This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Continue if you are OK with this or find out more in our Privacy Policy.


How to do the updo, undone

December 14th 2016 / Anna Hunter / 0 comment


The return of ‘proper dressing up’ for both day and evening (hurrah) has ushered in an altogether scruffier hair styling vibe. Here’s how to funk up ‘hair up’...

From sequins to jewel toned velvet and even metallics in the office, the wave of normcore that has dominated fashion for the past few years seems to be ebbing, for party season at least. We’ve reclaimed our glad rags, and with it, the glossy, flicky blow dry is taking a back seat, for the sake of balance. Plus, if you’re throwing in some very of the moment hair accessories or snazzy earrings, you don't want your hair to look too prim and proper to start with. With cool and slightly unkempt styling in mind, here are some ideas, step-by-steps and inspiration from some of the top dogs in the business

Knotting by Limoz Logli


If you want a break from the humble braid, a tougher knot could be right up your street.

Some notes before you start:

Start with 1-day-old hair. You’ll get better finish, and the styling process will be much easier.

That said, if your hair is clean and you want to create a textured knot I would recommend using a salt spray or texturizing spray around the hairline and on the roots.

If your hair is greasy I would recommend using a dry shampoo, but make sure you get rid of any grey powdery residue!

For a slick look. Alternatively if you want to create a slick look, you could blowdry the hair with some hairspray away from the face before you start knotting. Then continue using hair spray on each twist before knotting. For a sleek look you will need to spend more time on the sectioning of the hair so that the knots look even (a pintail comb will make this easier). These sections will be less obvious with textured knotting.


Knotting Technique in 10 steps:

Step 1

To start knotting you need to create a small section at the front of the head.

Step 2

Split the hair into two. Twist (to ensure that shorter hairs are kept within the knot) then knot as you would your shoelace.

Step 3

If you can, ask someone to hold the loose end while you take two more sections either side of the first and then twist them into the ends of the previous knot, ensuring that you always follow the same direction of twist.

Step 4

Keep going with the knots until you reach the crown of the head.

Step 5

Secure with an elastic fastening.

Step 6

Start from the neckline exactly as you did the front. Once you have taken all the hair into the knots and you have reached the crown of the head, you can fasten it with elastic. This will create a double ponytail.

Step 7

At this point you can wrap the ponytail with a small section of loose hair to secure the ponytail into one.

Step 8

If you want to carry on to create the double knot, you will need to start a slightly different knotting technique. Cross over the two ponytails you created, and then weave each ponytail underneath the original knots you have already secured (one towards the face and one towards the neck) and then knot those ends on top of the original knot (phew)! Weave, knot, weave, knot is the system. Fiddly work but once you get the hang of it you will be flying.

Step 9

Add hairspray if needed.

Step 10

Finishing touches:

To create a more textured finish use the tip of your fingers to loosen the knots.

To sleek it up, spray a comb with some hairspray and brush any baby hairs away from the face.


I generally use Balmain Hair Products for this look: Salt Spray, £20.65, Dry Shampoo, £22.25, Session Spray, £22.25, and Texturising Spray, £26.95 are my go-to’s.

The Effortless Mess by Edward James


Got your knots in a twist? This low-key style from award-winning stylist Edward Jones is that most coveted combination of simple and chic.

For a softer up-style, which is particularly good on very curly hair, this creates a natural and messy updo. So just what we’re after.

Step 1

Put your hair up in a high ponytail.

Step 2

Turn your head upside down and gather the hair with one hand and press it on top of your head. Between each of your fingers, slide a pin to secure the hair.

Step 3

Turn your head the right side up again and add more pins. Mist over a touch of hairspray to finish.


Keep things in place yet still loose and casual with OUAI Soft Hairspray, £22.

