When you begin looking for updo hairstyles, let’s just say it can get real scary, real quick. Image after image of tight curls piled high on the head, doused in so much hairspray that the slightest flame would ignite the whole thing? AKA, what you wore to your 8th grade dinner dance. Yeah, that might not be what you’re into these days.
That’s why in the past we’ve rounded up updo hairstyles for black hair, unique hairstyles, long hair, short hair, and curly hair. But today we wanted to round up updo hairstyles for all hair types. The truth is, an updo executed with skill generally leaves you clueless as to how long the persons hair is. It just looks so pretty! But styles vary, and some are really updo hairstyles for long hair, and some are updos for medium hair. So on each updo hairstyle, we marked what length of hair they’d work best on, to make sure you focus your hopes and dreams on something achievable.
Some of these updo hairstyle will take a pro to pull off (let’s be honest), but some of them are easy updos that you can DIY, if that’s your jam. But first, let’s do a quick rundown of what makes (and breaks) the almighty updo hairstyle:
- Stylist or no stylist, but also the right stylist: In general, the type of style plus your own hair skillz will determine whether or not you need a stylist. Having someone who knows what they’re doing is key for updo hairstyles. Since updos require a certain skill set—plus more time, more product, and ALLLLL the pinning—most stylists charge more for them than other styles. Not all stylists specialize in updos, so be sure to check in ahead of time and ask for pictures if you haven’t seen any.
- Do a trial run: Once you’ve found a stylist, always, always, always do a trial. Most stylists require it, and it’s just as much for you as it is for them (trust us, it’s not a ploy to squeeze more money out of you). This is the time for the stylist to get familiar with your hair, your style, and you as a human, and it will give you an opportunity to connect with them. This is someone who is literally going to be all up in your business during what is typically a stressful and fun time, so you want to really enjoy them.
- Hair texture and density: Typically what people love about updo hairstyles is their fullness. They make a statement: they’re bold and beautiful, or effortless and organic. But often times we want what we can’t have (meaning, a shit ton of hair). Luckily there are LOTS of ways to fake it. Your stylist will be able to determine what you’ll need to get the look you’re after. It may involve extensions (temporary or otherwise), hair forms (big spongy things that get hidden in your hair), or other hairpieces. If you’re not comfortable going this route, that’s totally cool, but be sure to talk through this with your stylist. They’ll help you find a style that’s appropriate for your hair and your style.
- Be honest and be patient: Your stylist is not out to make your life miserable, it’s completely the opposite! They’re on your team and want you to look your best and for their work to look its best. So if you’re not feeling it, just tell them. Keep it nice and non-emotional if possible. It WILL work, even if it’s feeling like it never will. If there’s one big thing to remember, it’s that almost every single updo hairstyle looks completely wrecked until the last few minutes when all the magic happens. So until you hear the “all done!” words and you’re handed the mirror to look at all the angles, try to avoid picking the style apart. Once the stylist has indicated they’re done, it’s the perfect time to point out areas you love and parts that maybe aren’t working for you.
- Think about the venue, the weather, and your attire: Getting married on the cliffs of Northern California? Yeah, it’s gonna be windy. In the summer in the South? Oh, it’s gonna be humid. These are the things to talk to your stylist about from the start. Loose curls in an updo look beautiful, until the wind has whipped them into a hot mess. And those sleek French twists? Great until the heat just melts them into a frizz. Also be sure to think about the neckline of your dress. It’s always best to show your stylist what the dress looks like—we promise they won’t tell a soul! Consider it stylist-bride confidentiality. But they need to know if there’s something going on in the back or on the shoulders so they can create a shape that will flatter not only you, but the dress itself.
braided updo hairstyles
Braids are great for so many reasons, and they have almost endless uses in updo hairstyles. They can be pulled apart for a looser, tousled look, or kept tight to the head. Either way, braids add tons of visual texture, which means great things for your photographer to snap images of. Some stylists specialize in braiding, so if you’re looking for something a little extra, seek out someone who knows what they’re doing.
