If you're a soon-to-be bride who hasn't turned to Pinterest to plan your wedding, with all due respect, you're missing out. Our friends at the major inspo-serving website tell us there are over four billion (yes, with a B) different pieces of wedding content for you to sift through. And let's not forget to mention their much-anticipated trend report. Recent findings show that most users are opting for less opulent, extravagant affairs and are paring down their special days—wedding hair included.
The most-searched bridal hairstyle is "messy updo," with searches up 1247 percent year over year. We're seeing the same look mirrored on the red carpet. Gone are the days of perfectly structured "prom hair" as we make a large shift into undone, piece-y, pinned-back styles. (Plus, if the weather isn't cooperating, it'll only add to the look's whimsy). That's why we're serving up the latest and greatest bridal hair hits with pro styling tips from Joseph Maine and Vickie Vidov.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for 20 of our favorite messy updos below.
This simple messy bun is proof that you can wear a casual 'do and still look polished. By keeping the crown loose and pulling out a few face-framing tendrils, an otherwise errand-running style is made wedding-ready (curl cream helps, too).
Low ponytails are not just reserved for lazy hair days; in fact, they can adapt to the most formal of occasions. So if you're a low-maintenance bride who's looking for a low-slung style, consider this 'do. And in case your hair tends to fall flat, spray a generous amount of IGK Beach Club Volume Texture Spray ($31) to feign a fuller pony.
There's more than one way to wear a chignon, but this twisted version has us fawning. To get the look, Maine encourages styling with a wand in alternating directions. "It's a soft and sophisticated look. I'd recommend pulling one side back and creating a vertical line of bobby pins from the nape of the neck upward to secure that left side. Then roll all of the remaining hair into itself and pin horizontally into the base you created of pins. Finish with Color Wow Cult Favorite Hair Spray ($26) to ensure it lasts."
If you've got natural texture, embrace it. Prep hair with Pattern Argan Oil Hair Serum ($25) before pulling back into a loose pony. Then incorporate a ribbon like this Organza Hair Bow ($5) on Etsy to add a touch of refinement and (literally) tie it all together.
Victoria Pedretti's sleek and architectural updo hair by stylist to the stars Mara Roszak is elegant yet edgy. "If you’re planning on wearing a statement necklace or a very detailed dress that you want all the attention on, try this one out," suggests Vidov.
- Slick your hair back into a tight pony slightly off your neck; you can do this with or without a distinct part on top.
- Once tied off, go in with a strong spray to keep down any stray hairs, like Oribe’s Superfine Strong Hairspray ($42).
- Split the pony into two, and tie a knot as if they were two ropes.
- Pin off your knot, and then situate where you want your ends to sit, pin them enough to stay secure.
- Finish off with hairspray.
This loose, wavy low bun on Jessica Alba is one of the first to pop up when you search messy updos on Pinterest. It's slightly parted in the middle with small sections pinned back on either side for a modern Victorian-era vibe.
This accessorized pony is as dreamy as can be. To get its mussy texture, prep strands with Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Powder Play Volumizing & Texturizing Powder ($19). Then loosely pull your hair back into a low ponytail and secure, leaving out a few face-framing tendrils. Try a statement hairpiece or a combination of glitzy clips for your own look.
Selena Gomez's topknot-bun is the epitome of effortless style. It's model-off-duty hair for the low-maintenance bride. Simply gather hair atop your head and style into a loose bun, leaving out ends for that undone finish. Pull out a few hairs around the face for good measure.
A fun and frisky twist is foolproof. To up the flirt factor, Vidov suggests leaving some baby hairs around the hairline. Then style by putting some pomade like Rene Furterer Style Modeling Paste ($26) into your hands and roughly pull your hair back. Start twisting one side over the other, pinning as you work your way down the back of your head, she instructs. Most importantly, "Don’t overthink the placement of the pins!" underscores Vidov. "The messiness of the overall look is forgiving of that. Finish off by making a pony that you can either curl or leave straight. "
Curly hair stars in this chignon—aka a rolled bun at the nape of the neck. Wearing this classic style loose and undone is what gives it a contemporary feel. Even still, don't skimp on the hairspray and bobby pins unless you're looking to let your hair down.
