Alternative festival hairstyles to set you apart from the pack

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • From the zany to the minimal...

    Another year, another gloriously messy weekend at a music festival. It’s safe to say that along with the kimonos, denim shorts, flower crowns and glitter you’ll see at literally every event you go to, there’s a few major festival hair styles that come back every year. I’ll rattle off the list for you now: flower crowns, dutch braids, space buns, glitter roots…sound familiar? Well when I went to Isle of Wight festival earlier this year, I made it my personal mission to discover the unsung hair heroes and shine a light on other potential hairstyles that I didn’t see that need to make an appearance.

    Read on for more…

    Hairstyles at the Isle of Wight Festival

    Half up, half down

    alternative festival hair


    When I went to Isle of Wight Festival, I was fortunate enough to wind up in Aussie’s Joozh Tent – a place where you can relax away from the bustle of the main stage, grab a juice and get your hair did by one of their professionals. I sat down with one of their pros and he whipped up a simple look I loved, a half up half down look.

    alternative festival hairstyles


    After whipping my greasy locks into shape with some Aussie dry shampoo, he primped and curled my hair into beach waves. Then he carefully pinned just half of it up for an asymmetrical look that I loved so much, that I’m still rocking it off the festival circuit. It’s easy enough to recreate but super cute, the trick is to secure it tightly so it doesn’t all come tumbling down when you’re bopping along in a sweaty tent. The look managed to survive the drunken crowds at a Guns N’ Roses tribute band set, so the team at the Joozh Tent really know what they’re doing.

    View this post on Instagram

    Went on a last minute adventure with @aussiehair and @jesshenderson1 to @isleofwightfest and loved every second of it. From running around with men dressed as carrots to being photographed with my new husband James Bay (swipe for that and an OOTD), I’m still coming off the high at the office today ✨ #aussiehair #musictoyourhair . . #marieclaireuk #mcweekend #iow50 #isleofwightfestival #fbloggers #wiwt #whatiwore #fbloggerslondon #lookoftheday #fashioninsta #personalstyle #anotheroutfitpost #fbloggersuk #fashiondiary #outfitshare #fashion #newport #london #eurasian #asianblogger #fashionedit #asianfashion #homekong #hkig #girlsvsglobe #eurasian #asianblogger #ukig #fashionedit #topshop #topshopph

    A post shared by meg c. hills (@megchills) on

    I’d recommend dropping by the Aussie Joozh tents at any festivals you’re heading to in the future, as you can also grab sachets of their 3 Minute Miracle deep conditioner while you’re there – ideal for sorting your hair out after the weekend’s taken its toll.

    Split dye

    alternative festival hairstyles

    I came across this beautiful human while I was halfway through a plate of cheesy chips and literally dropped everything to go talk to her. While space buns aren’t exactly a novel idea – we’ve seen every iteration at this point: braided space buns, glitter space buns, space buns with little metal rings in them – I’d never seen them done the way she had. She had dyed her hair half pink and half blue, kind of like an ice cream take on Harley Quinn’s signature do, and it looked absolutely amazing.

    Obviously, this look requires a lot more commitment since split-dyeing your hair is more than a weekend’s commitment. (I still say go for it, TBH.)

    The off-duty Dutch braid

    alternative festival hairstyles

    This totally wearable look isn’t the boldest one on the list, but it’s still one of my favourites. All you have to do is start off with two regular dutch braids on either side of your head, then once you hit the base of your skull – stop braiding and just tie them up like regular ponytails. It’s a little different and thankfully also a little less work: perfect for that hungover Sunday when your brain can’t handle anything else.

    Hairstyles I wish I’d seen at the festival

    The Mohawk

    alternative festival hairstyles


    IT IS TIME FOR THE MOHAWK TO RETURN. The bigger, the better in my opinion. It’s a great look that even short-haired gals can rock – if you spice things up and spray it through with glitter or a shot of colour, you’re on your way to being snapped and popped in a list just like this one. Sure it might push you out of your comfort zone a little, but that’s what festivals are for.

    alternative festival hairstyles


    I’m also a big fan of this braided take above, which I’m going to leave to a much defter hairstylist to figure out.

    The Solange

    alternative festival hairstyles

    Solange Music

    I will literally never be able to get Solange’s album cover for A Seat at the Table and now that we’re in full 90s nostalgia mode, it’s time to get your barrette on. Perfect for the girls with volume that just won’t quit, grab some colourful barrettes, butterfly clips and have fun with it. If you have any clip on miniature pearls and florals on hand, they’d probably look super cute too.

    The Met Gala extravaganza

    alternative festival hairstyles

    Carl Timpone/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

    Some days, your hair just isn’t going to work with you and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you still can’t be extra. Take inspiration from the Met Gala and make one of your accessories say it all for you with a statement headband or halo in this case. Just a little tip: Amber Heard’s was literally bought off Etsy for £25, but you can recreate it at home if you have a headband and a few zipties lying around. Just – um – mind you don’t take someone’s eye out.

    The whole head floral takeover

    Flower crowns are old hat now at music festivals, I want to see them go to the next level. This is a look that will probably take a steady hand and a little more time to perfect, but this beauty/hair combo is a total winner. After fixing your floral crown in place, use pressed flowers in the same or alternate shades like above to continue the trail down onto your cheekbones. It’s a refreshing modern take on a classic Woodstock look.

    Reading now

    Popular beauty stories