When it comes to scoring high in a pageant, there is no question that perfect pageant hair is paramount. Be it for the pageant interview, preliminary competition, or final night, choosing the best pageant hairstyle to compliment your entire look is essential.
While “pageant hair” is conventionally thought of as long, big, glamorous curls, it certainly does not have to be that way. There are many other options for pageant hair that can look amazing on stage and help to set you apart from the competition.
Whether you prefer a more classic, elegant hairstyle or something more modern and trendy, there is sure to be the perfect pageant hairstyle for you!
In this round-up of the best pageant hairstyles, we’ll highlight some of the most iconic and stunning pageant hairstyles we’ve seen over the years in the Miss Universe and Miss World pageant systems. From kinky coiled natural hair to sleekly straight tresses, and everything in between. These pageant hairstyles will inspire you and help you find the perfect look for you!
Pageant Hairstyles For Short Hair
Just as pageant contestants range in height, so can their hair length. These days more and more girls are choosing to be bold by opting for short hair — showing that short pageant hairstyles are just as diverse and beautiful as any other type of pageant hairstyle.
1. Pixie Cut
If you want to make heads turn and stand out from the competition, a pixie cut is an unexpected hairstyle to accomplish just that. One of our favorite pageant contestants to rock short hair was Miss Universe Vietnam 2017 H’Hen Nie. She absolutely rocked this look with confidence, elegance, and grace and will be remembered for years to come because of it.
2. Short Bob
A short bob probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think of the typical pageant hairstyle. But this is the one short hair look that is sure to make a splash in a beauty pageant and make you stand out from the crowd. Miss Universe France 2019 looked stunning in her short red bob, proving that you can’t go wrong with this classic hairstyle.
Natural Pageant Hairstyles For Black Hair
Pageant hair doesn’t have one look — it can be as incredibly diverse as the contestants who enter (as it should be). Natural pageant hairstyles or pageant hairstyles for black hair are becoming a natural choice for black women who wish to embrace their hair texture.
The TWA also known as the teeny weeny afro is a fierce look that made waves in the pageant world when Miss South Africa was crowned Miss Universe in 2019. Her hair was styled in its natural afro state and she garnered tons of praise from the pageant community for her authenticity and stunning beauty. Zozibini Tunzi is the first black woman to win the Miss Universe pageant in afro-textured natural hair.
4. Natural Curls
Helping to change the standard of pageant hair, Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst rocked her curls for the final night and looked absolutely stunning. Her curly mane was a statement all its own and she wore it with confidence, poise, and grace. She told Refinery29 “I was a little bit worried and anxious about doing it, but I thought, ‘I want to do it as the most real and authentic me,’ and that’s really what my hair represents.”
Miss Jamaica 2017, Davina Bennett, won over the judges and audiences with her bold afro that seemed to shout “Look at me!”. Her big, beautiful afro was a fashion statement in of itself and she looked stunning on stage. If you want to make an impactful impression like Miss Jamaica, rocking some big curls will do just that!
As the first Miss World contestant to wear locs or “dreadlocks” in the history of the competition, Sanneta Myrie definitely stirred controversy finishing in the top five while representing Jamaica. Her locs were a statement of beauty and authenticity, not to mention confidence and elegance, proving that beauty truly comes in all different forms.
Updo Pageant Hairstyles
Updo hairstyles are some of the most elegant and timeless pageant hair looks a woman can wear. They can be simple or more ornate, but they always add an air of sophistication and grace to any woman who wears them. If you’re looking for a way to make an impression and feel like a million bucks, try out an updo hairstyle!
7. Low Bun/Chignon
One of the most classic and timeless pageant hair looks is the low bun or chignon. This style looks polished, and elegant, and can work for any face shape and hair type. And some of the most iconic pageant winners have rocked this look on stage, including Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, who looked absolutely stunning in this low bun.
