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7 Wedding Guest Hairstyles for Women Over 50 + the Easy Steps It Takes To Create Them

Plus, the how-to videos that make it even easier

The bells are ringing and wedding season is officially upon us! If your refrigerator is starting to fill up with invite after invite and you’re running out of magnets to hold them all, it’s definitely time to start thinking about the nitty gritty that accompanies attending a wedding. That is, of course, the look you’re going for! From finding the right dress to mastering sweat-proof makeup to figuring out what to do with your hair, it can all seem a little overwhelming. That’s why we tapped top hairstylists who have experience doing hair for weddings for their favorite go-to ‘dos, perfect for women over 50 — and they’re thin-hair friendly! Skip the salon and DIY your own wedding guest hairstyles for less using the simple instructions below.

Related: 6 Wedding Guest Makeup Looks for Mature Skin That Are Easy To Recreate

Updos vs down dos

If you have fine, thin or thinning hair, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to which hairstyle will flatter you best. It all depends on your specific hair texture, length, etc.

“For mature women with thinning hair, choosing between an updo or leaving hair down often depends on the specific hair texture and personal preference,” affirms Robin Emtage, celebrity hairstylist and founder of SILKTAGE. “However, updos can be particularly flattering because they allow for volume to be added strategically at the crown and sides, which can make the hair appear fuller.”

In other words, you can often create the illusion of thicker, fuller hair when executing an updo using volumizing techniques. Such techniques include “backcombing at the roots for lift and using volumizing powders (that) can enhance the look,” says Emtage.

But also keep in mind that comfortability is key! You don’t want to spend the entire night feeling like you have a million pins poking at your scalp or a style so tight you feel your hair may rip out. “When styling your hair for a wedding or other event, it’s important to make sure you feel comfortable,” says Sarah Potempa, celebrity stylist and co-founder of The Beachwaver Co. “If your hair is thinning, you still have options when it comes to wearing your hair up or down.” And “if you want to give the illusion of thicker, fuller hair, opt for styles that are looser to allow for texturizing and volumizing.”

Related: 8 Updos That Add Volume To Thin Hair: Celebrity Stylists Give the Easy How-Tos

7 wedding guest hairstyles for women over 50

Whether you’re mother or grandmother of the bride or groom or attending as a guest, we have the best wedding guest hairstyles that work on thin, fine or thicker hair.

1. Pretty and classic chignon

woman with low chignon hairstyle
Erstudiostok/Getty

What’s great a low chignon, is you don’t have to have super long hair to recreate. Since the bun sits at the nape of the neck, you just have to have enough hair to create a small bun. Plus, it’s truly a classic look that never goes out of style. “This is an elegant and timeless hairdo that works beautifully for a formal look,” adds Emtage.

Get the look:

  1. Apply a pea-size amount of a smoothing serum, like Moroccanoil Intense Smoothing Frizz Control Serum, all over damp hair and blow dry, says Emtage.
  2. Secure hair into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck using a small elastic if your hair is on the finer side.
  3. To add some extra volume at the crown, use the pointy end of a rat-tail comb to slide in between strands and lightly pull sections upward to “fluff” hair up.
  4. Next, “twist the ponytail until it coils around the base, then secure with pins,” says Emtage.
  5. Finish it with a light mist of hairspray to ensure all-day hold. 

Related: Hairstylists’ Easy Secrets to a Salon-Worthy Blowout at Home

2. Beautiful Half-up, half-down bouffant

Although we probably don’t want to feel transported back to the 60s with the mega, dramatic bouffants, the style is still very classic and chic in its modern state. This is a great option for someone who wants to keep their hair down, but still have it out of their face. “This style combines elegance with a touch of vintage flair, and it’s great for adding volume to thinning hair,” says Emtage.

Mindy McKnight, hair expert and founder of Hairitage, adds, “a half-up hairstyle works great for thin hair and can be really flattering. What I love about a half-up style is that it pulls your hair up and away from your face and lets you show off a bit of your personality by adding an accessory, like Hairitage Beaded Stylish Hair Clips. The back of the hair can be styled with loose curls to add some texture and volume.”

Get the look:

  1. Spritz on a heat protectant to prevent damage to damp or dry hair, then spray a volumizing spray at the roots to help perk strands up.
  2. Next, Emtage says to use a round brush to blow dry hair, ensuring you are lifting up at the roots to build that volume.
  3. Separate hair into equal sections and use a medium-sized barrel (like a 1 ¼″) curling iron to create loose curls allover. Once curls have cooled, gently brush out for a pretty, soft wave.
  4. Lastly, “backcomb [hair at] the crown area lightly to add height and volume,” says Emtage. “Then, take the top section of your hair and gently pull it back, securing it with a clip or pins at the back of your head. Make sure to smooth over the top layer to hide any backcombing.”

3. Fabulous French twist

A French twist is a go-to hairstyle that’s stood the test of time. It looks elegant and gets your hair out of your face and off your neck. And while it might look complicated, it’s easier to do than you might think. McKnight shares her how-to in the video above.

