Tips for the Perfect Updo

The promise of spring means many things: baby animals! Warmer weather! April showers and May flowers! It’s also prime time for weddings, proms, and other formal events. To Aveda Artists, this means one thing: UPDOS.

 

An updo can be anything from an intricate curled and pinned bridal chignon to a precise and flawless French twist to a low, messy bun. You can pick and choose an updo to complement what you’re wearing, where you’re going, or match it to the occasion, no red carpet necessary.

If you’re preparing for a formal event of your own — or just itching to try your hand at a new style — get tips, techniques, and product recommendations from Aveda Artists.

 

“What I love about updos is that they’re a really fun way to change your style without a commitment like a cut or a color,” says Aveda Updo Educator Sarah Naslund. “It’s fun to get your hair done! [Updos] are a way to escape your daily life; it’s not something you’re checking off a to-do list. The energy is more fun.”

 

Sarah, whose Instagram @mybighairday is full of gorgeous shots of her work, keeps a well-stocked kit that includes Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner to give hair slip, Shampure Dry Shampoo for texture, and Brilliant Humectant Pomade for polish and frizz control. “A lot of people think you need a lot of hairspray and texture spray for updos,” she says. “But the way styles are right now, they’re not messy, they’re distressed. I explain to people in my classes that when you buy a pair of jeans with holes, you don’t buy jeans someone has worn. You buy a new pair that have holes created in them. So when you add too much hairspray or texture spray, it starts to look worn as opposed to distressed.”

 

Sarah’s go-to hairspray when styling is Brilliant Medium Hold Hair Spray. “If I was going to do updos on a desert island, this is what I’d bring,” she says. “It adds shine and it repels humidity.”

 

AN UPDO BY SARAH NASLUND.

 

Ready to get started? Whether you’re visiting the salon or DIY’ing it, prep is super-important. “Start with a good foundation,” says Allen Ruiz, Global Artistic Director for Styling. “Prep hair with perfect texture. If the look is smooth, make sure you smooth the hair out before styling. If it’s wavy, get that perfect wave.” He also recommends creating an updo on clean hair, not unwashed. “Today’s products allow artists to create the textures they need on clean hair.” His updo go-tos are Texture Tonic, Air Control, Shampure Dry Shampoo, and Pure Abundance Style-Prep.

 

Sarah agrees. “What your hair looks like before you start the updo is what your hair looks like after the updo. If it’s greasy going in, it’s going to be greasy going out. If it’s frizzy going in, it will be frizzy going out.”

 

Another one of Allen’s best tips? “Bring your stylist plenty of pictures to set expectations,” he says. Start Pinning your favorites, or visit the Aveda Pinterest page to see what we’re loving.

 

 

If you’re attempting an updo on your own, one of the easiest (and most customizable) is the ponytail. “A ponytail is an updo!” Sarah says. “The placement is key. If you want to do something more elegant, go low and loose. If you want to do something more fun and sexy, go higher and tighter. Take it from being casual to being more glam by covering the elastic with extra hair or a braid, backcombing your pony, or curling it. It’s the ultimate style anybody can do.”

 

Keep your at-home styling kit stocked with updo essentials. Sarah loves mini rubber bands when styling because they grip better than pins. “When it comes to bobby pins, go darker rather than lighter even if you’re blonde because dark things recede (like contour in makeup), and light things come forward. You don’t want your bobby pins to be shining and popping out. They blend easier when they’re darker – go a shade darker than you think.”

 

What’s currently trending, updo-wise? Allen is loving messy textured styles, and says braids are always trendy. “It’s not your mother’s updo anymore,” he adds.

 

“We’re seeing a return to higher hair,” Sarah says. “For so long, everything was at the nape and low and loose, but [now it’s] more texture, more curl, more detail. It makes my heart happy.”

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