Pageant Hair Tips: The pageant hair style that wins the most

Her pageant hair style is one of the most important decisions a contestant will make. A pageant hair style, like every aspect of a contestant’s appearance, can instantly make or break her image. The hairstyle must be both the most flattering style for that young woman and a look appropriate for the pageant she is entering.

Different pageant hairstyles create very different images… just as a strapless red-sequin gown creates a very different image from a flowing white chiffon gown.
Pageant hair specialists share their tips for the best hair styles for competition

“There is a winning look,” says Peggy White, a respected Michigan hairstylist who created Kaye Lani Rae Rafko’s winning coiffure. “It’s not a hairstyle, it’s a ‘look.’ It’s feminine, natural, flowing, and right for the girl. It depends on her features and her look. The hairstyle should bring out the best in her features.”

The pageant hair styles that win pageants with most success are all listed below with examples of pageant titleholders who won with each hair style…

While every contestant should wear the hairstyle that most flatters her, it’s important to know the nine best pageant hair styles that are statistically most successful in competition:

  • long, full glamorous layered hair
  • long with fewer layers and ends softly curled
  • long hair worn down with the crown pinned back
  • shoulder length, layered and highly styled
  • softly curled shorter styles
  • the sleek chignon
  • softly upswept styles
  • long straight shiny hair
  • straight, shoulder-length blunt cut

The #1 Best Hair Style for Pageants

Long, Full Layered Hair Style:

pageant hair on Miss USA 2011, Alyssa Campanello

Long, full, glamorous pageant hair is the most successful pageant hair style in most pageant systems, shown here by Miss  USA 2011 Alyssa Campanello (Photo courtesy of Rain Cosmetics).

Today, long, full, glamorous pageant hair is the most successful pageant hair style in pretty much every major system. It is unquestionably the unchallenged pageant hair style winner in the Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe and Miss World pageants today.

Until a decade ago, longer glamorous over-the-shoulders hair hadn’t fared as well at Miss America, because it usually looked too sexy. Alas, Miss America has become more sexy, so this long beautiful style is emerging as a favorite in the Miss America system as well.

Long, glamorous hair works best for thick, manageable hair. Of course, if
mother nature hasn’t blessed you with long, full hair, just do what the other
mane-impaired gals are doing…

  • have hair extensions applied
  • blend in a fall, cascade or wiglet hair
    piece under your natural hair
  • wear a full pageant wig, now made with
    natural-looking hairlines, and made from human or synthetic hair.

A modified version of this pageant hair style is long hair worn with fewer layers and the ends gently curled. This is a beautiful hair style variation for women with gorgeous hair and beautiful faces.  It is a highly feminine look.

Examples of this pageant hair style:

Miss Intercontinental 2011 pageant hair

A modified version of this pageant hair style is long hair worn with fewer layers and the ends gently curled, as shown by Miss Intercontinental 2011 (Photo courtesy of Miss Intercontinental Pageant).

  • Miss World 2015
  • Miss America 2015
  • Miss USA 2012
  • Miss USA 2011
  • Miss America 2010
  • Miss World 2009
  • Miss USA 2009
  • Miss America 2009
  • Miss World 2008
  • Miss USA 2008
  • Miss World 2007
  • Miss America 2007
  • Miss America 2006
  • Miss Universe 2004
  • Miss America 2003
  • Miss USA 2002
  • Miss USA 1999
  • Miss USA 1993
  • Miss Teen USA 1993
  • Miss T.E.E.N. 1993
  • Miss 1992 World-America
  • Miss World 1991
  • Miss USA 1990

Which Pageant Hair Style is Right for You?

But which, if any, of the top pageant hair styles is “right” for you? Debbie Brown, whose clients include Miss America 1994, Miss USA 1994, and 1993 America’s National Teenager, advises, “The secret is, if your hair looks pretty down, wear it down. If it looks pretty up, wear it up. Don’t think that you have to wear your hair in a certain style just because everybody else does. Wear what looks great on you.”

While certain pageant hairstyles win more frequently than others, a superior candidate can win with almost any style. Teri Utley became Miss USA 1982 with a short haircut, almost unheard of in that system. Ursela Lawson, an African American, won Dream Girl USA 1987 wearing her hair in the ethnic braided style popularized by Bo Derek in the film 10. If a new hairstyle is perfect for an otherwise superbly qualified contestant, she’ll win and make it a winning style.


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