19 Short Hair Formal Styles to Turn Heads

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When it comes to making a statement at formal events, short hair is often overlooked. But just like the hand-painted highlight technique of balayage can add multidimensional, low-maintenance beauty to your locks, short hair can be transformed into head-turning, elegant styles perfect for any occasion.

Short hair is incredibly versatile and can be styled in countless ways to suit any formal event. It’s all about finding the right cut and using techniques to add texture, volume, and sophistication. From sleek and polished bobs to tousled and edgy pixies, there’s a short hair formal style for every face shape, hair type, and personal aesthetic.

We’ve curated 19 stunning short hair formal styles that are guaranteed to turn heads and leave a lasting impression. Get ready to discover your new go-to look and step out with confidence, knowing your short hair is the ultimate accessory.

19 Short Hair Formal Styles

1. Sleek and Straightened

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The sleek and straightened style is a chic and sophisticated option for formal short hair. This polished look adds a touch of refinement and elongates your features. Simply straighten your strands with a flat iron, smooth with a serum, and create a deep side part for a sleek, ultra-modern finish.

RELATED: 20 Très Chic Ways to Rock the Short French Bob Hairstyle

2. Vintage Finger Waves

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Vintage finger waves are a glamorous and retro option for formal short hair. These structured waves add a touch of old Hollywood glamor and timeless elegance. Use a small-barrel curling iron and setting lotion to create the defined waves, finishing with a strong-hold hairspray for a sleek, shiny look.

RELATED: 20 Gorgeous Short Haircuts For Curly Hair That Will Make You Ditch The Straightener

3. Élégant Chignon 

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The elegant chignon is a classic and sophisticated option for formal short hair. This polished updo adds a touch of refinement and keeps your strands off your face. Gather your hair into a low bun at the nape of your neck, twisting and securing with bobby pins for a sleek, elegant finish.

RELATED: 15 Jaw-Dropping Short Haircuts for Women Over 50 You Need to See Now

4. Tousled Pixie with Headband

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The tousled pixie with headband is a trendy and effortless option for formal short hair. This undone yet polished look adds a touch of whimsy and edge. Simply tousle your pixie cut with a texturizing pomade, and accessorize with a stylish headband for a chic and fashion-forward finish.

RELATED: 25 Trendy Ear Length Short Bob Hairstyles to Try in 2024

5. Glammed Up Pompadour

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The glammed up pompadour is a bold and stylish option for formal short hair. This voluminous and sculpted style adds a touch of drama and confidence. Tease the crown for added height, and slick back the sides for a sleek and polished finish.

RELATED: 25 Very Short Haircut Styles That You’ll Love

6. Retro Pin Curls

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Retro pin curls are a vintage-inspired and glamorous option for formal short hair. These structured curls add a touch of old Hollywood glamor and femininity. Use a small-barrel curling iron and setting lotion to create the defined curls, securing them with bobby pins for a retro-chic look.

7. Sculpted Faux Hawk

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The sculpted fauxhawk is an edgy and fashion-forward option for formal short hair. This bold and structured style adds a touch of punk rock attitude. Use a strong-hold pomade to slick back the sides and spike the top for a sculpted, mohawk-inspired look.

8. Braided On Top

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Braiding just the crown is a trendy and intricate option for formal short hair. This polished and stylish look adds a touch of texture and interest. Braid sections of your hair and pin them up into a sleek, sculpted updo for a chic and modern finish.

9. Side-Swept Finger Waves

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Side-swept finger waves are a glamorous and vintage-inspired option for formal short hair. These soft and sweeping waves add a touch of old Hollywood glamor and femininity. Use a small-barrel curling iron and setting lotion to create the defined waves, brushing them to one side for a sleek and romantic finish.

10. Slicked Back and Smooth

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The slicked back and smooth style is a sleek and modern option for formal short hair. This polished and minimalist look adds a touch of sophistication and edge. Use a strong-hold pomade to slick back your strands, creating a smooth and sculpted finish for a chic and edgy vibe.

11. Embellished Pompadour

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The embellished pompadour is a glamorous and eye-catching option for formal short hair. This voluminous and sculpted style adds a touch of drama and sparkle. Tease the crown for added height, and accessorize with glittering hair clips or embellishments for a show stopping finish.

