40 Gorgeous Braided Updos for Every Occasion in 2023

Braided updos
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Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

Braided updos are all the rage this season. Whether a fishtail braid, a waterfall braid, or just your everyday three-strand braid, this little flair can be added to almost any style to give it an updated look. Check out these popular braided updos and learn to change an ordinary upstyle into a trendy and chic look!

Elegant Braided Bridal Updos
Instagram @sabrinadijkman
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#1: Elegant Braided Bridal Updo

This simple but effective style is beautiful for bridal hair but would also suit a casual wardrobe. Using root crimpers to increase density, I used a heat shield protection spray to texturize the hair. I also used texturizing dust on the root area to add more thickness and volume. After styling, I finished with a light spray of Bed Head Maxed-Out to set the style, followed by a light spray of dry wax hairspray.

This look is perfect for clients looking for both formal and casual styles. It’s particularly suitable for brides and special occasions. It suits most face shapes and works better with hair past the shoulders or longer. Medium-thickness to thick hair is best for such braided updo hairstyles.

Braided Glam Holiday Updo
Instagram @samirasjewelry
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#2: Glam Holiday Updo

If you’re looking for a glam holiday updo, try incorporating a large braid. This will add holiday cheer! Incorporating a braid is an easy and simple way to spice up a traditional updo style. First, tightly secure all your hair in a high ponytail. Then, use the remaining hair to do a traditional braid. Add a texture spray for extra volume. Secure the braid with bobby pins and hairpins so it stays in place all night. This is perfect for any holiday company party.

Soft Braided Low Knot with Long Bangs
Instagram @missysueblog
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#3: Soft Low Knot with Long Bangs

A soft low knot with long bangs is a simple yet stylish updo for your next event. This style includes a braided pattern, which can be on either or both sides of the hair. The hairstyle ends with a bun placed just above the back of the neck. Any bangs you have can be left out for a varied look around the face, or you can tie them back for a neater appearance.

Chic Low Bun with Textured Braids
Instagram @sabrinadijkman
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#4: Chic Low Bun with Textured Braids

This look is a low bun with textured braids. My favorite thing about these braid updo hairstyles is that they look versatile and perfect for any formal event.

I recommend using products that create texture in your hair. I have used Ocean Mist by Sachajuan to prep the hair before styling and Badland Dry Shampoo Paste by R+Co to add texture after curling, along with Light and Flexible Hairspray by Sachajuan. This look is perfect for clients with long hair past their shoulders to achieve a nice full bun in the back. One-length hair is ideal for recreating such updo braid styles instead of layered.

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#5: Stunning Braided Updo

With all the textured hairstyles out there, it has given us more options on how to wear our hair in a protective style. From going to a formal event to vacationing by the poolside, updo braided hairstyles can provide manageable wear for an extended time. Maintenance is minimal, and further styling into a bun or larger braid may be possible, depending on the original foundation.

Lovely Loose Braid Updo
Instagram @pkseurahuone
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#6: Lovely Loose Braid Updo

A breathtaking loose boho braid updo styles deserves nothing else but to be shown off to the world! With the right texture, these loose braids and twists that end in a cute bun can be achieved easily.

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#7: Fancy Braided Accents

Try adding fancy braided accents to your next styled updo. My advice when wanting an updo is to add some braids. This gives your style some depth and texture throughout the look. Remember, you need a lot of hair when wanting a braided look. If you don’t have enough hair, adding a few extensions will help with that.

Princess-Inspired Beautiful Braided Updo
Instagram @missysueblog
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#8: Princess-Inspired Beautiful Updo

Hair styling can range from sleek and polished to a princess-inspired beautiful updo. It helps to work with a hairpiece to give the illusion of more hair. Ask your stylist if they know how to work with them and which would be best for your hair.

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#9: Stylish Low Updo with Braids

One of the best ways to go when searching for a hairstyle is with a stylish low updo with braids. Styles like this hold you together through any element and go from day to night with ease. Remember to ask if they can add extensions if you go with a stylist. This will help to create a fuller style. As a specialist, many techniques can be used to create your dream style.

