How to Get a Tousled Updo

How to Get a Tousled Updo

Try these three perfectly imperfect updo hairstyles for a no-stress, no-fuss chic look.


By: Sarah James

Crafting updos all by yourself can be hard, especially when you are trying to create the perfect one. But when it comes to a tousled updo, the whole point of the look is to make it a little messy, which means it’s just right for beginners. Here, we show you how to create three perfectly unperfect updo styles — no stress or fuss required.

1. The Loose Side Ponytail
Perfect for a casual date night or a lunch break with friends, a loose side ponytail is a chic look that is beyond easy to achieve. The key is giving your hair a bit of texture before you gather it into a ponytail. I love to use a boar bristle brush or teasing comb to add some grit. First, gently tease the crown of your hair for some height. Once you have a bit of lift and volume around the crown, pull all of your hair to one side below your ear and secure it with an elastic.

If you have sideswept bangs that swoop in one direction, I prefer to place the ponytail on the side that your bangs move toward, as it pulls the look together. Also, a hair scarf tied around the base of the ponytail is a playful addition to try!

2. The Tousled Side Bun
Add two extra steps to the above look to create the loveliest bun for a dressier night out or special occasions. Starting with the ponytail you created, twist your hair into a coil and wrap it around itself at the base of the ponytail. Push U-shaped pins into the base of the bun on all four sides, making sure it's extra-secure. Don't worry if some stray hairs are sticking out — we're going for a tousled look, remember?

3. The Braided Top Knot
This is a fun, carefree twist on the traditional top knot (and my personal favorite). Gather all of your hair at the crown of head (I prefer to flip over at the waist to make sure I get it all), and secure your hair into a ponytail. Don't be concerned if the hair isn't perfectly smooth, since this adds to the charm of the look.

Once the hair is secure, braid the ponytail to the ends. Wrap the braided piece around the base of the ponytail (like a traditional top knot) and pin to secure. The braided bun will add a fun, carefree dimension to a traditional updo. Super cute!

Quick tip: The key to a sexy, carefree side ponytail is keeping the hair loose and textured. Try teasing your hair at the crown before securing it in a ponytail. The messier, the better.


Sarah can be found contributing her musings on style, beauty and parenting at her personal blog, Whoorl, as well as the popular beauty website Hair Thursday. Her blogs have been featured on “The Rachael Ray Show,” “ABC Nightlineand in The New York Times.

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