Your hairstyle is one of the most important parts of your pageant look. It can completely change the look of an outfit. For example, an updo gives you a touch of sophistication and elegance while big curls add volume and soften your look.
It is important to pay just as much attention to your hairstyle as you do the rest of your look. Your entire outfit can be perfect, but if you walk on stage with your hair a hot mess, it could cost you the crown.
When you think of pageant hair, you think big curls, cascading waves and dramatic updos. You see these styles strut down the stage and plant yourself in front of the mirror to try to recreate the look. These looks are easy to achieve, especially with thick hair. (Read: How to Style Thick Hair)
Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a voluminous mane. But fear not, there are plenty of advantages to having thin hair! With the right tools, products, and advice from a few expert hairstylists from Pageant Planet’s Directory, styling thin hair for the pageant stage can be quick and easy!
How to Style Thin Hair
Pros and cons
Before you can whip out the curling iron, you need to understand the pros and cons of working with your thin hair.
“The pros of having thin hair are that it is so much easier to style and manage,” said DeeDee Morris, founder of TeamDeeDeeHM. “It typically does not take as much time, requires less product and fewer rollers. Thin hair tends to hold curl better and is more versatile.”
Morris has worked in the pageant industry for 25 years and is a licensed cosmetologist. She is equipped to style nearly every type of client, including brides, prom, pageant and glitz. She also provides makeup services and private lessons. Morris has worked with dozens of titleholders over the years, including International Miss 2014, Kaitlyn Robertson, Miss Alabama 2015, Meg McGuffin, and several winners from the Miss USA state circuit, including Miss Alabama USA 2017, Baylee Smith.
Now, there are perks to having thin hair. However, according to Morris, there are also some drawbacks. For one, thin hair almost always needs to be clean.
“If you have thin hair, it is important that you style your hair after it’s washed and clean,” Morris said. “It is also important that you comply with the styles that best fit the pageant system. Know when to cut your losses and work with the hair you have.”
Understanding your hair is the first step in mastering the way you style it! One of the best ways to do that is to find a hairstylist who will work with you to help you learn your hair. Pageant Planet’s Directory is filled with expert hairstylists, like Morris, who want to work with you. To find a hairstylist located near you, follow this link to the Directory. (Read: Top 10 Makeup Artists of 2017)
One of the biggest challenges someone with thin hair faces is finding a hairstyle that can quickly transition between the phases of competition without it turning into a stringy mess by the end of the night. Evening gown is normally the last phase of stage competition. Keeping this in mind, you should plan for an evening gown hairstyle that is simple and easy to execute in the limited time you have backstage.
“I highly recommend using styles that look best with your facial features,” Morris said. “Most low ponytails, pulling hair all to one side and hair pulled half up are great options for the evening gown portion.”
As a princess contestant, you want to achieve a styled look while remaining as natural as possible. In many pageants, no makeup is allowed in this category. This ensures the contestant looks like a child. You need a natural hairstyle to match. (Read: 5 Rules for Applying Makeup on a Princess Contestant)
Thin hair is great at holding curl. However, a stiff curl can be a bit harsh for a natural pageant. Brushing the curls out for evening gown, like Morris did for Future Little Miss Rehobeth 2018, softens the look and creates a beautiful wave. The look frames the face and is great for holding her new crown in place.
Gently falling waves are gorgeous, but pinning the waves back can take the hairstyle to a whole new level.
Thin hair is also much easier to tease than other types of hair. This makes a half-up, half-down hairstyle perfect for a contestant with thinner hair. The look also adds volume to the sides and back. This will help the hair appear thicker and healthy.
Not only does this type of style frame a contestant’s face, but it helps keep their hair out of their eyes, which is always a bonus with younger contestants.
Of course, there are glitz pageants as well. These types of pageants are all about makeup, spray tans and big hair. Seeing the larger-than-life hairstyles on “Toddlers and Tiaras,” you may think thin hair and glitz do not get along. That’s where hair extensions come in. (Read: How to Style Your Weave)
“With thin hair, you need more volume, which often comes to the decision of adding hair extensions,” Morris said. “It also requires a good choice of product to create more volume and thickness. It’s also important to find a style that looks best with your hair to make it appear full and healthy.”