Protective Braided Updo for Black Women
Instagram @beautyspaceke
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#10: Protective Braided Updo for Black Women

A braided updo is a go-to style. Your stylist should avoid traction alopecia by leaving out your hairline. Try putting your hair in different twists and braids. This will help you to focus on different collections of hair.

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#11: Beautiful Boho Updo with an Accent Braid

Curating a mood board is the best visual way to start exploring bridal looks. I recommend a beautiful boho updo with an accent braid to my summer and spring brides. The universal rule is unlayered hair is the best to braid because it remains interlocked. Adding extensions is an alternative to add fullness and stability to your style. When working with your bridal stylist, inquire about different variations of an updo. Each updo may or may not work with your dress and theme. Lastly, you’d want to run a trial to see how the overall look comes together.

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#12: Braided Low Updo with Caramel Balayage

A great way to keep your hair out of your face but looking very pulled together is a side braid. Pull the braid back into a low ponytail and twist it into a low bun. This will create the illusion of having spent time at the salon to get your hair done.

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#13: Stylish Braided Updo for Black Women

A stylish braided updo is a classy look for black ladies. You can achieve this look with all-over box braids for serious bohemian vibes!

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#14: Beautiful Updo with Braids

An updo with braids is perfect for the beautiful boho bride. Create more excitement with ornamental flowers or crystals throughout the hair. The braiding creates more movement and texture while giving off boho vibes. Always finish the style with plenty of hairspray to hold the style.

Trending Double Dutch braided updo
Instagram @oliviarink
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#15: Trendy Double Dutch Braided Updo

Double dutch updo braids formed into a simple loose bun can easily go from casual to formal.

Beautiful French Plait Updo
Instagram @marina.babei
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#16: Beautiful French Plait Updo

I love this crown braid! It’s simple but effective and a great, fun hairstyle. This braids updo works great on one-length hair. Use Wella hairspray to finish and smoothen your hair.

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#17: A Wonderful Waterfall Braid Updo

This elegant updo is a graceful waterfall braid gathered into a low loose side bun that looks like simple refinement. What I love about this style is how simple yet stunning it is. I believe less is more, and my favorite looks are classy and put-together yet full of personality, whimsy, and fun.

Upstyle braids are best with medium to long thick hair but can also be done with extensions in cases of fine hair. Tools and supplies needed are a fishtail comb, elastics, and bobby pins. A texture or setting spray may help give the hair some grit to hold the style better, and I always recommend at least day-old hair (as opposed to freshly washed) with any style. Waterfall braids are versatile and perfect for any casual or formal event.  They are easy, simple, fun, and put-together. This client wore the style with a long evening gown for an annual formal fundraiser.

Daring Braids hairstyle
Instagram @mcqueens_house
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#18: Daring Braids

Ok, this is sophisticated boho or sleek but daring. My favorite thing is the “starburst” braid under the fishtail.  My tips to help recreate this would be to take your time, use a light and flexible wax or paste, and take a step back now and then to look at the style from different angles.

I recommend this look for normal to coarse hair. Fine hair can be more fragile while braiding, but everyone’s hair can handle different things. Braiding on a client with low hair density can be a challenge. Use a texturizing powder like Sexy Hair Powder Play for lasting volume. The client who could love this would be on the edgy side or just down to have fun. It might be perfect for someone that wants to try something a little crazy but still look polished.

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#19: Classic Fishtail Braided Crown Updo

This style is a fun and simple way to spice up your everyday look! What I love about it is that it’s simple, and anyone can do it. The products I recommend to complete the fishtail crown look are the Oribe Swept Up Volume Powder for texture and grip and the Oribe Fiber Groom Elastic Texture Paste for helping spread the braid while maintaining control.

I recommend this look to a client that is on the go but wants to have still a pulled-together look no matter the occasion. What’s great about this style is that you can do it on all types of hair since it is essentially just two braids you pin together.

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#20: Sophisticated Swirls

This look is sophisticated and pretty but with a little edge. My favorite thing about this look is how romantic and soft the swirls are from the back but from the side. It is sleeker with a little poof in the crown to give a more effortless style.

I love my R Session curling wand to prep the hair, followed up with Aveda’s Dry Shampure, used from the ends up to the scalp to create some grit and volume in clean hair. Lastly, set everything with a liberal amount of Aveda’s Air Control hairspray. It provides a light hold that will keep flyaways tamed and not weigh the swirls down.

