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21 Easy Updos That Are Short Hair Approved

You don’t need long strands to sport these gorgeous styles.
July 13, 2022

Bobs and lobs are two of the most popular haircuts at the moment and we love them. But while these ‘dos are low maintenance, it can be trickier to wear your strands in an updo when they’re short. 

With long hair, it’s easy to throw your mane into a ponytail or braided bun and call it a day. But, with a little experimenting and easy adjustments to your classic styles, wearing your short hair up can be just as easy. Keep reading to discover our list of 21 easy updos with short hair in mind.

1. Braided Updo

A braided updo is great for holding short strands in place and leaves so much room for creativity. Start by adding a few braids to your hair — try different techniques like a fishtail braid, cornrows or baby braids and use clear hair ties to secure them. Once you’ve finished your braids, gather your strands into a ponytail to secure your updo. Leave them as ponytails or twist them into buns, securing them with bobby pins to finish off your custom look. There’s no set way to achieve this look so have fun with it and let your creativity flow.

Editor’s tip: Fake fuller, longer hair by fluffing your braid before applying an elastic. Gently pull a few strands outward and repeat on each side until it’s even for some extra oomph.
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2. Chignon

This classic, sophisticated updo doesn’t require long strands. Getting the look is actually quite simple, especially for short hair and the end result is so professional and chic. For a step-by-step breakdown, read the article How to Master a Chignon Hairstyle in 5 Easy Steps.

3. Ballerina Bun

When in doubt, slick your hair back into a sleek, polished ballerina bun for any occasion. This is one of the best buns for short hair and it’s suitable for more professional occasions like work or an interview. Create your bun as you normally would and finish the look with the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel to keep your short strands looking shiny and sleek. 

4. Half-Up Space Buns

Any updo can be short hair approved when you opt for the half-up route. Separate your hair horizontally into two sections, like you’re creating a half-up style. Then, separate the top section into two equal parts and twist each section into buns, securing with a hair tie or bobby pins to create your space buns.

Editor’s tip: Amp up the playfulness of space buns by adding a zigzag part for Y2K styling.

5. Tucked Updo

Short strands are out of sight, out of mind when you style them up and out of the way with a tucked updo. To start, bring your mane into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck and secure it with a hair elastic. Use your fingers to create a hole in your hair just above where your hair elastic is and wrap your ponytail around itself by pulling the ends through the top of said hole. Tuck the ends of your hair into that same hole, pinning them into place so that the bobby pins aren’t visible. The end result is super chic and looks the same on short strands and long hair alike.

6. French Twist

Another classic, sophisticated updo that you can’t go wrong with is the French twist.
Like the tucked updo, a French twist looks the same on short and long hair — proving to be a great and chic way to keep your strands out of your face. To master this chic updo, check out the article How to Create a Classic French Twist.

7. Messy Bun

Not all updos have to be posh and polished which is why the messy bun is such a staple for short hair and long strands alike. Messy buns for short hair offer the perfect dose of undone charm and they’re a great hairstyle for casual occasions like running errands or heading to class. When creating your messy bun, the best version usually always happens on the first try so embrace flyaways or little bumps and know they add to the tousled look.

Editor’s tip: Curly strands provide great texture for a messy bun. Grab a curl enhancer like the L’Oréal Paris Dream Lengths Dream Lengths Curls Non-Stop Dreamy Curls Leave-in Conditioner to define and hydrate your natural curls. Proceed with your messy bun and don’t forget to pull some strands out at the hairline to create soft face-framing wispies.

8. Crown Braid With Bun

Looking for bohemian, romantic updos that are short hair-friendly? A crown braid and bun combo is the perfect, easy updo for short strands and the end result looks way more time-consuming than it actually is. 

Split your hair down the middle and braid the two front sections of your bangs or face-framing layers. Secure your braids with clear elastics or bobby pins and add a ponytail or sleek bun into the mix to complete your romantic updo.

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9. Bantu Knots

For natural hair and short lengths especially, opt for this popular ‘90s updo that doubles as a protective hairstyle. Take a section of hair and twist it from root to end until the hair starts to twist into itself. Form your twist into a bun and secure it in place. Create Bantu knots all over or add a few to the front of your hair to create a playful half-up hairstyle that works great for natural, short strands.

