The Secrets To A Perfect Summer Updo, Revealed

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Now that it's hot and muggy, we'll do whatever it takes to keep our hair off of our faces and necks — it's the least we can do for ourselves as the summer reduces us to miserable puddles of sweat. We also try to keep things looking chic even as we frantically twist, pin, and braid our locks away. It's not always the easiest feat to accomplish, especially when our original motivation is comfort rather than style, but we do have some tricks for updo success that we've learned. We chatted with Nora Catherine Croft, senior stylist at Soon Beauty Lab, for some pro tips, as well. Between her professional tips and our experiential tips, we came up with the best ways to create an updo that's versatile and pretty. Share your tips with us in the comments; we'll get through this summer together.
1. Use Bobby Pins
Okay, maybe this one is a no-brainer, but it’s possible that when it comes to bobby pins, you might be doing it wrong. Croft says, “To lock in a bobby pin, don’t open it with your teeth.” (Oops.) “Instead, leave it how it is and opt for smaller sections; this way, each pin will be much more secure.”
2. Or, Use Spin Pins
If you don’t have time/energy to pin your hair in tiny sections, you might be a good candidate for Spin Pins. Spin Pins are the ultimate lazy-girl updo accessory, but they make our hair look so chic that we doubt anyone thinks "lazy" when they see the end result. They create that perfect intentional messiness that many of us spend our whole lives trying to accomplish; plus, once they're in, our hair stays put.
3. Dry Shampoo
We love using dry shampoo for styling purposes, even on clean hair— it adds extra volume and creates texture, which makes the 'do stay in place better. Plus, it helps our hair fight grease throughout the day. Croft agrees that dry shampoo is great for faking texture, but prefers Kevin Murphy's Powder Puff, which she says is like "backcombing in a bottle."
4. Backcombing
For a Bridget Bardot-like updo, Croft suggests backcombing with a fine-toothed comb or a boar bristle brush, which will provide "softer, more diffused volume." Work in half-inch sections directly behind your fringe or at the high point of your head. Then, working from the back of each section, press the hair all the way down in a single motion, and repeat, building a cushion. "There is no up-and-down motion happening here," Croft says. After you repeat about five times, continue with each new section, and combine the hair. Make sure to smooth out the outermost layer of hair. Tie it back in a ponytail or a bun.
5. Section
Rather than trying to put all your hair up at once, do it in four sections. This will make it more manageable, and, more interesting looking. Try dividing into the top, bottom, and sides.
6. Curls
We know the whole point of this is hiding from heat styling tools, but if you’re feeling brave, try curling your hair in big sections before putting it up. Croft suggests about 10 total sections curled with a smaller curling iron, and then says to not touch them until they’ve cooled completely. “This will give the updo plenty of volume with curls that have a messy yet defined texture,” she says.
7. Braids
Bored with your updo? Put a braid on it. We love a subtle braid worked into just about anything, updos included. Our newest updo braid obsession? An upside-down braid leading into a bun.
Photo: Courtesy of Anthropologie.
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