The best rule of thumb for finding the right hairstyle for a young girl in a beauty pageant is to keep it simple.
Winning styles that don't require too much maintenance or fuss during wardrobe changes are pony tails, braids or simple, casual upsweeps.
Hairstyles for the young queen should not be too "grown" to make her look like she's an adult, but should portray her as a poised little girl.
Avoid striking hair colors that are obviously not natural. It makes a little girl stand out like a sore thumb. She comes off like she's playing "dress up" rather than competing for a title. Let her natural hair be her color for the competition.
The same goes for wigs and hairpieces. No little girl should have the burden of trying to "maintain" this adult practice. Rather than trying to add on hair, focus on an age-appropriate style that accentuates her best features.
Among the most popular styles are those that leave room for a crown or tiara, should she win:
- Cascading curls that sit softly on top of the head and frame the face work well for thin hair that is at least shoulder-length. This style allows her to add accessories during each segment of the competition without disturbing the original curls. It also allows you to do a quick ponytail for a casual talent competition and return to the cascading curls during a finale.
- An updo, with the hair curled or folded and pinned squarely on the crown of the head is a smart choice for those who won't need to change hairstyles during the pageant. If the hair stays on the top of the head and is not pulled back just above the neck into a bun, it leaves comfortable room for a tiara. The bun at the nape of the neck tends to make a tiara tilt forward. Choose this style only if you intend to keep the same style for every event in the show. Be prepared with a brush to tackle frizz that can develop from changing clothes.
- If you don't want all of your hair up, or all of it down, try using a ponytail holder and pulling the top portion back. You can then curl the hair that hangs loose in the back and that hangs from the ponytail holder. You can also slightly curl any hair you have pulled out for side wisps or a bang. This style requires a little more maintenance than the others with frizz control. A change of wardrobe also means small touch-ups for the hair to keep it looking fresh. The teeth of a tiara fit easily into the loose hair in this hairdo.
- Tight curls all over. Some girls have naturally wavy hair or a lot of really tight curls that frame their faces. Don't try to straighten the curls or go for a hairstyle that tugs the curls out. Let the little queen be natural and keep her curls. This is probably the low-maintenance hairstyle for pageants. You just need to make sure the curls fall naturally and no stray curls are poking out of the uniform coif.
- Perhaps it has been the trendy hairstyle of Spice Girl Victoria Beckham that has prompted a return to the sophisticated bob. Young girls are getting in on the fashion statement, too. Bobs at a pageant are pretty no-fuss. Just make sure the bob ends has been properly trimmed to their stylish blunt cut a day or so before the pageant. You need only worry about controlling hair static, which can be addressed preventively by deep conditioning in the days before the pageant begins.
Be sure to take enough time to experiment with a few styles before settling on the one that is just right for the pageant. If possible, purchase a tiara and see how it fits on the young contestant's head. Allow the young contestant to walk around in the hairstyle to ensure a good comfort level.
And remember to let her natural features shine through by allowing her to be a little girl.
She'll have plenty of time to worry about what styles she'll choose as a women soon enough.