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The Best of Both Worlds: 31 Half-Up Hairstyles to Try

Hairstyle Trends

The Best of Both Worlds: 31 Half-Up Hairstyles to Try The Best of Both Worlds: 31 Half-Up Hairstyles to Try The Best of Both Worlds: 31 Half-Up Hairstyles to Try
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Find yourself constantly torn between putting your locks into an updo or letting them hang free? Sounds like it’s time to give your mane the best of both worlds with half up, half down hairstyles! The perfect way to keep hair off of your face while making a seriously gorgeous statement, you really can’t lose. Whether you’re rocking a shortmedium, or long ‘do, there are plenty of half-up hairstyles to consider, from braids and buns to curls and ponytails. Ready to transform your locks? Below, we’re sharing 31 cute half-up hairstyles to try in your next beauty look.

1. PARTY PONY

The hairstyle you likely sported as a child (along with colorful hair accessories) has made a major comeback. The party pony is a hairstyle we’re seeing everywhere from work to the bar. Even better, this hairstyle can be worn with straight, wavy, or curly strands! Here’s how to get it:

STEP #1: SECTION YOUR HAIR

To start, part your hair into two sections making sure the top section is a little smaller than the bottom section you’ll be leaving down. We recommend dividing your hair about one inch above your ear.

STEP #2: PUT IT UP

Once you’ve gathered your top section of hair, it’s time to create your party pony! The key to this hairstyle is to have your pony sitting on the very top of the back of your head. Smooth your hair toward the back of your head and secure your pony with a clear elastic.

STEP #3: SECURE YOUR STYLE

That’s it! To finish the look, spritz your hair with the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray, which will help keep your strands in place throughout the day.

2. HALF-UP TWISTS WITH WAVES

For those who love voluminous waves, this classic style will become your go-to look. This wavy style allows you to show off your texture with a playful touch. Style your hair with the help of the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Elastic Curl Mousse, applying a dime-sized amount to damp hair and distributing evenly from root to tip. Scrunch your hair to create waves. Next, create a horizontal part, splitting your hair into two sections where the bottom section is slightly bigger.

Working with the top section, create a vertical part and clip one side out of your way. With the free section, split it into two pieces and twist your hair until you reach the ends, then secure with an elastic. Repeat on the other side. Once your twists are complete, gather both twists at the center of your head and secure with a hair elastic.

3. HALF-UP, HALF-DOWN WATERFALL BRAID

Can’t resist a chic braid? In that case, it’s time to get acquainted with the waterfall braid. The perfect braided look for special occasions or whenever you feel like adding some extra glam to your look, this pretty plait will easily become one of your favorites. A variation of the French braid, once you’re ready to link the braid, you drop the left-hand strand and grab a new piece of hair to replace it, creating a stunning cascading effect. Sound tricky? Check out our article, Here’s How to Create a Waterfall Braid, to learn how to get the look.

4. HALF-UP BRAIDED TOP KNOT

Speaking of braids, why not combine your love for both a beautiful weave and half-up, half-down hairstyles? A great way to show off a little length while taking your classic top knot up a few notches, this look is definitely worth a try. Versatile and super easy to achieve, you can count on making a statement. To learn how to pull this look together, check out our article, How to Weave a Half-Up Braided Top Knot.

5. HALF-UP BOUFFANT

Elegant and chic, a bouffant easily tips the scales in your hairstyle's favor and ensures a standout look. This unique style serves up an impressive amount of volume, sans the dramatic look. While this look may seem time-consuming, you can actually create it in minutes. Simply part your hair into two sections and make sure the top section is smaller than the bottom half. Use a rattail comb to tease the top section. Following up with a boar bristle brush, smooth your hair back and use bobby pins to pin in place. Spritz some hair spray evenly over your hair and voila!

6. HALF-UP TOP KNOT

We love this hairstyle because it combines two of our favorite looks—long, free locks, and a carefree top knot! Follow the steps below to create it for yourself.

STEP #1: SECTION YOUR MANE

This may feel like déjà vu, but you’ll start this hairstyle off the same way you did the party pony, by separating your hair into a top and bottom section. Once again, split your hair, starting about one inch above your ear.

STEP #2: CREATE YOUR BUN

Take the top section of hair and use it to create your top knot! First, create a ponytail at the top of your head where you want your top knot to be placed, securing it with a clear elastic. Then, wrap the length of your locks around the base of your pony to create a bun. Pin your hair into place with a few bobby pins, not worrying about the occasional stray strand.

