11 Quick Belly Dance Hairdos You Can Try
Doing your hair for a belly dance performance doesn’t need to be complicated or take a lot of time. With the right headbands, an alligator clip and a few bobby pins, you can do a quick hairdo change between songs. Then you can spend more time dancing freely, stretching, and mentally preparing for a great performance, and spend less time worrying about your hair.
Check out episode #15 of the belly dance podcast “A Little Lighter” to free your hair with featured dancer Elisheva, add a fun new drum solo to your repertoire, and hear more about these 11 easy belly dance hairdo ideas. You can see Elisheva’s Damn Sexy Dance move for that episode here. It’s an easy and impressive on stage hairdo change with an alligator clip. Give it a try!
And check out the Simple Belly Dance Hairdos board I made for you on Pinterest for more great hairdo ideas!
Some people put a lot of work into their hair for belly dance performances. There’s the whole ATS style bun with tons of flowers and other treasures pinned in. Extensions, hair spray, fancy headdresses or turbans that look fabulous but can restrict movement.
It’s a stylistic choice. I like to toss my hair when I dance. I want the freedom to do that whenever the music asks for it. That’s part of why I wear my hair down when I dance. Some people prefer more structure when they dance, and hair plays into that as part of a costume.
And there are the Fifi Abdo pompadour and lightly pinned long and loose flowing hair styles on dancers from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema. Those often allow us a little more freedom to toss our hair.
Disclaimer: I have curly hair, so the whole world of blow drying and curling and using product is lost on me. Please forgive me if wearing your hair down takes more time than putting it up. The simple hair dos in this show are meant to be just that. Simple. But they might not work for everyone.
Check out the Pinterest board of Simple Belly Dance Hair Dos. I’ll keep adding more images of easy belly dance hair styles from Hollywood and Egyptian film Golden Era belly dancers, paintings of dancers created before photography, vintage belly dance photographs, cabaret headbands, etc.
The 2 easiest hair dos options for belly dance are headbands that stay in place without bobby pins and decorated side clips. Just these two kinds of hair ornaments can go a long way, and you can literally have them placed perfectly in your hair in 1 minute.
Let’s talk about headbands first. Not the plastic horseshoe shaped head bands that squeeze our heads behind our ears and can easily fly off of our heads. I’m talking about headbands that are a full circle we can tie under our hair.
In episode five I suggested making a no-sew headband out of a stretchy cotton blend or non-stretchy fabric that is easy to tie and stays where you want it. This is a great base to add more ornamental to like antique asuit or lightweight coins or shells or flowers. Even head jewelry that has the chain that runs along the top center of your head can just be sewn to a headband and you don’t have to worry about that chain getting tangled or sliding around anymore.
And it’s easier to pin a veil to a sturdy headband than to your hair if you are doing a Persian piece or just want a loose veil framing your body, etc.
Decorate side clips add so much in so little time. It takes some experimentation to find clips that stay where you want them even if you toss your hair. The snap clip barrettes with a fabric flower or decorated felt base work best for me. I’m not really into fake flowers that are made to look real, but there are great fabric flowers that don’t have that fake vibe. Of course it would be fabulous to dance with real flowers in our hair, but the freshness part is a bit tricky.
If you are up for some DIY belly dance costume accessory action. You can experience the joy of repurposing an orphaned earring that you love but no longer wear, because you lost the other one. Or showcasing a feather you found maybe from a bluejay or your friends guinea hens, or some pretty jewelry you found secondhand but still haven’t figured out how to wear.
The headband and the side clip are the easiest belly dance hair accessories, and you can change them in a minute backstage during a performance for a simple mini costume change.
Want to add a little Ottoman or rural Turkish bride to your hair? Add a few skinny braids. They will be more noticeable closer to your face.
Now onto some other hair dos that are still simple, but a little more restrictive in terms of movement. These use flapper style headbands, crowns, and chopsticks or porcupine quills.
A flapper style headband can allow for a bit of movement, but not nearly as much as a headband that’s tied together under your hair. It’s still worth having a flapper style headband option in case you are invited to perform at a 1920s event, etc. If you have a glue gun, a shorter feather and some thinner brocade, you can whip one right up. Mine has the top of a peacock feather, which I love because it’s a nice round shape instead of being a skinny spear-shaped feather and it stands up straight on it’s own.
Remember that we have a license to be as glamorous as a bride every time we belly dance. That’s part of why we do it right? Dressing up just for a couple proms and our wedding isn’t enough for a lifetime. This is one of the reasons people who do not belly dance are jealous of us. The dressup never stops. We actually get to wear the big shiny things in our closet…and crowns.
Crowns can be make out of chunkier necklaces or fancy dance belts that too short for our hips. My favorite crown is a piece I bought in India, that I believe was meant as a belt. The silver is only as long as the front of me, and then it was ribbon for the back. I just tied it together and made it a crown. The key is to get a crown that is heavy enough to stay in place, but still comfortable and does not get tangled in your hair. I really just wear the crown for photos. It might work well pinned to a veil pinned to a sturdy headband though! Sounds like too much work for this episode. Ha!
I haven’t mastered the mess boho updo that stays right where I want it, but it’s a great simple hair do option to consider when our hair looks a little rough after a few days of festival camping, etc. You could do this with or without a headband. Similar to Elisheva’s chignon in a alligator clip, you can just gather your hair as if you were making a pony tail, twist it a bit and add hair sticks or porcupine quills. Reinforcing this with bobby pins may be a good idea, but you can walk on the wild side without bobby pins and see what works for you. A note about porcupine quills: they are great for those of us with light-weight hair because they are hollow, but they are sharp. You don’t want them on the floor of your room or the floor of your tent. Ouch.
A side note, the whole gypsy style phenomenon seen when we google “gypsy style” seems completely unrelated to actual Roma dress and culture. I searched for “gypsy head scarf” and I got all kinds of messy hair with scarf photos. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them. But the word Bohemian may be more descriptive for that style.
For this last simple belly dance hair do, let’s bring just a few bobby pins into the picture. Let’s try a 1970s Egyptian Fifi Abdou faux pompadour. I like to actually split it into 2 mini pompadours on either side of my side part. I call this a faux pompadour because teasing hair and adding hairspray freaks me out. Just a little volume and height looks good too. I take a small section of hair on top of my head puff it up, twist the part I’m going to anchor down with 2 bobby pins, and pin them. A hair stylist taught me that bobby pins are actually designed to lock together opposing, meaning the bumpy side of one bobby pin faces up and the bumpy side of the second bobby pin faces down. I make an X with the two opposing bobby pins and it the mini faux pompadour stays right there without hairspray. For this hair style, I would need to do some hair toss tests before going out on stage and be willing to abandon the pompadour idea if it’s not working backstage.