15 Totally Chic Updos for Short Hair: Which One Suits You Best?

There are so many great ways to style short hair and here, we will arm you with an arsenal of updos for short hair for those special occasions. Grab your bobby pins, hot tools and hairspray and get ready for some amazingly fun new styles that you’ll definitely want to add to your “I need to try this!” list!

These easy updos are guaranteed to make you look and feel sexy! Find your look below…

Short, Boho Updo

Q&A with style creator, Charisse Holliday
Lead Hair & Makeup Artist @ Be Pretty in Charlotte, NC

How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this look as a simple half up half down style with a small pop of boho flair. My favorite element of it is by far the braid. I love a good braid and think it adds such a fun and feminine feel.

What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look?

A good texturizing powder is a game changer for any braided style. In this look, we used Kristin Ess Working Texture Loose Styling Powder at the crown, followed by a small tease for volume. After the braid was created, I applied more texture powder directly to the braid and pulled it apart to get a thicker and fuller appearance. This product helps keep the volume at the crown and within the braid for an all day hold.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look is perfect for any client with short, fine hair that is looking for something simple with a little twist. An added bonus in creating this style is that it takes almost no time to do!

Anyone that’s limited on time but wants to add a little pop of fun to a simple style is the perfect candidate to try this look.

Braided Updo & Textured

Q&A with style creator, Jennifer Wright
Stylist @ Liv Aveda Salon & Spa in Mankato, MN


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

I would describe this braided look as having texture, being versatile, and great for anyone who needs their hair off their face. Not to mention, it’s super fun and sassy!

What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look?

When it comes to recreating this look, your hair is definitely going to need some “grip”. If you are styling your second-day hair, I would recommend using a dry shampoo at the scalp and maybe a texturizing spray on the rest of the hair before you begin braiding. This refreshes the hair and allows it to stay in the braid that much better.

If you’re starting with freshly shampooed hair, a mousse or volumizing spray will work great as you blow/air dry. Then, using a texturizing spray or even a light hold hairspray on dry hair will help those with finer, more soft hair to get the braid to stay well. Avoiding any sort of smoothing product will be in your best interest until you are completely done with the style. You can maybe use it at the very end as needed to tame flyaways. I loved Aveda’s Shampure dry shampoo, Texture Tonic, and Air Control hairspray for this look!

Also, note that the braid is an inside out braid, or a Dutch braid. Each strand is brought under one another instead of over. The tighter you braid in the beginning, the more likely it will stay. Once you’ve finished the braid and have it pinned, you can gently pull on the strands to give it a bigger, more textured style. Have extra bobby pins handy in case you need to pin little pieces that stick out back into the braid.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This braided look is great because it works well for just about any hair type and texture (fine to coarse, straight to curly, and everything in between). If you have finer hair, you may need to implement more product to give the hair that “grip” and maybe pull it apart a bit more in the end, but it most certainly can be done. The only tricky part is if someone has shorter layers or a fringe that doesn’t stay within the braid.

This is a look that can offer some volume in front and elongate the face, and still leave room for volume in the back as well. The style is also versatile. It is something that can be worn casually with jeans and a tee, or be fancy and worn with a cocktail dress and flashy jewelry.

Sometimes it’s hard coming up with a sophisticated updo that works with a longer pixie cut or a bob, but with the look of this braid, us short-haired gals don’t have to be left behind!

Elegant Side Bun With Movement

Elegant Side Bun With Movement hairstyleInstagram @jennapeddie

Q&A with style creator, Jenna Peddie
Professional Hair & Makeup Artist @ Jenna Peddie Hair & Makeup in Aldershot, UK


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

When I first met my client she had been deflated by a previous stylist offering no enthusiasm or possibilities for her length of hair. Her hair was very short, but there is always something that can be done. For her wedding day, it had to feel special!

We looked at ideas that she preferred most and although she knew she couldn’t achieve it , I took parts of each style she liked to tailor one for her hair. My client loved the plaited style made into roses. She loved movement and how it swirled, so I used that for how I finished the ends. I would describe the look as an elegant side bun with movement. I love how simple it is, yet not boring at all.

What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look?

I used very minimal products for her hair. She had quite tricky hair as it was quite coarse and frizzy, so a soothing balm worked into my hands while placing and styling gave it just enough to stop it from going out of control.