STEP #3: ADD SOME HAIRSPRAY

Finish the look off with the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Fine Control Hairspray.

7. SLEEK HALF-UP, HALF-DOWN PONYTAIL

By now, you know we pretty much can’t resist a half-up hairstyle. And when you’re looking for a quick and easy look to pull together, a sleek ponytail is a no-brainer. All you need is a touch of hair gel, like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Clean Gel, and a brush to get the look. Simply part your hair to create two sections, apply a dime-sized amount of gel to the top section, and brush toward the top of your head. Secure with a hair elastic and mist hairspray evenly over your head to seal the deal.

8. HALF-UP WITH BANGS

If you ask us, bangs are the gift that keeps on giving. This chic look frames your gorgeous face and pairs well with a half-up ponytail, bun, or braided look. We recommend booking an appointment with your hairstylist to achieve the bang of your choice. However, if you’re skilled with a pair of scissors, you can bring this look to life in the comfort of your home.

9. HALF-UP WITH SWOOP BANGS

Let’s stay on the topic of bangs for a moment. If you want to add a modern touch to your mane, look no further than bangs that swoop to the side, aka side-swept bangs. To get the look, blow out your bangs with a round brush, pulling them to the side as they dry. Once your bangs are voluminous and have that perfect swooped look, gather the rest of your hair into a low ponytail, secure with a hair elastic, and you’re good to go.

10. HALF-UP UNICORN BRAID

While the title of this half-up hairstyle includes “braid,” we assure you there’s no braiding required! This is ideal for those with medium hair because braids can quickly use up the length of your locks. Here’s how to get the look:

STEP #1: SECTION YOUR HAIR

As with our other half-up tutorials, you want to begin by sectioning your hair. For this half-up style, create a section at the front of your head that’s about three inches wide. The size of your section can vary based on your personal preference. Tie the rest of your hair back into a loose, low ponytail for now.

STEP #2: CREATE A PONYTAIL

Working with the top section of hair you just created, make a smaller section within it that goes back about an inch, starting at your hairline. Use that section to create a miniature ponytail and secure it with a clear elastic.

STEP #3: CONTINUE YOUR “BRAID"

Allow that first miniature pony to fall forward, hanging down over your forehead. Next, create another miniature pony behind that one. Once you have your second pony, split the first ponytail you created in half (while still letting it hang down across your forehead) and place your second ponytail in the center of it so that both ponytails are hanging down. Then take the two halves of your original ponytail and pull then around the second ponytail, incorporating them back into your main section of hair. Still with us?

STEP #4: SECTION, SECTION, SECTION

Create another miniature ponytail and incorporate the halves from your first ponytail. Split your second pony into two and keep it hanging down over your forehead. Allow your third ponytail to fall down the center, and bring the two halves back into your main section of hair. You see where we’re going with this?

STEP #5: FINISH YOUR UNICORN BRAID

Continue to section, split, and section until you’ve almost made it to the back of your head. Then, take the “braid” that is now hanging down your forehead and gently pull it back on top of your head. Secure the unicorn braid with a clear elastic and check out your handy work. It’ll look as though you braided the top portion of your hair with no actual braiding required.

STEP #6: SEAL THE DEAL

After all that hard work, you’ll want to seal in your style. Let your bottom section of hair hang free, then use the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Weather Control Hairspray to do just that.

11. HALF-UP, HALF-DOWN FRENCH BRAID

Classic styles more to your taste? Then a half-up French braid is worth exploring. This ‘do is totally gorgeous, and it can complement your work and play looks with ease. Always on-trend and super easy to style, this plait also works on all hair types. Learn how to weave this look with help from our article, Braiding Basics: How to French Braid Your Hair.

12. HALF-UP DOUBLE DUTCH BRAID

While it can be a struggle to put a stylish spin on second-day hair, the Dutch braid makes it all look easy. This popular weaving technique is easy to master and will spice up your look for an eye-catching finish. Read up on How to Dutch Braid Your Hair and become a pro at this braided look.

13. HALF-UP WITH JEWELED CLIP

Ready to add a little pizazz to your hair? A jeweled clip is just what you need. A minimalist’s dream, adding a clip to your hair instantly levels up your look with a touch of glamour. Simply twist the top half of your hair toward the back of your head and secure it with a glitzy clip.

