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15 Beautiful Braided Updo Hairstyles You Have To Try
09 October 2018
It’s wedding season, and you know what that inevitably means: So. Many. Updos. As grown women, we generally stick to blowouts, curls, and ponytails. When spring rolls around, however, every hair stylist in the world begins stocking up on bobby pins and elastics. They’re preparing for an endless stream of bridesmaids and party guests who need their hair done. Whether you have a dark brown hair color or something closer to auburn, we’ve got you covered.
If dull locks have you down, we’ve rounded up our favorite braided updo hairstyles for you to try this season. These buns and crowns use intertwined hair to dramatic effect, making every lady feel like a fairytale princess.
How To Ask For A Braided Updo Hairstyle
When it comes to updos, we always recommend seeking professional help. No matter how nimble your fingers are, it's hard to hit some of those braiding angles without casually dislocating a shoulder socket.
The most important part of your updo appointment is the consultation. Tell your pro all about the event you're attending, whether or not you'll be moving a lot, and show them any inspiration photos you've saved.
We’re increasingly seeing brides ask their bridesmaids to wear fresh flowers in their updos, which works perfectly with these gorgeous styles. Dance the night away, and don’t even think about a single hair slipping from these braids.
How To Style Braided Updo Hairstyles
If you decide to take on these styles in front of your own bathroom mirror, try to follow pro-approved tips for the best ultimate results. Updos are only as good as the foundation they stand on, so use plenty of hairspray (we're big on Kérastase Laque Extreme) and hairpins to keep your braids looking gorgeous.
Need some inspiration before getting started? We've got you covered.
Braided Hairstyle Ideas
All our favorite looks for this year begin with Dutch braids, and this one is no exception. Instead of trying to build volume in your crown by teasing it, take the easy route. Split the hair into two pigtail-like sections and begin Dutch braids from the hairline to the nape of the neck. Secure each side with no-tangle hair elastics.
Next, fluff and twist the loose ends of both pigtails into a low bun or tails at the base of the neck. Pull wisps of hair from over each ear and pin any stray hairs you see. The resulting look is youthful but stylish.
Classic Braided Chignon
There’s nothing classier than a chignon with just a hint of a braid, which keeps it from becoming too stuffy. If you get this one done in a salon, be sure to ask your stylist to let some pieces loose around your face.
Upside Down Braid Bun
Here’s an updo with a surprising twist on the standard braid. Instead of starting from the hairline and working toward the neck, you’re going to flip the style. Swinging your head over so that you’re upside down, you’ll actually work from the neck to the crown.
Once you’ve mastered the art of upside-down braiding, the rest is easy. French or Dutch braid to the crown, then secure it. Flip your head back up, and smooth the rest of the hair into a high ponytail. Pancake (spread and loosen) the braid, then get to forming an oversized ballerina bun.
Channel the R&B divas of the 1990s with this embellished cornrow updo that’ll keep your hair out of your face while still allowing you to show off those inches.
The fishtail braid is one of our very favorite braiding styles because it looks so elegant but really doesn’t require much more work than a traditional twist. This style is also an excellent vehicle if you’re planning on adding a bejeweled accessory to your updo.
Snail Braid Updo
Despite the name, this hairstyle doesn’t actually involve anything slimy that crawls on the ground—we promise. The braid gets its name from the way it curves around the head, pulling all your hair into one beautiful plait.
To try the style yourself, create a deep side part and begin fish braiding away from it (think about traveling across your hairline). Continue down past your ear, then tilt your head and braid across your neck. Here, you’ll want to transition into a traditional braid. Wrap the braid into a wide circle in the back of your head (the snail’s shell), continuing to loop it in smaller circles every time it comes around. Pin as you go, aiming for each circle to nestle directly inside the last. When you reach the end of the braid, tuck and secure it.
No matter how old you are, rest assured that the ballerina bun is the right fit for you. To attempt this updated take on the style, create a high ponytail at the nape of your neck. Make sure it’s as sleek as possible.
Leaving a one-inch section of the ponytail hanging free, lightly backcomb the majority of it. Wrap and twist until it’s situated in a symmetrical bun. After you’ve secured and pinned that section, use the remaining piece of hair to create a braid, wrapping it around the exterior of the bun. Pin it, then coat the whole thing in a healthy dose of hairspray. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a braid right down the center of your head.
Coil Braid Faux-hawk
If you’re open to an edgier style, one that practically begs for dramatic jewelry as an accompaniment, we humbly suggest this mohawk-inspired ‘do for wedding season. Plus, this style doesn’t require any heat.
To get your mohawk on, section and braid up each side of the head, leaving the center free. Fluff the loose ends for extra drama.
Here’s an updo that isn’t just for wedding season. Milkmaid braids are extra flattering for very long or fine hair, especially locks that struggle to hold body and bounce. Instead of panicking and wearing a low bun, try these braids on for size.Loosely part your hair in two, aiming to make low, braided pigtails. Do just that, braiding each side and securing the ends with clear elastics. Then, bring each pigtail across your part, up around your ears, and over each head, making sure to pin and pancake as you go.
If you’re a lady who’s lucky enough to have extra-long hair, you may find stylists eyeing you with serious dismay. The fact is, braiding feet of hair can be intimidating for anybody. Recently, however, we’re taking inspiration for the original maned beauties—horses!
Try an equestrian-inspired braid for your next formal event, tightly Dutch braiding from the base of your ponytail to the midpoint of the style.
Messy Braided Updo
If you prefer a lived-in vibe, you should embrace it regardless of how fancy the event is. We love the way this updo invites every kind of braid style and arrangement, creating a laidback chignon chape at the base of your neck.
If you have natural or very curly hair, trying new styles can sometimes seem intimidating. That’s why we love this goddess braid chignon, which dresses up braids that can be worn alone after the ceremony is over.
To get this look, aim for braids that gently circle the crown of the head. Then, gently wrap and twist your braided ends into a large bun, securing as you go. Don’t blame us if you start wearing this style every day—it’s that good.
If you’ve invested time and money in a gorgeous hair color, choose an updo style that makes it the focal point. This simple fishtail updo shouldn’t take your stylist long to complete—but that doesn’t make it any less of a stunner.
Our favorite styles are those that look way more complicated than they really are. Case in point: the rosette bun, which also works as a half-up style if you like that better. Tease and apply hairspray to the crown of your head, making sure all backcombing is hidden entirely before creating a ponytail at the back of the head.
Here’s where it gets fun. After dividing the tail into three strands, you’re going to braid, secure, and pancaked each one. Then, pin the center braid into a spiral, floral-inspired shape. Pin each of the other twists around the outside of it, creating that signature rosette shape.
If you love all things twisty, sophisticated, and braided, this elaborate style fit for a princess is calling your name. It’s a particularly smart choice if you often struggle to find a way to fit all of your long hair into an updo.
Interested in a braided updo hairstyle of your own for a special occasion? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.
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