While it would be nice to be able to squeeze in a trip to the salon before every important social event, sometimes our schedules just won’t allow for a session with a stylist. During such occasions, it’s helpful to have a few hairstyles that you can pull off at home to give your look some extra polish. For inspiration, we recently asked Zhenya Lazarchuk of Asheville, North Carolina-based Salon Zhenya to share three of her favorite party-ready styles—plus instructions for how to create them. Here are her recommendations.

Try a modern twist on the traditional braid. This inspired style is fairly simple to execute, and just imagine how creative you can get with your accessories. To accomplish the look, gather a small section of hair on the top of the head, and add a hair tie approximately two inches below the base of the section. Divide the ponytailed section into two above the elastic hair tie. Place two fingers below the section and through the divided hair, flip the ponytail up towards the fingers, and pull the ponytail through (the technique is similar to threading a needle). This is called a topsy turvy—feel free to Google instructions if you need additional coaching, there are many online tutorials! Pinch small sections throughout the topsy turvy and pull them through for an even looser feel; the more sections you pinch and pull, the softer it will look. Next, grab a one and a half to two-inch section below the previous section and repeat the steps until no loose hair remains. For an alternative look, do two sections for a half-up, half-down style. Embellish the braid with sprigs of flowers or decorative clips or combs.

Create romance with a loose updo. For an elegant yet unfussy look, this loosely gathered style is destined to become a go-to. To recreate it at home, take the section of hair on the left side (leaving tendrils around the face if desired), twist the gathered hair toward the back center of your head, and pin it in place, intercrossing bobby pins into an “X” for secure fastening. Repeat on the right side. Next, separate the remaining hair into three ponytails, adding an elastic hair tie to the end of each section. Pull the middle ponytail up and twist the ends toward the head to hide the hair tie. Secure with bobby pins. Then, pull one of the remaining two ponies and twist the end into the previous unsecured section. Repeat with the remaining ponytail.

Opt for a sophisticated bun. If you’re seeking a high and polished hairstyle but don’t want to go full-on ballerina, this textured take on a bun is the perfect option. To pull it off, secure all of your hair into a high ponytail, then split the ponytail into two sections. Next, braid one section of the ponytail. Pinch and pull sections of hair to create a fuller braid. Secure the end with a hair elastic. On the other section of the ponytail, add three elastics approximately one to two inches apart, depending on the hair length. Pinch and pull on the hair in between the elastics to create a bubble look. Intertwine the two sections and wrap them around to create a loose and full bun. Secure the bun in place with bobby pins for a textured braids-and-bubble look.

Photography by Jacqueline Franquez. TSG Tip 344 from Zhenya Lazarchuk, owner of Salon Zhenya in Asheville, North Carolina. Salon Zhenya is featured in The Scout Guide Asheville.