To create the curled ends I used the smallest size ghds. Using the ghds as opposed to tongs smoothed the hair out before flicking the ends up. To finish it, I used plenty of hairspray. My favorite is Bed Head Masterpiece with a light finish in Hard Head.

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

I would recommend this style for clients wanting to make the most of short layers at the sides rather that glueing them down with hairspray. The back of the hair could be for any length, but I do actually prefer it for shorter hair.

I think this look would suit any client who likes their hair out of their face, but doesn’t want a harsh scraped back style.

Low Messy Bun Updo for Short Hair

Easy Low Messy Bun hairstyleInstagram @taismagram

Q&A with style creator, Taija Pitkänen
Hairdresser @ Sokos Hyva Olo in Oulu, Finland


How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it?

This look is an easy low messy bun that was created by twisting the hair.

My favorite thing about it is how feathery and light it looks. This is due to the hair type of my client and the looseness of the updo. The color is my client’s own natural color (a typical Finnish blonde) which brings nice dimension to the style.

What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look?

First of all, I recommend that the hair is not too long or short. My client’s hair was shoulder length. That is well enough, if only it’s not too layered. Huge amounts of super thick and sleek hair is even kind of tricky to work with.

Volume products are the key to styling fine hair. The products I used included sugar spray, dry shampoo, hair powder, a light hairspray and shine spray.

When styling shorter hair, I think it’s important to put in some good base products for volume and texture so that you really get the hang of the material you’re working with. Let the hair itself be your inspiration and just go with the flow!

What type of client would you recommend this look for?

This look was made for a guest going to a lovely summer wedding. A looser bun is perfect for so many occasions and styles since it can be personalized in many ways.

My client’s hair was very thin, but she has lots of it. This type of hair works nicely for messy updos. It keeps the look careless and airy. Any falling loose strands only give a finishing touch to it.

Twisty Texture

Random sections pinned into a bun full of texture create a loose and carefree style.

Fun Twisty Style Short Hair Updo Twisty Texture Medium Length Piecey Style Updo For Short Hair

How to Style:

  1. Spray dry hair with texture spray or dry shampoo to add body.
  2. Beginning in the front and sides, twist random sections up and secure with a bobby pin. If possible, use pins that match your hair color. Leave a little hair loose in the front around your face.
  3. Use a curling iron or flat iron to curl or bend loose ends.
  4. Arrange loose ends in a messy pattern while spraying with hairspray to finish!

Recommended Products:

Try OSiS Refresh Dust to add a bit of grip and texture before you twist.

Best Face Shapes:

This style is great for every face shape!

Tip:

Those with round face shapes should be sure to create a little extra volume in the top to balance the look.

Brilliant Bouffant for Short Hair

This style boasts a smooth shape full of volume paired with a hair accessory for delicate flair.

Brilliant Bouffant Medium Length Teased Bob Updo Brilliant Bouffant Medium Length Teased Bob Updo with Bangs

How to Style:

  1. Towel dry hair and work a nickel-sized amount of styling serum through hair.
  2. Round brush hair while you blow dry to create volume. Round brush the top sections towards the back of your head.
  3. Use a teasing brush to tease the top and back of the crown of your head.
  4. Using the side of the teasing brush, gently smooth the front portion of the teased sections over the back sections to create a “bump”. Smooth the sides back and over your ears. Secure the sides with hidden bobby pins.
  5. Finish by spraying with high hold hairspray.
  6. Accent with a hair accessory!

Recommended Products:

Check out folica.com for Cricket’s amazing Amped Up teasing brush!

Best Face Shapes:

oval, round, square

Tip:

Think of an imaginary line going from your chin to your ear and extending beyond. Where that line meets your hair in the back is where you should begin your teasing for the volume in the top.

Bobby Pin Headband

A unique and edgy headband created with multiple bobby pins is the perfect way to keep gorgeous curls in place!

Bobby Pin Headband Curly Wispy Short Hair Updo Bobby Pin Headband Curly Wispy Short Hair Updo Back View

How to Style:

  1. Choose some bobby pins to use as your “headband”. Go for the same color as your hair for a headband that is less obvious, or ones that contrast with your hair for a more edgy look.
  2. Part hair over one eye.
  3. Smooth hair around the hairline as you slip in bobby pins. Keep them as evenly spaced from each other as possible. Work your way down, all the way to the top of your ears, then push a bit of the remaining hair back behind your ears.
  4. Move to the back and begin taking random low sections of curls and twisting them up, securing with bobby pins near your occipital bone. (That’s the bone that protrudes at the back of your head just above your neck) You can hide these bobby pins…see tip below!
  5. Leave some of the hair around the sides down or secure them a bit lower so you end up with an arc of curls in the back.
  6. Finish with medium hold hairspray and shine spray.

