A Braided Updo Is Winter’s Most Essential Hair Look

Plus, key products to maintain the style.

by Natasha Marsh
Braided Updo Hairstyles

Whether you’re ready for it or not, winter is here. Although there are many great winter activities — ice skating, decorating your home, or snowboarding — cold weather can be seriously damaging for your hair. One of the best ways to protect it when the temperature starts to drop is by wearing braids or (if you’re feeling especially glamorous) a braided updo.

“Having braids in the winter provides protection from wind and frosty temperatures,” says Shamicka Williams, a professional hair braider. “The cold weather can easily dry out your hair, resulting in breakage and split ends.” Braids are a great winter protective style as they help hair be less vulnerable to breakage.

Whether you are going on a big date, to the office, or on a holiday trip, braided updos can be an ideal look for any occasion. They are also perfect while on-the-go as they don’t require much time to configure your hair. Plus, maintaining them is easy. Janelle Fulton, a box braid educator, recommends moisturizing and detangling your hair before you get them installed and spraying on a leave-in or scalp serum to maintain neat, hydrated lines. “Scalp care is paramount when it comes to protective styles — especially updos,” she says. “To keep your scalp moisturized, add leave-in sprays, and essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, or lemon to your oils.”

From double top knot to fringe updo, and everything in between, below are 10 great braided updos to try this winter for an elevated look.

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Braided Crown Updo

Crown updos are great for special events. Williams recommends investing in a braid oil like Pattern Jojoba Oil Hair Serum to massage into the scalp if it becomes dry.

Fringe Updo

Channel your inner Lupita and go for a braided fringe updo this winter. Ka’mesha Cathcart, master braider recommends using water-based products for this style to avoid product buildup.

Small Box Braids Updo

For a simple and sophisticated look that works everywhere from the office to the a holiday party, try this top knot with small individual box braids. Just don’t forget to preserve your edges with a good edge control and a gentle edge brush!

Updated Top Knot

Have a little fun with the traditional top knot updo by pulling out some of the hair for a more regal look. This style is great for extra height and the chunky braids make for one statement- making style.

Full Pineapple

Many naturals enjoy their curls and coils in a pineapple (hair up and fully to the front) for the curl definition and frizz-free results. When hair is in braids you can do the same thing for an elevated look. Fulton encourages her clients to wrap the top portion of the braids with a silk scarf to prevent the braids from getting frizzy. Her top pick: You Go Natural Twisted Turban.

High Pony Updo

The high pony updo is sophisticated, timeless, and a great style for those who don’t want to go full updo. The look requires minimal styling and can easily be dressed up or down.

Double Top Knot

Why do one top knot when you can have two? To maintain this style make sure you have a good leave-in conditioner on hand to keep braids looking shiny and moisturized.

Outer Crown Updo

Typically crown updos are seen in the center of the scalp but with this spin off, you’ll find the braids on the outermost part of the head. For added fun, take out a couple braids at the nape of the neck for a bit of intrigue.

Jumbo Braided Top Knot

Go bold this winter with heart shape patterns and lots of dramatic edges. Because this hairstyle is such a statement, grab a hair pomade like R+Co Glossing Wax to maintain the shine.

Braided Bantu Knot Updo

Master two protective styles, bantu knots and a braided crown, all in one — with an option to add in small thin braids around the bantu knots.