44 Incredibly Chic Updo Ideas for Short Hair

Pinned Updo
@jennychohair | Design by Michela Buttignol.

When it comes to elaborate updos, those with above-the-shoulder strands seem to have gotten the short end of the stick (literally). While their Rapunzel-esque counterparts can twist, bun, braid, and pin to their heart's content, short-haired girls face a much smaller pool of options. After all, how much can you really do when you're working with the length of, say, a Lucy Hale–inspired chop? 

For all our short-haired or above-the-shoulder sisters out there, know this: You, too, can partake in the updo game. While pixie-length hair is a bit tough to gather for an updo (we've still included quite a few for you, don't worry!), we've searched high and low for bob-to-shoulder-length updos that won't consume your entire morning. So grab some bobby pins ($4), a scarf, and some hair ties, and get ready to transform your hair.

Keep scrolling for 44 cool bun, braid, and pinned-up ideas for short hair!

Messy Braided Bun

This style works best on shoulder-length hair, but those with shorter strands can re-create this by simply using more bobby pins. Here's the full tutorial!

Bantu Knots

Bantu knots are a super easy protective hairstyle for natural hair. Bonus: it looks very cool as an everyday style or for a special event. Check out this tutorial.

All Tied Up

Why not add some retro flair to your look with a sleek silk scarf and major volume? Plus, the scarf hides all your bobby pins, so feel free to pin with abandon. See the full instructions here.

Rolled Updo

Half roll, half braid, this might just be your new everyday hairstyle. Click over here for the instructions!

Half Bun

When all else fails, rock a cool-girl half-bun—so simple, yet so effective.

Looped Chignon

Loop your ponytail, and then twist it into a messy chignon. Your secret weapon: a braid and ponytail maker ($5).

Roll Back


Remember Anne Hathaway's pixie? This simple 'do with rolled-back sections and a gold starry clip proves that, yes, even pixies can be pinned up.

Braided Fauxhawk

A simple way to add a bit more dimension to short, natural texture is to braid the sides, creating a chic fauxhawk.

Endless French Braid

purple hair french braid


The beauty of short hair? Among other things, we like that it has the ability to disappear—tucked out of sight—at the end of a french braid.

Messy Chignon

The short-haired girl's version of a chignon, this messy, yet polished 'do can be dressed up or down (tousled side fringe is encouraged).

Sporty Space Buns

space buns
 Getty Images

Two high-placed buns can easily go straight from the gym to the office or to drinks with friends (just remember to freshen up first!). All you need are two hair elastics and a few bobby pins to secure the buns in place. For a full breakdown, check out this tutorial.

Knotted Updo

knotted updo
 Getty Images

In this instance, knots in your hair are totally welcome. Split your mane up into three segments, twist each section, and knot each before pinning. Take a look at the full tutorial here.

High Bun With a Headscarf

For something low-maintenance and chic, pull your hair back into a high bun or pony, and keep the stray hairs in place with a colorful headscarf. No muss, no fuss.

Pixie Cut With a Ribbon

Cara Delevingne pixie cut with a headband
Getty Images

Pixies have fun, too. A ribbon or a headband can give this edgy cut an unexpected touch.

Half Space Buns

Half up space buns
Getty Images

Rock the space buns just on the top half of your hair. Loose face-framing bangs are a gorgeous touch.

Pixie Braided Topknot

Miley Cyrus pixie braided topknot
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

She's just being Miley—and showing that anything is possible with short hair. This braided topknot looks pretty eccentric, yes, but if you love getting a little funky with your hair, then this style's for you.

Dutch Crown Braid

Hairstylist extraordinaire Jenny Cho does a crown braid on a cropped cut like no other.

Textured Pixie With a Metallic Headband

Janelle Monae pixie cut with a headband
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

For another take on the pixie cut with a headband, look to Janelle Monae's iconic look for inspiration. A metallic headband gives her soft curls a little edge. We're getting major princess vibes here.

