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For those with medium to long hair who want an understated but easy formal hairstyle why not take your cue from celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Hillary Swank. While a pony tail may sound like something for a Sunday jog and not a formal event, if done right it will fit right in.
First, dry hair will need to be set on medium sized Velcro rollers. Take sections as long as the roller and half as wide and mist with a volumizing spray. Set entire head of hair and let dry completely. If your formal hairstyle will have bangs you can choose to set in a roller or keep it flat for a side swoop effect across the forehead.
Once hair is dry unwrap from rollers and back comb the roots of the hair all over with a bristle brush. Now smooth hair back into a pony tail. You want the top layer of the hair to look smooth and neat but don't brush too hard or you'll undo your cushion of backcombing, which keeps the hair from sitting flat against the head and looking too plain for a formal hairstyle. Secure pony tail with a fancy elastic or barrette.
Now take a very small amount of styling wax or hair pomade and gently run fingers through the pony tail to add definition to your magnificent waves. If you have bangs style them as desired (try adding pomade and swooping to the side).
Home or Salon Style- This one can certainly be done at home and by yourself at that!