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20 Summer Hairstyles That Perfectly Suit the Season

Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images

As the weather begins to heat up, many of us tend to grab a scrunchie, throw our hair up on the top of our heads, and call it a day. While we can totally get behind a low-maintenance summer hairstyle, we also want you to know that you've got options. 

On your next hike, why not twist your locks into a pair of Dutch braids? For an outdoor wedding, give a sophisticated set of pigtails a try. And for a summer-approved festival look, space buns are always a fun go-to. 

No matter where you're going (or not going), there are endless easy summer hairstyles you can sport that are both low effort and hot weather approved. Need a bit of inspo? Here are 20 ideas for all hair types. Whether you have long hair, short hair, straight hair, or coily tresses, there's a style in here for you.

1. Beach Waves

A photo of Jennifer Lawrence with a beach wave hairstyle
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

A summer hairstyle compilation wouldn't be complete without this iconic warm-weather look seen on Jennifer Lawrence. If you're looking to master beach waves, you've got options. Wave-enhancing sprays like the OUAI Wave Spray can be a great low-maintenance way to boost the hair's texture, or you can use a heat styling tool like a curling iron or even a straightener (yes, really!). Be sure to check out our blog post for a full rundown on 6 different ways to master beach waves.

2. Perfectly Imperfect Messy Bun

A photo of Hailey Bieber with blonde hair and a messy bun
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Sometimes, when it's 90 degrees outside, all you want is for your hair to be up and off your shoulders. After a basic high pony, this classic updo is the easiest way to do just that. However, achieving a perfectly "messy" messy bun like Hailey Bieber is often a bit trickier than it seems. Want a bit of expert guidance? Peep our messy bun tutorial, which offers tips for short, medium, and long hair.   

3. Sleek Low Bun

A photo of Dua Lipa with middle parted hair and a low bun
Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images

For a totally different bun-based hairstyle, try moving the bun waaaay down to the nape of the neck to create a sophisticated low bun, like Dua Lipa. While a messy top knot is the perfect daytime look, a sleek low bun is a subtly elevated alternative that's perfect for evening outings. Add in a gel or a mousse to ensure a super smooth finish. 

4. Romantic French Braid

A photo of Camila Cabello with curtain bangs and a french braid
Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images

Sweet, simple, and totally timeless, french braids are an iconic summer hairstyle that will never go out of style. For a romantic twist on the look (seen here on Camila Cabello), try creating one French braid that begins halfway between your crown and the nape of the next. Continue braiding all the way down, leaving about two inches of hair free at the end. After your braid is secure, loosen and tousle it up a bit to give it a romantic look. 

5. Bantu Knots

A photo of Kiki Layne rocking a bantu knot hairstyle
Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

This protective hairstyle, seen here on Kiki Layne, is such a great summer option. Not only does it lift your hair up off your neck (goodbye, summer sweat) but it also helps to keep natural hair hydrated and healthy. Plus, you can leave Bantu knots in for about two weeks if you care for them properly, making this a super low maintenance style. Ready to give it a try? Check out our full Bantu knots tutorial.

6. Crown Braid

A photo of Constance Wu with a crown braid
Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images

This boho hairstyle suits just about any and every occasion, be it a backyard barbecue or a summer wedding. While it will work best with medium to long hair lengths (like Constance Wu), it can work on pretty much all hair types, whether you have super straight hair or bouncing ringlets. For natural hair types, this can even work as a protective hairstyle. 

7. Braided Bun

A photo of Karrueche Tran with a braided bun and bangs
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Once you've mastered braiding your own hair, take your skills up a notch by creating an upside-down french braid that flows into a ballerina bun like Karrueche Tran. To try this look at home, flip over a head of tangle-free hair and begin braiding from the nape of the neck up to the crow on the head. Secure the braid in a high pony, then twist that pony into either a messy and polished high ballerina bun. 

8. Space Buns

A photo of Janelle Monae space buns and floral hairpins
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The early '00s are officially back. There’s no better way to embrace the resurgence of early aughts trends than sporting one of the era's quintessential hairstyles. These quirky space buns are so easy to execute: All you'll need is a comb, two hair ties, a handful of bobby pins, and a touch of hairspray (the MARC ANTHONY Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray is one of our personal faves for its ability to boost hydration and give a flexible hold). Bonus points for adding floral pins like Janelle Monae. 

9. Elevated High Ponytail

A photo of Chrissy Teigen hair highlights and a ponytail
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The ease of a basic high pony makes this hairstyle a daily go-to for so many of us. But if you want to add a little something extra to the look (we see you Chrissy Teigen!), try leaving a one-inch strand free and wrapping it around the hair tie, securing it underneath the pony with a couple of bobby pins. Suddenly, the simplest of easy ponytail hairstyles looks red carpet ready. 

