3 Chic, Easy Ways to Wear Your Hair With a Graduation Cap

You worked hard to wear that mortarboard, and you deserve to look awesome in it.
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Caitlin L.
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You worked hard to wear that mortarboard, and you deserve to look awesome in it.

If you’re graduating in the next few weeks, you might have tried on your cap and gown and wondered how on earth you would be able to take a good photo in that get-up. I’m just going to say it: It is impossible to not feel a little silly in academic formal robes, but you have to wear them and you should feel special and proud of your awesome accomplishments. Really!

A lot of people like to wear their hair down (like I am above) out of convenience, but graduation ceremonies are long and also hot (inside or out, you can expect to sweat a little bit), so it’s a good idea to keep your hair off the neck. So, here are three super-easy ways to wear your hair on graduation day to stay cool and look awesome as you walk across that stage.

But First: How to Wear the Graduation Cap

On the left: The right way to wear the cap. On the right: The wrong, but more comfortable, way to wear the cap

On the left: The right way to wear the cap. On the right: The wrong, but more comfortable, way to wear the cap

While it’s much cuter to set the cap on the crown of your head, the tip of the hat should be covering your forehead and the flat top should be parallel to the ground. And make sure that elastic band is in the back; otherwise, you’ll end up with some terrible imprints across your forehead.

A good test is to balance a book on top to make sure it’s flat.

A good test is to balance a book on top to make sure it’s flat.

The best way to keep the cap from moving around too much is to secure it in place with bobby pins.

The Low Back Tuck

This is the type of hair style that looks way more complicated and fancy than it actually is.

This is the type of hair style that looks way more complicated and fancy than it actually is.

For this style, you’ll need an elastic headband and a teasing brush or comb. 

First, take the headband and put it around your head like you’re wearing a crown.

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After you’ve put on your headband you’re going to start rolling the loose hair back into the headband. You only want to tuck in until you get to about your ears on both sides.

If you have bangs, you can either leave them out or tuck them in; my bangs are long, so I’ve tucked them in.

If you have bangs, you can either leave them out or tuck them in; my bangs are long, so I’ve tucked them in.

Tease the loose hair as much as you can and then divide it into two sections. Now, you’re going to take one of those sections, pull it across to the other side of your head and tuck it into the back side of the headband. The more you tease the hair, the bigger the roll will be.

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Repeat on the other side and you’re done!

Glamorous!

Glamorous!

Here’s what it looks like without a cap. This style is good if you’re prone to hat hair because the headband keeps everything in place.

Here’s what it looks like without a cap. This style is good if you’re prone to hat hair because the headband keeps everything in place.

The Low Braid Bun

I need to re-balance my cap!

I need to re-balance my cap!

This one only requires an elastic hair tie and some bobby pins that match your hair color. 

Start with a loose French braid that starts on one side of your head near the ear, and then follow across the top of your neck and into a side braid.

Start your braid on the side closest to your part. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect!

Start your braid on the side closest to your part. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect!

You want your braid to be a little on the messy side because it’s going to be twisted up into a bun, and a slightly messy bun is a little more forgiving to short hairs that stick out. Once you have your braid ready, roll it into a bun on the back-side and secure it with your bobby pins.

Wasn’t that easy?

Wasn’t that easy?

Here’s what it looks like without a cap. This style is especially good for those of us with side bangs.

Here’s what it looks like without a cap. This style is especially good for those of us with side bangs.

The Side Pony with a Twist

This is by far the easiest of the three to do.

This is by far the easiest of the three to do.

If you’re in a rush, this style takes about five minutes. 

Start with your hair down and curl the ends with a curling iron or hot rollers. The goal here is to create volume. Then, gather your hair into a low side ponytail. Take a small section from within your pony and wrap it around the elastic tie and secure it with a bobby pin.

See that little piece of hair sticking out from my pony? Shorter pieces that don’t like to cooperate can easily be tucked into the rest of your hair and secured with a bobby pin.

See that little piece of hair sticking out from my pony? Shorter pieces that don’t like to cooperate can easily be tucked into the rest of your hair and secured with a bobby pin.

Once everything is secured, blast yourself with a little hairspray and you’re done.

Here’s what it looks like without a cap.

Here’s what it looks like without a cap.

These are so easy to do but still look fantastic and professional for graduation. Don’t forget to throw a few extra bobby pins in your pocket in case your cap starts to slip or some stray hairs pop out mid-ceremony. (You’ll thank me later.) 

Now, go walk across that stage and celebrate!

  • Are you graduating this spring?
  • Which of these should I wear to commencement? I’ll be on stage reading student names!
  • How did you wear your hair to graduation? Show me pictures in the comments!