7 Easy, Travel-Friendly Hairstyles You Can Create in Minutes
Here are easy hairstyles—and step-by-step instructions—that are perfect for hot weather, travel, or even everyday. Whether you want braids, a top knot, or beachy waves, here's how to create no-fuss hairstyles in minutes.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.
How to do vacation (or staycation) hairstyles
When you’re on vacation (whether a staycation or traveling), the last thing you want to waste your precious time on is blow-drying, curling, straightening, or doing anything to fight mother nature’s firm grip on your hair.
For this reason, it’s best to work with what you’ve got, suggests Jenna Mast, a New York City-based hairstylist. “Especially when heat and humidity plays a role, your hair is going to be more textured and less cooperative than usual.” (Pay attention: here are the 8 things your hair is desperately trying to tell you about your health.)
To avoid spending too much time fussing over your locks, we asked top stylists to share their easy, go-to styles and the products that help them multi-task (so you don’t have to overpack). (If you’re going on a road trip, here are the 10 car essentials to have during coronavirus.)
Front Dutch braid
“Often my clients hate that the hair around their face gets really frizzy or sweaty, especially if they have bangs,” says Mast. “An easy solution is to do a Dutch braid along the part.” While the standard Dutch braid goes by many names, it’s essentially just a three-strand braid that involves the hair crossing under the previous hair rather than on top, as with traditional French braid. (Thanks to Jean Oh of the Nunzio Saviano Salon in White Plains, New York, for demonstrating how to style.) (Also, beware of the worst hair mistakes you can make.)
How-to: A Front Dutch Braid
1) Section off the hair you want to include in the braid. “Your hair texture and density will determine how large of a section to take, but in general I would suggest about 2 inches from the hairline.” Clip back any hair that will not be braided.
2) Begin your three-strand inside-out braid (crossing the hair under, rather than over) at the part, paying attention to taking equal-sized strands. Use smaller sections if your hair is thick, and larger ones for fine hair, Mast adds.
3) Smooth ends with OUAI Rose Oil to add shine. “Oil doubles as a deliciously scented body oil for a super goddess-y glow.” (Check out these 19 natural treatments, masks, and tricks for healthy hair.)
Slicked-back low pony
For a style with minimal effort, a slicked-back low ponytail is the way to go. It gives you an instant new-look in a matter of minutes. “This look is really great for everything from an afternoon sundress to evening cocktail party,” says Mast. (Here’s how to have healthy, gorgeous hair all summer long.)
How-to: Slicked-back low pony
1) Using a fine-toothed comb, create a dramatic side part. “This is what makes this pony stand out from the average pull back,” says Mast.
2) Using your comb for control, gather and secure your hair into a pony at the nape of your neck.
3) Straighten the lengths of the ponytail and spray your tresses with John Frieda Frizz Ease KeraFLEX Flexible Hold Hair Spray for frizz and static control. This will also add an extra boost of shine.
4) To make it extra special, add a ponytail wrap or simply wrap a bit of ribbon around the hair tie. “If you don’t plan on doing that, take a small bit of hair from the bottom of the ponytail and wrap it around the hair tie and secure below the ponytail with a bobby pin.” (If you’re planning on straightening your hair, here are the safe ways to use heat.)
Twisted half updo
For an elegant special occasion worthy ‘do that’s a lot easier and less time-consuming than it looks, Mast suggests this romantic twist on the classic updo. “It’s a simple way to refine your natural hair and make it look like you’ve put more effort into getting ready.” Plus, if you already have textured, curly, or wavy hair, you’re in luck, since this style only emphasizes your hair’s natural flow. (Don’t miss the signs your hair is desperate for certain nutrients.)
How to: Twisted Half Updo
1) Prep damp hair with Ouai Wave Spray. “This will add a little bit of grit and volume and create/enhance a little texture and wave,” says Mast.
