The Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Prom Updos

Janell M. Hickman
Rolland HC bbt S15 015


Updos have always been a red carpet staple for celebrities especially around award season. However, for the average girl, formal occasions where an extra dose of glam is needed may be few and far between. But with prom season in full effect, a trip to the salon isn’t always feasible especially when working with a tight budget. We caught up with a few experts to teach you how to make the most of a DIY updo and how to simply avoid being a hairstyle don’t. Read on to learn more of their hard and fast rules for looking great.DO Have A Muse in Mind
Brian C. Hawkins (Salon Grafix Lead Stylist) often uses Brigitte Bardot as a style reference for clients. “[Her look] was very effortless but was still soft. The key is keeping the hair very sexy and feminine. Plus, I love the unkempt/messy textured look to it—to this day her hairstyle serves as a muse to many editorial shoots and runway shows.”MORE: 101 Prom Hairstyles You Need to See

DON’T Be Intimated By A Chignon
“[This style] is actually one of the easier updos to execute, because you don’t even need to know how to do a braid,” shares Global Spokesperson for Moroccanoil, Kevin Hughes. “I would first prep the hair with MO Treatment followed by the MO Root Boost from roots to ends, before rough drying the entire head. Next, take a small section in the front and blow dry smooth with a round brush before backcombing the top sections of the hair. Pull all of the hair back into a ponytail and secure with an elastic anywhere on the head that you want your chignon to be. Then, take the ponytail and twist it gently and let the hair roll up onto itself. If you have fine hair, you can backcomb the ponytail first, then twist for added thickness. Finally, secure in place with bobby pins all around the chignon and mist with MO Luminous Hairspray Strong to hold in place.”

DO Wear An Updo at Work (or to Brunch)
“An updo is appropriate to wear anytime! A classic bun has been around forever and has been awesome for both work and for special occasions,” shares Noël New York owner and master hairstylist Noël Killings. “More formal hairstyles have departed older definitions. Women now are more conscious of fashion trends and tired of following the rules.”MORE: 101 Prom Beauty TipsDON’T Look Too Matronly
“Avoid making your hair look too formal by not using a small curling iron, excessive bobby pins and stiff hairspray,” says Hawkins. “[If you need to lock hair in place] I’d suggest medium hold to strong hold hairspray like Salon Grafix Play It Big Shaping or Firm Spray.”

DO Fake It (For Short Hair)
“There are a few ways to fake an updo,” advises Hughes who works with Rosie Huntington Whiteley and Emily Blunt. “One option is to take sections and twist them in an upward motion and pin, style the front of the hair as you desire. This will give the hair dimension while mimicking the look of a complete updo. Another option is to French or Dutch braid the hair—you only need a few inches of length to complete a braid—then intertwine your strands. You can start in the front (or even hide bangs if you want!) then follow it around the head with a sort of halo effect. The MO Molding Cream is a great tool to help control that short hairstyle and give it texture.”

DON’T Think You Have to Pre-Straighten Strands
“Texture is awesome and will make a style last,” explains Killings who has worked with Alicia Keys. “Teyonah Paris and Janelle Monae both provide great examples of textured updos that are appropriate for any occasion. Remember, using satin covered hair elastics will help prevent breakage from updos and ponytails.”

DO Make Your Bun Look Neat
“The key to a great sleek bun is using a boar bristle paddle/flat brush,” shares Hawkins who works with supermodel Jessica White. “Then, brush the hair into a top ponytail and secure with bobby pins. For a special or formal occasion, getting your hair professionally done gives it a more refined and clean look.”

DON’T Hastily Remove Your Updo
“I suggest starting at the perimeter to remove bobby pins, the hair will start to come apart and it makes it easier to access the center of the updo,” explains Hughes. “Once the pins are out, I suggest using a paddle brush and adding some MO Treatment to the hair before you even brush it. Next, start on the ends of the hair and work your way up. That way if there is any teasing in the hair, it keeps from ripping at your hair which could cause damage.

Do Have Fun With Your Look
“Remember, updos are just another way of styling your hair,” says Hawkins. “Don’t be afraid to place it up and have fun! Another trick is to sleep with your hair in a bun or top knot, then take it down the next morning. Next, apply some dry shampoo and you’ll enjoy a little volume sans hairdyer.”

DON’T Strive for Perfect Hair
“Avoid perfection,” warns Killings. “A sleek updo is fantastic, but should not necessarily be paired with a super conservative outfit. Trying too hard can make an updo go wrong fast. Pay attention to the clothes being worn and complement them. Don’t be afraid of a non-sculpted look!”