Katie Holmes's loose bun is pulled taut on the sides, but the top of the crown is left loose and piece-y for more volume. Try spritzing some Verb Dry Texture Spray ($18) on the roots to encourage lift.
RiRi's gathered updo is surrounded by embellished barrettes along the perimeter, a more modern and chicer replacement for a bridal tiara or comb. "This hairstyle is great because it’s a full updo that doesn’t feel contrived. It has a relaxed feel that can be dressed up or down," says Maine. Best of all? It’s simple to recreate.
- Create texture using a texturizing spray and then wanding your hair in alternating directions with an iron.
- Put the hair up in a high pony and grab sections from the length of the pony and pin randomly into the base, leaving a few pieces out around the face.
- Finish with Color Wow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray ($29) for a red carpet finish.
There's nothing perfect about Kerry Washington's low, knotted style—except its abstract nature, of course.
- Gather hair into a low ponytail.
- Separate your ponytail into two sections.
- Make one knot and then another.
- Take a hair tie and wrap it around the newly formed knotted bun.
- Secure ends using a few bobby pins.
- Use the tail end of a comb or your fingers to loosen hair at the crown.
- Spray with OGX Multi-Benefit Hairspray ($9).
Perfect for the boho bride, Chanel Iman's pancaked crown braid (for reference, "pancaking" is when you pull apart the braid to make it wider and flatter) is in part what outdoor garden wedding dreams are made of. If you're looking for more of a de-structured look, pull out some loosely curled pieces near the temples.
Everything about Jourdan Dunn's look from her romantic low updo to her ombré red lip has us completely swooning. Part hair in the middle, gather low at the nape of the neck, and then loosely curl the front pieces with a wide-barrel curling iron like this offering ($45) from Pro Beauty Tools.
Don't fret about bobby pins popping out on your wedding day—embrace them. Margot Robbie's low knotted style is flanked with visible bobby pins to accessorize and secure. Two silver bun cuffs placed on top of each other in opposing directions finish off the metallic-studded 'do. "This style is great because it feels effortless as if you could do it yourself and a lot of the visual interest is from the back," comments Maine. Depending on your natural texture, you can achieve this style on day two hair, he tells us.
- Apply a little One Minute Transformation ($24) by Color Wow through the ends to smooth the hair a bit.
- Create a low pony and then wrap it into a loose bun.
- Grab different corners of the bun and pin them to the base of the pony.
- Find a hair accessory to wrap in a figure-eight type shape throughout the bun.
- Use a curling iron to touch up the pieces around the face and finish with hair spray for hold.
Bohemian brides will get heart eyes from this high, texturized ponytail. After gathering hair into a high pony, mussy up the crown using a wide-tooth comb or fingers. As for the 'tail, work in a little bit of volumizing mousse to really amp up texture.
Thinking about transitioning to natural hair? This twist-out updo on Zazie Beetz might give you a nudge. Celeb stylist and hair wizard Lacy Redway is the genius behind this natural number that favors tantalizing texture coupled with dainty pearl details.
To style, "Scoop up your curls to your desired volume height, leaving some pieces by your eyes and ears to keep things soft and easy going. Once everything is set, pop in a statement pin, bandana, or hair tie to add a pop of color or glitz. Spray overall for texture and shine with Oribe’s Après Beach Hairspray ($44)," instructs Vidov.
If you're trying to emulate anyone on your big day, then why not have it be a beauty icon? Laverne Cox channels Brigitte Bardot with her bouffant updo and curtain bangs. To achieve the texture and volume of this style, you'll want to go tease happy on your hair.
- Take teased hair and pull it up into a high ponytail and tie.
- Let most tresses cascade down but also pin a few to form a bun shape.
- Pull out a few strands at the nape of your neck and around your face.
- Douse with hairspray.