Game of Thrones hairstyles: How to pull off the most gorgeous 'dos

Game of Thrones has been a hot topic for all of us since 2011. As of this writing, the mega hit HBO series has earned six Emmys for outstanding visual effects. Thrones is most certainly a visually stunning show, as evidenced by massive fire-breathing dragons, decaying Wights, and even purposeful pitch black cinematography. Of course, without talented actors like Maisie Williams, Kit Harrington, Lena Headey, and all the many others, fancy camerawork and CGI wouldn't much matter.

These actors have gone above and beyond to stay true to their respective characters as described in author George R.R. Martin's books — from Gwendoline Christie chopping off her beautiful long hair to play Brienne of Tarth to even Sophie Turner's commitment to having Sansa Stark's red hair, despite having to dye it multiple times per week. Thankfully, though, there is a way to pull off some of these character's best looks without having to damage your hair to the point of no return. Here's how.

Margaery's delicate twists

Natalie Dormer's character Margaery has some great hair. GoT hair designer Kevin Alexander explained some of the thought process behind her unique look. "What we did with Margaery that we hadn't done with anyone else is we followed the line of the costume. We pulled so much more hair away, so it makes her more distinctive and different from everyone else," Alexander told Fashionista.

As Margaery gained more power, the designer explained to Time, her hair became progressively intricate, culminating in a wedding hairdo that was "completely over the top." Her wedding hair was cool, for sure, but it's a lot easier to pull off one of her more subtle looks, like the delicate half-up, half-down twisted style.

Renowned hairstylist Zoë Irwin demonstrated how to get this "wearable" 'do when speaking to Harper's Bazaar. After blow-drying and curling your hair with a curling iron, comb out the curls. Then, take a section of hair from one side and twist it away from your face, securing strands in place with bobby pins. Next, twist the hair and coil it into a bun shape. Repeat these steps to make a secondary bun with hair from the other side, and set with hairspray.

Jon Snow's bouncy ringlets

Jon Snow is hair goals for men and women. Kit Harrington, who portrays Snow, doesn't even have to try to have such great hair. "Luckily, I don't have to do much to it. I don't particularly take care of it. I never wash it. It just does what it does," he explained to Vulture. That said, GoT hair designer Kevin Alexander revealed in an interview with Fashionista that Harrington does have to dye his hair a bit darker for the role. Other than that, though, Alexander agrees that it doesn't take much more than product to get those tight curls. He simply dampens Harrington's hair and then adds in a mix of hair putty and wax while the hair is still wet, which keeps his ringlets frizz-free yet movable.

If you have naturally curly hair, you'll have an easy time pulling off this style — and those of us who can't will be jealous. Because, you know, we all want what we can't have — including Harrington. Although the actor is blessed with near-perfect ringlets, he told Vulture, "If I didn't have to have this, I'd have short hair." You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Gilly's meet-the-parents curls

When Samwell Tarly introduces Gilly to his family, the woman of the Free Folk was dressed to the nines. Well, as much as she could. Gilly borrowed a dress from Sam's sister and fixed her hair for the occasion. Still, this prompted fans to tweet about her "Miss Congeniality" and "Pretty Woman" moment. While Hannah Murray's Wildling character's hair is usually messy and only slightly wavy, her special occasion curls were so good. We understand if you want to copy this look.

Thankfully, hairstylist Anthony Turner explained how in an interview with Allure. For loose waves like Gilly's, the expert recommends working volumizing mousse into damp hair and then "loosely blow-drying." Next, take your curling iron (he recommends Beachwaver Co.'s Beachwaver S1 rotating iron) and clamp down on your hair, starting at about one inch from the ends. Curling in big sections — about two inches wide — as opposed to small sections will give you these Gilly-like large, loose ringlets. Simply finish the look with hairspray, and you're all set.

Leaf's braided updo

It takes a lot of work to transform an actor into one of the Children of the Forest. Kae Alexander, who plays Leaf, explained in a behind-the-scenes interview for HBO, saying, "If I were to do a full-body prosthetic, I'll get picked up at midnight and then I'll be on set by 10 a.m." With a laugh, she added, "I didn't realize it was going to result to nine-and-a-half hours of makeup." Although hair is an essential part of the look, coiffing the updos obviously doesn't take nearly as long as the makeup. This is good news because we can easily steal the look.

To get an updo similar to Leaf's, try stylist and braid expert Isabel Guillen's braided crown creation. You'll want to separate your hair into two low pigtails and braid (French or regular) each section. Use clear bands to secure the braids and then pull one braid across your head, pinning in place about an inch back from your hairline. Repeat on the opposite side and place the second braid behind the first one. If you really want to look like Leaf, you could add moss. But, uh, maybe don't do that.