Recommended Products:

Again, folica.com is a great online resource for bobby pins of all colors and styles! Sally Beauty also carries bulk boxes of bobby pins.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, long, heart

Tip:

This style is excellent for those with thick, naturally tighter curls. If you have straight hair though, never fear! You can set your hair in foam rollers (yes, the ones your mom used to use when you were little!) or bendy rods the night before and release them after they’ve dried completely to create these curls.

To hide the bobby pins, twist your curl sections up under other curls and hold the twist vertically as you place the tip of a bobby pin into the base of the twist. Push the pin in towards your head and then down, creating a tight anchor to the head.

Short Updo Illusion

Creative curly volume makes this short ‘do look like it’s longer than it really is!

Updo Illusion Short Layered Look Updo Illusion Short Layered Look Side Bangs Side View

How to Style:

  1. Work a golf ball-sized amount of styling foam through towel dried hair.
  2. Part hair over to one side.
  3. Preheat a 3/4-inch barrel curling iron.
  4. Use a 1-inch diameter round brush to create volume as you blow dry your hair.
  5. Spray hair with heat styling spray.
  6. Use your curling iron to add curls in the side where the hair is parted. Create them in an angle from the back crown of your head down towards your ear, as seen in the photo above.
  7. Gently tousle and separate curls to give them a more relaxed feel.
  8. Finish with a medium to high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Redken Control Addict 28 High Hold Hairspray gives your hairstyles all day hold and definition.

Best Face Shapes:

round, pear, oval

Tip:

When you curl, hold the iron higher than where the hair originates from and roll down, just like you would if you were setting the hair on a roller. This ensures the curls will have volume and not look flat on top of your head.

Delicate Curls

Defined curls pulled back in a partial updo is perfect for a day look or accessorized for night!

Delicate Curls Formal Short Updo Brunette Bob with Accessories Delicate Curls Formal Short Updo Brunette Bob with Accessories Side View

How to Style:

  1. Preheat a 1-inch barrel curling iron and gather some bobby pins that match your hair color.
  2. Part hair to one side.
  3. Allow hair to air dry or blow dry with a medium round brush for extra volume.
  4. Use heat setting spray as you work through smoothing the lower sections with a flat iron.
  5. Take 1/4 to 1/2-inch sections of hair at the top of your head, curling each and pinning back. Remember to leave the curl shape as is when you release it so it keeps its shape as it lays over the smoothed hair.
  6. Spray with medium to high hold hairspray.
  7. Accessorize with a few small flowers or bling it out with some crystals or rhinestones!

Recommended Products:

Visit www.icing.com for a great selection of decorative hair spins and pins.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear

Tip:

Use shine spray at the end to give your style that salon-polished finish.

Messy Faux Bun

This super layered crop is styled up to look as if it’s long hair piled up into a trendy bun.

Messy Faux Bun Short Hair Updos Brunette Look with Highlights Messy Faux Bun Layered Look Back View

How to Style:

  1. Towel dry hair by wringing out excess moisture.
  2. Work a golf ball-sized amount of styling mousse through hair.
  3. Use a medium diameter round brush to add volume and shape to the top section while blow drying.
  4. Smooth the sides and back while blow drying to create a contrasting texture.
  5. Tease sections of the top slightly near your scalp to give structure to the style.
  6. Roll medium to large-sized sections near the back of the crown of your head forward so they look as if they’re in the shape of a bun.
  7. Secure sections with bobby pins.
  8. Roll the front forward in sections to create volume around your hairline.
  9. Finish with a firm hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Aveda Phomollient styling foam creates weightless volume on fine and medium hair.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, round, heart

Tip:

When you use a round brush to create shape, be sure you’re constantly turning the brush. The more you turn while you dry, the more bend you’ll get in your style.

Simply Twisted

This layered cut styled with twists and curls is for those who like their hair off their face and away from their eyes.