Side Dutch Braids on a Pixie

Dutch side braid on a pixie cut
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Side braids are totally possible on cuts as short as the pixie. This Dutch braid adds even more flair to an already edgy haircut.

Side French Braid With Volume on Top

Side French braid with volumized hair
Steve Granitz/Getty Images

An updo with high volume on top is complemented by the unexpected detail of a side French braid to give the illusion of an undercut.

Topknot Undercut

Topknot undercut
Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

An undercut with a topknot is an unconventional and eye-catching look.

S-Shaped Pompadour

Pink with a wavy pompadour
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

A wavy S-shaped pompadour turns a long pixie cut into brand new look.

Pinned Curls

Curly updo

When in doubt, curls are always elegant. Pin them in place to give them structure and hold.

Textured Side Dutch Braid

A loose Dutch braid on the side paired with textured hair is fun and flirty.

Half-Up Stacked Twists

A textured half-up hairstyle is elevated with stacked twists.

Laced-Up Dutch-Style Braid

braid on top of head hairstyle


Here's a half-up style that features a Dutch-style braid with hair lacing up two sections. It's unexpected, yet very simple.

Stacked Side Dutch Braids

side braid on woman with short hair


Breathe new life into a bob with two Dutch braids on one side, plus a deep side-part.

Cropped Cut With Double French Braids

Sienna Miller with double French braids
Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Super-short hair with double French braids is a striking look. To add some grit and hold, work in a texturizer like Bumble and Bumble Bb Texture Hair (Un) Dressing Creme ($31) before you start.

Half Up With a Bow

The legendary Jen Atkin said it best: "When in doubt, put a bow on it." This style comes courtesy of hairstylist Irinel de León.

Stacked Chignon

Elizabeth Banks with stacked chignons
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A pair of stacked messy chignons is a no-fuss hairstyle that translates well for special events.

Short Finger Waves

Pixie cut with finger waves
Getty Images

A pixie cut with finger waves is the ultimate throwback to 1920s glamour.

Bob With Finger Waves

Nicole Richie with finger waves
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Finger waves are just as classic on a bob. Tuck the hair undearneath in the back for a boost in volume.

Low Ponytail With a Side-Part

This simple and sophisticated low ponytail with a side-part is flawless. Use Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Hair Oil ($40) to keep it sleek.

Short Ponytail With Fringe

Nina Dobrev with a short, low ponytail
Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

A short, low ponytail with blunt bangs has a modern look and feel.

Tight, Sleek Ponytail

Sleek ponytail
Richard Bord/Getty Images

For an ultra-sleek look, slick hair back into a tight ponytail at the middle of the back of the head.


Tia Mowry with cornrows
Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Classic cornrows are perfect for short lengths; not to mention, the wearable look serves as a protective style for natural hair.

Cornrows With Loose Tendrils

Cornrows with loose tendrils
Francois G. Durand/Getty Images

Here's another cool take on cornrows: loose tendrils at the back and sides, and baby hairs combed down at the hairline.

Kinky Front Topknot

Lupita N'yongo
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

If you have naturally kinky hair, this front topknot is a fresh, fun look. The braid is an unexpected detail.


Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Mini-braids going across the head look effortlessly cool.

Double Dutch Braids With Fringe

Selma Blair with double dutch braids
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Side-swept bangs give these double Dutch braids a modern look. Pin the hair at the nape of the neck to keep the style neat.

Pixie Cut With a Crown Braid

Pixie haircut with a crown braid
Jeffrey Mayer/Getty Images

Crown braids aren't just for long hair. Here's how to rock one with a pixie cut.


Knotted hair
Mike Marsland/Getty Images

When your hair is at a transitional length, have some fun by experimenting with knots using funky colored hair ties.

Half-Up Topknot With Fringe

Half-up topknot with bangs
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

This bob with a half-up topknot and a thick fringe is super hip.

Messy Topknot

Maisie Williams with a messy topknot
Getty Images

A mussed-up topnot with loose tendrils is our go-to everyday look.

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