22 Sexiest Messy Updos You’ll See in 2023

Messy updo
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Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

Craving a popular updo that’s easy to create at home and is perfect for dressing up or down? Messy updos are where it’s at! Curls, braids, and pins can create simple yet beautiful tousled updos. These looks below are the perfect inspiration to put your hair up, no matter the season or occasion. Just remember that simple is better when it comes to messy updos. Don’t overthink your steps!

Loose Low Bun
Instagram @zivilehmua
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#1: Loose Low Bun

Go for a textured, messy updo that looks effortless but well-structured. This look is perfect for a bride or bridesmaids. But you could use it for any special occasion. This style works best with medium-long hair with a medium texture.

Messy Low Soft Bun Updo with Side Braid
Instagram @updos.by.jocelyn
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#2: Low Soft Bun with Side Braid

A great messy updo could be a low, soft bun with a big side braid. For some additional detail and fullness, the braid completes this look. This casual upstyle is perfect for a dressy event, even for those not particularly fond of updos.

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#3: Wavy Boho Volleyball Hairstyle

A wavy hairstyle with a boho twist is fitting for more than just a volleyball game! The hairstyle is purposely tousled to balance looking done up and casually disheveled.

Super Twisted Up Messy Updo
Instagram @chemi_couture
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#4: Super Twisted Up

I describe this look as being a texturized, messy updo hairstyle. The best thing about it is that it’s so versatile! You could wear this look to school, work, an evening out with friends, or even as a cool bridal look! If you consider a look like this, I recommend doing it on 2-day washed hair. That way, you already have some great natural texture, which helps keep it all together!

Step-by-step instructions:

– I went ahead and roughly curled sections with a 38mm barrel tong and used Tigi Professionals 2-day dry shampoo to add more grit and roughen it up.

– Section the hair in 2 and create a messy kind of bun. This will be your ‘base’ for the style, keeping it secure.

– You then want to form a loose twist in the curls and randomly pin them on the bun. It doesn’t matter, have fun and be creative with style!

– Then go ahead and spray with hairspray.

Effortlessly Pinned Messy Bun
Instagram @sarahwhair
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#5: Effortlessly Pinned Messy Bun

Textured hair is the easiest hair type to use for lovely messy updo buns like this one. Scrunch up your curly pieces and hold them in place with pins, and it’s done!

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#6: Blonde High Bun

The blonde high bun is an evergreen updo, fantastic for many occasions. If you have picked this messy bun updo, I suggest you take your hairdresser’s advice on how high the bun should be placed. This is because the best position varies according to your jawline. Leave some more bits on the front, sides, and back hairline if you want a more undone, effortless-looking look.

Messy Top Knot Updo with Bangs
Instagarm @bel_pipsqueekinsaigon
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#7: Top Knot with Bangs

A top knot with bangs is a chic, sexy, and trendy style. You can take this look from super casual to very formal. When choosing a simple outfit or a dress and jewels, this messy bun with bangs is what you’ll want. Its simplicity will leave you feeling beautiful.

A full textured bang is important for this style, as it helps frame your face flawlessly, making your cheekbones stand out.

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#8: Stand Out Updo

This is a fun and sassy textured updo that I brought to life. The client mentioned that she wanted to feel beautiful and catch her husband’s eye, so in my head, I was obligated to give her a “stand out” messy ‘do. My favorite part of this updo is both sides. I loved the way they flowed directly back. The sides created an elegant feel and made it perfect for the occasion.

Honestly, this style would show less dimension than someone with all-over dark hair. She was a blonde with a red under color. In my experience, color is everything when creating a textured updo! The length must come below the shoulders because, in the initial preparation, I produced fairly tight curls. Her length ended in the middle of her back, giving me a lot of hair to work with. Hairspray is key in keeping these messy hair up styles in place all day or night!

