What are the Different Types of Long Hair Updos?

M.C. Huguelet

Long hair updos are styles for shoulder-length or longer hair in which the strands are pinned or fastened at or near the crown of the head. The range of possible styles is vast, but perhaps the most basic and the most adaptable of long hair updos is the bun. Executed by gathering the hair at the nape of the neck, twisting it into a coil, and fastening the coil to the scalp using bobby pins, the bun can be manipulated to create a look that is highly polished, or one that is relaxed and informal.

Many dancers use buns to keep their hair out of the way during a performance.
Many dancers use buns to keep their hair out of the way during a performance.

For a simple yet sophisticated bun, the wearer might start by using a rattail comb to part her hair backward from a point just over the left or right eyebrow, depending on personal preference. She should smooth down any fly-aways, gather the hair at the base of the neck, and twist it into a bun, taking care to maintain the deep part. The bun should be pinned into place and spritzed with hairspray to prevent slippage.

Hairspray can help keep a long hair updo looking sleek all day.
Hairspray can help keep a long hair updo looking sleek all day.

Wearers who want long hair updos with a retro 1960s character can again make use of the bun. Here they should begin by spritzing a volume-enhancing treatment on the roots of the hair before blow-drying. Once dry, the hair at the crown of the head should be backcombed until the desired amount of volume has been achieved. The wearer should use the comb or her hands to smooth the top of the hair, being careful to avoid de-volumizing the backcombed strands. Now the hair can be gathered and formed into a bun as usual and fastened into place.

While long hair updos might be predominantly thought of as formal looks, the messy bun is an example of a pinned-up style that is casual. For a somewhat structured yet informal bun, the hair should be gathered, coiled, and pinned as always. Once pinned, however, a small selection of strands should be pulled out of the bun and left unfastened, thus creating an untailored appearance.

One of the simplest long hair updos is the messy bun created with a single elastic hair band. Here the hair should first be gathered and looped twice through the band as if to create a pony tail. When drawing the hair through for the third time, the wearer should stop before it has been pulled completely through the band, leaving it to hang in an unfussy knot.

Even within the bun styles described above there are a number of possible variations which can alter the look significantly. For instance, the wearer can try enhancing the style by pinning fresh flowers or a feathered accessory next to the coil. Alternatively, she can modify the feel of her style by pinning the bun in a place other than the nape of the neck. Fastening the coiled hair on the side of the head, for example, can suggest an avant-garde style, while attaching it at the top of the head can create a conservative look.

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