Women have been rocking updo hairstyles for over one hundred years. That’s probably because, in addition to being the hairstyle of choice for major parties and fancy-schmancy events, some days just call for an updo. You sleep past your alarm and don’t have time to shower and blow-dry your hair, your locks are unruly or limp (see our previous post on how to repair chemically damaged hair) or your strands are just generally not cooperating. Whether it’s a second-day topknot, a chic ballerina bun, or going all-out with a braided design, updo hairstyles are easier to execute than you think. With plenty of options for long, short, curly and straight hair, here are 20 supermodel-worthy updo hairstyles that are easy to pull off.
Photo by @carlylesalon
The chignon is an easy classic updo hairstyle that’s perfect for any occasion. Start by parting your hair down the middle, leave a few pieces out in the front, and gather the rest of your strands into a low bun. Clasp it with a hair clip and bobby pins as needed to prevent strays from popping out. Keep your chignon in place with a spritz of a medium hairspray.
This fresh take on a classic style takes just minutes to create. Start with a side part, and section off approximately 2 inches of the front of the larger side. Spray a texturizing spray evenly on your strands for extra grip and texture. Gather the rest of the hair and braid toward the same side that the front piece is sectioned off. Once complete, pull and pinch the hair to make the braid larger and more full. Next, roll the braid into itself to form a braided bun, and pin into the side near the nape of the neck. Braid the front section of hair into the rolled braid and pin it to secure. Pull at your braid to add a "haphazard" fullness. Finish it off with a medium hairspray for added hold.
This updo hairstyle features two boxer braids that are styled into a bun — this is the perfect way to disguise a bad hair day and neaten up your look. The braids for this updo are neat and sleek, so it may take some practice if you are a braiding beginner. For more on braids, see our previous post on the best braids to try.
Curls will work with most updos, but we especially love them in the half up, half down updo hairstyle. You might want to take some of your curls and apply a serum for curly hair to help curls hold their shape; then pull back the top third and secure in a high ponytail, leaving the front section loose and allowing the rest of the hair to flow freely.
Photo by @hairbyamandatroger
Prep your hair by spritzing a volumizing powder generously into your roots, and then pulling it into a high ponytail at the crown of your head. Starting a few inches from the base of your ponytail, secure your hair with a hair tie the same color as your strands. Work your way down the length of your ponytail and secure every few inches. Then gently tug at each secured mini section, starting from the base and moving up.
This is another casual, loose updo hairstyle. It features a large side braid that gets styled into a messy bun at the bottom of the hair. Keep it messy and tug at your braid and bun once it's all tied together.
Looking for a short-hair updo? This is your hairstyle. To get height on top use a flat brush to sweep hair from the left side all the way to the center of the back of the head and secure with bobby pins. Then, pull the opposite side back and secure it all. Pull a few of the pieces up if you want extra volume and finish with a medium hairspray.
The messy topknot is maybe the easiest updo hairstyle to master. You’re looking for controlled messiness here, so lots of texture is the key to nailing this. Curly-haired girls are already a step ahead, but straight-haired girls will require some curling mousse. Start by brushing through strands first, then part hair down the middle and lift it into a high ponytail, wrapping and pinning it into a bun. Leave a few pieces out in front to keep this look super casual. Use a hair tie and wrap the ends of the hair around the ponytail.
Photo by @bomanesalon
Another updo hairstyle idea for short hair is a romantic low bun; all you need are the right products and lots of bobby pins. The key here is a rough texture: give hair lots of texture with dry shampoo before creating this look, which will give it volume. Then pull your hair back into a low bun, wrapping pieces around, and securing them with pins. Use your fingers to gently pull the top part back away from your face, and use more pins to secure it in place.
This romantic updo hairstyle features a smooth, brushed-back texture and big, glam-level curls. Start with a deep side part, and, while letting one side of your hair hang loosely, grab and pin the rest of your hair into a twist. Then, lightly wrap your hanging layers around a curling iron and rake through them with your fingers for a soft, retro-glam finish.
A big, bold ballerina bun is a timeless updo hairstyle that’s easy enough to be whipped out for any last-minute events. Start by spritzing your strands with a dry texturizing spray (let flyaways do their thing), then pull your hair up into a high ponytail. Gently twist the ponytail, loosely wrap it around itself and secure with pins.
Brush your hair and pull it up, then down to minimize bumps while adding height, before securing it into a high ponytail. Spray a hair oil on the ponytail itself to add lots of shine. Use a brush with extra stiff bristles to smooth out all the hair on top.
Photo by @lesugarsalon
This updo hairstyle is perfect for chin-length hair. Tie your hair into a ponytail and divide it into two sections. Knot the sections, then wrap the knots around themselves and pin in place to secure.
This flirty updo hairstyle is another ideal one to rock on short hair. Start by sectioning off the top crown of your hair and creating a side part. Then slick the sides of your hair back with a dry wax, and finish by flat ironing the sectioned hair into a softly side-swept fringe.
If your natural hair isn’t wavy, you can get this boho look by creating bends in the hair around your face with a small curling iron. Hold it vertically and higher up to add volume while keeping the curl relaxed, then pile hair on top of the head and secure your waves with bobby pins. Finish with a salt spray to keep the waves piecey.
Here's how to create this laid-back one-side updo hairstyle: grab a small section of hair and roll it under from the nape of the neck up one side, smoothing it as you go, and securing it with pins. Continue rolling hair to the end, tuck the hair under and pin.
Dust your roots with volumizing powder and part your hair down the middle. Braid each side, securing in place. Then pull each section of the braid on both sides to make them look twice as big. This one is designed to look messy, so don’t stress over making the braids look perfect.
Photo by @salonfiorella
If you have a lob haircut, an effortless high bun looks great with pieces falling out naturally. You can fake it by leaving out a few pieces in the front, and securing them into place near the bun.
A chic pineapple bun is an especially easy updo hairstyle for curly and natural hair.Apply a serum for curly hair to damp strands and loosely pull hair into a ponytail. Wrap your ponytail into a bun so that it looks like a pineapple.
An updo hairstyle can lend an edgy or laid-back element to any outfit or occasion, depending on how you style it. And while it’s easy to throw your hair into a bun and call it a day, why not try an updo that’s just as easy (but appears not to be)? With plenty of options for long, short, curly and straight hair, our 20 updo hairstyles are so on-trend, you’ll be shocked that they're actually completely easy to master. Note that it’s important to make sure you aren’t pulling your hair too tight, which can lead to hair breakage. Keep our list handy and your favorite products stocked and you’ll be updo-ready in no time.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor
cover photo by @caityskywalker