The Fuzzy Bun by Matthew Curtis

Buns ain’t just for ballerinas. At the Zeynep Kartal SS17 show, session stylist Matthew Curtis created a vintage inspired updo with an edge…

“The hair look was at once effortless and romantic, with an airy look and a slight nod to Victoriana. All models wore low buns with a dishevelled, texture, parted from the right and with natural texture and fly-aways ‘windswept’ slightly to the left. The understated hairstyle complemented the complex textures and intricate embroidery of the garments.” (that’s a green light to bring out the glitter and glitz right there).

Step 1

Loosely tong hair from the roots, leaving ends straight (as these will poke out of the bun).

Step 2

Manipulate hair back from right-hand part into a low height ponytail.

Step 3

Twist the length of the ponytail then rub fingers against the hair cuticle to roughen texture.

Step 4

Twist the ponytail into a bun and pin very closely into to the head.

Step 5

Tease strands around the head for a halo of dishevelled wisps.


Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, £22, to boost roots, Oribe Texturizing Spray, £39, medium sized curling tongs and Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray, £21, to add texture. Hair was finished with a touch of Living Proof Control Hairspray, £22, to hold the style.

Brazen Plaits by Duck and Dry


A long braid can be like a whip and can be very difficult to manage if you’re constantly on the move or partying. Pin it up in a crown with bobby pins and get it out of the way, and create a less ‘schoolgirly’ style.

Step 1

Make two regular plaits on either side of your head.

Step 2

Wrap them around in a 'halo' style circle. That is literally it.


Give your brazen braid a bit of texturized effect by spraying Duck & Dry’s Oomph! Dry Volume and Texture Spray, £14, onto dry hair before braiding.

The Loosely Plaited Bun by Hari’s


Craig Taylor, Creative Director at Hari’s salons, suggests adding a twist to a bun by roughly plaiting lengths, and not taking the ‘up’ aspect of your ‘do’ too seriously.

“Undone buns were worn quite low at the AW16 shows, with messy buns placed at the nape of the neck at Marchesa, Tory Burch, Zac Posen and Rag & Bone.”

Step 1

Secure hair in a low ponytail and twist or plait the lengths.

Step 2

Coil hair loosely into a bun, leaving ends unsecured to make it look a little rough. Unfussy is what we’re going for. That scruffiness combined with keeping bun placement low is a great way to balance a formal or structured outfit.

Step 3

Alternatively, to make a bit more of an impact, go for an FKA Twigs inspired reverse bun, a Prada’esque bejewelled side-pony or a mussed up beehive for intricate dry styling that belies the short time frame. If you need a hand with the above, happily HARI’s has an ‘Up Bar’ where you can pop in to have your hair styled in 45 minutes. When it’s your hair versus the clock, choose an ‘updo’ from HARI’s famous bar concept where intricate braids, pretty ponies and perfectly proportioned buns are a quick solution for thick hair that can take a long time to blow-dry.


If you’re after cool, jewel studded clips to add to loose and lovely buns, call by Anthropologie for old-skool luxe or ASOS for cheaper but equally cheerful hair charms.

The lax loop-the-loop by John Frieda


Working with your natural hair texture will ensure that you avoid looking too try hard. John Frieda stylist Melanie Pellegrino advocates going your own way for an individual updo.

Step 1

To create a kinky, messy effect, spray your hair with dry shampoo then tong the hair in large sections. This step depends on your hair type and texture- if your hair is already wavy, curly or afro, go with it.

Step 2

Follow by roughly backcombing your hair at the roots to mess the hair up, using a Mason Pearson type brush if possible to care for hair. However you do it, it shouldn’t look too neat.

Step 3

Create a base in the area of your hair you that you would like to place all of that luscious messiness, for example a mid-ponytail, then without thinking too much, twist, loop and grip loose pieces of hair into your base.

Step 4

Use fine hair pins to secure any smaller sections of the hair and to define your updo. Leave some hair free around your hairline loose to achieve a naturally dishevelled look.


To give fine hair more oomph at the roots pre-styling, smoosh (technical term) John Frieda Luxurious Volume Perfectly Full Mousse, £5.99, at the crown before blow-drying.

Want to achieve grown up hairstyles using hair accessories? We’ve got the guide

Join the conversation

Agile web development by Byte9