10 Updo Hairstyle Ideas To Try This Season

By Charlie Colville

4 weeks ago

Updo styles for all occasions

The easiest way to give yourself an instant good hair day? Throw strands up into a ponytail, bun or knot. Updo hairstyles are on a roll this year – with searches for #updo on TikTok racking up an impressive 2.3 billion views on the platform (so far) – and range from sleek and sculpted to loose and messy. But, regardless of preference, they all share the characteristic of looking effortlessly good. Fancy giving it a go? We’ve asked some of London’s top hair professionals how we can tap into the trend.

What Counts As An Updo Hairstyle?

An updo hairstyle is where the hair is swept up and arranged in a way that keeps most, if not all, of it out of the face. Aside from this, there aren’t really any strict rules on what constitutes an updo, and styles can range from buns and ponytails to ornately piled braids.

Do You Need Long Hair To Wear These Styles?

Not necessarily. While typically associated with long hair, updo hairstyles can be created on all lengths and hair types – it’s just a matter of finding a style that is adaptable to your hair. And, if need be, there’s always the option of adding hair extensions.

Updo Hairstyles To Try Now


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1. Sleek High Ponytail

Starting off strong with a slicked back pony, this sophisticated updo hairstyle works both for everyday and special occasion settings – and is bound to make a sleek statement in both settings. ‘This style of updo is very popular with modern audiences,’ says Philipp Haug, hairdresser and co-founder of Fitzrovia salon Haug London Haus. ‘The sleek high ponytail that J Lo favours is stunning – it’s quite tricky to get to grips with, but you’re aiming to create a really clean outline brushed into a ponytail quite high up to create some height. The pony itself also has a little bit of movement and texturizing in it to make it beautiful and glamorous.’


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2. Messy Bun

Another classic, but one for the more casual crowd. ‘Messy buns are really versatile and suit all occasions, plus they look great when you do them yourself,’ highlights Philipp. ‘Leave some pieces loose around the hair line and, if you have straight hair, tong them to give a little bit of movement off the face. This style of bun should look quite textured and messy, so if you have some natural movement in your hair this is made for you.’

3. Half-Up, Half-Down

For those not willing to commit to a full sweep, the half-up, half-down look is a popular choice that gives you the best of both worlds. ‘This is an updo we’re seeing a lot of at the moment, especially on very long hair with some beautiful waves through the lengths,’ says Philipp. ‘To get this look, put the top section into a high ponytail – this is so the top part gives the strength of the look and takes the hair off the face for a really glamorous feeling – and then let it fall into the long hair that stays loose at the back. You can tong this section into beautiful waves.’


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4. Modern French Twist

Another updo that’s been popular recently is the French twist, a hairstyle that sees the hair twisted and pinned at the back of the head. ‘There are many different ways to create this look if you want a more relaxed feel, more messy or classic sleek look,’ says Charlie Illi, Advanced Stylist and Master Technician at Brooks and Brooks Salon. ‘ I think part of its popularity has to do with 90s nostalgia. When recreating this look, I would add some wispy pieces for a more youthful touch. Section away the front piece and start with twisting the back section into place, leaving the ends to flick out naturally, then twist the front part and added it to the French twist. You can decide where you want the details to sit.’


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5. Sleek Knot

For dressier occasions, you might also want to consider tying your hair in a knot hairstyle. ‘We have been seeing a lot of sleek knots in different ways: high, low, middle, clean, spiky,’ says Charlie. ‘If you would like to do this look yourself it is easiest to either style it when the hair is damp or oily, but not freshly washed and dried. You want the roots to be flat and greasy to get that seamless bun. Wet the hair, use mousse and texturising styling products to create a tight clean ponytail (which I prefer to tie off with elastic). Once the ponytail is done, pull the hair half through and tie off again. To give the ends that are peaking out a nice finish, use a bit of gel and hairspray. If you want you can also add ribbons or other jewellery if you want something extra.’

6. Braided Knot With Bow

This updo hairstyle comes straight off the Fashion Week runway, where recently bows became the staple accessory for many designers and stylists. ‘We are seeing a lot of ribbons and bows combining into hair updos,’ confirms Charlie. ‘It gives the whole look a lovely finish, with the bow threaded through the braid. For this style, simply create two braids and pin them up into a shape of eight, securing the braids with bobby pins. Then take your ribbon and thread it through the gaps, finishing it off with a nice bow. Gigi Hadid is one of the celebrities that walked in Fashion Week with this look. She is always showing off the newest trends and pulls them off with such elegance.’

7. High Bun

If you’re looking to elevate a slicked back pony, why not go all in with a bun? ‘Last summer’s sleek ponytail is getting a reboot into the sleek high bun,’ says Chie Sato, Head of Education and Creative Lead at Taylor Taylor London. ‘Loved by the likes of supermodels Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid, this chic, trendy hairstyle is easy to achieve and ideal for summer as it keeps hair off the neck and out of the way.

‘To achieve, use a pintail comp to define a clean centre parting,’ Chie continues. ‘Apply gel or a good hold product onto the surface of the hair and use a brush to sweep the hair up and away from the face to just below the crown area. By sweeping the hair up and away from the face instead of down from the parting, you create a natural sculpting effect which is more flattering and will give you that off-duty model look. Use an elastic to tie and create a bun – you may find it easier to tie a ponytail before creating your bun – and pin in place if more support is needed. You can also leave the end loose or a few pieces sticking out of the bun for cool-girl vibes. Add hair spray to keep it clean and shiny and make sure any flyaways stay in place. The great thing about this hairstyle is that it can last all day (and night) without you needing to worry about adjusting it.’


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8. Balletcore Headband

As we’ve seen with bows, an updo hairstyle lends itself well to accessories; for more casual affairs, we love the look of a chunky, ballet headband. ‘Originally made famous by Brigitte Bardot and seen on the runways at Prada SS24, this staple accessory adds a chic touch to any style,’ says Chie. ‘It’s especially ideal for hair that’s in-between washes as it conveniently hides any frizz or oily hair. Simply push back your hair into a ponytail or low bun and add your band just under the hairline for an instant style elevation. Try playing around with bands that are on the thicker side to keep this look fresh and modern.’


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9. Low Twisted Bun

‘A twisted low bun is a timeless style that’s trending again in 2024, as seen on celebrities like Gemma Chan and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley,’ say Brett MacDonald and Francesco Aresco, hairstylists from CULt Hairdressing. ‘To achieve this look, start by prepping damp hair with mousse for volume lift and control, or to lift the roots if desired, then blowdry the hair to reduce any frizz. Create a low ponytail and secure it with an elastic, then take small sections of the ponytail, twist them, and secure them at the roots with pins. Repeat until all hair is twisted. This style is fairly easy to create and it can be personalised in various ways to suit your style.’

10. Messy Slick Back

This updo hairstyle combines the ever-popular slick back with slightly messier strands in the ponytail. ‘This is a hairstyle best executed with a low side parting,’ say Brett and Francesco. ‘Start by spraying the hair with a texturising spray, then turn upside down and scrunch mousse in. Comb this through while upside down really well, then scrunch and gently shake. As you come up, pull the hair into a loose pony and tip to the side to find a natural side parting. Add more mousse and some styling cream to the ends before placing clips vertically behind the ears and drying with a diffuser.’

Featured image: Mojtaba Mosayebzadeh, Unsplash