24 Gorgeous Formal Half Updos You’ll Fall In Love With

Fun Edgy Half Updo

When you have a formal occasion, half up hairstyles are a great option. Pinning some hair up allows you to keep some length around your face, but still have the structure of having an “updo”, therefore keeping the body and shape in place. If you are considering a half up style, here are 20 formal half up hairstyle ideas to inspire you.

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Cute Half Up Hair Bow
Instagram @hairbysaretta

#1: Cute Half Up Hair Bow

It’s a hair bow with a braided ribbon! I love that it looks like your hair is tied up like a gift! It’s unique and beautiful.

You will need at least medium length hair with minimal layers to create the bow and long braid. Clip-in extensions can also help to add length and fullness. Starting with texture in your hair will aid in creating the bow so it won’t slip.

#2: Simple Half-up Half-Down

This style is boho inspired. The soft textured waves complemented with the twisted half-up braid is perfect for those wanting something a little different than just waves.

The best thing about this style is that is that it is so versatile, and it can be worn by the modern day boho bride or to a music festival.

This style is great for a woman who is a little boho at heart. The style has volume, so would be suited for someone with thick hair or happy to add an extension to create that extra volume and length.

I’m not a huge fan of using too much product when it comes to styling. Although I can’t live without my S1 + S2  powders by Natalie Anne Haircare. Perfect to give my looks that ultimate volume and texture, and then using my Nak fixation spray to give it that little extra hold.

Platinum Blonde Half Up Braided Updo
Instagram @hairandmakeupbysteph

#3: Platinum Blonde Half Up Braid

A platinum blonde braid is the perfect half updo for all your seasonal events or even everyday wear! This elegant style can be paired with evening wear, a weekend at the beach, or your Monday morning zoom meeting.

#4: Fishtail Braid

If you have a wedding stylist, this is a super fun hairstyle! It’s not every day I get a request for a mohawk fishtail braid.

I would definitely describe this bride as a risk taker and someone who loves fashion. If your dress is a very simple silhouette, then it will make the focus on her hair even greater.

This style requires a lot of hair! Braiding eats up a lot of the hair, so if you are lacking density I would consider using hair extensions. To get the sides of her hair super slick and to add length and volume to the braid I had to create two different sections and then combine them in the center.

Edgy Crimped Half Updo Back
Style by Connie Masullo, Unique Hair Design, Lincoln Park, NJ

#5: Cute and Crimped

This half up look is a bit edgier since it involves both crimping and braiding.

How To Style:

  1. Begin with dry hair. Use a crimper and crimp a few random sections of your hair (mostly on the sides) so they will show in your half updo.
  2. Use a backcombing brush to create volume at your hairline. Create a large pompadour style, then begin a French braid.
  3. Once the top section of your hair is braided, secure the end of the braid with a clear hair tie.
  4. Curl the rest of your hair using a small curling iron.
  5. Once all of your hair is curled, use your fingers or a rattail comb to pull apart the braid so it looks bigger and fuller. Be sure to hide your hair tie!
  6. Spray everything with a strong hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

For an editorial look like this you will need a strong hold hairspray to keep your hair in place all night. Try El Net Hairspray by L’Oreal.

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

If you have long hair that’s medium to thick, this is a great option for you. A heart shaped face is ideal for this style.

Fun Edgy Half Updo
Style by Thresa Venables, Makeup by Kristian Bailey, Sheer Professionals, Wooster, OH

#6: Excellently Editorial

This extra edgy look is fun for a night out on the town! It will dress up a casual outfit and show off your beautiful makeup or accessories.

How To Style:

  1. Begin with dry hair.
  2. Curl everything with a medium-sized curling iron.
  3. Once everything is curled, use your fingers or a brush to separate the curls so they look more natural.
  4. Use a backcombing brush and create volume on the top of your head.
  5. Gather the top half of your hair and smooth the sides. Use a bobby pin the secure the hair in the back/middle of the head.
  6. Spray everything with a strong hold finishing spray.

