All Beauty, All the Time—For Everyone.

These Easy Updo Hairstyles Will See You Through Every Occasion

woman with messy updo

Taylor Hill / Getty Images

It's so easy to get sucked into the routine of only wearing your hair in the same style. Either wearing it down or in a low ponytail and occasionally shimmying between straight and curly to switch it up. Our hair becomes a uniform in the same way that our wardrobes are usually just clones of the same two pieces. But if there's anything that can get you out of a style rut, it's an updo.

Updos aren't the easiest (or quickest) of hairstyles to get right, right? Well, we're here to dispel that common misconception having found some incredible—and incredibly easy—updo hairstyles you can re-create in under five minutes. Yes, whether you're getting ready at your desk or at home (and you spent a little too long in the bath or watching whichever Netflix series you love right now), you can rely on these styles to get you out the door fast. From messy buns to chic ponytails, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Ballerina Bun

updos: woman with smooth topknot
Franziska Krug / Getty Images

A big, bold ballerina bun should always be in your hairstyle arsenal, ready to be whipped out for any last-minute events. It usually looks quite severe with every strand in place and accounted for, but you can loosen it up a bit by adding volume at the roots. For a bouncy look, spritz in Kérastase Matérialiste Thickening Spray Gel ($17) and allow flyaways to just do their thing.


Updo hairstyles: Selena Gomez updo
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

We're not going to lie. Chignons are hard, but follow our advice and Selena Gomez's style isn't that tricky after all. Prep hair with hair spray, such as Ouai Memory Mist ($28), to give it grip. Leaving the front hairline section free, loosely pull the rest of the hair back into a low pony at the nape of the neck, tucking the ends underneath and pinning in place. Finally, pull small sections from the hairline backward, tucking underneath the chignon that has formed, and allow a few strands to hang free around the face.

Hair Clips

Updo hairstyles: Solange Knowles updo
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

No longer are hair clips and grips something we so desperately try to hide from sight. As Solange's look here proves, making them the statement can be a look in itself. Try using colorful kirby grips or match the metal to the color of your jewelry.

Half-Up, Half-Down

Updo hairstyles: Raye updo
Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Getty Images

Curls will work with most updos, but we especially love Raye's half-up, half-down style. You might want to tong some of your curls and apply Living Proof Curl Defining Styling Cream 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.

Faux Fringe

updos: woman with fake fringe and updo
Catwalking / Getty Images

Keep it interesting in both the front and the back with a scissor-free fringe that can be achieved by pulling hair into a side parting and folding the lengths of the hair up. Secure with a kirby grip and clamp your straightener over it for better hold. Work through a moisturizing hair cream and Lore Originals Define + Finish ($21) will also add hold. Tie up the rest of your hair into a chignon for a classic look. 

Messy Topknot

Updo hairstyles: Taylor Hill updo
Julian Hekimian/Getty Images

Thought topknots were the sole reserve of lazy Sundays? Think again. They work just as well for lazy Saturday nights, too. Simply sweep all of your hair into a loose bun at the crown of the head and use ghd Tail Comb ($25) to pull a few strands loose at the front.

Sleek Topknot

updos: Gabrielle Union with sleek topknot
Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images

What really makes this sleek towering bun is the height. So you might want to get a helping hand from Hershesons Invisible Ponytail ($111), which will help get the volume that you need. Start off by tying your own hair into a tight, high bun before adding the extensions. Keep winding the ponytail around itself until you get the desired look and height. Then secure it all with plenty kirby grips.

Tousled Ponytail

updo hairstyles: Laverne Cox
Jason LaVeris / Getty Images

Ponytails are as easy as hairstyles come, and Laverne Cox's is a great way to show off long hair. Start by loosely curling random sections using a tong and then brush out the curls so you're left with bouncy waves. Gently pull hair into a high ponytail, securing with a clear elastic band, and don't worry if strands start to run free. That's all part of the tousled look.

Half Updo

updos: woman with half topknot
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Show off bountiful curls or Afro hair with a half updo. Use Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($12) to define and moisturize your hair before smoothing down the edges. Tie the top half up into a ponytail and fluff the curls around it. If you have longer hair, you can do a bun instead and then leave the lower half out.

Origami-Style Bun

updo hairstyles: Daisy Ridley updo
Samir Hussein / Getty Images

To add a little more interest to a regular tight knot, try this origami-style bun that works on every hair texture. Start by brushing hair out and then pull back into a tight ponytail at the back of the head. Wind the hair around itself to create tension, and then wrap this around the base of the ponytail and pin in place, leaving a few inches spare at the end. Separate and splay the ends, running a straightening iron (we love T3 Single Pass X Straighteners) over them to give that super-straight folded-paper effect.


updos: woman with head scarf
Estrop / Getty Images

No, this isn't cheating. A headscarf is the perfect match for an updo that's waiting to be worn for a holiday dinner when your hair is still a bit damp. Simply pop your hair back into a simple knotted bun then wrap a headscarf around the front so you can still see your hair at the back. Or you can take it to the next level and get a ready to go and extravagant headscarf like this Twisted Printed Headband ($450) by Gucci. 

Dual Knots

updo hairstyles: Alicia Keys updo
Aurora Rose / Getty Images

Why wear one bun but when you can wear two? Well, that's what we've taken from Alicia Keys here. The key to its effect is getting a really precise parting line, which you can easily do with a metal-ended tail comb ($4).

High Twist With Loose Curls

updos: woman with messy updo
Taylor Hill / Getty Images

This updo is a breeze for curly-haired girls as you'll be focusing on pulling out lengths of your hair around a high twist with the ends sprawled out, but if you have straight hair, just invest in the BaByliss Tight Curls Wand to achieve the corkscrew curls you need. The goal here is to not worry about the structure but keep it loose with movement around the sides.


updos: Natasha Lyonne with high ponytail and fringe
David Livingston / Stringer / Getty Images

Aren't we all just either wanting to get a fringe, growing out a fringe or in a steady relationship with one? If you're in the latter two phases, then this updo is your new hairstyle savior. You'll want to keep it glossy and polished at the front and then create texture at the back by twisting hair and pulling out the lengths. Spray on Hair by Sam McKnight Easy-Up Do Texture Spray ($31) to keep it all together.

Textured Bun

updos: woman with locs in a topknot
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Locs, twists, and braids don't need to be left out of updo hairstyles. Work with the added length you have to pile your hair up into a textured bun. Keep edges and baby hairs flat and controlled by smoothing Keracare Edge Tamer ($13) with a brush.

Whether you're headed to a BBQ, wedding or just want to update your weekend look, why not consider one of these updos to give your hair an easy makeover.

Related Stories