How To: Slicked Back Hairstyles Perfect For the Summer

Who doesn’t want their hair out of their face in this heat?

By Magazine Desk |
Styles that will instantly elevate any look!
PUBLISHED July 11, 2024
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A slicked-back hairstyle is undeniably chic and striking, and when done correctly, it's anything but greasy. 

The key is to use minimal hair gel, allowing you to achieve a gorgeous, modern, heatless look in just minutes. For those who frequently sport this style, there's a lot to love about slicking your hair back with some gel and not having to worry about it all day. 

Slicked-back hair is an ideal addition to your holiday beauty routine, so consider this your cue to rock this sleek look for your next festive event.

It's no wonder that celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, and Bella Hadid favour the slicked-back style for the red carpet: it's timeless and universally flattering. Plus, it's easy to DIY. 

Start by deciding where you want to part your hair—this step is crucial for achieving the desired effect. Apply a smoothing serum all over your hair before brushing it back with a wide-tooth comb. 

According to celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons, ensuring your hair flows in the same direction will enhance its shine. Finally, secure your style with a strong yet flexible hold hairspray.

Now that you have the basics down, it's time to get inspired.

  1. Ballerina Slicked-Back Bun

@harryjoshhair/Instagram

@harryjoshhair/Instagram

While the tight ballerina bun isn't a new hairstyle, it's made a major comeback thanks to TikTok's clean aesthetic. It's nearly impossible to scroll through social media without spotting a celebrity, model, influencer, or even a friend sporting some variation of this look, including the spiky bun. This style is unbeatable for its simplicity and ease, and it’s perfect for quickly hiding greasy hair that needs a wash.

To perfect your tight ballerina bun, create the bun and then grab a clean toothbrush and some hairspray. Spray the hairspray onto the toothbrush and gently brush back any frizz or flyaways to achieve a smooth, polished finish.

  1. Slicked-Back Bob

Why should the long haired girlies have all the fun? A slicked-back bob is an ultra-chic style for short hair that keeps your strands out of your face. This look is perfect for day five hair, as the natural oils from your roots will make it easier to achieve. Start by applying gel from the roots to the ends of your hair. Once your hair is fully saturated with gel, use a comb to brush it back towards the nape of your neck. This sleek style is both sophisticated and practical.

  1. Spiky Slicked-Back Bun

@vanessahudgens/Instagram

@vanessahudgens/Instagram

To create a spiky geometric slicked-back bun, start with clean hair and apply a smoothing serum. Brush your hair back and apply strong-hold gel from roots to ends. Gather your hair into a high or mid-level ponytail, secure with an elastic, and twist the ponytail tightly. Coil it into a bun and secure it with bobby pins. Pull out small sections for a spiky effect, and use a toothbrush with hairspray to smooth flyaways and define the spikes. Finish with a generous spritz of strong-hold hairspray to keep the style in place and ensure symmetry.

  1. Sleek Braided Ponytail 

@kimkardashian/Instagram

@kimkardashian/Instagram

Similar to the ease of a slick bun, the sleek braided tail is a fantastic way to flaunt your hair length. This versatile hairstyle boasts a polished finish that can complement both casual and formal looks, depending on your outfit and makeup. With your hair pulled back from your face, it pairs perfectly with a bold, vampy lip or striking statement earrings, adding a touch of drama to your overall style.

  1. Twisted Baby Braid Bun

@haileybieber/Instagram

@haileybieber/Instagram

This hairstyle combines face-framing layers with baby braid twists and antenna bangs. Start by parting your hair down the middle with a wide-tooth comb. Take a small quarter-inch section at the hairline on each side for the baby braids. Braid or twist these sections downward and secure them with elastics. Pull the rest of your hair into a low bun, leaving the braids out. Finish by smoothing the pulled-back hair with gel for a sleek look.

  1. Classic Wet Look

@zendaya/Instagram

@zendaya/Instagram

The sleek wet look is a favourite among celebrities and models on red carpets and at awards shows. It's perfect for a holiday party, allowing your makeup and outfit to take centre stage. To achieve this style, apply gel only to the crown of your hair and brush it back. This technique blends the gel with the rest of your hair while keeping the length dry, giving you that slicked-back, wet appearance without coating your hair from roots to ends. Simply rake your hair back with a generous amount of gel—it's easy, chic, and effortlessly stylish.

  1. Slicked-Back Ponytail 

@justinemarjan/Instagram

@justinemarjan/Instagram

A slicked-back sleek ponytail is a chic, versatile hairstyle that can be worn with a middle part or no part at all. Start with clean, dry hair and apply a smoothing serum to control frizz. Decide on your part, then apply strong-hold gel to the crown and sides. Brush your hair back with a fine-tooth comb, ensuring it's smooth. Gather your hair into a ponytail at your preferred height and secure it with an elastic. Smooth any flyaways with more gel or hairspray, and finish with a light mist of shine spray. This creates an elegant, sophisticated look perfect for any occasion.

No matter which slicked-back style you choose, these hairstyles are perfect for keeping your hair out of your face and looking fabulous in the summer heat. Embrace the sleek, chic look and enjoy a fuss-free, elegant hairstyle for any occasion.