Recommended Products:

To get some serious body, use a backcombing brush instead of a comb. It’s gentler on your hair and will create a softer look. Try the Spornette Little Wonder Brush!

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

This look is great if you have fine to medium hair that you are hoping to make appear thicker and fuller. A round face shape will be elongated by this style.

Trendy Half Updo with Braids
Style by Onita Luisi, Chips Salon, Marlboro, NJ

#7: The Braided Babe

Half braided half updo hairstyle
Instagram @giulia_capizzi_stylist

#8: Half Braided Beauty

A braid is a great way to make your otherwise ordinary half pony a bit more modern and trendy!

How To Style:

  1. Begin with dry hair that’s parted to one side.
  2. Spray everything with a texture spray or a dry shampoo.
  3. Curl each section of your hair with a 1¼-inch curling iron.
  4. Create a waterfall or French braid with the hair that starts on one side of your head and goes down to your ear. Gather the end of the braid to meet the other side of your half pony in the back/middle of your head. Secure with bobby pins.
  5. Spray everything with a light hold finishing spray.

Recommended Products:

I love the Davines Medium Hold Hairspray as both a working and a finishing spray. Use it before and after you curl!

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

If you have a square face shape, this look will complement you. Fine to medium hair of any length will work for this look! It’s very versatile.

Simple Classic Half Updo
Style by Kyle Brooks, Perry Anthony Salon, Wilmington, DE

#9: Simply Stunning

How To Style:

  1. Begin with dry hair that’s parted to one side.
  2. Spray everything with a working spray, then curl each section using a 1¼-inch curling iron.
  3. Gather one side of your hair and twist it back to meet the other side of your half pony in the back/middle of your head. Secure with a bobby pin.
  4. Spray everything with a light hold hairspray.

Recommended Products:

Be sure to spray your hair with a heat protectant before you use any hot tools on it. Kevin Murphy makes a great one called Damage Manager. It smells wonderful and is super light so it won’t get sticky!

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

This look is incredibly versatile and really any length or texture of hair will work! A square face shape will be flattered by this look.

Half Up with Accent Braid
Instagram @facebylinda

#10: Half Up with Accent Braid

A floral masterpiece this luscious hairstyle is! With loosely braided and defined pieces over your twirled locks, you’ll feel like a princess instantly!

Lovely Half Upstyle with Side-Swept Bangs
Instagram @katsbeautybox

#11: Lovely Half Upstyle with Side-Swept Bangs

Great for parties and events that would highlight your natural beauty. The bangs act like a curtain, revealing a charming face.

Double Braid Half Updo Back
Style by Selah Frese, Makeup by Tekoa Ferro, Blaze Color Salon, Cedar Rapids, IA

#12: Double Braided Babe

Two braids meet to create this double braided half up half down masterpiece!

How To Style:

  1. Begin with dry hair that’s parted as desired.
  2. Use a flat iron or a blow dryer and round brush to smooth out your hair.
  3. Create a French braid on either side of your half up section.
  4. Once the two braids meet, combine them together. Secure the ends with a hair tie. If desired, crimp a few sections of the hair that aren’t in the half up section.
  5. Spray everything with a light holding spray.

Recommended Products:

A smoothing serum is a great option to add to a sleek style like this both before you dry, as well as after! I love Super Skinny Serum by Paul Mitchell.

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

This look is ideal if you have long hair that’s medium to thick in texture. An oval or heart shaped face will be complemented by this style.

Big Sexy Half Updo
Style by The Brown Aveda Institute, Mentor, OH

#13: Big, Sexy and Sassy

This half up style is big, sexy hair at its finest!

How To Style:

  1. Begin with dry hair.
  2. Spray a working spray and/or a dry shampoo at your roots. Use a backcombing brush to create a lot of body on all sections of your hair from roots to ends.
  3. Gather the top half of your hair and pull it back to create a half up half down style. Secure it with bobby pins.
  4. Spray everything with a light hold finishing spray.

Recommended Products:

This look requires a lot of “grit”, so a product like Backcomb in a Bottle by Big Sexy Hair would work well! If needed, combine that with a working hairspray.