Get the look:

  1. Leave out a 1″ section of hair in front on each side. Next, brush hair back into a ponytail at the center of the head and secure with an elastic.
  2. Spritz a texture spray, like Hairitage Magic Spell Texturizing Spray into your ponytail, especially if you have thin, silky-like hair, to give it some grit and hold.
  3. Slightly loosen your ponytail so that you can fit your fingers underneath. Slide two fingers through to the other side of the pony, then grab your ponytail and pull it through.
  4. Once the pony is pulled through, you should see a small bump towards your crown, which not only adds extra volume but is a good sign you’re doing it correctly. Next, if your pony needs more volume, tease it or add a little more texture spray. Then secure the bottom of the ponytail with a small elastic.
  5. Swoop the ponytail over the twist, and fold and tuck in the ends of hair, rolling it to form a twist. Secure in place with pins and set with hairspray.

4. Chic criss-cross bun

Overlapping sections of strands add pizzazz to a standard bun and gives the style more dimension and playfulness, while still looking appropriate for a wedding. McKnight walks us through how to create it in her easy how-to tutorial.

Get the look:

  1. Start by applying a texture spray, like Hairitage Magic Spell Texturizing Spray, and if your roots need extra volume, sprinkle in a volumizing root powder, like Hairitage Magic Dust Texturizing Powder.
  2. Next, grab a 3″ section of hair on each side by the ears and bring back to the center of head, securing into a ponytail with an elastic. Then, flip the ponytail over and through the middle to create a pretty twist.
  3. Then, divide all of hair in half, and secure each half with an elastic (to essentially make pigtails). After securing, take one pigtail and flip it up and under the twist on the opposite side. Repeat on the other side with the opposite pigtail. Keep repeating this steps until all of hair is overlapped and in a bun.
  4. Secure loose ends with hair elastics, then tuck into the bun and pin into place. Finish with hairspray.

5. Stunning simple beach waves

mature woman with grey hair beachwaves hairstyle
Andreas Kuehn/Getty

“Classic beach waves are one of my favorite wedding guest hairstyles,” says Potempa. “You can create more textured waves or soft glam waves depending on the size of the barrel you choose.” Plus, waves are one of the more easier wedding guest hairstyles to create, since they don’t require any braiding, twisting or updo skills.

Get the look:

  1. Section off your hair and brush through to rid strands of any tangles.
  2. Potempa suggests using the Beachwaver curling iron to create your loose curls. Not only does it work wonders, but it’s an automatic rotating iron, so you don’t have to be an expert at curling. It does the work for you! Clamp the barrel at the bottom of a piece of hair, then use the button the curl up toward the root. “The Beachwaver will rotate as long as you’re holding the button and stop when you do,” she says.
  3. Hold each curl for a few seconds, then gently release the clamp. Repeat until all of hair is curled.
  4. Once all curls are cooled, lightly comb through with your fingers or a brush to create those soft, beachy waves.
  5. Finish it off with a light-hold hairspray.

Related: How to Curl Short Hair: 5 Easy Techniques That Make Strands Look Thick and Bouncy

6. Wow-worthy half-up braid

loose curls with braided half up
Sarah Potempa/Beachwaver

Although the photo above, styled by Potempa, features someone with long hair, this is one of the wedding guest hairstyles that works on almost all hair lengths. “Braids are a quick and easy way to add texture, interest and softness to a look,” she says. “You can add a braid to beachwaves, an updo, around a sleek bun and more.”

Get the look:

  1. To begin the braid, take two one-inch sections of hair at the front. Make sure to leave out any face-framing pieces that you don’t want in the braid. If you have fine, straight/smooth hair, apply a hair texturizer, like Beachwaver Braid Balm, to give hair extra grit and grip.
  2. Next, Potempa says to “split the section in three and bring the left under the middle, then right under the middle. Then, add hair at the root to the left side and bring it all under the middle. Do the same on the right and continue adding hair to each side until you reach the ear.” This creates your dutch braid. Once you reach the ear, just continue with a simple 3-strand braid. Repeat this on your other section of hair, then bring the two braids together and the back and secure with a small elastic or pins.
  3. For thicker-looking braids, Potempa suggests gently pulling at the edges of the braids to give them a fuller look. Finish with hairspray.

Related: 10 Easy Braids for Thin Hair That Make Hair Look Thicker Instantly

7. Striking slicked-back ‘do

sleek wedding guest hairstyle
Sarah Potempa

“A sleek updo is a timeless look for special occasions,” says Potempa. Plus, it’s truly versatile. “You can do a smooth ponytail, chic bun and more.” And best of all, it’s extremely easy to create.

Get the look:

  1. To start, slick back hair using a styling cream, like dae Cactus Fruit 3-in-1 Styling Creme, and a boar bristle brush. Once everything is smoothed down, secure hair back into a low ponytail with an elastic.
  2. Next, wrap the hair in the tail into a bun by twisting hair around the elastic. Secure with an elastic or bobby pins.
  3. Smooth any flyaways with more styling creme and top it off with hairspray.

See more hair styling inspiration:

Why Side Swept Bangs Are the Hot New Trend for Women Over 50 + How They Make Hair Look Thicker

Hairstylists Reveal The Best Foolproof Ways to Keep Hair Straight Overnight

How To Curl Hair With a Straightener: It Sounds Crazy But It Works Like a Charm

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