Brienne's no-fuss pixie

Before Gwendoline Christie took on the role of Brienne of Tarth, she worked as a model and had stunning, long blonde hair. In addition to bulking up and learning how to swordfight, Christie also had to chop off her hair for the part. 

"When they cut my hair off, the transformation was complete," the actress revealed in an interview with SFX (via Hypable). The star admitted that she missed her long tresses and "sobbed for two hours" after the big chop. "It's such a minor thing, but I think women tie up so much of their femininity in their hair," she said. "I certainly did — being six foot three and having that gone and playing such an androgynous character, I felt I'd lost so much of the person I identified as me and who I knew." 

Although Christie may be mourning her long hair, she's paved the way for women to embrace short, fuss-free locks — and she's proved that short hair is not one-dimensional. "If you have long hair on top … you can sweep your hair to the side, part it in the middle, or even pull it back," hairstylist Co Tran told Allure.

Ellaria's tousled bob

When we were first introduced to Indira Varma's character Ellaria Sand, she had long curly hair. As the series progressed, though, her character transformed and wound up with a tousled bob. Although both looks are great, we can't help but stan this cropped cut. 

If you have naturally wavy or curly hair, reproducing this look will be especially simple. Celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak told Coveteur her secrets to styling a curly bob — and these tips will no doubt get your hair to Ellaria level. First, the expert explained, you should wet your hair thoroughly with a misting spray bottle. Using curl cream, twist your hair into sections. Then, turn your blow dryer to its highest heat and lowest speed settings to dry the twists. Go back in with a curling iron to add more defined curls. Lastly, finish off your 'do with some hairspray, being sure to lift your curls so every area gets locked in place.

Ygritte's wild braids

If Ygritte's fiery red hair color wasn't awesome enough, the Wildling, played by Rose Leslie, also rocked some rad braids during her time on the show. Shannon, aka YouTube personality Silvousplaits and GoT hair expert, shared a tutorial of Ygritte's most-complicated hairstyle. But the good news is it's really not too difficult.

Shannon recommends starting with "unbrushed and tousled hair for the full Wilding effect." To begin, you'll want to eliminate your part by tousling your hair with your fingers. Starting at your hairline, pull back strands from the top section of your head and secure with an elastic band at the crown. After you've finished tying a small ponytail, you can begin rope-braiding (tutorial here) the secured section of your hair, working your way to the ends. Be sure to secure with another elastic band. Once your first braid is complete, you can move onto braiding one small section on each side of your head. Then, once you've completed all three braids, secure them together with an elastic band at the middle of your head and let the ends lie loose and messy by removing the initial elastics. Voila! You're officially a Wildling.

Cersei's flowing locks

In earlier seasons of GoT, Cersei often wore her golden hair down and sometimes worked in a few delicate braids. Although Cersei won't be able to rock this style with her short 'do, there's nothing stopping those of you with long hair from trying it. In fact, celebrity hairstylist Zoë Irwin provided the perfect Cerseilicious hair tutorial to Harper's Bazaar.

She advised first spraying you hair with a light texturizing spray and then loosely curling your hair with a curling iron, making sure to twist each small section of hair around the rod. After you're done adding in some loose waves, you can start on the braids. On either side of your center part, braid a small section of hair beginning at the hairline and working your way back to the crown of your head. Secure the two braids together with an elastic band. Once the hair is secured, wrap one small section of hair around the band — effectively covering it — and secure in place with a bobby pin. This look is ethereal so hairspray might just be a tad heavy. The expert recommends finishing the style with serum instead to give you that Lannister sheen.

Cersei's choppy cut

"There was a sequence of five wigs on the Walk of Shame, ten wigs because of doubles," GoT hair designer Kevin Alexander said of the iconic episode. "We go from Cersei's original hair — you see her in the cell, completely broken, everything's matted — you then go into the sequence where they see her being cut, then you take that through two other sequences where she's being attacked in the cell, there's a montage through that sequence."

Although you probably wouldn't want to walk into a hair salon requesting the "completely shorn" look she ended up with in the episode, Cersei's locks have grown out to be a pretty cool hairdo. Not to mention, she looks pretty badass with this edgy pixie.

If you want to try the bold look, but are concerned that you don't have "the face" for it, don't be. Chase Kusero, cofounder of hair-care line IGK, told Allure, "It's less about the shape of your face and more about your attitude and confidence — anyone can pull it off if they own it."