2) Using a dryer and your own diffuser, scrunch hair with hands to get the desired texture. “YS Park Metal Mesh Diffuser works on almost every blow-dryer and it’s unbelievably compact, so I love to travel with it.”
3) Depending on your haircut, choose sections of hair to twist back on each side. Mast suggests taking hair from around an inch below your point of recession.
4) Apply Bumble and Bumble Grooming Creme to fingertips. Split each section into two and twist back.
5) Join both sections together in a twist and secure with a hidden bobby pin or a cute ribbon. (Be sure to check out these healthy hair tricks for fewer haircuts.)
Half-up top knot
This hairdo was made famous by fashion Instagram stars everywhere, who love its effortlessly chic vibe. “The half-up top knot is great for both post-beach hair or freshly washed, limp hair,” says Mast. (Follow these healthy hair tips for growth and maintenance.)
How to: Half up top knot
1) Section out the crown, leaving out the baby hairs around the face.
2) Gather hair into a pony and then gently pull on hair to create texture and volume.
3) Put a small amount of matte pomade in hands and use fingers to push the pony hair towards the ponytail. This will create texture for the bun, says Mast.
4) Gently twist hair into bun and secure with hairpins.
5) Pull out and define pieces with matte pomade for an undone look.
“A pull-through braid is super fun and easy to create the illusion of fullness,” explains Mast. “It’s great for people who have difficulty braiding, yet still want Instagram-worthy hair.” (To get smooth strands and more check out the benefits of avocado for your hair.)
How to: Pull-through braid
1) Add volume to already dry hair with a spritz of dry shampoo at the root.
2) Pull a small section of hair from end to end and secure to the side, making a miniature pony.
3) Clip that section of hair away and create another section by adding more hair from each side. Then secure directly below the pony before.
4) Unclip the top miniature pony and split it in half around the second pony.
5) Clip the second pony up and secure the split pony below it.
6) Create a third ponytail under the second, incorporating hair from the first ponytail.
7) Unclip the second ponytail and divide it in half.
8) Bring the third ponytail up through the center of the half and clip it out of the way.
9) Continue making this chain of hair until you are off the scalp. When you reach the side nape of your neck, tie your final ponytail, including all of the hair.
10) Split hair in two and pull through until you reach the ends. Ten-ish rubber bands later, use texturizing hair spray to loosely pull apart to create fullness.
Revised Princess Leia braids
Calling all Star Wars‘ fans. You’ve probably spent the majority of your childhood (and potentially also your adult years) hoping for the right opportunity to emulate Princess Leia. Well, we have some good news for you: The time is now! With the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, celebrity hairstylist Felix Fischer says he’s seeing more interest in her ‘do. And, the best part, is that you can DIY it in just a few minutes. (Keep your hair and nails strong with these foods high in biotin.)
How to: Revised Princess Leia braids
Note: In order to pull off this look your hair needs to be past your shoulders. Fischer takes us through this style.
1) Part hair down the middle all the way and brush through.
2) Separate your finely brushed hair into two sections.
3) Use two kiwi-sized dollops of mousse (Fischer recommends Matrix Style Link Volume Builder Mousse) and massage into the hair from roots to ends.
4) Starting at height of the ear, but behind the ear, French braid both sides from neck down.
5) Secure with rubber bands on each side of the head.
6) Wrap each braid section around each other like two little snails behind the ear and secure with bobby pins.
7) Use shine spray like Shu Uemura Essence Absolue to finish the look.
Simply add wave or texture spray
The easiest way to make it look like you’ve spent way more time on your hair than you really have? Add wave spray or texturizing hairspray, says Mast, and create bend in the hair using a curling iron (if available). Then, apply rose oil to the ends. “Choose a fun scarf! I get mine at vintage shops and tie around the hair creating a knot or bow at the top,” Mast says. “This is great for all hair types and a simple fix for any bad hair day!” (Next, read about the everyday habits that wreck your hair and nails.)