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#21: Asymmetric Braided Updo

This asymmetric braided updo has height, texture, and a messy bun to create a soft but modern look. The blonde color makes this style pop. Braids look best in blonde tones, as you can see in the detail. I love the texture and relaxed feel. It’s the perfect little twist on a classic updo.

For such braid bun hairstyles, sea salt spray is a favorite product of mine. It is a versatile and easy product to create texture on slippery hair, especially if dried into the roots with a hairdryer. I also add a little powder at the roots to aid in lifting. It’s so important to prepare your hair properly. I find it easier to braid with clay on well-prepared hair with a strong blow dry first. This ensures the roots are lifted. Otherwise, the braid needs to be fixed. This style is great for thick, unruly hair to create a quick, tame, and polished look. It’s versatile for all face shapes, as you can adjust the volume accordingly. These up style braids make the perfect modern bridesmaid hair!

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#22: Gorgeous Braided Updo for Black Hair

I gave her a natural part, evenly collected hair on both sides to create two inverted French braids, and connected them at the back. Once I created the two braids, I slowly pulled them apart, allowing them to expand and give more volume and dimension. Then, I collected the rest of the hair and braided it together, twisting it around to create a bun shape. Using the bobby pins, I connected the braid to her head and pulled out more pieces.

Considering these updo braid hairstyles, I recommend ensuring you have a great product to support your end goal. I use Paul Mitchell styling products and tools to create my up styles. Depending on the texture of your hair, from straight to curly, the product is your best friend, and using the right tools to create your end goal is important. If you were to come into my salon, I would usually create this on dry hair. It takes around 10 min. This style is a quick, easy upstyle for someone who might not know how to curl well, as the braids will create a dimensional finish.

Sweeping Fishtail Braid Updo
Instagram @ray.voltage
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#23: Sweeping Fishtail Braid Updo

This is a fishtail braid upstyle that I did on a bridesmaid. I love how it sweeps from the left side of her head to the right to look its best for photos. It also has a great balance, and the hair accessory looks perfect. Braided styles are really good for girls with thick hair. It’s a great way to keep an upstyle together all day and adds much interest.

You need to ensure you know how to braid well so that it comes together smoothly. You can deconstruct it after braiding if you like the messier look. I love using Kevin Murphy Easy.Rider on my hands to smooth the hair as I braid. I also like using Kevin Murphy Doo.Over spray to finish the style.

Relaxed Texture Braided Bun Updo
Instagram @ewhairandmakeup
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#24: Relaxed Texture Braided Bun Updo

This look is a relaxed, textured bun with a braid. I love how it looks soft and natural, but adding the simple braid across the back gives the updo something extra. I suggest a little backcombing when creating this look and lightly backcombing the hair before your style adds volume and texture. I also recommend using a dusting powder such as Schwarzkopf Osis Dust It. This is my hero product for all of my relaxed updos. I don’t want the hairstyle to look too neat, so this little product adds texture and volume, helping to keep strands in place even on the softest hair.

This is a great style for ladies who have relatively thick hair. Keep the sides pulled back smoothly if you have a slightly wider/rounder face. If you have more of a longer-shaped face, I will backcomb the side sections to add some volume before you pin them back.

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#25: French Side Braid Updo

I describe this as a pulled-apart French braid with a loose side bun. I love how it can be worn casually or as a formal style. I recommend curling hair loosely with a light hairspray, then creating a deep side part. Create a French braid on the side with more hair. Spray the whole braid with a dry shampoo or a texture spray to help give it volume. Pinch and pull on pieces you would like to accentuate. Next, create a low ponytail and split it into three sections. Wrap the sections backward around your finger and secure them around the base of the ponytail to create a donut-like shape. Pull from the inside of the bun to expand it.

Don’t worry about pinning every piece of hair that may poke out, as it adds to this look. Set everything with a strong hold finishing hairspray. This updo is best for medium to long hair. It looks great on blonde or highlighted hair since the braid shows off dimensional color. I recommend this for diamond, heart, or oval-shaped faces. This updo can be done quickly, so it’s great for someone who doesn’t have much time to be in the salon.

