Grad Glam: 21 Gorgeous Graduation Hairstyles


Grad Glam 21 Gorgeous Graduation Hairstyles

Graduation day is a momentous occasion. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and dedication, so it only makes sense that graduates want to look and feel their best on their big day. As a hairstylist, it’s up to you to help your clients find looks that will complement their attire and stand up to the emotions and activities of the day. In this article, we’re sharing tips to guide your clients towards the perfect graduation style. You can create stunning and long-lasting styles for a truly unforgettable graduation experience by using professional hair styling products and understanding your client’s needs. Keep reading to discover graduation hairstyles the soon-to-be grad in your chair will love!

Understanding What Your Client Wants

Any successful style starts with a thorough consultation. Before diving into specific styles, take the time to understand your client’s vision and preferences.

It is crucial to get a clear picture of their hair type (straight, wavy, curly, coily) and length, too. This will help you get a feel for the style and the styling techniques that will work best. For example, a sleek, straight style might be perfect for someone with naturally straight hair, while someone with curls might prefer a style that enhances their natural texture.

Discuss their style. Do they prefer classic, elegant, trendy, bold or something in between? Understanding their aesthetic will help you tailor the hairstyle to reflect their individuality. A classic updo with minimal embellishments might be ideal for someone who prefers a classic look, while someone who embraces trends might prefer a braided crown or a messy bun with textured waves.

Graduation ceremonies can vary in terms of formality, and some may have a specific theme or color scheme. Knowing the required attire and any themes or color schemes will help recommend styles that complement the overall look. 

Now, let’s explore some gorgeous graduation hairstyles you can recommend to your clients.

1. Polished Ponytail with Waterfall Braid

This timeless and elegant option works for any hair type. Create a high or mid ponytail and add a whimsical touch with a cascading waterfall braid that feeds into the ponytail.

Voluminous Half Up Half Down

2. Voluminous Half-Up, Half-Down

Use a curling iron to achieve voluminous waves for medium to thick hair. Secure the top half back in a stylish twist or braid, leaving the rest flowing freely.

3. Sleek Chignon with Face-Framing Layers

This sophisticated style is suitable for all hair types. It features a smooth, low chignon with wispy face-framing layers for a touch of softness.

4. Dutch Braided Crown

Ideal for long, thick hair, this intricate style involves crafting a Dutch braid that circles the head like a crown, adding detail and keeping your client’s hair out of their face during the ceremony.

5. Messy Bun with Textured Braid

Create a textured braid along the hairline for a relaxed yet glamorous option for medium to long hair. Incorporate the braid into a loose, messy bun for a touch of bohemian flair.

6. Twisted Updo with Pearl Accents

Ideal for clients seeking a romantic and feminine style, this updo involves creating twisted sections of hair in an updo style. Incorporate pearl hairpins to add timeless elegance.

7. French Twist with Tucked Underlayers

This style gives the classic French twist a modern spin. Create a French twist at the nape of the neck and add tucked underlayers for a clean and polished look.

8. Hollywood Waves with Pinned Back Sides

Make the grad feel like a star with Hollywood waves. Pin back a small section on each side for an elegant vintage vibe.

9. Braided Updo with Ribbon Accent

This intricate style is ideal for all hair types and is perfect for someone who wants a unique, eye-catching style. Create a braided updo and finish with a delicate ribbon.

Bubble Braid Ponytail

10. Bubble Braid Ponytail

Secure the hair in a high ponytail. Then, add volume by creating “bubble” sections tied with clear elastics. This style can also be worn half up, half down.

11. Twisted Headband with Loose Curls

Craft a twisted headband with hair sections for a romantic, effortless look that works well on medium to long hair. Leave the rest of the hair in loose curls.

12. Braided Bun with Hidden Bobby Pins

Creating a stunning updo doesn’t have to be difficult. Braid your client’s hair into a bun and secure it with hidden bobby pins for a flawless finish.

