Your hairstyle is an extension of your millinery and needs to be taken seriously. If you are one of the lucky ones, with magical mane tamers for hands, I envy you.

Fortunately, I have found a fantastic hair stylist I refer to as ‘The Wizard’ because making sure your hair compliments your outfit and millinery is a must.

In this post I’ll cover a few of the basics and then get into some of the most popular hairstyles to wear to the races. Feel free to jump to a specific section in the table of contents below.

To Wash or not to Wash?

The jury is still out on whether to wash your hair the day before, or on the morning of, but most professionals recommend that day-old hair is best for styling.

Freshly washed hair is dry and fluffy, whereas day-old hair contains natural oils which help it to mould and stay in place.

washing hair before race day

How to Wear a Fascinator

Traditionally, millinery is worn on the right side of your head, but these days there really is no right or wrong side. Some are even designed to wear right in the centre.

It also depends on how your milliner has made your hat; trims and details will look a bit off if worn on the opposite side to what your milliner intended.

Try it on ahead of time to make sure it looks and fits naturally.

Personally, I think my best side is my left side (I have more hair on that side due to my part) so when I get a hat made, I make sure it sits on the right side of my head.

Should you Hide your Hat Elastic?

It is not necessary to hide your elastic. You might want to be able to remove your fascinator after the competition and still have your fabulous hair-do in place.

Hide fascinator elastic strap

Also, it makes it 100x easier to travel to and from the races without having to have your car seat leaned all the way back because you can’t take your hat off! Getting out of the car once you arrive can be quite the struggle …

Personally, I like to get my hairdresser to work my elastic into my hair-do, hiding it, as I think this looks neater. This also adds extra security by keeping my hat in place on windy days.

I don’t think it would lose you points with judges if they could see your elastic, but it always looks so fab having a hat on your head that looks like it’s just floating there.

If you’re still looking to rent or buy a hat, I recommend checking out Millinery Market.

buy rent hat fascinator millinery headpiece


The Best Races Hairstyles with Fascinators

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at some of the most popular race day hairstyles.

Some of these you’ve probably tried. Others will be new. As you go through the styles, I encourage you to pick one to try at your next race day!

The Go-to Style | Donut Bun

The donut bun is an easy and sleek hair style that can be mastered at home with the use of a hair donut accessory.

Hair Donut Accessory

Even I can usually pull together an acceptable looking bun for days where I’m unable to book my hair stylist. I like to curl my hair first as I find it makes it easier to manoeuvre around the donut.

Choose the size of the donut, depending on the length of your hair.

Donut races hairstyle fascinator
See how the BIG hair compliments the height of Cobie’s millinery, which she created with a large donut accessory.

race day hairstyle with fascinator

Donut buns can be worn at any position on your head – high up, centre middle, down low or off to one side- it depends on where your millinery will sit.

So always try your fascinator on first and then decide on the position of your bun.

milano imai race hair

Teasing the hair as you place it around the donut creates a bigger bun even if your hair is not that long. My hair is just past my shoulders in length, but in the photo above it appears like I have much more.

Milano Imai Tattersall Hairstyle

I did this bun myself with my hair curled first. I left out the front part of my hair from the bun, then swept the side curls back and pinned them for a feminine look.

Wearing the bun on the left side balanced out my millinery, as it sat on the right.

Side bun spring races

The side donut is very popular and looks great in photos!

Epic Bun

An epic bun is a bun that is very large in volume. If you don’t have long hair, an epic bun can still be achieved by using a padded piece inside the bun.

Image: @milanoimai @strandshairdresser

Image: @milanoimai

Image: @love_lee_boutique

Image: @milanoimai

Image: @laurahc111

Image @milanoimai

The Braid into a Bun | Donut Optional

This is also a great way to add interest to your hairstyle. A simple braid finished with a bun looks eye-catching and elegant.

You can braid your hair on the side or straight down the back.

You could even do two braids either side into a bun. Once again, try your hat on and then decide.

hair braid with fascinator

Ali did this herself, I’m very impressed! I like how the texture of the braid compliments the rosette details of the hat.

braid and bun hairstyle

Alla created this loose centre back braid and bun. It evens out the fascinator, worn at the front of the head, so it’s interesting from behind too.

Don’t you hate dresses that are super detailed and fabulous at the front and then you turn around and the back is just plain black? Hair is the same- make it beautiful from all angles.