11 of the best updos for short hair
Think your hair’s too short for an updo? Think again
By Kate Niven
Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / November 14 2018
While both lob and bob hairstyles have become incredibly popular in recent years – mainly because they’re universally flattering and a cinch to maintain – the shorter ‘dos certainly have their limits when it comes to creating updos. But that doesn’t mean updos are off limits for short hair. In fact, we (along with the help of top Sydney hairdresser and owner of RAW Salon in Surry Hills, Anthony Nader) have rounded up a list of the best updos for short hair, perfect for wedding season, lunch with your girlfriends or just a regular day in the office.
#11 / Twisted updo
If you’re after an elegant and sophisticated look, try a rolled-up ‘do like Zoe Saldana’s. Begin by splitting your hair into two even sections with a middle part. Then, starting at the top of your head by your hairline, twist small sections of hair away from your face, adding additional sections as your continue down your face. After you’ve gathered half of your hair into one twist, secure it with an elastic (in the same colour as your hair) at the nape of your neck and repeat the same process down the other side of your head. Twist the ends of each ponytail and pin the two tails on the inside of the twists. Tip: Add a hair accessory to hide the ends.
#10 / Messy low ponytail
To perfect Shay Mitchell’s easy updo, first create volume at the crown of your head by backcombing, then pull your hair back into a low ponytail. Keep your style relaxed and textured by leaving out loose sections of hair at the front of your face.
#9 / Half-braided crown
While we admit the options are limited for short-haired girls when it comes to braiding, there are still a number of braid styles you can try. One of our favourites is a braided crown as seen on Julianne Hough. To recreate this look, start your French braid above one your eyebrow and braid towards the opposite ear, keeping the style as close to your hairline as possible. Once your braid has passed your ear, secure the tail with some bobby pins and loosen the plait by gently pulling apart small sections. Pull the rest of your hair back into a low ponytail, or if your hair is too short, simply pin the loose ends at the back of your head.
#8 / Accessorised ponytail
A hair accessory like a scarf or headband is an effortless way to instantly revamp an otherwise simple updo. While we love wearing a scarf in a number of ways, by far the easiest is to follow Steph Claire Smith’s lead and loop it around a ponytail or bun to create a simple bow. While Steph may have long hair, the style works on just about any hair length.
#7 / Textured chignon
The best thing about Gemma Arterton’s look is that it’s not just suitable for formal occasions, it’s also great for a casual lunch with friends. Nader loves this simple updo because it can be created with either clean or dirty hair. To nail the look, “apply a mousse or sea salt spray on damp hair before diffusing to bring out your hair’s own dishevelled texture. Then, scoop your strands back and secure into a ponytail just below the crown of your head, remembering to keep the hair around your nape area taut as this creates a firmer shape.” Lastly, Nader recommends pinning the tail “into a messy bun, making sure to leave wisps of hair – particularly around the ears – loose. Doing so will keep your style looking on-trend and not restricted and tight.”
#6 / Sleek ponytail
Upgrade your signature Monday to Friday ponytail with Emma Stone’s sleek version. To keep your hair looking fresh and voluminous, apply a volume-boosting mousse onto damp hair before blow-drying. Once your hair is approximately 80 per cent dry, brush your hair back with a boar bristle brush (we love Mason Pearson Handy Single Bristle Boar Brush B3), making sure to leave a small section of hair out before securing with an elastic. Take that piece of hair and wrap it around ponytail and pin it in place underneath the elastic.
#5 / Sophisticated headband
“The best part about Dianna Agron’s rebellious rocker hairstyle is how incredibly dramatic it looks, but only takes a minute to whip up,” says Nader. Texture is key when recreating this hairstyle, “so go hard with your dry shampoo to create all that texture,” he adds. After you’ve added some grit and volume with your dry shampoo, Nader suggests “raking your hair back away from your face before wrapping a delicate ribbon around the front area and knotting it underneath”.
#4 / Nape of the neck twist
“For those who have a bob that slides a bit longer at the front, this is the updo to turn heads with,” says Nader. To nail Kate Mara’s look for yourself, he recommends spritzing your hair with sea salt spray or medium hold foam (we love evo Macgyver Multi-Use Mousse), then, “blow-dry your strands back and away from your face without making it too precise. You still want the hair to have a texture to it and not be poker straight and smooth.” He adds, “for added volume, you can backcomb the crown area so that the shape doesn’t sit too flat and tight”. Next, “spray all over with a fine hairspray and bobby pin pieces of hair in a criss-cross method at the nape area from one side to the other”.
#3 / Milkmaid braid
“I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t love a milkmaid braid and Sienna Miller’s is such a winner for short hair,” says Nader. “Start your first braid at your hairline and braid until you reach the nape of your neck, then secure with a snag-free elastic. Apply the same method to the other side.” To finish, Nader recommends looping the two tails together with a bobby pin, before securing the ends into the base of the braid with additional pins.
#2 / Messy topknot
While this fun topknot may be better suited to those with a longer lob, it's a great style that can be achieved on dirty hair in a flash, according to Nader. To recreate Miley’s look, “tip you head over and give your hair a spritz of dry shampoo and massage it in. Then, rake your hair smoothly, high on top of your crown, and secure with a bungie grip, hooking the ends to lock,” says Nader. “Now, flip your head up, smooth over the tail with your brush and pin into a cool swirl. Don’t worry if some ends fall out in the swirl; and by all means, let a few tendrils escape your face as this adds more drama.” If a few too many tendrils have escaped from your bun, or they can't quite reach the crown of your head in the first place, simply recruit additional bobby pins to secure them in place.
#1 / Half bun
If you’re after an easy updo that can be created with dirty hair, takes less than a minute to achieve, and will keep your hair out of your face no matter how windy it is, the half bun or the ‘hun’ as it’s been affectionately coined, is for you. Kendall Jenner is a big fan. To create this hair updo on short hair, start by spritzing your roots with dry shampoo to add a touch of volume and texture. Section your hair from the top of your ears and gathering into a half ponytail on the crown of your head. To finish, twist the ponytail into a bun and pin in place.
Looking for more hairstyling tips? Check out the backstage trick that instantly makes thick hair appear weightless and discover the exact steps to recreate Lauren Conrad’s tousled waves.
Which of these updos would you most like to try? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image credit: Getty
Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.