10. Claw Clip Twist

As ‘90s trends come back into the mix, put down the hair tie and use a claw clip to secure your short strands in an updo. A claw clip is great for short hair and with one easy twist, you can secure your short strands into an updo.

11. Braided Headband 

Remember when we mentioned our love for a braid-meets-updo combo? Well, there’s another cute updo for short hair that falls into the category — the braided headband. Create a French braid across the top of your hair to wear like a braided headband, tucking in short strands for the start of a romantic updo. Finish the look with an easy low bun or ponytail and voilà — another easy, quick and romantic braided updo for short strands.

12. Low Bun

Slick your hair into a low bun for a super easy and simple updo. If your hair is extra short, create a ponytail but don’t pull it all the way through to create a looped, bun style. If you have a little more length to spare, create a low ponytail and twist your hair around the base to form a bun.

Editor’s tip: For an extra sleek low bun, spritz some hairspray like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented onto a clean toothbrush and brush it on your strands to press down any flyaways.

13. Double Bun

If you have ultra-short hair, create a half-bun and another bun with the rest of your hair to easily rock a double bun updo. The two buns work to secure all your short strands while allowing you to easily wear your hair up without extra bobby pins or hair gel.

14. Top Knot

A top knot can be worn to brunch, the gym or the office — making it a fan favorite for all hair lengths and hair types. Grab your hair and secure it on the top of your head with a hair tie, going back with bobby pins to secure any fallen strands. Twist your hair around the base of your ponytail to create a tight top knot and use hair ties or bobby pins to secure it. 

15. Voluminous Bun

Just because you have short hair doesn’t mean you can’t create a voluminous bun. It’s all about using the right hair accessories to get the look and for this one, you want to grab a banana clip. Section your hair in a ponytail and use the banana clip to secure your strands. Once the banana clip is in place, feel free to use bobby pins to secure your hair around the clip to disguise it. 

16. Dutch Braid

A dutch braid appears like an inside-out braid and is just as easy to achieve as your go-to French braid. Start at the top of your hair and create a three-strand braid, adding and tucking hair under the middle strand as you go. Finish with a hair tie or twist your hair into a bun for an easy dutch braid and bun updo.

17. Sleek Ponytail

If you think that sleek ponytails are limited to long strands, think again. You can actually create this timeless and versatile style with your short strands — just gather your hair and embrace the short ponytail. Finish the look with some gel, like the aforementioned Studio Line Mega Gel to keep your short strands looking sleek and polished.

18. Low Space Buns

When you have short hair, traditional space buns can be difficult to recreate, thanks to your lack of length. Besides half-up space buns, low space buns are another easy, cute alternative. Separate your hair into two sections like you’re creating pigtails. Twist your hair into buns and use bobby pins or clear elastics to secure your space buns.

19. Bun and Scarf

Instantly spruce up your short hair updo by using a hair scarf or bandana to accessorize. Whether it’s a low bun, a high bun or a half bun, this is a chic and quick option, plus it’s great if you’re trying to camouflage frizz, greasy hair or dark roots.

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20. Half-Up Bun

Get your hair out of your face while still showing off your short length with a half-up bun. This lowkey hairstyle takes seconds and is super casual and undone while opting to be the perfect hairstyle for short strands. For a more elevated look, grab a frizz treatment like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In to smooth strands. Complete your half-bun and finish with a barrette or clip for a trendy, fun twist that shows off some personality.

Editor’s tip: The half-bun is a great style for concealing day four (or five) hair.  Apply some dry shampoo to the roots to add extra volume at the top while concealing oily strands to create the perfect half-bun. We love the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Brown Hair for dark hair or the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Blonde Hair for lighter strands

21. Milkmaid Braids

Similar to the crown braid, this braided updo offers an intricate, romantic look that’s so easy to recreate. Start by sectioning your hair into two parts, like you’re creating ponytails and braid each section, securing with a clear elastic. Then take the two braids and flip them up so they lay flat across the top of your hair and secure them with bobby pins. Once you’re finished, fluff up your braids with your fingers and pluck out any short strands around your hairline for some face-framing pieces. 

Next: 18 Flattering Short Hairstyles For Round Faces

Written by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo by: Casi, @/casistauffer, Design by: Crystal Simone

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