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

Medium to long hair that’s thick is ideal for this look. A square face will be complemented by this style.

half updos
Style by Kathy Adams Salon, Buford, GA

#14: Softly Pinned Half Updo

half updo hairstyles 2
Style by Bella Capelli Sanctuario, Westlake, OH

#15: Wrapped Up

Hair is wrapped across itself, back and forth, pinned in the back crown area of the hair.

How To Style:

  1. Use a flat iron or large curling iron to softly curl the ends of your hair.
  2. Starting at the crown, push up a small section of hair until it’s the size that you want and pin it in place.  Pin a few more pieces like this all through the crown to create a nice shape.
  3. As you move down the sides, wrap the hair on the left over to the right, and vice versa, pinning each side wrapped across the other side.  Take 2-3 sections for each side.

Recommended Products:

To help keep your curls smooth, use a pomade in each section before you pin it.  I like Schwarzkopf Got2b Defiant Shine Pomade

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

This hairstyle will look best on round or oval faces.  It will be too harsh for square or long face shapes.  Medium to thick hair with layers will also work well with this look.

bouffant half updo angle
Style by The Brown Aveda Institute, Mentor, OH

#16: Bouffant

Hair is backcombed and pinned so that it has body and a nice full shape on top.

How To Style:

Use a comb to backcomb the base of your hair at the crown.

  1. Once your hair is nice and backcombed, use the comb to smooth down the top section so it’s soft and smooth instead of looking ratted.
  2. Gather hair from each side just above the ears and pull it into a half ponytail.
  3. Secure with a clear elastic.

Recommended Products:

Backcombing can fall out easily without the right products.  Before you backcomb, use Big Sexy Hair Backcomb in a Bottle to help your backcomb stay.

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

A bouffant is flattering on most face shapes, except for long.  It will work best on medium to fine hair with medium to long layers.

braided half updo
Style by The Brown Aveda Institute, Rocky River, OH

#17: Braided Sides

braided half updo
Style by The Brown Aveda Institute, Mentor, OH

#18: Cascading Curls

slick back half updo

#19 Slick Back The Sides

The hair is pinned tightly on the sides, while still keeping body in the back and on top.

How To Style:

  1. Begin by curling all of your hair and backcombing it at the roots for more body.
  2. Pin the front section into a pompadour, then pin the hair down the Mohawk section so it has more body on the top and in the back.
  3. Finish by pinning back the sides tightly, hiding the pins underneath the curls in the back.

Recommended Products:

A firm hold hairspray will make all the difference with this hair style.  Use Retro Hair Hairspray to really get the sides slicked back.

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

Slicked back sides will look unflattering if you have harsh or strong features, as it will only accentuate them. This style is best on medium to fine hair with medium to short layered locks.

half braided half updo
Style by Justine Watson, Casal Aveda Institute, Youngstown, OH

#20: Braid It Half Way

half updo twist
Style by Kathy Brown, Kenneth’s Studio for Hair, New Orleans, LA

#21: Twist Back One Side

fishtail half updo hairstyle
Style by Melanie Crawford The Brown Aveda Institute, Rocky River, OH

#22: Fancy Braid

Hair is curled and pinned loosely on top, with one side in a low, soft braid.

How To Style:

  1. On curly hair, pin the top and sides up and away from your face.
  2. Sweep all of the hair that’s left out over one shoulder.
  3. Do a loose side braid, starting the braid at ear level.
  4. Once the braid is complete, use your fingers to loosen it even more.  Secure with a clear elastic.

Recommended Products:

It’s important to give this style texture, that’s what will set it apart.   Before you blow dry and curl, apply a styling mousse such as Pureology Colour Stylist Mousse Bodifier.

Best Face Shape and Hair Type:

This fancy braid will look good on any face shape.  It is soft enough to be flattering on anyone, but if you want it to be even softer, leave some hair out around your face.  This will work best on medium thickness hair that is at least to the collar bones.

wavy half updo hairstyles
Style by Kathy Adams Salon, Buford, GA

#23: Low In The Back




Posted In: Formal Hairstyles