Braided up
Instagram @beauty.by.zoey
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#9: Braided Up

Wedding hairstyles are starting to trend with messy ‘dos like this one. They’re perfect for brides and bridesmaids!

hot silvery mess
Instagram @svglamour
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#10: Hot Silvery Mess

This look is a very whimsical, enchanting tousled updo. You have romantic vibes, a soft twist, and a little texture with the pieces falling out. My favorite thing about this loose messy updo would for sure be the color of the hair. Without that gorgeous silver, it wouldn’t have the same effect!

Make sure you have plenty of hair. If not, pop some extensions in there! These messy updos for long hair offer fullness and are voluminous. Make sure you have plenty of texture products nearby to spritz when you need that airy textured look. Personality-wise, I think those who like that boho feel and are free-spirited would be a perfect fit for such a low messy bun updo!

Polished Yet Unrefined
Instagram @ladylordofhair
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#11: Polished Yet Unrefined

This low messy updo hairstyle is for the lady who has class but with a little edge. This gives a vibe of a messy french twist updo, which is a polished yet unrefined, perfectly imperfect style. I love that this updo is versatile and can be worn daily or for a special occasion. You can add some accessories for a bold statement or florals for a softer, more natural element. Additionally, this style sets a great tone for your complete look and pairs well with whatever mood is striking your fancy.

Work with your texture, and don’t fight your curl/wave patterns. Instead, enhance them with the product and use hot tools to help refine random pieces if needed. Need texture? No problem. The key to creating wanted texture is building and shaping a product with hot tools. My go-to tools for creating this look are sea salt sprays, textured powders, dry waxes, and a teasing comb. Braids and twists also add another fun and flirty element and help make sure your style stays put. Above all else, HAVE FUN. This doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s the beauty of it!

Textured Romantic Updo
Instagram @hairbyjordans
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#12: Textured Romantic Updo

This look is a textured romantic updo. I love messy bun hairstyles because they are structured but undone at the same time. This one is soft around the face and has smooth interlocking transitions on the sides and into the back.

I recommend this style for clients with medium to thick hair. If the client has thin hair, I suggest clip-in extensions. I also use Kenra Dry Texture spray, an excellent product that applies grit to the hair without weighing it down or making it feel dirty. These messy bun hairstyles work best with face-framing layers and swoop bangs.

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#13: Whimsical & Textured

This is a textured, whimsical updo that’s messy. It could also be translated as edgy and fun, depending on your outfit of choice! My favorite part of this creation has to be the effortless flow and texture it gives. It has such a natural silhouette which is great for the “undone but done” look that still looks pretty. This versatile updo can accompany multiple looks, personalities, and face shapes. You could add more volume up top to make a face appear slimmer or decrease it to add width.

Texture spray, or any wax-based product, is a must. My personal go-to is Kenra’s Dry Texture spray or their Air Grip Spray to give that definition, separation, and grip. Finer hair will need a little extra product to rough” the hair up a little bit and add some volume. Puff Me by Design.Me is a great volumizing mist to add that.

Anywhere is acceptable to flaunt this style! It’s perfect for formal occasions such as weddings, dances, and holiday parties but is still just as great for a night on the town. You could also rock such messy updo hairstyles during the day by loosening it slightly, adding simple makeup, and wearing a cute casual dress.

Bohemian Twist
Instagram @heathercsr
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#14: Bohemian Twist

This look is a bohemian twist on a basic updo. My favorite thing about it is, of course, the double Dutch braids! This client had a lot of hair, so a double braid worked well for her. This is a great look for a bride or bridesmaid, a holiday party, or even a fun night out. If you’re considering this look, ensure you have enough hair to double-braid! It won’t work with hair above the shoulders. This style requires about an hour in the salon and lots of hairspray. Make sure to carry a few extra bobby pins to your event if anything falls loose.

