Even if you’ve never tried styling your own hair before, a messy updo is surprisingly easy to do. Before you get started, you should make sure you have the right supplies. You’ll need a good brush, some hair ties, hairspray, texturizing paste, and bobby pins. Once you’ve gathered the items you need, you’re ready to begin your updo.
Having the right type of hair brush is essential for creating a successful – and professional – messy updo. For fine or difficult-to-style hair, boar bristle brushes are recommended for maintaining the precise control needed to get the tangled look. Boar bristle brushes should be purchased with a natural and renewable source, like bamboo.
For thicker, curlier hair types, rubber cushion brushes are better suited since they provide more grip on thicker tresses and reduce frizzing caused by static electricity. Whichever type of brush you decide to use, it will likely be good practice to allow the bristles of your hair brush some glide on any hairspray you may use. This will help distribute evenly through your locks so that everything looks combed in place without looking greasy or crunchy.
Before you start your messy updo, it’s helpful to have the right supplies on hand. Hair ties are essential for anchoring sections of your hair while you’re working and to hold sections in place once you’ve achieved the desired look. Choose a variety of colors and styles, depending on the look you want.
Clear elastic bands are ideal for tying up sections of hair without detracting from the rest of the style, particularly if you’re using accessories or showy clips. Slider ties, which come in colorful designs, can add decorative elements that add definition to any updo hairstyle.
For thick hair, thick “chiffon” bands provide a greater amount of hold than thinner elastics or slider ties usually can provide.
Bobby pins are essential for creating and styling messy updos—the texture and feel of using them, as well as the way they hold all of your hair layers perfectly in place, can’t be matched.
Before you begin styling your hair, it’s important to have a good number of bobby pins handy so that you’re not struggling to locate them when it counts. It’s recommended that you buy a variety of sizes (both small and large) to ensure that your style is secure. It is also helpful to invest in a quality brand—it will run smoother through your hair and will make all the difference when locking into place each section. For an even cleaner look, try color coordinating the bobby pins with your hair color.
Hair spray is an essential product in creating a messy updo—it not only holds the look and keeps hairs in place, but also prevents frizz. Before you start styling your hair, make sure you have a strong-hold, volumizing hairspray so that every strand and curl looks perfect.
When using hairspray for this style, it is best to start spraying at a distance so as not to weigh down the roots or any loops and partings you create with your fingers. Keep it less than a foot away from the roots when you are holding the can, but don’t be afraid to get close enough to ensure everything looks set into place. You can finalize with some more spraying directly onto any areas that need more control.
To obtain maximum hold and volume, finish by oval-encircling the hairstyle with light sprays of hairspray at arm’s length distance compared with the head. However, be aware of how much hairspray you are using; too much may give an unpleasant and brittle texture to your hair after setting one too many times with aerosol products such as this one.
Prep Your Hair
To do a messy updo yourself, you’ll need to start by properly prepping your hair. Make sure to wash and condition your hair beforehand, and don’t forget to add a heat protectant if you plan on using any tools to style it. You may also want to add a light volumizing spray to give your hair some texture.
Now, you’re ready to get started on your updo.
Wash your hair
Washing your hair is a necessary first step for creating a messy updo that will stay in place all day. Begin with freshly washed and conditioned hair since it’s easier to work with when it’s clean and still a little wet. You should also use products specifically designed for volumizing or adding texture, such as mousse or hairspray, to give your hair the staying power it needs.
After washing and conditioning your hair, use a good quality styling brush to blow dry it in alternating directions to maximize body and texture. Once you have finished blow drying, you can finally begin turning your lovely locks into an amazing updo.
Blow dry hair
Start by prepping your hair with a blow dryer. Make sure to use the right heat setting on your dryer to ensure that you don’t damage your hair. As a general guide, fine and straight does better with low heat setting, while thick and curly does better with higher heat.
To get extra volume, you can flip sections of hair up and out as you move the blow dryer around. Be sure to hold the nozzle at least 8 inches away from your scalp to avoid burning or drying out hair follicles. If you have thicker sections of hair, hold the nozzle farther away from roots for avoiding creases in your strands.
Section off hair
Now that you have prepped your hair by adding a heat protectant and brushing it out to remove tangles, it’s time to create the updo. Start by sectioning off the top portion of your hair above your ears. Secure this section with a few bobby pins then brush out the remaining hair at the nape of your neck. If you prefer, you can separate one side into a ponytail or clip and secure it out of the way.
Create the Messy Updo
A messy updo is a fun, stylish look that you can easily do yourself and can be a great way to change up your look. The styling process is quite straightforward and just involves using a few hair tools and products. With just a few simple steps, you can have a stylish, messy updo in no time. Let’s get into it by discussing the tools and products you’ll need to create the look.
Start with the top section
Beginning at the front, starting with 1/8″ thick sections of hair, backcomb the hair closest to the roots until it is forming a cushion. This process will help to create volume and fullness. When finished, lightly brush over the top surface for a smoother finish.
Gather the top section of your hair, leaving out any fringe or bangs that you are going to keep loose. Secure this section with an elastic band placed 2-3 inches from your scalp. Secure further with bobby pins and carefully loosen pieces from this common part to allow them to fall around your face for face framing effect. For detail and texture, cable twist stands of hair and secure with bobby pins as desired for detail and texture in the updo hairstyle.