Simply Twisted Short Curls in Twists Professional Updo Look Simply Twisted Short Curls in Twists Off The Face with Highlights

How to Style:

  1. Allow hair to air dry or use a medium diameter round brush to add volume to hair as you blow dry.
  2. Use a 3/4-inch barrel curling iron to curl the top and middle sections of your hair.
  3. Work a pea-sized amount of texture paste through hair to break up curls.
  4. Twist small horizontal sections of hair above your forehead and secure with a bobby pin. Alternate twists switching from going right to going left and back.
  5. Finish with a medium hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Paste texturizing paste creates the ultimate texture, separation and moldability with a satin finish.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear

Tip:

Curl hair away from your face for best results!

Shiny Waves

These healthy, beautiful waves can be easily created with a three-barrel iron.

Shiny Waves Silky Black Curls Updo For Short Hair

How to Style:

  1. Part hair to one side.
  2. Clip most of your hair up, leaving approximately the bottom two inches out. You’ll be working from bottom to top.
  3. Working in sections from left to right, clamp the three-barrel iron down from scalp to ends to create a uniform wave along the length of your hair.
  4. Let down another two inches of hair and repeat step 3.
  5. Continue working in horizontal sections until complete.
  6. Finish with a shine-infusing hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Protect hair from heat with Biolage Thermal Active Setting Spray.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, square, long, pear

Tip:

Always use a heat setting and protectant spray on sections of hair prior to using hot tools.

Full and Elegant

Thick curls full of body and movement and styled with lots of volume make short hair appear longer than it really is!

Full and Elegant Thick Wavy Curls Short Hair Updos

How to Style:

  1. Shampoo and condition hair with products designed for curly hair.
  2. Towel dry hair by wringing out excess moisture. Do not rub hair since rubbing will cause unnecessary frizz.
  3. Work a medium to high hold styling mousse through hair.
  4. Use a large, round, pronged diffuser to lift hair and dry on a medium heat setting.
  5. Choose a light styling serum or hair oil to run through locks, gently working it from bottom to top to maintain the volume, but add shine to your curls.
  6. Finish with a firm hold hair spray for all day control.

Recommended Products:

Moroccanoil Curl Control Mousse’s lightweight yet powerful formula is enriched with argan oil to tame, define and hold curls naturally for hours while sealing in moisture and keeping out frizz.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, round, square, pear

Tip:

This style is best on those with thick, naturally curly hair that is cut quite short in the neck area and tapered up into a longer length at the top. If you have thick and straight hair, you can fake the texture by setting hair on foam rollers or bendy rods and letting curls loose once they’ve dried completely.

Edge of Perfection

This smooth, sleek style rocks a bit of texture at the ends for a slightly edgy feel.

Edge of Perfection Sweeping Short Updo with a Side Part

How to Style:

  1. Work a styling serum through towel dried hair.
  2. Create a deep part in the hair over one eye.
  3. Use a medium round brush (approximately 2 inches in diameter) to create volume while blow drying hair. Roll the brush from the part up and over the large section then toward that ear to create volume that goes the same way as the part is directed.
  4. Piece out the ends with a pea-sized amount of styling pomade.
  5. Finish with a medium to high hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

OSiS Aqua Slide adds texture with a soft silky finish.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, pear, round, square

Tip:

If you have a square face, opt to style the fringe area slightly more over your forehead to will balance your face shape.

Full and Flirty

Curly meets smooth in this dual-textured style that’s both fun and formal!

Full and Flirty Teased Updo with Long Bangs

How to Style:

  1. Towel dry hair.
  2. Spray hair with texture spray or root booster for structure while blow drying.
  3. Blow dry hair as you tousle with fingertips.
  4. Part fringe to one side.
  5. Use a 1-inch barrel curling iron to create voluminous curls throughout hair.
  6. Smooth fringe to the side, giving it a bend by just slightly turning the flat iron as you smooth.
  7. Finish with a texture wax or pomade for added shine and definition.

Recommended Products:

Redken Wax Blast 10 High Impact Finishing Spray Wax creates a tousled look with body and dimension.

Best Face Shapes:

oval, heart, long, round

Tip:

If you like more hold, add a bit of high hold hairspray to lock in your style after working texture product through your curls.

Now you’ve got more short hair updos, put our fabulous formal hairstyles in your arsenal too. Pick one out to try tonight and discover that there really are tons of dressed-up styling options for short hair!