How to Get a Bandana Updo in 7 Quick and Easy Steps

Bad-hair days, begone!

bandana updo blonde top knot


Hot on the heels of our old Hollywood waves tutorial is another vintage hair throwback: the bandana updo. Scarves and bandanas had a trend renaissance just this summer, and we’re happy to see them continue to be a hot ticket for the Fall, especially for parties and other fun outdoor events.

In this instalment, we show how to easily create a bandana updo using a scarf. A chic—and practical—trick they used to do in the 1940s and ’50s, women had to learn to keep their elaborate victory rolls and hairdos out of their faces as they took over factory jobs during the war (hence the iconic Rosie the Riveter logo).

Nowadays, wearing your hair in a bandana updo is more of a fashion statement than a safety issue, which just means you can have fun experimenting with different lengths and hairstyling techniques. Here, we demo a quick step-by-step on how to pair the popular neck scarf with a crisp top knot. Read on to learn more about how to recreate this look.


Start with clean, freshly washed hair.

For straight-haired women, hair that’s freshly washed can offer more grip in an updo. We like using a system that’s built to give natural body and shine, like the Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo and Dove Oxygen Moisture Conditioner.

blonde woman with hair worn straight

Blow-dry and twist.

Prep hair for blowdrying by using a heat protectant, like the Nexxus Promend Heat Protecting Mist, to help detangle strands and shield them from damage. When hair is completely dry, flip your hair over to help you gather strands into a high ponytail. Smoothen the base of your hair with a fine-toothed comb, and begin to twist hair into one roped section. Coil it around its own base to create your knot and secure with a hair tie or some pins.

blonde woman creating hair bun

Set with some spray.

Depending on your hair issue, choose a setting spray that will help keep your strands pristine, flyaway-free and in place. We like the control and frizz protection we get from TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Hairspray (not pictured), when misted 12 inches from the head in an allover even coat.

blonde woman applying spray to her bun hairstyle

Fold scarf horizontally.

Take a rectangular bandana and fold it in half crosswise, so it resembles a thin, horizontal strip. Place it on the back of your head a few inches above your nape.

blonde woman creating bandana updo hairstyle with a scarf

Tie it on.

Make sure the length of your bandana is even on both sides. Tie the ends together once.

bandana updo tie

Tighten and knot it up.

After the first loop, tug your grip slightly so you have a snug fit (but not too tight — your scarf might slip off or worse, give you a headache!).

blonde woman tying scarf on hair

Tuck it in.

Once the knot is secure, tuck any remaining ends into the folds of the fabric on their opposite sides. Adjust so your bun is aligned with your knot for a more symmetrical look, and finish with a strong-hold hairspray, like TRESemme Compressed Micro Mist Hairspray Extend Hold Level 4, if you need more control. You’re all set!

blonde woman with bandana updo hairstyle

Sign up to our newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks from the experts at All Things Hair.


All Things Hair on Instagram