Continue to move down towards the nape of your neck by taking 1/8″ thick sections again back combing close to your head until you have completed your entire head shape in backcombing circles at the root area. Gently brush over these areas lightly again if desired and begin pinning into desired shape using small pieces throughout so that an overall messy look can be achieved without visible pinning or detailing showing through silhouette of style when viewed from behind.
Create a bun with the remaining hair
Once you have secured the lower half of your hair into a ponytail, take the remaining curls and create a large bun on the top of your head. Be sure to leave sections of the hair out and to style them in any desired direction for a more undone, carefree look.
- Gently pull on sections from the bun until it creates a more voluminous shape.
- Now you can either pin additional pieces at random back into the bun for an added messy effect or leave it as is.
- Either way, add hairspray as needed to ensure it looks as put together yet effortless as possible!
Secure with bobby pins
Secure the updo by using bobby pins. Using a fine-toothed comb, gently back-comb sections of your hair. After your locks are voluminous and backcombed, secure with bobby pins at the scalp in an X shape and parallel to each other for added strength. If you need more lift or height point the open ends of the pins at your scalp.
Continue doing this all over until everything is secured to the scalp then start pushing and pinning sections up into a messy updo shape towards the middle of your crown area. Ensure that each section is firmly secure in place before adding more sections onto it and deepening into the middle of your head. Once you have reached a desired level of height feel free to add curl, stretch out some pieces or just create some imperfections with your fingers – this will give it that messier look.
Pull out some strands for a messy look
Once you’ve achieved your desired braid or twists, it’s time to make them look messier. To achieve this, start by pulling out a few strands of hair from various sections of your head. It doesn’t matter how many strands you pull out- the goal is to make the style look less polished and more unstructured. Make sure you pull out a couple of loose pieces around the face as well so that when you tie the updo together at the end, pieces will frame your face in a flattering way. If desired, you can lightly tease some strands around the face for volume and extra texture.
Once happy with the result, take all of your hair and secure it in a bun above or behind your head. Secure it with pins or an elastic band to hold it in place and finish by spritzing with hairspray if desired. Now that’s how to create a messy updo!
Once you have your messy updo in place, it’s time to finish off your look. You can do this by adding extra volume, fixing and pinning any flyaways, and adding accessories. Doing this is easy and can complete your look. Let’s get into the details of how to complete your messy updo:
- Add extra volume.
- Fix and pin any flyaways.
- Add accessories.
Spray with hairspray
Once your messy updo is finished and in place, it’s important to secure it with the right product. The best choice for this look is a medium to firm hold hairspray that will hold the style without causing stiffness or making your hair crunchy. Make sure to spray from a distance of 12–15 inches away to avoid oversaturating the style, then anchor each piece with a few more targeted sprays.
Try using one of those travel-sized cans of hairspray you can find at almost any drugstore- they are perfect for an on-the-go spot touch up! For an extra bit of shine, you can also add a few small drops of shine serum before spraying – this helps keep your hair looking polished and healthy while still keeping the undone feel.
Add accessories (optional)
For extra style and pizzazz to a messy updo, accessories such as barrettes, clips or headbands can be used. You can create a bold statement piece by adding a bedazzled headband or add some low-key sparkle with gold or silver bobby pins. Barrettes, tiaras and hairpieces can give you a pirate-inspired look. A fascinator is great for making a subtle statement and giving a vintage-chic vibe to the hairstyle.
To add a playful touch, you can opt for brightly colored scrunchies, ribbons and bows or even interweave fake blooms in your hair for an exotic feel. Whatever accessorizing you choose as the finishing touches on your updo hairstyle, remember that less is more when it comes to embellishments – don’t overdo it!
Style and fluff
Now that you’ve completed your messy updo, it’s time for the finishing touches. You’ve already created beautiful curls and texture and can now go on to style them into the perfect messy updo. The key is to not over-do it – keep the look soft and natural by using the right product and using your fingers.
Here are some tips to help you finalize your look:
- Use a light hairspray to hold curls without making them stiff or crunchy.
- Take small sections of hair at a time and use your fingers along with any styling tool, such as a curling iron or pins, to add more shape and volume.
- Loosen the curls by gently pulling apart strands with your fingers to create even more texture without weighing it down.
- Add in flirty wispy pieces of hair around face by gently tugging on small strands or teasing with fingers or a teasing comb for extra lift.
- Keep adding product until desired look is achieved – but be careful not to overdo it!
- After styling, use bobby pins or clear elastic bands at ends of curl sections so they stay put all day long!
Enjoy Your Messy Updo!
Once you’ve gathered the necessary supplies and prepped your hair, it’s time to get ready to create your messy updo. It’s easiest to do a messy updo on medium-length or longer hair but it’s also possible with shorter hair. Here are some steps that will help you complete this hairstyle:
- Begin by lightly spritzing the roots of your hair with some texturizing spray which will give the updo a bit more volume and hold, then tease sections all around the crown of your head for extra lift and body.
- Start gathering 1-2 inch sections of hair from the crown and loosely pinning them in place with bobby pins to create a bun-like shape at the back of your head; rather than using too many pins all at once, use one or two at a time and adjust as needed for shape and texture.
- Twist smaller sections near the face (or around any areas where you want added texture) for visual interest and texture then pin in place.
- Push any remaining sections up towards the bun or twist them back towards it; use bobby pins where necessary but don’t be afraid to let some strands hang loose.
- To finish off your look, spray light finishing hairspray over everything; this will help keep flyaways down and keep everything in place.
- Enjoy your new messy updo!