Coils and curls can be made into an array of stunning styles. Whether slicked back into a low bun or tucked away into intricate braids, the options are endless. Just as limitless are the amount of updo hairstyles for natural hair. With party season in full swing, it’s no surprise that Instagram’s delivering more than a few inspiring looks. But updos are so much more than an elegant hairstyle. They also provide ease of styling and can be a great protective option. Regardless of your texture, an updo can keep you from using hot tools daily and help maintain your hair’s health.
Despite being associated with special occasions, updos are extremely versatile for everyday looks. Sure, the beloved prom styles and sleek top knots have a refined feel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sport them on a casual Tuesday. Thanks to varying textures and curl patterns, there are tons of ways to lean into the looks. In short, there’s never been a better time to try one. Whether you’re going to the salon or opting to DIY, an updo is just the changeup your hair needs for the new year.
Ahead, 10 of the best updo hairstyles for natural hair. Keep reading to find your new favorite.
Looking for a simple way to upgrade your updo? Why not just add a headband? There are lots of embellished options that can give your look a touch of elegance. For these coifed curls, a pearl-adorned band draws the eye to the crown and creates a decorated style. Lean into the gem’s creamy hue and pair with dangling pearl earrings and a snow-white dress.
The concept of a headband is subjective. Bold colors and gemstones are nice, but a simple braid wrapped around the crown is just as alluring. Before securing your updo, create two braids and position them like a headband. If you want to give your final look a touch more style, try adding some glittery hair jewelry.
‘90s Side Swoop
The ‘90s and the early ‘2000s delivered a handful of beauty looks that are still relevant today. Take this simple updo. The hair is softly swept together and elegantly pinned in the back, while the bangs are slicked across to one side and neatly tucked behind the ear. The great thing about this hairstyle is that it can be casual or formal. For an easygoing version, use a claw clip to secure your hair and let a few tendrils fall loosely in the back.
Pineapple hairstyles are simple and also quick to do. Simply slick your curls into a tight high ponytail and tousle. To get the sleekest style, use a hydrating gel that will keep flyaways at bay. Another great thing about this updo is that it’s easy to customize. Try adding two tendrils in the front for a Y2K flair or your favorite printed scarf for a casual feel.
Curly bangs have a bad reputation for being difficult to style and maintain. But when cut properly, they can be a striking addition to any hairstyle. On top of that, they instantly turn a simple updo into a cool and unexpected style. Take a cue from this top knot look and loose ringlets that perfectly frame the face.
The luxe, sideswept hairstyle that was a staple for ‘90s hip-hop artists like Mary J. Blige and Lil Kim is back in full swing. The sleek look with luscious curls, sweeping bangs, and curled tendrils has even become a favorite with current rappers like Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B. If you have a special occasion coming up, consider giving this iconic style a try.
Boho Braids Updo
Braids are one of the best options to give your curls a break from styling. But just because your coils are tucked away doesn't mean you can’t still sport an updo. With boho braids, you can easily create a stylish look. The signature loose curls instantly turn a simple top bun into an elevated hairstyle.
Top Knot & Fringe Bang
This regal look gives a new meaning to the phrase top knot. Despite its polished and styled appearance, it’s actually pretty easy to recreate. First, smooth your hair into a high ponytail. Then, instead of tucking into a bun, flip the hair forward and let the ends to fall across your forehead. This will give you a faux bang and a style that’s daring and elegant.
Retro Pin Up
Sure, updos can be fancy. But they don’t have to be complicated to create. Sometimes, all you really need to nail the look is a pack of bobby pins and a fresh twist-out. When pinned up on top of the head, the curls create a beautiful style all their own.
When you’re a few days into your wash-and-go style, a sleek top puff is the perfect look. It’s easy to do and requires just a handful of products. Think a leave-in-conditioner spray to refresh the curls and a good edge control to smooth the bangs into place. Then, top the look off with a few colorful accessories, like bobby pins, beads, or rubber bands.
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