14. HALF-UP FLAT TWISTS

For a retro look that still gets tons of attention, flat twists are a great style to try. This ultra-feminine hairstyle is ideal for those looking to switch things up a bit while making a chic statement. Start by parting your hair into two sections and secure the bottom half with a hair clip. Create a small vertical part from your hairline to the middle of your head, and secure it with a clip. Split the section, which should be about an inch wide, into two, twist normally from the root to the ends, and secure with a hair elastic. Repeat until your top section is fully twisted. Next, gather all the ends and twist into a bun. Let down the bottom layer of hair, and your style is set.

15. HALF-UP, HALF-DOWN SPACE BUNS

We don’t want to brag—but this half-up hairstyle is totally out of this world. Learn how to do it in our step-by-step tutorial below.

STEP #1: SECTION YOUR MANE

Just as with every other half-up hairstyle, start by separating your locks into top and bottom sections. For this hairstyle, your top section should only go about halfway to the back of your head.

STEP #2: SPLIT YOUR HAIR IN TWO

Divide the top section of your hair into two equally-sized sections that will be used for your space buns.

STEP #3: PUT IT UP

Take one half of your top section and put it into a ponytail with a clear elastic. Do the same with the other half, making sure this ponytail mirrors the position of your first pony.

STEP #4: CREATE YOUR BUNS

Grab your first ponytail and wrap it around its own base to form a bun. Bobby pin the bun into place. Do the same with the second ponytail, making sure your buns look the same!

STEP #5: GRAB SOME HAIRSPRAY

That’s it! Finish up by spritzing your mane with some hairspray.

16. HALF-UP COILY TOP KNOT

Just because you have natural hair doesn’t mean you can’t add the half-up trend to your hairstyle repertoire. The coily top knot highlights your texture and provides plenty of options for a versatile look.

17. HALF-UP MESSY BUN

For days when you’re pressed for time, you need a style that looks amazing and takes little to no time to create. Enter: the half-up messy bun. It’s really as simple as it sounds; all you need to do is gather the top-half of your mane, pull it up, and secure with a hair elastic. If you still think you need more direction, head on over to our ultra-easy tutorial on How to Create a Messy Bun.

18. HALF-UP WITH PIECE-Y TEXTURED LAYERS

This look flaunts a playful vibe that also shows off your texture. Whether you’re working with tightly coiled hair, wavy hair, or pin-straight tresses, this style adds an incredibly flirty touch to your look, one we know you’ll love. Simply separate a small top layer of hair and secure it with a fun hair tie or scrunchie. Then reach for a hair pomade, like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Overworked Hair Putty, to define your layers and build volume and texture. If your mane is still lacking body, feel free to break out your teasing comb. Easy, peasy!

19. HALF-UP DINO BRAID

Love the idea of a unicorn braid? You can get the same look sans a bunch of elastics by actually braiding the top layer of your hair. Your long strands are perfect for this style, so follow along with our tutorial.

STEP #1: SECTION YOUR HAIR

Create a top section of hair that’s about three inches wide. Tie the rest of your hair into a loose low ponytail to keep it out of the way for now.

STEP #2: BRAID AWAY

Starting at the front, begin to Dutch braid the top section. Once you near the back of your head, secure the braid with a clear elastic.

STEP #3: COMPLETE YOUR STYLE

Release the bottom layer of your hair from the ponytail, and you’ll see your style come to life. Spritz with hairspray to keep your dino braid in place all day long, and that’s a wrap.

20. HALF-UP WET PONYTAIL

Are you digging the wet hair look? You may want to apply the trend to a half-up, half-down ponytail. Since this style focuses on wet hair, there is no need to pull out a blow dryer. Let your hair air dry a bit, part your hair into two sections, apply a healthy amount of hair gel (one with a high-shine finish) to the top section, and smooth back into a pony. Douse the bottom layer in shine spray, then spritz hairspray evenly over your head, and you’re all set.

21. HALF-UP TIGHT CORNROWS

While big braids have become quite the trend, small cornrows will always be a classic. Sure, this look is more intricate, but the result is definitely worth it. It may even be worth having your strands braided by a professional!

22. HALF-UP BALLET BUN

A ballet bun will add sophistication to any look. A variation of the traditional bun style, this look has a sleek base with a tight bun, making for a clean-cut look. Set the stage by brushing through your hair to get rid of any tangles, then part your hair into two sections.

On the top half, apply a hair gel to the roots, before brushing them toward the back of your head for an ultra-smooth look. Secure the smoothed-back top layer with a hair elastic, twisting its length around the base of your ponytail. Use another hair elastic to secure the bun, then comb through your bottom section and top off the entire style with a misting of hairspray.

