Getting your hair to behave during that in-between stage isn’t exactly a walk in the park. The upside: You can get creative and go out of the box when thinking about updos for medium-length hair. The downside: Anything clichéd or stuffy is instantly off-limits, as is anything that looks flimsy and won’t hold up after a full day’s work.
The challenge is finding an updo style that’s as hip as it is sturdy. Much you like you, right?! Read on to check out a shortlist of some of our favorite looks to help you work around that (sometimes challenging) shoulder-length ’do:
5 Stylish Updos for Medium-Length Hair
1. Crown Braid
A half-updo with a braid is a clever way to wear your hair out of your face while still staying on-trend. Whether rendered as a waterfall braid or a regular French, a headband-style braid can easily be paired with a ponytail or a chignon, depending on preference and weather conditions. A non-stiff mousse, like the Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Curl Defining Soft Touch Curls Mousse, imparts strands with some traction and structure helpful for braided looks.
2. Dutch Pigtails
Colloquially referred to as boxer braids, Dutch pigtails have been an increasingly popular with those who want to edge up their look. Characterized by two banana-like bumps on either side of the head, these make for good updos for medium-length hair as they keep strands snug, and leave just the right amount of excess past the nape without being too swingy. A humidity-protecting hairspray, like Nexxus New York Frizz Defy Finishing Mist, keeps flyaways and static strands from popping up and ruining your neat plait.
3. Low Chignon
For bun enthusiasts, a lower option nestled at the nape is a chic, looser alternative to the stricter ballerina bun. It needs only around six to eight inches of hair to form a decent coil, which most lobs and shags have to spare. Prep hair with a clarifying shampoo to rid of excess grease and buildup (which can provide strands with too much slip). We like the gentle cleanse we get from TRESemmé Purify & Replenish Shampoo and TRESemmé Purify & Replenish Conditioner, which can also moisturize your hair without weighing it down.
4. Inside-Out Twists
Another throwback to the ’90s, the inside-out twist imparts a nostalgic, geek-chic feel that we think goes swimmingly with Pre-Fall hair trends. It features hair that’s been pulled in a ponytail and poked (and pulled) through itself, creating a big twist in the center of your head. Some love to play with it via pigtails, while others like to do it in a half-ponytail variation, just tying the ends in a full ponytail at the nape. Keep this look modern by giving the crown a bit of lift via a mousse, like with Dove Style+Care Volume Amplifier Mousse.
5. Greek Bun
Fun and full-looking, Greek buns are a flirty hairstyling trick that gives off the illusion of having long hair. With the help of some strategically placed bobby pins, you get the look of a thick croissant-bun on the neckline—which in reality, is just sections of hair pin-curled over itself and spread out evenly. The seam is hidden with a regular three-strand braid just crossed over from one ear to the other. Great for formal events like weddings and graduations (your mortarboard will snuggle in just right!), they’re best held in place with some medium to firm-hold hairspray. We like the security we get from two to three spritzes of Bed Head by TIGI Hard Head Hairspray, spritzed an arm’s length away.
Which of these updos for medium-length hair will you try out?