You are here

Do It Up: Easy Updo Hairstyles

  • Laura Doss

    Laid-Back Braids

    Best for: A bob-length or longer style

    Control overgrown bangs and layers with the fancy finger work you learned in grade school. "An up-front braid secures unruly pieces in a chic way," says Marc Mena, a celebrity stylist for Garnier Fructis, who created the three looks on these pages. Wear the rest of your hair loose or pin up pieces (as shown here) to keep hair off your neck and back.

  • Jack Miskell

    How to Create Laid-Back Braids

    1. Make waves.

    Texture keeps braids from lying flat against your scalp. The night before, apply spray gel to freshly washed hair, then create two (or more, depending on hair length) buns.

    2. Braid your hairline.

    The next day, release buns and part hair as usual. Rub wax onto fingers and weave an inch-wide French braid (Don't know how? Do a tight traditional braid instead) from the part to one ear and secure with a mini elastic; repeat on the other side.

    3. Start twirling.

    Pull remaining hair into a low, secured ponytail. Dip into the wax again, then twirl pieces of hair (about the width of a pencil) around your pointer finger. Pin pieces randomly around the elastic. Finally tuck and pin the ends of each braid under the bun to conceal them.

    Tool Kit

    1. Suave Professionals Volumizing Root Lifter Spray Gel, $2.99, drugstores

    2. Vavoom Design Pulse Glow to Pieces Shine Wax, $16, for locations

    3. Blax Snag-Free Hair Elastics, $3.50,

  • Laura Doss

    Soft Chignon

    Best for: Shoulder-length or longer strands

    If you've never tried this before, no worries: A chignon looks most modern when it's a little messy. "Don't stress if pieces fall or aren't perfectly placed; that's what makes the style so wearable," says Mena.

  • Jack Miskell

    How to Create a Soft Chignon

    1. Add texture.

    Spritz a volumizer on clean, dry roots. Set strands in medium-size rollers, heat them with a blow-dryer, then remove after 10 minutes. Mist all over with a light hair spray. Divide hair into three even sections: two evenly parted sections from hairline to crown, and one from the crown back.

    2. Create a bun.

    Tease the back section and smooth any tangles with a paddle brush. Next, create a low ponytail. Loosely wrap the tail around the elastic in a clockwise direction, pinning pieces as you go (hide the pins under hair).

    3. Smooth the sides.

    To create the look of a traditional chignon, pull the right front section diagonally over the elastic to the left side, then under the bun, and secure with pins. Repeat on the left side.

    Tool Kit

    1. Nexxus Root Exxtend Volumizing Root Lifting Spray, $11.99, drugstores

    2. Garnier Fructis Style Volumizing Anti-Humidity Hairspray, $4.11, drugstores

    3. Sta-Rite Hair Pins, $1.99,

  • Laura Doss

    Polished Ponytail

    Best for: Long (below the shoulder) hair

    This sleek, off-the-face style hides summer frizz and keeps you cool. Just be sure to skip a shampoo or two. "Natural oils at the roots help ground flyaways and make the knot-creating process easier," says Mena.

  • Jack Miskell

    How to Create a Polished Ponytail

    1. Condition strands.

    To amp up shine, do a quick conditioning treatment. One with coconut oil or shea butter instantly defrizzes, key to this sleek style.

    2. Pony up.

    Brush hair into a ponytail, position it at the middle of your head, and secure with an elastic. Spritz the tail with a lightweight shine spray, then flat-iron hair; removing the bulk makes it easier to create the knot.

    3. Tie one on.

    Make a loop, then pull the ends through as though you're tying a rope. Push the knot upward toward the elastic and secure in place with bobby pins. Apply wax or shine spray to a soft-bristle toothbrush (a comb creates lines) and run it from the hairline to the elastic to ground flyaways.

    Tool Kit

    1. Burt's Bees Hair Repair Shea & Grapefruit Deep Conditioner, $8,

    2. Tresemme Smooth No Frizz Ultra Light Shine Spray, $4.49, drugstores

    3. Opalescence Hygiene Brush, $2,