Short-haired girls face an interesting dilemma. Chopping off scraggly, overgrown locks results in a chic style, but also prevents you from any hair-related laziness. For formal events and workdays, your long-haired friends can just tie their strands back in a long ponytail. Unlike them, you’re forced to actually try.
Rest assured, updos for short hair do exist. Instead of being stuck with just a blowout, you’ll find there are options for even the most ambitious bobs and bohemian hairstyles. With a miracle-working combination of bobby pins, hairspray, and creativity, you’ll be able to craft an updo that’s just as beautiful as the ones you wore when you had long hair.
In the market for a low bun, a braid, or a twist? Let us show you how.
Easy Rolled Chignon
Here’s a style you can replicate in less than 10 minutes while finishing a TV episode and wearing sweatpants. If you can’t get yourself motivated to budge from the couch, don’t even worry about it.
As with all updos, you have the option to add as much volume as you’d like to this style by teasing your crown. Then, use a hair elastic to create a low ponytail. For this look, you’ll want an inch or so of tail to work with. Divide your ponytail in two, then create one knot. Tuck your ends in and pin them, then spritz the style with a hairspray like Kérastase Laque Couture.
Fishtail Accent Braid
Headband braids are our go-to look, particularly on short hair, because they’re a sophisticated way to keep hair out of our eyes. For this style, you’ll want to start with a deep side part. Pull three strands from your hairline and begin fishtail braiding away from the part.
Once you’ve reached your other temple, either pin the hair or create a standard braid. You’ll want to tuck the pins into your hair, creating the illusion of a headband. After creating volume at your crown, follow one of our tutorials for a knotted bun or chignon.
When you think about dressing up curls, don’t get trapped by updos that will flatten the life out of your ringlets. Instead, use a well-placed set of bobby pins to make styling into a statement.
Cuffed Half Ponytail
The half ponytail is a style that seems designed explicitly for second-day hair. It minimizes the look of oily roots while still enabling you to show off the lived-in texture that’s so in demand at the moment. For a quick refresh of your mane, try Shu Uemura’s Color Lustre Dry Cleaner.
Divide your hair into two halves, smoothing the top into a bun that sits directly at the crown of your head. Using a hair elastic, create a ponytail with your first loop. On your second, you can even pull the tail halfway through the elastic. Pin your loop into a bun shape, wrapping and pinning the ends to create a top knot shape. For your final touch, add a metal bun cuff to hide your hairband and dress up the style.
Double Bun Braids
We unofficially call this style “the easiest updo in the world,” and you’ll soon see why. Teasing your hair at the crown for added volume, loosely divide your hair into two even, vertical sections at the back of your head and tie them off just above your neck.
This is the fun part. Dutch braid each side, one at a time, and secure it before moving on to your bun shape. Pin it in place, then move on to the next section. Don’t forget to fluff your buns into a shape that’s incredibly chic. To finish the style, seal it with hairspray.
This look is half updo, half curly mane—and all exactly right. If you’ve only got an extra five minutes before ducking out the door, make time to add a Dutch accent braid over one ear. It’s a simple adjustment that will take your look from drab to modern. Finish this style off with a spritz of hairspray formulated for texture—we love Mizani’s HRM Humidity Resistant Mist Hair Spray.
Dual Texture ‘Do
Ladies with short hair don’t have extra inches to play with, but they do have plenty of texture. Make the most of your bob or lob by styling it with two radically different techniques like a piece of wearable art.
You may not have long hair, but you can still pack a punch with this perfect mohawk bun style. To mimic it, section off a small area from your hairline to nape, then braid it back to meet a neat chignon at your neck. Redken's Align 12 Protective Smoothing Lotion will be your new best friend.
Reverse Crown Braid
If you often find yourself going the opposite way everybody else does, the reverse crown braid will likely catch your eye. Take a section of hair from above either ear, braiding them back to meet each other. For added panache, cap the style off with a matte metal barrette.
French Braid Updo
Many updos feel a little prescriptive—you’d never wear a French twist to a casual night out, for example. That’s why we love this tucked French braid updo so much. It’s simple and doesn’t require any skill beyond braiding. Plus, it’s both wedding and grocery store appropriate.Start a tight French braid at the back of your head, braiding down until you reach the nape of your neck. Tie off the plait with an elastic, then pancake the braid until it’s loose and romantic-looking. If you’d like to pull out face-framing pieces for a breezy take on the braid, we’re all for it. Tuck the end of the braid up and in, hiding it from sight, then pin it securely.
If you have to find a way to dress up short hair, don’t get yourself in a twist. Instead, get your hair in a twist with this double-bun style. It’s a whimsical take on the half ponytail, one that only requires a few minutes of your time and a pack of hairpins.
If the DNA braid interests you, you’re likely a person with a whole boatload of confidence. This take on the fishtail is not for the faint of heart. For best results, schedule a styling session with a pro to learn the ins and outs of this luxurious braiding style.
Teasing at your crown, pull a medium-size strand from above either ear and draw them back to meet behind your head. After tying them with a no-show elastic, add several pretty ribbons in a shade of your choice. Spritz your mane with Matrix Style Link Texture Builder Messy Finish Spray before leaving home.
Consider braids the building block of any formal style, which means you should be able to put them to work in a multitude of ways. We’re particularly fond of the deconstructed braid, which is part of an ethereal take on an updo. Play around in front of a mirror and take the time to figure out the styles you like the most.
Voluminous Braided Ponytail
The higher the hair, the more likely all the attractive people at the party are to notice you! Try a crafting an accent braid at one temple before gathering all your hair into a teased ponytail. Your blunt edges lend a rockstar vibe to the whole affair.
The easiest way to add edge to your hair is by angling for a metal or leather accent. The addition of a simple leather tie to this platinum do creates a statement without requiring much effort at all. If your hair is naturally wavy, you may even want to air dry it ahead of time.
Twisted And Pinned
Here’s a blast from the past: hot rollers are back in style. If you’re interested in buying a set (or never gave yours away), we love the volume and bounce they give short hair. Roll strands away from your face for maximum lift.
Once you’ve taken your rollers out, let them cool and then set them with a misting of hairspray. Run your fingers through them to break up ringlets, creating a look that’s both modern and lovely. Twist back sections of your hair and pin them in place for a breezy final effect. Past, meet future.
If you’re all thumbs, it may be easiest to purchase a pre-styled hair headband. Just pull your hair back into a little bun and add the extra hairpiece. No styling needed!
Got curls that won’t quit? Try this simple rolled chignon, which respects the texture of your hair but still has an elegant finish.
Celebrities love to tell the press about the layers of fashion tape and supportive underwear that keep their gravity-defying red carpet dresses in place. This faux chignon is kind of the same idea, requiring a hidden framework to hold your updo in place.
Start by backcombing your hair at the crown, adding hairspray to hold your teased bump in place. Once you’ve smoothed the section, gather the top half of your hair into a half ponytail. Be sure the hair elastic sits low on your head, rather than right at the crown.
For your final step, take sections from the bottom half of your head and tuck them above your hair elastic. Pin so that they don’t move, then finish with a healthy dose of seasonal accessories.
Interested in more styling tips for short hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.
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