13. Half-Up, Half-Down Fishtail Braid

Create a classic half-up, half-down style with a twist by incorporating a fishtail braid for added detail. This style works perfectly for all hair types, and learning how to do a fishtail braid is a breeze.

14. Romantic Braided Updo with Flowers

This romantic style is perfect for anyone seeking a whimsical, free-spirited look. First, create a loose, braided updo. Then, incorporate fresh or artificial flowers for a sweet, feminine aesthetic.

Sleek Low Bun with Statement Clip

15. Sleek Low Bun with Statement Clip

Create a sleek, low bun and add a touch of personality with a statement hair clip. Choose a clip with pearls, crystals or a bold design to complement the graduate’s outfit.

16. High Ponytail with Ribbon Wrap

Secure your client’s hair in a high ponytail, Then, wrap a ribbon around the base for a pop of color and added texture. Use a ribbon that matches the grad’s cap and gown for a cohesive look, or choose one in a contrasting color for a look that pops.

17. Waterfall Braid

This technique involves weaving a section of hair into a braid and letting a strand fall loose before picking up a new section to continue braiding. The result is an intricate braid with cascading strands that resemble a waterfall.

18. Double Dutch Braids with Ribbon Accents

Make two intricate Dutch braids on either side of the head for a bold, eye-catching look on long, thick hair. Tie them together at the nape of the neck with a ribbon for a polished finish.

19. Crown Braid with Messy Bun

Start with a braided crown for a simple style that works on all hair types. Then, incorporate the remaining hair into a loose, messy bun for a relaxed (yet stylish) look.

Fishtail Braid Updo

20. Fishtail Braid Updo

This stunning and intricate updo is perfect for long hair of any texture. Create a voluminous braid starting at the nape of the neck. Weave the braid upward along the side of the head, incorporating loose strands for a cascading effect. Secure the braid at the crown using bobby pins. If your client wants a style other than an updo, suggest a fishtail braid ponytail.

21. Party Ponytail with Glitter

Perfect for a fun and celebratory graduation, this style takes a ponytail to the next level. Put your client’s hair in a ponytail and then add sparkle with glitter hairspray or temporary glitter strands.

Addressing Graduation Day Hair Concerns

Graduation day is a whirlwind of emotions and activities. Between the excitement, the weather and the constant movement, many graduates worry about their hairstyle holding. Here’s how you can address their most common concerns:

Frizz and Flyaways

Humidity and movement are the enemies of a smooth, polished look. Use or recommend professional hair styling products to combat frizz and flyaways. Try applying smoothing serum to damp hair before styling to create a barrier against humidity. For added control and shine, finish the style with a salon hairspray formulated to provide all-day hold.

Lack of Volume

Fine or limp hair can struggle with holding a style, especially an intricate updo. Discuss volumizing products like mousses and root lifters with your client if they are concerned about their ’do falling flat. When applied to damp hair at the roots before blow drying, they create lift and structure. Styling techniques like backcombing also add volume without appearing bulky.


One of the biggest concerns for graduates is whether their hairstyle will last throughout the ceremony and ensuing festivities. Reassure them that, with your help, they will look their best throughout the day and into the evening.

Finally, offer tips for last-minute touch-ups. Encourage your client to bring a travel-sized bottle of hairspray or texturizing spray to address flyaways or loose strands that might appear throughout the day. A few spritzes of the right product will revive their style and ensure they look their best for graduation photos.

woman posing with diploma

Closing Thoughts

Graduation day is a momentous occasion, and the right hairstyle adds confidence and elegance to the experience. By understanding your client’s needs, hair type and personal style, you can recommend a graduation hairstyle that flatters them and complements their overall look. With the tips and tricks in this guide, you’re well-equipped to guide your clients toward a truly unforgettable graduation experience.



Red Umbrella and Donkey/

Shumskaya Tatiana/


Danielle Foley/

New Africa/

Valoa Studio/



Hryshchyshen Serhii/

Roman Samborskyi/


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