5 Styles That Avoid Graduation Cap 'Hat Head'

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I'm going to tell you one of my worst hair moments. It happened during my high school graduation. I had shoulder-length hair, so I flat-ironed and sprayed it with hairspray, hoping for the best with my graduation cap. This was a mistake. I ended up having to use approximately 923 bobby pins to get the thing to stay on my head when I walked on the football field (in heels, which was another mistake we won't get into just right now). Not only did I end up with minor bobby-pin stab wounds, but when it came time to toss the cap, let's just say that wasn't an option.

Graduation caps are more than just symbols of hard work and achievement, they can also become the reason all your graduation pictures make your hair look like a diorama of a natural disaster. We're talking hurricanes, here. Not good. But don't make my mistake, gals — it's not too late for you to prep your hairstyles for the big day. We've put together some ideas and styles for you, so you don't have to end up like me, circa 2004, prying bobby pins from your tousled mane.

Sideswept bangs

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If you're rockin' bangs, blow dry them to the side of your choosing, and use a light serum to keep them in place.

Natural waves

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Since a lot of graduations take place outdoors, getting a full-scale blowout isn't really a great idea. If you have naturally wavy/curly hair, girl — let them out! Use a teeny bit of a Moroccan curling definition cream to top off the look (and also to control those pesky flyaways).

Braids are your friend

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For longer hair, you can't go wrong with a side braid. From simple to something like a fishtail braid, these styles are both practical and cute, and if you don't know how to do the fancier braids, there are some awesome tutorials out there.

No time for braids? Side/low pony-it!

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Keeping with the tradition of the side braid, a side pony is also a great look to keep under your cap. Keep it straight or add some loose waves with a curling wand. You can also do a low pony in the back. Just remember: smooth, smooth, smooth! Dab a little smoothing gel on your noggin before popping that hat on your head.

Pin Back Sections

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Take the loose strands of hair around your face and pin them back for a really great look. The bonus with this style is that it keeps the pesky hair out of your face AND helps keep your cap in place.

With all of these looks...

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For good measure, your secret weapon at graduation will be travel-sized hairspray, a little dry shampoo and the necessary evil: bobby pins. You can add a little variety to your bobby pins by shopping some sparkly ones (just make sure you place them in an X shape for a better hold!). Above all else, remember to breathe! You made it, girl — congratulations!


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