Hair Styles

Pageant Hair

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Whether you are just starting out in pageants or have been participating in them for a while, hairstyles are something that is ever changing in the pageant industry. And they all tend to look very similar. The best approach to finding the right style is to first, decide what type of pageant you are participating in and then, what type of hairstyle looks best on your child.

The types of pageants can be broken down into three basic types:

Natural no or light make-up rules, and natural, not stiff hair styles

Semi-Glitz age appropriate or light make-up and more glamorous hairstyles

Glitz stage make-up and very ornate and voluminous hairstyles, many times using falls or extensions

The types of hairstyles can also be categorized into three types:


Hair that is piled on top of the head close to the crown and/or nape or slicked back

Cascades or pulled back

Front may be pulled to back and pinned or several layers of curls are pinned in tiers to create a cascade


Can be straight or curly, or styled as a short or medium cuts

For natural pageants, I would stick with the full length, naturally groomed styles or simple low or high ponytails. With natural hair, the hair should move freely and not be plastered with a lot of hair spray. However, if there will be a long wait time before going on stage you may put a heavier amount of hair spray on the hair and brush out just before going on-stage. This is especially good for younger girls that will be very active during the wait. Good things to have for natural styles are shine spray-to help alleviate frizzies and give a healthy shine, and a good natural bristle smoothing brush. You can find both at a good beauty supply store. If your child has a short or medium length hairstyle, the rule of thumb is to fix it how you as if you were going to church. Be sure that hair does not hide the face in any way, long bangs can be tucked behind the ear and pinned with bobby pins to stay.

The medium or semi-glitz pageant contestants can get a bit more elegant with their styles. More like what you would wear in a wedding or to a prom. Stiffer hair is expected. For up-dos, you would pile curls up high and pin them down creating height and beauty. It should be like a halo that shows off the face. Girls with beautiful necklines should especially consider an up-do. Faces with cute chubby cheeks should also consider an up-do to give the face more length.

Cascades can be created by taking the top layer of hair and pinning it close to the crown, then taking the next layer and pinning it closer to the nape and then allowing the rest of the curls to fall freely. You will want to hairspray quite a bit to help keep the layers from falling. For this type of pageant it is also imperative to keep the hair off the face, so pulling the front of the hair back while letting the rest fall "naturally", hair spray should be used to keep the hair in perfect place. Hair can also be slicked back and formed into a high or low "fan" with an additional rhinestone clip. Another popular young girls style you can use is the traditional Shirley Temple curls.

Now, glitz styles are completely a different animal to traditional styles. The keyword is glamor and you will quite often see participants wearing falls (1/2 wigs) or extensions. And curls, curls, curls! The curls can be piled up for off-the-chart up-dos with lots of little curly tendrils on the sides. Cute, baby-doll looks. Long looks are made fuller with tons of curls from add-on hairpieces and falls. Hairspray is also key! You will use it throughout the style as well as finishing touches. Hot curlers are also important. You may need to buy more than one set because normally you will only use one size and normally one set doesn't have enough of the size you need. Glitz styles can be pretty tricky to make them look just right. But with a bit of practice you can find just the right style that is easy enough for you to do yourself. Otherwise hire a stylist and tell them what you want.

Some facial features make the type of hairstyle to choose easier. Like girls with long necks and beautiful necklines should take advantage and create an up-do. More petite girls may also do well with an up-do to give them more height. Taller girls with long faces may look better in a fluffy cascade, not too short or too long and definitely not piled high. Cascades are safe bets for almost all face shapes and features. Girls with naturally defined cheekbones and brow bones may look very elegant in slicked back hair with a low or high fan.If you really are serious about the know-how, then check out these very instructional videos:Bridal Up-Dos -
Hairstyles/Updos Tips/Tricks -
High Pony Tails -
Many more can be found on YouTube.

No matter what pageant type you are participating in it is always a good idea to watch what styles in your age division are popular and watch them being styled if possible. Above all don't make the experience too stressful, have fun!


More about this author: Renee Ruby