8. High Bun/Chignon
The high bun brings together the best of both worlds by combining the elegance and charm of a sleek bun with the youthfulness and trendiness of a ponytail. This is another pageant hairstyle that looks classy, polished, and elegant on stage. Miss Universe Angola 2011 Leila Lopes rocked this look like no other and definitely left an impression on the world.
9. High Ponytail
If you are looking for a more modern and trendy pageant hairstyle, the high ponytail may be just what you need. Miss Universe South Africa 2019 Tamaryn Green looked stunning in her high ponytail during her run for Miss Universe. This style is youthful and fresh, making it perfect for any age or gown type!
10. Middle Ponytail
Who said a ponytail is just for sports or for the gym? By combining this pageant hairstyle with the right overall look, this regular hairstyle can be anything but regular. Miss Universe Georgia 2015 Janet Kerdikoshvili pulled her flowing brunette locks into an elegant ponytail and kept her make-up simple
11. Low Ponytail
If you want to look effortless and trendy, a low ponytail is the way to go. Miss Universe Mexica Andrea Meza rocked this hairstyle like no other in the preliminary leg of her pageant journey. This style still looks polished and sophisticated while also looking modern and young. If you’re looking for an easy-going but stylish look, a low ponytail is a perfect choice.
12. Swept Updo
If you want to go all out and dazzle on stage, a swept updo is the way to go. This is one of the most elegant and sophisticated pageant hair styles around and can be ideal for any age or gown type. Miss Universe USA 2021 Elle Smith threw her hair up into an intricate updo for her competition and looked absolutely stunning in the process. This style is all about polished sophistication, making it a perfect choice for any beauty queen.
13. Half Up Half Down
Don’t want to commit all the way to an updo? The half-up, half-down look is the perfect compromise. This style looks polished but not overdone. We love this interpretation by Miss France 2020 Clémence Botino.
A headwrap is a traditional cloth worn by women all over the world for cultural or religious reasons. For many women, a headwrap is more than just a piece of cloth. It is a symbol of pride and culture, and it can be a way to express yourself and your heritage as Miss Honduras Rose Melendez in the 2021 staging of Miss Universe. If you want to look truly unique and show off your culture, a traditional headwrap is a way to go.
Hair Down Pageant Hairstyles
When it comes to pageant hair, you can never go wrong with free-flowing strands. From silky straight to voluminous curls, the possibilities are endless if one chooses to wear their hair down.
15. Straight Down
Looking for a timeless and classic pageant hairstyle that will never go out of style? A sleek, straight hairstyle is the way to go. A smooth and fresh look like Miss Universe Thailand, Sophida Kanchanarin, is a surefire way to make a statement on stage.
16. Slick Back
Another sleek and chic pageant hairstyle is the slick back. This style looks polished, sophisticated, and modern all at the same time. Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza of Puerto Rico was crowned Miss Universe 2006 while wearing this nearly see-through metallic dress that looks like it’s made of chains imbued with magic.
17. Deep Side Part With Curls
Some of the most iconic women in history have rocked this look, including Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn. And it is still just as popular today as it ever was! While you can of course make it as deep as you’d like, we love Miss USA Olivia Jordan’s take on this pageant hairstyle.
18. Center Part With Curls
When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a center part. This hairstyle is classic and timeless, making it perfect for any age or gown type. We love how Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu styled it for the Miss Universe 2021, ultimately walking away with the crown.
Another unconventional pageant hairstyle is anything with bangs. This look is fun, flirty, and youthful, making it perfect for those who want to stand out. From soft-side swept bangs to blunt-cut bangs like Miss Universe Japan Ako Kamo, there are so many different ways to rock this hairstyle on stage!
Pageant Hair Takeaway
Whether you’re looking for a sleek and sophisticated look or something fun, fresh, and youthful, there are plenty of pageant hairstyles to choose from. From low ponytails to half-up, half-down looks to headwraps, there is truly something for everyone.
So experiment, have fun, and don’t be afraid to try out new styles. Whatever you choose, rock it with confidence and you’re sure to look gorgeous!