12. Sculpted Curly Updo

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The sculpted curly updo is a chic and textured option for formal short hair. This polished and stylish look adds a touch of dimension and interest. Use a curling iron to create defined curls, pinning them up into a sleek and sculpted updo for a modern and fashion-forward finish.

13. Voluminous Blowout

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The voluminous blowout is a glamorous and bouncy option for formal short hair. This full and voluminous style adds a touch of drama and body. Use a round brush and blow dryer to create maximum volume and lift, finishing with a light-hold hairspray for a sleek and polished finish.

14. Intricate Braided Crown

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The intricate braided crown is a bohemian-inspired and intricate option for formal short hair. This polished and stylish look adds a touch of texture and whimsy. Braid sections of your hair and wrap them around the crown of your head, secured with bobby pins for a chic and eye-catching finish.

15. Twisted Low Bun

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The twisted low bun is a chic and sophisticated option for formal short hair. This polished updo adds a touch of refinement and keeps your strands off your face. Gather your hair into a low bun at the nape of your neck, twisting and securing with bobby pins for a sleek and elegant finish.

16. Wet Look Finger Waves

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Wet look finger waves are a modern and edgy option for formal short hair. These sleek and structured waves add a touch of shine and attitude. Use a strong-hold gel or pomade to create the defined, wet-look waves, finishing with a high-shine serum for a sleek and fashion-forward finish.

17. Rockabilly Rolled Updo

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The rockabilly rolled updo is a vintage-inspired and edgy option for formal short hair. This sculpted and textured style adds a touch of retro glamor and attitude. Use a small-barrel curling iron to create defined rolls, pinning them up into a sleek and structured updo for a rockabilly-chic look.

18. Asymmetrical Slicked Back

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The asymmetrical slicked back style is a modern and edgy option for formal short hair. This polished and sculpted look adds a touch of drama and attitude. Use a strong-hold pomade to slick back your strands, creating an asymmetrical and sculptural finish for a fashion-forward and unique vibe.

19. Top Knot with Accessory

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The top knot with accessory is a trendy and effortless option for formal short hair. This polished and stylish look adds a touch of whimsy and personality. Gather your strands into a sleek and sculpted top knot, accessorizing with a stylish hair clip or embellishment for a chic and eye-catching finish.

What Formal Style Will You Unleash?

With so many chic and fashion-forward options to choose from, finding the perfect formal hairstyle to complement your short locks has never been easier. Whether you prefer a sleek and polished look or an edgy and textured vibe, these styles are sure to turn heads and showcase your unique sense of style.

Questions About Short Hair Formal Styles

Navigating the world of formal hairstyles for short hair can be daunting, but we’re here to help. Here are some frequently asked questions, along with detailed answers to ensure you rock your short tresses with confidence and panache.

1. How can I add volume to my short hair for a formal style?

To add volume to your short hair for a formal style, try backcombing or teasing the roots, using a volumizing mousse or root lift spray, or incorporating a pompadour or quiff element. These techniques can help create lift and body for a fuller, more glamorous look.

2. What products are essential for achieving sleek, polished formal styles?

For sleek, polished formal styles on short hair, make sure to have a strong-hold pomade or gel, a smoothing serum or cream, and a high-quality brush or comb. These products will help tame flyaways, add shine, and sculpt your strands into a sleek, sophisticated look.

3. How can I dress up a pixie cut for a formal event?

To dress up a pixie cut for a formal event, consider adding accessories like sparkly headbands or embellished clips, or styling it with defined finger waves or sculpted texture. You can also slick it back or create a fauxhawk for an edgier, high-fashion vibe.

4. Are updos possible with short hair for formal occasions?

Absolutely! Updos are totally possible with short hair for formal occasions. Braided updos, twisted buns, and sculpted chignons are all great options. Just be sure to use plenty of bobby pins and a strong-hold hairspray to keep your updo in place all night.

5. How can I incorporate vintage or retro elements into my short formal hairstyle?

To incorporate vintage or retro elements into your short formal hairstyle, try styles like finger waves, pin curls, Victory rolls, or rolled updos. These classic looks can add a touch of old Hollywood glamor and timeless elegance to your formal ensemble.

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