Photo by Karen Buckle | Hair by Fabulous Everything | Via Green Wedding Shoes // Great updo for long hair
Photography by Sara Lucero | Hair by Brittany of Oasis Hair Salon | Via Style Me Pretty // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Photography and Hair by Ashley // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Photography and Hair by Braids by Jordan // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Photo via Black Bride // Great updo for long hair
classic-inspired updo hairstyles
Classic does not mean stuffy. Many updo hairstyles like the French Twist, for example, bring to mind a certain era. But with more texture and modern accessories, these looks feel contemporary and on point. Many of these updos have clean lines and simple forms, there’s not typically a lot of stuff happening, which makes them perfect for adding accessories to. While this may feel like something you don’t totally need, accessories just give you a way to tie-in all the goodness that’s happening in your dress/shoes/jewelry/etc. to your hair. Also, so great for photos and makes it feel finished.
Hair accessory from LeLet | Photography and Hair by Honestly WTF // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Photography by Diana McGregor Photography | Via Style Me Pretty // Great updo for long hair, medium hair, or short hair
Event Design and Planning by The Wildflowers | Via Style Me Pretty // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Via A Practical Wedding // Great updo for long hair, medium hair, or short hair
Hair by Hair Is | Photography by TréCreative Photography & Videography | Via The Knot // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Easy UPDO HAIRSTYLES
Going the DIY route on your hair doesn’t mean it won’t have great style (our own EIC went DIY on her wedding hair, and it was glorious). We’ve shown you some great tutorials for updo hairstyles like a braided bun, vintage rolls, an edgy curly hair updo, and a side-swept curled updo. When searching for a DIY style, less can definitely be more. Look for styles that use a similar hair type to your own, so you’ll know it’s feasible. DEFINITELY do a trial run, or two, to figure out how much time you’ll need and work out the kinks—we can’t stress this enough. Get creative with bobby pins and other accessories to give your style a completed feel.
Hair and Makeup by Leila Ruth Salon | Photography by Dana Fernandez Photography | Via Style Me Pretty // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Via The Right Hairstyles // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Via Allure // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Hair by Sabrina Gilbert NYC | Via Black Bride // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Photography by Elisa Bricker | Hair by Lora Kelley | Via Style Me Pretty // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
modern updo hairstyles
Less is typically more with modern updo hairstyles. Keep the overall shape fairly sleek, but don’t be afraid to have some texture. Go bold with a great metallic accessory or weave a long strand of beading or chains for an unexpected look. Modern styles have structure to them, meaning they’re not overly loose. These styles can appear to be rather simple on the surface, but require precision and technique to make them appear that way.
Photography by Yves Saint Laurent | Via Fashionisima // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Hair by Serene Bridal Beauty | Photography by Candice Benjamin Photography | Via Burnett’s Boards // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Photography by Elie Saab | Via Fashionising // Great updo for long hair, medium hair, or short hair
Hair by Shakisha Morgan | Via The Right Hairstyles // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Hair by The Loft Salon // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
EDGY UPDO HAIRSTYLES
Looking to go really bold with your updo hairstyle? Use color, texture, and shape to create a mega statement. These styles toe the line of editorial or runway looks, but with the right combination of attire, they can truly be a showstopper. Using color to highlight certain aspects of the style will only enhance the look.
Hair by SimSimStyles // Great updo for locs
Hair by Hair Romance // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Hair by Danielle O’Connor // Great updo for long hair or medium hair
Hair by Nicole Bellows // Great updo for long hair
Hair by pRoy | Via The Right Hairstyles // Great updo for medium hair or short hair
We want to see your wedding hair and updo hairstyles! Married folks, how did you wear your hair? any tips for our brides-to-be? and if you haven’t tied the knot yet, what are your style ideas? Leave your pictures in the comments!