23. HALF-UP BANTU KNOTS

‘90s beauty is back and better than ever. So, it’s only right that you jump on the bandwagon and rock a gorgeous half-up Bantu knot style. Get the look by parting a section of your hair and twisting it from root to end as your hair starts to twist into itself. Form a bun with your twist and secure with a hair elastic. Continue until the top layer of your hair is filled with Bantu knots. As for the rest of your hair, flaunt your natural texture or straighten it with a flat iron.

24. HALF-UP PINEAPPLE

Protective styles are a hit for a reason, and pineapple-ing your hair is a top choice. Follow our step-by-step tutorial below to get the look.

STEP #1: PART YOUR HAIR

Using a rattail comb, part your hair at a horizontal angle in the center of your head. Tie the bottom section up to keep your hair out of the way.

STEP #2: CREATE A HIGH PONYTAIL

Gather your strands as if you were going to create a ponytail. Loosely secure the section with a hair elastic or scrunchie.

STEP #3: SHAPE AND DEFINE

Position your half-up pineapple as you’d like. Since this style is all about highlighting your texture, use a hair pomade on your length to define your curls, coils, or waves.

25. HALF-UP BRUN HAIRSTYLE

Can’t stop swooning over both braid and bun hairstyles? Why not sport both? That’s what the brun is all about. This style is seriously on-trend and adds a bit of edge to your look. Best of all, you don’t have to rely on a stylist to create this look. You can pull it together all on your own, with a little help from our article, Braid Meets Bun: How to Get a Brun Hairstyle.

26. HALF-UP DOUBLE FRENCH TWISTS

For a look that checks all the style boxes, give double French twists a try. To get the look, backcomb your hair at the crown of your head to pump up the volume and give your strands some texture. Next, loosely comb your hair back with your fingers and roll the ends in toward your head. Once you reach your scalp, pin them in place, and use your fingers to muss it up a bit. Spray a bit of hairspray to lock your look in.

27. HALF-UP JUMBO BRAID

Braids will never go out of style, and jumbo braids are having a major moment. As for a half-up jumbo braid, it’s gorgeous, easy to style, and frames your face to highlight your features. What’s not to love? Get the look by parting your hair straight across the middle of your head and tying the bottom section down to keep your hair out of the way. Gather three equally-sized sections at the top of your ear and weave across until you reach your other ear. Secure with a hair elastic and blend with the rest of your hair for a practical yet stylish look.

28. HALF-UP SOCK BUN

A charming bun style that never fails, the sock bun doesn’t skimp on the style meter. Great for medium and long hair lengths, you’ve probably seen this look all over your social media feed and IRL. This updo is undeniably chic and incredibly easy to style. We also dig that you can pull this style together in little to no time. For more on this ‘do, check out our article, How to Create a Sock Bun.

29. HALF-UP FISHTAIL

Fishtail braids are a great way to embrace the boho trend! Below, we’re sharing how to pull this look off.

STEP #1: PART YOUR HAIR

Part your hair at a horizontal angle at the center of your head. Be sure to secure the bottom section to keep your hair out of the way.

STEP #2: CREATE YOUR FISHTAIL BRAID 

Split the top layer of hair into two sections. Take a piece of hair from the outer edge of one of the two sections. Cross the section over into the inner edge of the opposite section. Repeat while switching back and forth until you reach the bottom of your hair. Secure the ends with a hair tie.

STEP #3: TUG YOUR STRANDS

Loosen up your strands a bit by gently tugging at your braid to achieve the lived-in look. Let down that bottom section and voila!

30. HALF-UP TEXTURED TOP KNOT

The true epitome of a no-fuss style, the textured top knot will always be a winner. A great low maintenance look, you can create a head-turning style without having to over-style your mane. Start by smoothing all of your hair back into a sleek ponytail. Next, tease your ponytail with a rattail comb before wrapping it into a loose bun and pinning it in place. To give your textured look a strong hold, give it a spritz of the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray Strong Hold before moving on with your day.

31. HALF-UP MIDDLE PART TOP KNOT

If you’re looking to take your casual top knot to the next level, this middle part rendition may be just what you’re looking for. All you need to do is create a center part and pull the top layer of hair back into a seamless top knot. Easy and stylish, this look is a great no-fuss style.

Can’t get enough of the half-up look? Here are 7 Half-Bun Hairstyles for Every Hair Type.

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