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#26: Gorgeous Multi Braided Updo

This look is a braided upstyle that looks soft and undone. My favorite thing about this style is that it works well on shorter hair, as the braids keep it all together. I love being able to create something that the client thinks is impossible.

When creating a softer, bigger braid, you need to do a three-strand braid as normal, but don’t braid right to the end. You then start from the bottom upwards, pulling the hair up and out slightly on each braid segment. This gives it a much softer feel. I don’t like to overdo it with too many products. Just be sure to use a firm-hold hairspray once you have finished!

Pulled Apart Fishbone Braid Updo
Instagram @stormarts
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#27: Pulled Apart Fishbone Braid Updo

This pulled-apart fishbone braided updo is perfect for this client’s soft strawberry blonde hair. We chose this updo for the client because she has long, thick, silky hair that will not curl with any hot tool. This style lets us pull everything up without prepping it with curling ironwork.

I used some texture powder (Puff Me) in the braid and the rest of the hair to help with a little grip. The braid not only gives the updo a great visual texture contrast from the smoothness of the client’s hair, but it also offers a way to create structure and control. I finished the look off with a Kenra hairspray.

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#28: Effortless Braided Updo for Brown Hair

This look is a textured and effortless upstyle. Something like this is perfect for a bridesmaid or laid-back bride who wants to dance the night away without worrying about her hair! This look is perfect for someone with shorter and thicker hair.  It’s easily adapted for every face shape by simply adjusting the hair left out before the braid. By leaving the hair looser, you can soften a face. Pulling the hair back tight creates a more dramatic look.

After prepping your hair, figure out where you want the braid to sit. After that, use 1-inch iron to curl the whole head to create a natural textured look. Please make sure the curls are on the tighter side because the more you move them around to style, the more they loosen up, and the texture can get lost. After establishing the crown height, everything gets pinned up, taking vertical sections from the nape to the crown to create the rolled-up effect.

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#29: Fishtail + French Braid Updo

This look is an updo that’s great for day or night. It would also be a good option if attending a wedding. It’s a fishtail French braid that snakes around the head. My favorite thing about the style is the intricacy. It’s truly eye-catching! If I saw a woman walking down the street with this style, I would stop and compliment her.

To create this look, I recommend a gel in the hair when wet to help hold the style. Finishing with a firm hairspray when the style is complete is important. I recommend this style for medium to thick hair. Fine hair wouldn’t look the same. It would also look great on an oval face shape.

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#30: Upside Down Dutch Braid Updo

This look is classy but fun! I incorporated a Dutch braid into a messy bun. My favorite part of this look is the braid. Braids are the hottest trend for a lot of my bridal work. I always start with a smooth blow-dry. For the braid, I often use a texturizing powder, depending on the thickness of the hair.

To achieve this look, you want to flip your hair over and braid it upside down into a high ponytail. For the bun portion, I used a curling iron and pieced each section of hair to create a “messy but clean” bun. I always finish my updos with a shine spray to smooth any flyaways. Right now, I’m obsessed with Kevin Murphy’s Bedroom.Hair. It’s a great finish product that provides a flexible hold, touchable texture, and the perfect shine while not leaving it greasy!

Simply Elegant Micro Braided Updo
Instagram @aheadofstylekm
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#31: Simply Elegant Micro Braided Updo

I describe this look as very feminine and classy! The great thing about it is that it combines both simplicity and elegance. I used Volupt spray from Sebastian before curling to give a bit of texture to the hair. The important thing with this kind of updos is for the hair to be manageable, and to get this result, you need to use a matte powder like Vintage from Alfaparf Milano or a dry shampoo like Drynamic from Sebastian. To finish, I just used some Illuminating Spray from Alfaparf Milano to give a little sparkle to the total look and make it a bit more glamorous.

My tip with this kind of braided updo is to always start from the front, and then the whole thing will guide you. Plus, your client is happy from the beginning because you’ve already made her feel beautiful! Feel free to create different sizes of braids and then combine them all. This makes the look more natural in the end.

Romantic Braided Updo
Instagram @ufirami
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#32: Romantic Braided Updo

This look can be both formal and informal. It looks effortless and romantic. For full braids like this, I recommend a lot of texture. It makes the overall style more lived-in looking. I curled her hair before styling. Curls give extra volume, and I also used texture spray. My favorite one is Redken Windblown 05. This hairstyle will work great with all face shapes and medium and long hair.