Quick & Fun
Instagram @mikelledoeshair
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#15: Quick & Fun

My favorite thing about this look is how easy and quick it is to do! I love how messy and fun it is, yet classy and professional. I’m die hard Aveda fan! I used the Shampure dry shampoo to give the hair a little more texture and the Air Control hairspray for hold to achieve this look. A tip to help achieve this look is that it doesn’t have to be perfect! That’s what I love about it. I made two buns on top of each other. Bobby pinned them together, then fluffed the buns and pinned them as needed!

This look should be for someone whose hair type is normally dense. The hair can also be shoulder-length or longer! This look would be suitable for a businesswoman or someone attending an event.

Understated & Deconstructed
Instagram @benha11
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#16: Understated & Deconstructed

This messy hairstyle is an understated and deconstructed updo. Sometimes updos can look a little too polished. This isn’t always needed, nor does it reflect current trends. I used a heat protection spray by GHD and a mousse by Sassoon, but the equivalent in any salon/professional range would suffice. This look would be perfect for any woman going to a holiday party. It also lends itself to the modern-day bride who likes to have a modern edge.

Effortless But Elegant
Instagram @jessgmakeuppp
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#17: Effortless But Elegant

I describe this type of messy hairstyle as an effortless but elegant updo. I love how fast it is to do this hairstyle and how it works for any occasion. A great tip for creating this look is to curl your hair first, then pin up your hair as you go. Quick and simple! This hairstyle is great for special occasions. It’s great for people with fine or thin hair because this hairstyle will make it look much fuller.

Pretty Messy Updo
Instagram @ginastyless
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#18: Pretty Messy Updo

This look is a messy yet classy and chic updo. My favorite thing is that it can be dressed down or up. Worn as shown, it can work with a simple t-shirt and ripped jeans with the right lip color and heels. It also easily goes with a long dress and a fancy hair clip to dress it up!

I recommend using dry shampoo and an anti-humidity spray. It gives the effect of a stronger spray holding-wise but lets you piece and work gently and softly. There is no wrong or right way to do a messy bun. I place different pieces, and if it works, it stays. The best thing about this updo is that it can work for any client. It is a versatile look and has been done on clients attending functions at extravagant banquet halls or someone celebrating their 21st birthday or quinceanera. It’s ideal for someone on the go. Someone with no time for anything fancy can easily recreate this and make it their own. Pulling some pieces out or pulling everything away from the face complements anyone’s shape!

Retro-Inspired Auburn
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#19 Retro-Inspired Auburn

This loosely curled and pinned-into-a-bun look has a chic, rockabilly feels. Dry shampoo will create the ideal hair texture for your dirty curls. Apply at roots where needed. Stronger face shapes, such as square or oval, will benefit from the softness of this style. Wavy and medium-density hair textures will work best.

Coiffed and Curly
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#20 Coiffed and Curly

We love the great height created by softly curled pieces in messy hairstyle updo ideas like this one! Your favorite dry shampoo will have the ideal texture for your dirty curls. Apply it at roots where needed. A shine spray will also add the perfect sheen! Strong face shapes will benefit from the softness of this look. Thicker hair types also work well with the different ways to add curl and volume. This a great style to add an embellishment of your choice to either side of the look!

Messy Side Pony
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#21 Messy Side Pony

Try your tresses loosely curled and pinned into a side-swept ponytail for an easy everyday look. This is a great style to display any kind of hair accessory that you may have.

Dry shampoo will cause the just-right texture for your dirty curls. Apply it at the roots where needed. A light hairspray to ease frizz may also be necessary. Square face shapes and naturally wavy hair will give you the best results for this look.

Imperfectly Pinned
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#22 Imperfectly Pinned

Naturally, curly hair is half-hazard twisted to create great height in this beautiful mess of an updo. Dry shampoo will cause the ideal texture for your dirty curls. Apply at roots where needed. If you need to break up the wave, use a small amount of wax, such as Bumble & Bumble’s Sumo Wax. Triangle face shapes matched with naturally curly or wavy hair work well for this updo. Don’t be afraid to work your curls! The more shapely, the better.