Missandei's "all out" hairdo

Unlike some of her costars, Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Daenerys' fiercely loyal friend and trusted advisor Missandei, does not don a wig on set. Yet her hair has gone through many transformations. "Because she's a slave, the first few scenes you see we've got material around [her hair] and we kept her bound," Game of Thrones hair designer Kevin Alexander explained to Fashionista. "And then as she becomes Dany's helper, that's when we let it all out. We put a braid through the front and brought it around to the side — it's got a gold thread through it."

You can accomplish a similar look — gold thread optional — in just three easy steps. According to a Shape interview with hairstylist Takashi Ashizawa, you first need to separate your hair from ear to ear and French braid the front section, starting behind one ear and working around to the opposite side. After you braid to the opposite ear, pin the braid in place. Lastly, gently fluff out the braid to add just a tad more volume.

Melisandre's "rosette buns"

Although her hair is sometimes covered with a hood, Melisandre, played by Carice van Houten, has pulled off some pretty epic hairstyles on Game of Thrones. Thanks to a hair tutorial by YouTube personality Silvousplaits, you can achieve the Red Woman's most iconic style from the show's fourth season, which is a half-up, half-down number featuring three buns. 

To accomplish this style, you should section off two even panels of hair on each side of your head, a few inches back from your hairline. Next, section off a third panel beginning at your crown. Starting with the middle section, you'll create a rope braid, similar to Ygritte's hair. Once you've finished the braid, begin coiling it — and securing with bobby pins as needed — into what Shannon calls a "small rosette bun." Once that bun is finished, you can move onto the next one using one of the panels you sectioned off earlier. Begin rope-braiding the section where the hair meets the first bun and create another rosette bun, placing just slightly lower the the first. Repeat on the opposite side, securing at the same level as the second bun, to finish the look.

Arya's double buns

Melisandre isn't the only character to pull off buns. Maisie Williams' character Arya can also rock tight coils like No One else. While you might not be able to picture donning this style in your everyday life, it would be pretty cool to show up to a GoT watching party with this look — just sayin'. 

Shape magazine even recommended trying a variation of the 'do since it makes for a "perfect badass gym hairstyle." They're not wrong. Plus, Arya's playful hairstyle can be accomplished in only three steps. First, part your hair down the middle and divide your hair into four equal sections. "Starting at the crown, French braid your hair on each side and secure with a ponytail elastic," the publication revealed. The next step calls for French braiding each remaining side, beginning at the nape of your neck and ending at the crown. Make sure to secure the hair with elastic bands. Lastly, combine the braids on each side of your head, coiling into a bun. Use bobby pins to make sure the buns stay in place.

Sansa's red locks

Sansa's rich red hair probably has you considering dying yours, but proceed with caution. When Sophie Turner, who's naturally blonde, attempted to dye her hair from red to a more natural blonde, she severely damaged her hair. "When I got back from the salon, I was brushing my hair, and it was coming right out," the star told Refinery29. When she returned to the set of GoT, the stylists didn't want to chance dying her hair yet again to return her to Sansa's color. "So, I wore a wig," she explained. "Before that, I was changing my color with semi-permanent dye for Game of Thrones, so I would have to dye it quite a lot — twice a week maybe." Eek.

If you're planning on dying your hair — either Sophie Turner blonde or Sansa Stark red — Turner advises getting it done professionally and having "aftercare for your hair once it's been dyed." This is true even for natural redheads. Celebrity hairstylist Philip Pelusi told howtobearedhead.com,"The best advice I can give any redhead it to never color her hair at home." Instead, bring a picture of Sansa's locks to the salon and let the pros work their magic.

Daenerys' icy waves

Daenerys may just be the queen of Game of Thrones hair. Emilia Clarke is naturally a brunette, so her long, icy locks are possible thanks to a wig. Well, many wigs. According to GoT hair designer Kevin Alexander, she cycles through three.

Dany wears her hair differently throughout the series and has gone on to borrow hair inspo from the Dothraki. Alexander told Fashionista that the Mother of Dragons "goes back to that original Dothraki look" — namely braids — when traveling because "it's all about what she would do to be most comfortable." When Dany isn't on the road, though, you'll see her wearing her hair mostly down and, thankfully, that's one of her best and easiest-to-recreate looks.

To get this effortless style, celebrity hairstylist Zoë Irwin told Harper's Bazaar that you'll want to work curling mousse or spray into your hair first before going in with a curling iron. After curling your hair in sections, brush out your locks using serum to avoid frizz. Then, take a small section of hair from above one ear, twist, and secure back with a clip. Easy peasy and beautiful.