Variations on an updo: Christmas party looks

 The Christmas season is often the busiest on social calendars across the island.

With an array of office parties, corporate functions and fundraisers and family fun days, the demands on women across the island are to look stylish when they’re really feeling frazzled.

An easy way to make any look party-worthy is to focus on styling hair into an elegant evening ’do, but don’t limit the options to updos only. Trends are showing an increase in creative half-up, half-down dos and ‘down dos’, which focus on curling or straightening the hair but leaving it down, perhaps in a half-ponytail.

Choosing which style to sport for a specific occasion can depend on many things – the amount of time available to get ready, the style of dress or outfit to be worn, when the hair was last washed, the length of the hair, the formality of the event and whether it will be held inside or outside, in the day or evening.

For example, Melanie Wright, hair stylist and colour technician at Spa-to-Go in Grand Harbour, advises doing updos when hair is slightly dirty, so preferably do not wash it the day of the party.

Crafting a half-up, half-down do that included a side ponytail, Wright explained how leaving some of the hair down and pulling it to the side creates a face-framing look that is still elegant and leaves the neck bare, which keeps you cool when an event is outdoors or in the daytime.

Perlita Villarosa, hair stylist at Eclipze Hair Design and Day Spa, focused on creating a classic French twist that was relaxed enough for island living.

To do so, she curled the hair and wrapped it into a chignon but then pulled out tendrils to frame the face and make the look less finished. An updo of this style is ideal for day-to-evening events that are held outside, or to pair with a strapped or halter dress, to avoid the chest looking too bare. Alternatively, you can pair this updo with a strapless dress and a bold, statement necklace.

If time is running short, simply leaving the hair down offers casual elegance to any look. Just make sure the hair appears finished, whether by straightening or curling the hair, and apply a shine product to it. It also helps if the hair is in good condition: well-hydrated with recently-trimmed ends.

Leaving hair down works well with strapless dresses and for indoor events where heat is not a problem. However, simply pulling some of the hair’s front strands back into a half-ponytail can pull hair off the face, which can help if temperatures are warmer.

Both Wright and Villarosa recommend bringing photographs of the style to the salon if you have a specific look in mind, or asking the hair stylist for their recommendations if you are unsure. Most salons have a good selection of hair style books in stock, which the stylist can then use to help you choose a do that’s right for you.

With an elegant and groomed hairstyle, make-up and jewellery can be minimal, so just don your dress and heels and head out for a night on the town, without worrying about doing it all over again the next night.