Who has two thumbs and absolutely no budget for a professional hair styling appointment every time there’s a formal occasion? Every one of us girls on a budget, that’s who.
Instead of schlepping to the salon for weddings, showers, and every kind of dressy event, learn to twist and pin your own hair into complex-looking styles. Once you’ve mastered the basic braiding techniques, you’ll be surprised how simple updos become.
The first step is the most important, so be sure to gather all the supplies needed for the updo ahead of time. You wouldn’t start cooking without your ingredients, so don’t step a toe into hair territory without bobby pins, a brush, a long-handled comb, hair elastics, and a bottle of hairspray. We like to use a texturizing spray or dry shampoo, as well.
Before you ever zip up your cocktail dress or sip champagne, master your hair. These styles are simple, fast, and totally lovely.
Tucked Double Braid Updo
It’s rare we discover a hairstyle that looks equally good on long, wavy manes and cropped ’dos, but the tucked double braid updo is some kind of a unicorn. Think of this as a grown-up version of your playground pigtails, the kind your mom used to braid for you.
To begin, brush through your hair before applying texture spray or dry shampoo throughout your lengths. The product adds grip to your strands, ensuring they won’t immediately slip out of the braid. Next, you’ll use a long-handled comb to create a center part from your hairline to the nape of your neck. Dutch braid each half of the hair, finishing each side in a braided pigtail. Twist the ends together into a bun shape, making sure to hide any visible elastics, and secure with pins. As a final step, pancake your braids and layer on a coat of hairspray.
Topsy Tail Updo
It’s probably been a decade or more since you last thought about the infamous plastic gadget that was all the rage for twisted ponytails in the ’90s. You’re all grown up now, and so is the twisted ponytail. Instead of using a pointy plastic contraption to pull your ponytail into a twist, you can just use your fingers.
This updo is so easy you can probably achieve it in your sleep. First, make a loose half ponytail at the back of your head with a no-show elastic. Once that’s secure, you’ll want to separate the hair above the hairband in two, creating a space through which to pull your ponytail up and through. The result should be a lovely, twisted ponytail. All that’s left to do is gather the remaining hair into a loose chignon at the back of your neck. Voila! Instant fancy updo.
After years of hunting, we’ve finally found a chignon that’s absolutely no fail, particularly for women with medium or long hair. After teasing the crown for volume, you’ll take small strands from above either ear and secure them into a half ponytail.
Taking a one-inch strand from just above each ear, create a small standard braid with each. After you’ve secured both braids with no-show elastics, leave them hanging free while you gather the rest of your hair into a very loose ponytail (the elastic should sit an inch or two above the ends). Gently roll the ponytail toward your head, securing it into a chignon shape with pins. Then, twist both braids over and across the bun, pinning them below the chignon. Spritz the style with a coat of hairspray for hold.
Triple Rosette Bun
The best things in life are simple, without bells, whistles, or extra styling implements. That’s certainly true of the triple rosette bun, which elevates a classic style to pure wedding-worthiness. You’ll start by teasing your crown, then securing your mane into three low ponytails of identical size at the base of the neck. Braid each tail before securing dramatically pancaking it.
When you’ve finished all three ponytails, you’ll want to set about making rosettes. It’s this simple: You just twist. Spiraling each tail, aim for a flower-shaped bun and pin. Then, repeat the process with the next ponytail. Once all three are in place, fluff and adjust until they look cohesive and even.
Messy is good, especially when it comes to hair. For occasions that require style over formality, we’ve recently fallen in love with the French-girl inspired banana bun. If you haven’t yet seen the trend on your social media feeds, it’s basically a loosened-up style that fits somewhere between a French twist and a chignon.
To try the look yourself, we recommend starting with second-day hair. Spritz texture spray throughout and fluff before diving the hair into three sections creating a low ponytail with the middle. On your second loop of the elastic, don’t pull the tail all the way though. Instead, create a loop with several inches of ponytail end hanging free.
Then, crisscross your other two sections over the hair band, creating as much volume as possible. Finally, you’ll loosely pin the ends into place under the bun. Finish with a coat of hairspray.
Tied Bun Updo
Here’s one for all the curly girls and women with textured hair. We scoured the internet for easy updos that wouldn’t squash your curls and found one so simple you could do it while simultaneously sneaking a pre-party nap.
Skip the complicated pins and twists, gathering your curls onto the very top of your head. After you’ve gently secured them with an elastic, you’ll fluff and arrange them so that they stylishly drape over your forehead. This is also an excellent opportunity to try a hair accessory like a bun cuff, just to dress the style up a little.
Short hair shouldn’t mean you miss out on all the fun of an updo. Instead of taping in extensions or fighting to keep your hair from sticking out of braids, try a style that’s tailor made for your choppy ‘do. The bouffant, a look that hails from the ‘60s, is quick, simple, and chic.
Begin by backcombing your crown, hair spraying the teased portion to ensure it doesn’t fall flat. Once you’ve smoothed hair your newly-built bump, take two pieces of hair from above your ears and pin them into a half ponytail. It’s that fast!