10. Dutch Braids

A photo of Olivia Munn with black hair and a Dutch braid
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Need something that will stay locked in place during a hike or another active summertime activity? Enter, Dutch braids. This sporty hairstyle is essentially the same as French braids with one major difference: Dutch braids are French braids inverted, which helps to give them a unique 3D effect as seen on Olivia Munn. Secure these twists with a touch of hairspray and you've got a hairstyle that will fare fabulously through any workout.

11. Twisted Back Ponytail

A photo of Shay Mitchell with a twisted back ponytail
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images

If you're not feeling a high pony, or your hair is a bit too short to reach that high, a low pony à la Shay Mitchell it is. One easy way to make this hairstyle feel special (and is way easier to DIY than an intricate braid) is to twist the hair on each side so that the two twists connect to form a romantic low pony. When it comes to styling your free hair, get creative by either curling it, teasing it for volume, or straightening it for a sleek, polished look. 

12. A Boost of Bling

A photo of Kerry Washington with passion twists and bejeweled hair accessories
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

If you have natural hair and usually like to sport protective hairstyles throughout summer, try adding a little something extra to your look by incorporating fun touches of jewelry to your preferred hairstyle, like Kerry Washington. This can work on anything from goddess braids to passion twists to cornrows.

13. Bubble Pony

A photo of Tessa Thompson with bubble ponytail and black hair ties
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

To replicate Tessa Thompson’s fun look, pull your hair up and back into a high ponytail, then slick back the sides with a flexible hair gel like the COLOR WOW HAIR Pop + Lock Frizz Control and Glossing Serum to tame any flyaways. Then, using clear elastics, "bubble up" the hair in the ponytail by placing the rubber bands an equal distance apart from each other, tugging each section slightly once they're in place to boost volume and give the ponytail some movement.

14. Pineapple With Tendrils

A photo of Yara Shahidi with a pineapple hairstyle
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

If you have very curly hair or hair with a natural texture, you likely know the benefits of "pineappling" your hair while you sleep. Keeping your hair in a sky-high pony is a great way to keep your curl pattern undisrupted and prevent frizz. However, this doesn't only need to be a nighttime hairstyle. Take a note from Yara Shahidi, and sport this during the day for an easy hairstyle that's perfect for both hot summer days and keeping your curls healthy and bouncy. 

15. Playful Barrettes

A photo of Gemma Chan with bejeweled barrette that says "LOVE"
Photo by Frazer Harrison & Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Add a touch of playfulness to any look by placing accessories like bejeweled pins or beaded barrettes around the back or hairline (peep Gemma Chan’s cheeky take). They'll keep any hair out of your face while also bringing a touch of glam and versatility to the short hairstyle. 

16. Wet Hair Look

A photo of Margot Robbie with blonde and a wet hair look
Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images

Want to look like you just stepped out of the ocean or a refreshing dip in the pool? Then you'll need to master the wet hair look, one of the biggest hair trends on the red carpet right now (seen on Margot Robbie and many others). To DIY this hairstyle at home, you'll only need a few essentials: a wide-tooth comb, hair gel, hair cream, glossing spray, and hair spray. Ready to get the look? Follow our step-by-step wet hair tutorial here. 

17. Flirty Half Up

A photo of Bella Hadid with a high ponytail and a pair of sunglasses
Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images

This classic hairstyle is an ideal in-between for the times when you want your hair out of your face but still want to embrace your hair's length. The best thing about a half-up hairstyle is how versatile it can be. Do as Bella Haddi does here and pair a high half-pony with flipped out ends for a ‘90s retro take. You could even bring accessories into the mix by securing the hair with a statement-making clip. 

18. Elevated Pigtails 

A photo of Elle Fanning with blonde hair and elevated pigtails
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Don’t write off pigtails as a kid-only hairstyle quite yet! There are fun and inventive ways to sport pigtails as a grown-up, too. Case in point: this extremely elegant hairstyle that Elle Fanning wore on the red carpet. To copy this look at home, create a clean center part and blow-dry the hair straight. Create two low ponytails, securing them with clear elastics, then roll up each ponytail and pin the hair below the elastic so that it creates two smooth mini updos. Wrap each rolled pigtail with a mini satin bow to disguise the elastic.

19. Wrapped Up

A photo of Teyonah Parris with a high bun and a green silk headband
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Not sure how to step up your style? Grab a silk scarf and you've got endless hairstyle options. Sport it in the style of a classic bandana or try folding it and wrapping it around a low or high bun, like Teyonah Parris. You can even rock like a headband. Pair this look with some statement-making earrings and a cool pair of sunnies and you've just mastered the epitome of summer chic. 

20. Curly Curtain Bangs

A photo of Sandra Oh with curly curtain bangs
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Some bang types are a bit tough to manage during the sweaty, summer months. But curtain bangs are a notable exception. These long, effortless bangs require minimal maintenance and can look great when you embrace your curls, like Sandra Oh. For curly and wavy hair types, curtain bangs can add some interest around the hairline while you experiment with the rest of their hair.

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated June 11, 2021 12:00 AM