Whom other to look to for an example than the queen of glitz herself, Eden Wood. Wood rose to fame on “Toddlers and Tiaras” due to her seemingly inability to lose. Her hairstyles helped her take home many Best Hair awards over the years, as well as titles. (Read: Toddlers and Tiaras Star Finds Success at New York Fashion Week)
This particular style is a great example of a glitz updo. Wood is taking advantage of how easy it is curl thin hair. The look blends seamlessly with the extensions. A slight tease adds volume to help elongate her jawline.
Of course, the half-up, half-down hairstyle is a must for evening gown as well. The look shows off tons of curls, creating a fun bounce. There can also never bee enough teasing. The bigger the hair, the better in glitz. (Read: How to Style Hair and Makeup for a Glitz Pageant)
This a a great age because a contestant is still a child but is transitioning into a teenager. This allows contestants to experiment with elements of hairstyles from both the younger and older category as they find who they are as a titleholder. (Read: Top 10 Preteen Hairstyles of 2017)
A deep side-part is a classy hairstyle that works with almost every jawline. By flipping most of the to one side, you add the illusion of volume. Soft curls pair perfectly with a satin ballgown to create an elegant but age-appropriate look.
Soft cascading waves are another great option for this age division. The look is simple to achieve but looks amazing. Pinning a few waves back, like American Royal Beauties Miss Midwest Preteen 2017, Shayla Bell, prevents a high neckline from being covered and instead serves as a frame for the beading. This helps draw the eye up and keep the attention on Bell’s face.
This category has seen an explosion of hairstyle trends in recent years. Waves, ponytails, bobs and buns galore, nearly every type of hairstyle can be found on a Teen stage. Teenage years are meant for self-discovery, and what better way to practice that than developing and experimenting with your pageant look!
The trend of ponytails in Teen evening gowns has surged and with good reason. The look is spunky and youthful but, when done right, is still elegant.
Thin hair like Miss Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen, Madison Dompkosky’s, is perfect for a ponytail. For a ponytail to work on stage, it has to be completely frizz-free. Unlike curly hair that has to be wrestle into an elastic, thin hair naturally lays flat and can be held up with a few expertly placed bobby pins. (Read: How to Style Curly Hair)
A side-part with cascading waves is another look perfect for Teens! The added volume created by Teen Miss Holmes County 2018, Gabby Steverson, frames her face while her hair appears thicker and healthier. The style also allows her to shows off the neckline of the gown.
As a Miss contestant getting ready to grace the biggest international pageant stages in the world, you are expected to be the embodiment of a queen, all the way down to your hairstyle.
Miss contestants should always aim to achieve elegance in evening gown. For contestants with thin hair, a style like Miss Grand Ridge 2018, Olivia Wester’s, is a great choice for all phases of competition. Her long waves are perfection. By allowing them too cascade over one shoulder, she provides some coverage to the strapless neckline without competing against it. (Read: How to Match Your Hairstyle with Your Dress Neckline)
Straight hair has started to appear in the Miss category in recent years. The look was made for those with thin hair. Again, the success of the hairstyle lies in it being frizz-free, something unique to straight hair.
This style works best if you have a busy evening gown like Miss Minnesota USA 2017, Meridith Gould. The simple hairstyle does not compete with the neckline, feathers or sequins, allowing Gould to shine. (Read: Miss Minnesota USA 2017 Evening Gown: HIT or MISS?)
A high bun, like the one seen on Miss Vietnam Earth 2017, Le Thi Ha Thu, is another hairstyle that requires low frizz hair. The sleek look elongates a contestants neck and is perfect for a high neckline gown. In addition, thin hair will not create tons of pouf, keeping the size of the bun reasonable.
Ms./Mrs. contestants have a few challenges with thin hair. Since you fall into an older category, some younger hairstyles, like ponytails, are not as acceptable in evening gown anymore.
While Miss Wicksburg, Stella Cox, is a Miss contestant, an updo this elegant is perfect for a Ms./Mrs. The style is elegant and beautifully frames her jawline. Pair a hairstyle like this with an high neckline gown and you are sure to ooze class on stage.
An updo like this also allows you to show off a beautiful pair of statement earrings to bring the look together.