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#33: Sweeping Braided Updo

This look feels very relaxed and has a boho vibe. I love the imperfect bun and sweeping braid. It’s elegant, yet not too serious. I always start looking like this with the braid. Then I begin curling. This guarantees that I won’t have any wispy ends from my curls poking through the sides of the braid.

I love looks like this for lighter, finer hair. Fine hair doesn’t always hold a curl for a long time, so starting this look with a tighter curl than desired lets the look “settle” a little as it’s worn. Opting for more side-swept updos with braids is great, too, for anyone with a more oval face shape. This creates a little asymmetry and softens the overall look.

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#34: Easy Braided Updo for Short Hair

Yes, you can braid short hair! Try this updo for a well-put look.

Goddess Braid Updo
Instagram @gracevanscoder
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#35: Goddess Braid Updo

This look is a boho chic updo suitable for any summer event. My favorite thing about this look is its versatility and the hippie/bohemian influences that make it look natural and carefree while giving a Goddess-like effect.

Recreating this look takes a lot of texture (the more, the better). For the braid, I braided a piece of hair from the front and pulled it apart using gripping powder with two fingers to give it a bigger and more dramatic style. I finished with a light-hold hairspray to keep the shape from looking hard and cemented. I suggest using a doughnut bun for thin hair, making the bun look fuller and more complete. Strategically pin the curls around the bun, leaving some of the tails out to give a messier appearance.

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#36: Reverse French Braid Updo

I love this braided updo! It’s such a popular look at the moment and great for any occasion. I love the texture that the braid creates, especially with lighter-colored hair.

The braid starts at the front of the forehead and crosses around the side of the head. It’s a reverse French braid where the plait ends up on the outside. I section the hair into two, curl the bottom half with a GHD to give texture, and create a chignon to the side, then braid the hair from the forehead across and pin the end of the plait around the chignon. Loosen the hair in the braid to create a softer look.

Ethereal Side Braid Updo with Flowers
Instagram @hairbybethany
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#37: Ethereal Side Braid Updo with Flowers

This simple updo is perfect for everyday wear or elegant enough for a bride on her special day. I love the contrast of the ethereal texture of the hair against the subtle fishtail braid.

Getting your hair to the right texture is the most important step in creating this updo. The texture will allow your hair to look loose but still allow your hair to hold for hours. I do this using two of my favorite products Schwarzkopf Osis Volume Up and Schwarzkopf Osis Sessions Label Powder Cloud. A headband is also important because it’s used to tuck the hair and achieve the rolled chignon.

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#38: Sophisticated Chignon Braided Updo

In a practical sense, we’d refer to this style as a braided low-do. However, I describe something like this more creatively and refer to it as an understated, earthy, sophisticated, down-to-earth style.

Make sure you get a good ‘poof’ around the crown. You need a decent amount of backcombing around the crown area to get this area full. This way, you can firmly pull all the hair together without losing body. I suggest making sure to use a hair tie to first tie the bottom part in place nicely and firmly before creating the roll. It’s a lot firmer this way and more comfortable for the client.

Classic Updo with Braid Accent
Instagram @belezafish
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#39: Classic Updo with Braid Accent

This hairstyle is one of the most commonly requested styles I get for brides. It’s a classic updo with a braid accent. The best part is that it looks great on most face shapes! The ideal hair type for this style would be mid-length with a medium texture. However, it is such a versatile style that it will work with long lengths and fine hair.

I used Fave4 Thickening Cream and Big Sexy Root Pump to give her some thickness and volume while her hair was still damp. While styling, I used L’Oréal Next Day Hair and DesignMe Puff Me powder for texture and volume. I finished with Redken Control Addict 28 hairspray to set the style.

Trendy Braided Updo for Copper Hair
Instagram @hairbyjayne
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#40: Trendy Braided Updo for Copper Hair

This look is effortless, trendy, and casual. Add some fresh flowers or other hair accessories, and it’s perfect for a bride or bridesmaids. I recommend using a volumizing powder and hairspray. This is the perfect look for someone who is stylish and possibly has a busy lifestyle. It’s a quick look!