Sleek and Chic: 3 Easy Party Hairstyles

Published in: Beauty Tips, Drugstore Beauty Finds, Hair

This post is part of a series sponsored by Walgreens.

It used to seem like I had endless amounts of time to get all dolled up for different things, like parties, dancing and baby showers, but now? What I wouldn’t give to have a whole afternoon to get ready.


These days, on the rare occasions when I actually do have something to get dressed up for, it seems like I’m always rushing. I’m lucky to have enough time to fill in my brows, let alone do something special with my hair.

Still, even when I am rushing, running ragged and far behind, the last thing I want to do with my ‘do is just throw on a hat and call it a day (although I am totally guilty of doing exactly that more than a few times).

When all I can swing is 5-10 minutes on hair, I’ll shoot for one of these three quick party hairstyles. Each one is light on muss and fuss, and can be done with styling products from the drugstore.

First things first: the prep work.

This stuff is güd

Assuming a shower isn’t completely off the table, I like to start with one, and lately I’ve been bringing two products by güd from Burt’s Bees with me.

I love how citrusy Orange Petalooza Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner smell ($6.99 each), and the combo leaves my hair feeling silky soft, lightweight and conditioned.

If I had my druthers, I’d always air dry my hair, but sometimes that’s not an option. Hair dryers do speed up the process, and when I’m going to use one, I try to work in a heat protecting product, like the new Suave Keratin Infusion Heat Defense Leave-In Conditioner ($3.49), to protect against heat styling damage.

When I can’t squeeze in a shower at all, well, that’s when I turn to dry shampoo. Definitely not ideal, but the good ones do freshen my ‘do and give some lift to my roots. I really like Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo. It’s designed for all hair types and costs just $3.49.

With the prep work done, it’s time to pick our hairstyle! 🙂

1. Retro in a rush

I’ve been wearing my hair a lot like this lately. I call it my “Ode to Mad Men,” and it’s kind of a rushed take on an old-school beehive.

I start by parting my bangs to the side, but if you don’t have bangs, just take about a two-inch chunk of hair in that same area, and part it to the side. Then, to get the look of long side-swept bangs, secure the chunk in place with bobby pins, like the Styling Essentials Bobby Pins by Conair ($1.39).

Next, I put my hair into a low ponytail secured with an elastic ponytail holder in a color that matches my mane. I like Goody Ouchless Gentle Hair Elastics, 1) because a pack of 27 costs just $3.99, and 2) they don’t break my strands when I pull them out.

To build some height at my crown, I grab a pencil (here, I’m actually using an eyeliner), stick it into the roots up there, and then gently pull up to loosen the style and create some height.

I don’t usually worry about it looking too neat, because with this style, I kind of like how it looks a little undone.

Sometimes, trying to build height at the crown loosens the ponytail too much, so if need be, I’ll tighten it again (pulling at the ends with both hands). Then, I smooth down the sides and secure them with a few bobby pins.

This way, the sleek sides sort of contrast with the messy mop on top.

Lastly, to give the look some legs, I use an extra hold hairspray like L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong ($6.99).

2. The height of hurrying

This next hairdo is a nod to my awkward teen years, aka the late ’80s. I’ve actually been seeing this high pouf and low ponytail make a bit of a comeback lately. I like to wear this one when I’m also wearing clothes with an edge.

Like the retro style, it starts at the bangs. I section some off again, and put the rest in a ponytail.

To get some good height at the front, I spray the roots at my bangs with a firm hold hairspray, and then hold the hair up with one hand as I set it with a hairdryer to lock it in place.

Then, to create the pouf! — I flip my bangs toward the back of my head, and secure the ends with bobby pins.

When I know I’m going to be out of the house for a while, I go a step further, bringing along a travel-sized bottle of hairspray, like TRESemme’s Tres Two Extra Hold ($1.29 for a tiny 2-ounce bottle). Just in case my bangs need extra help later that day.

3. Quick bling

This last style is my last-ditch fallback when I haven’t got a minute to spare. It’s the easiest of these, but I think it still looks presentable.


Start with a low ponytail, and then slip on an embellished headband, like this faux pearl one by Conair ($5.99).