Another example of a winning updo comes from Mrs. United States 2017, Lauren Ziegler. A clear expert at teasing, Ziegler added tons of volume to her hair with this simple trick. With a look this incredible, it is no wonder she took home the national title. (Read: Top 10 Mrs. Pageant Hairstyles of 2017)
Of course, a Ms./Mrs. contestant is not just limited to updos. Since thin hair holds a curl, shoulder-length waves with a little teasing can help you recreate the look of Morris’ client, Abby Stokes.
Swimsuit is the time for your personality to shine! There is no such thing as too much spunk!
“For swimsuit or fitness competitions, you want a hairstyle that is not distracting to you so that you can move freely,” Morris said. “Sassy high ponytails, Kosovo Buns or super straight hair with some tease at the top are cute and fun for these categories.”
Glitz swimsuit hair is supposed to be big! Bouncy curls move great on stage and allow you to use a ton of extensions! In addition, since thing hair is easy to curl and requires less tools and times, the style is perfect for a contestant who may not want to sit forever while they get their hair done.
Of course, leaving curls down does offer the chance for hair to get in a contestant’s eyes. If this is a concern, teasing the hair and the front and pinning it back will still allow the bounce of the curl, while ensures it stays out of the child’s face.
The more the merrier in glitz, so this style is perfect! Thin hair is perfect for achieving a tease like this. Extensions are perfect for attaching to thin hair to build a hairstyle that will match the grandness of the competition! (Read: How to Style Glitz Pageant Hair)
Preteens normally do not compete in swimsuit. However, fun fashion demands the same amount of energy and allows for the contestant to show off her personality.
Again, curls are a must for pageant contestants with thin hair! This particular look by Miss USA Ambassador Preteen 2017, Emma Marie Cook, is perfection! Her curls are flawless and tossed over her shoulder, providing the perfect amount of coverage for a strapless neckline in this division.
The ponytail is back! The bouncy hairstyle adds sass but keeps the hair out of a contestant’s face. Adding slight volume to the crown, like Royal International Miss Georgia PreTeen 2017, Rylee Ruegger, helps elongate a rounder jawline and complements a high neckline.
Many pageants are moving away from the swimwear category for Teens and instead adopting an activewear competition. However, the principals of the swimsuit competition still apply! (Read: What Miss Teen USA Eliminating Swimsuit Means to Pageantry)
Long waves will always be a favorite during this part of the competition. Miss Massachusetts Teen USA 2017, Caitlyn Martin, mastered this on the Miss Teen USA stage. Her effortless waves create a carefree look that is perfect for this part of the competition!
A funky half-up-half-down hairstyle is another way you can spice up your activewear look! Bonus, the look is perfect for almost any evening gown! This will save you time backstage for last-minute touch-ups.
The ladies of the Miss Teen USA stage really knocked it out of the park with activewear hairstyles. Miss Hawaii Teen USA 2017, Lauren Teruya, knocked it out of the park with the high ponytail. The hairstyle showed off her beautiful heart-shaped jawline and killer bone structure. The look is youthful, energetic and memorable! (Read: 7 Unique Ways To Put Your Hair in a Ponytail)
The swimsuit competition is a signature part of a Miss pageant. Strutting your stuff across the biggest pageant stages feels incredible. Swimsuit allows you to play off the energy in the room and show your personality. (Read: Top 10 Miss Swimsuit Bodies of 2017)
As Morris suggests, a ponytail is perfect for this phase of the competition. The look is spunky and really allows you to strut your stuff since you do not have to worry about your hair getting in your face.
An updo can also work in swimsuit! In a sea of curls and waves, a structured updo can stand out to the judges. This look also transitions well to evening gown!
Thin hair is perfect for taking advantage of the pin-straight hair trend. The look allowed Miss Colombia 2017, Laura González’s, fiery personality to shine through on the Miss Universe stage. (Read: Top 10 Swimsuit Bodies of Miss Universe 2017)
There is a level of sophistication expected from Ms./Mrs. contestants in all categories, including swimsuit. Curls are perfect for this age division since they are soft but can easily be pinned up for evening wear.
For a younger Ms./Mrs. contestant, longer waves like Elite Miss Earth United States 2017, Adele Scala’s, achieve a sophisticated yet youthful look. The hairstyle is perfect for showing off a heart-shaped jawline.
