab the scissors just yet—the list of styling opportunities for long hair is just as lengthy as your strands. Not only are these long hairstyles super cute, they'll also make the maintenance process so much easier. We asked top hairstylists to share the best hairstyles for long hair—but don't worry, you don't need to be a professional to recreate these.
Think of this long hairstyle as the ever-so-slightly more polished take on beachy waves. Whereas beachy texture is all about being messy and undone, mermaid waves are more uniform and intentional. You can achieve this look with hot tools, but it's also possible to go heatless with braids, says Millie Morales, celebrity hairstylist and colorist for Garnier. "After washing hair, divide the hair in half and begin to weave a braid on each side. The final wavy look when the braids are removed should last for a couple of days!"
Gravity-defying power pony
The perfect pony is all about placement—the higher the pony, the greater the volume. "I love how aerodynamic this look is when you have long hair," says celebrity hairstylist Sunnie Brook. "To achieve the look, start by making a smaller pony at the crown (this will establish your foundation), then pull the remaining hair on the sides up into the ponytail. Secure the second ponytail with another elastic to create a single pony, then use gel to slick back any flyaways."
If one look was to epitomize the Golden Age of Hollywood, it would be uber-glamorous, blown-out curls. Bigger is better when it comes to golden age waves, so Sally Hershberger, a hairstylist in New York City, recommends using hot rollers instead of curling irons. "Set for 20 to 30 minutes, then allow your hair to cool off before shaking out the curls," she says.
If you typically rock a middle part, a nonchalant hair flip just has an effortless je ne sais quoi quality to it. "Sometimes, all you need to do to give your long hair fresh energy is to change your part," says Brook. The '90s hair flip style creates volume at the top. This look is all about volume, so prep the roots with some volumizing mousse or dry shampoo—Brook recommends Biolage All-In-One Intense Dry Shampoo ($24; ulta.com). When starting with wet hair, you can also flip your hair upside down while drying the roots to maximize lift. Don't forget to set everything with a spritz of setting spray if you don't want your hair flipping back over.
If your main goal is to get all that hair out of your face, a foolproof way to avoid flyaways and draw attention to your eyes is a slicked-back style. First, add a frizz-reducing serum through the hair from roots to ends. Once your hair is fully saturated, layer a medium- to firm-hold styling spray on top of the serum and evenly saturate hair again. Use a fine-toothed comb to slick your hair back from the crown of your head.
Bubble braids is a super youthful style that is especially great for longer lengths. To achieve the playful look, tie hair up in a high ponytail with an elastic, and then continue to tie thin elastics in equal distances until you're near the end of the hair (the number of elastics will depend on the length of your hair). "It's important to keep the bottom portion out to ensure there is some movement. Pull out some wisps and baby hairs around the face to make the look appear a little less styled," advises Hershberger.
Three-strand braids woven into your hair is a great protective style for women with natural hair, plus it looks great with longer lengths. While box braids can be done in a hair salon, it's also possible to be done from home. Use a light cream-based moisturizer to offer more lubrication and moisture when braiding, and be conscious of how tight you are braiding your hair as tight braids can cause breakage. You can also snag some synthetic braiding hair options—Latched and Hooked has some great options—for a seamless transition.
Half up, half down
A textured pony at the crown works for almost everyone who wishes to rock it, no matter their texture, shade, or preference. Another plus: It can conceal greasy roots until wash day. "I especially love a half up, half down style with a middle part as it offers a lot of room to play," adds Branch. "I think this technique also looks great with buns or braids added to the topmost portion. It's a really fun, playful style."
Strapped for time? Throwing in a hair accessory is the quickest and easiest way to make it look like you put in a lot of effort (when you really didn't). There are endless options right now: oversized scrunchies, bedazzled headbands, whimsical bows, hair scarves, and more.