It’s not a super chic or sassy look, but it’ll do in a pinch; hopefully the headband at least makes it look like I made an effort, ya know? 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


Don’t miss these other fall and winter posts sponsored by Walgreens…


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So far, 29 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. I really like “The height of hurrying”! You look so cute:)
    Antonia at Swedish Love Affair recently posted … Dating rules in Sweden, or how and where you can meet a Swedish guy (or girl)

  2. Vijaya says:

    Love Retro In A Rush! <3
    Vijaya recently posted … Why I Don’t Like The Hunger Games

  3. Twyla says:

    I’m always looking for a hairstyle on day 2 or 3 inbetween hair washes that doesn’t involve a ballhat! I’m usually found with my bangs binned up in a little pouf and then hair down if not too frizzy or up in a ‘knot’ of sorts.. I’m definately gonna try ‘retro in a rush’ this week!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Twyla,

      I know what you mean. Dry shampoo and the retro style is my BFF on day 3! 🙂

      Let me know how the hairstyle goes once you give it a try.

  4. Fieran says:

    I love the cuff bangle you’re wearing in the “Height of Hurrying” photos 🙂

    Cool hairstyles Karen. They’re not only chic but time saving.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fieran,

      Thanks! I like that piece too. It makes me feel so summery.

      How’s it going in your neck of the woods today? It’s kinda dark, wet and dreary here, but I’m not complaining because we need the rain. It’s been a very dry winter in Northern California.

  5. Cristy says:

    Awww! You look so cute!! Thanks for always doing great reviews, swatches & everything! I enjoy very much each day!!!

  6. You’re a genius, Karen! I’m hopeless when it comes to attempting any kind of up-dos, so the only thing I can possibly pull of is probably the quick bling :p And that’s assuming I actually find a piece that I like.
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … In These Shoes?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sunny,

      I know what you mean. It’s not always easy to find headbands that are both stylish and comfy. Do you guys get the Goody hair line? They make some really cute ones.

  7. EmmyJean says:

    Great post! I certainly need all the help I can get in this department. As much as I’m obsessed with makeup, my hair gets almost no styling whilst I’m getting ready (e.g. running out the door whilst putting it up in a bun/ponytail). I like the idea of quick bling, but I tend to get headaches when I wear a headband all day. Is it just me (mayhaps I just have a big head?), or are there headbands that are more or less headache inducing? Any input for this hair challenged beauty addict greatly appreciated =)

  8. Chris25 says:

    I love the headband! I need to get some new ones for spring.

  9. Katherine G says:

    “Height of Hurrying” is really cute – I don’t have bangs but sometimes pin my shorter face framing pieces up and then do a knot or ponytail. Another thing I’ve really gotten into are braids. You can do what is called a “mermaid braid” with your bangs, which is basically where you french braid just your bangs to the side and pin them. Braids take some practice initially, but once you get the hang of doing it yourself they are really quick – less than 5 minutes to do. And if they are not perfect, it’s ok – that is one of the trends these days!

  10. kiwikiwidragon says:

    Gotta say that the gud products in the orange are really nice but the pear scented ones are even better. I found those at target, so awesome!
    Thanks for your great blog Karen! I am more of a lurker/reader than commenter, but I am here everyday, i wish all blogs were as nice as yours is.

  11. Grace says:

    Karen, your look in “the height of hurrying” is phenomenal! Makeup break down please? You look like you are glowing and your blush and lip products look perfect.

  12. Tina says:

    I love the makeup Karen! Your whole face is perfect- what did you use?

  13. Stacie says:

    I love wal greens now! They sure do have alot of hair accessories!!!

  14. Nina says:

    Because im making an effort to not wash my hair everyday (so hard for me!!!) … ive been experimenting with pony tails and buns. My fave thing lately is the faux pouf. Its faux because I dont have bangs LOL. I love this post!!!

  15. Alison says:


  16. Paula says:

    Love these styles & really enjoy your hair posts.

  17. Christina says:

    I LOVE your hair up!

  18. Krisabelle says:

    You look magnifique, Karen!!! Beautiful!

  19. rina says:

    very rare post here 🙂
    love the windy effect bangs

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