Interview is one of the most important parts of the competition. It is the first time you will meet the judges yet it is the only chance you have to interact one-on-one with them. This first impression is crucial is taking home the crown.
“Pulling your hair half up or an elegant low ponytail is an appropriate hairstyle for thin hair for interview competition,” Morris said. “Whatever style most frames your face is important to consider.”
With a Princess contestant, it is best to keep the hairstyle as simple as possible. The judges ultimately want the child to look like a child. (Read: How to Teach Interview Etiquette for Princess Contestants)
If you want to keep a contestant’s hair down, a simple teased hairstyle is the perfect business look for this division. The look frames Emily Ann Smith’s face perfectly for her interview during the 2018 Little Miss Dale County Pageant. The added bow is the perfect sweet touch to this look that is only acceptable in this division.
These two ladies showed off two perfect hairstyle for Princess contestants. On the left is the perfect example of how well-groomed thin hair simply pinned back can be a winning look! On the right, a ponytail keeps the titleholder’s hair out of her face while remaining professional.
The Preteen interview is where a contestant will get their first taste of what interviews will be like should they continue to age through pageants. This is the perfect chance for contestants to learn what it takes in the professional world to nail a job interview, skills they will use for the rest of their lives. (Read: How To Pick The Best Preteen Interview Attire)
A half-up, half-down hairstyle is always a professional win. The elegant look highlights a contestant’s bone structure while bouncy curls add a youthful touch.
Teased hairstyles, like the one by Morris below, are also a great choice for a Preteen interview. The look is extremely professional when paired with a fitted suit or interview dress. The side part adds a ton of volume to keep thin hair from falling flat.
A Teen interview is the prelude to a Miss interview. While the questions may be different, the behavioral and styling expectations are the same. Again taking advantage of the side-part, the natural volume added brings the attention to a contestant’s face. Wide barrel curls are structured but still soft allowing the look to remain youthful. (Read: How to Dress for Pageant Interview as a Teen)
When choosing a more exposed neckline in interview, consider throwing the curls over one shoulder to add coverage and keep the look professional.
Simple is always better when it comes to interview hairstyle. With this in mind, a style like Miss New Hampshire National Teenager 2017, Riley Cullen’s, is a great option. A very slight side-part is a neat trick to frame the eyes. Her flowing waves are neatly kept to ensure a professional finish to the look.
Many pageant contestants experience their first “job” interview while competing as a Miss contestant. The interview competition has started to hold more and more weight in Miss pageants like Miss America and Miss USA. You should expect nothing less than the most professional attire possible. There should not be a hair out of place!
This hairstyle keeps appearing on this list because it works! A side-part will always add volume. Add some extensions to achieve a level of pageant pouf that is both professional and stage ready! (Read: 4 Best Hairstyles for Pageant Interview)
The Miss America interview is prepares the toughest of any pageant interview. Miss Washington 2017, Nicole Renard, absolutely nailed her look! Her soft waves added the perfect amount of of coverage to her off-the-shoulder neckline. The added volume from a slight sidepart allowed her statement earrings to peak out just enough to add some sparkle to her look.
Ms./Mrs. contestants have gone through a few interviews by the time they compete. As a result, the Ms./Mrs. interview is exactly what you would expect from a professional interview setting for the job of a manager or other high-ranking position. Mrs. Florida America 2017, Tatiana Sidorova, put every ponytail to shame with this flawless look.
Sidorva chose a high ponytail for her interview hairstyle. To hide the elastic, she took one curl and wrapped it around the base of the ponytail. An added tease to the front adds volume and personality to the look. (Read: How to Win a Mrs Pageant Interview)
If you want to keep your hair down in interview, this look by Morris is a great choice. Teased curls add volume and structure to create a polish look. (Read: Top 10 Mrs. Pageant Hairstyles of 2017)
There are pros and cons to styling every type of hair. Thin hair offers contestants a unique ability to experiment with curls and teasing that other types of hair do not allow. At the same time, achieving volume and complicated hairstyles can be a challenge.
Styling hair is a skill that takes time, patience and lots of practice to develop One of the best ways to get started is to find a hairstylist in Pageant Planet’s Directory.
What are some tips and tricks you have for styling thin hair? Comment below!