One of the beauties of having curly locks is the sheer number of styles you can sport.
Feeling flirty? Go for a pineapple updo. On your way to a romantic rendezvous? Opt for a ballerina bun. Keen on making a statement? Turn heads with Bantu knots. From a sultry & carefree messy bun to a classic & refined high ponytail, your choices are nearly boundless.
Let’s unpack your biggest questions about curly hair updos & take a look at 6 of the most exquisite styles out there.
Are Updos Considered a Protective Style?
Protective styles play a huge part in achieving & maintaining gorgeous & resilient hair. They decrease the most prevalent stressors placed on your mane by:
- Heat styling
- Wind, humidity & temperature fluctuations
- Tugging, yanking & pulling
- Brushing & detangling
- Weaves & extensions
- Overly-tight braids
Over time, these challenges to your hair can test its health & integrity. They may also put you at risk for tensile stress—or harm to your hair follicles—& traction alopecia, which could result in patches of hair loss.1
The ends of your hair are the most vulnerable to these aggravations, simply by virtue of being the oldest part of your hair. Many updos for natural curly hair keep the ends pinned in & away from these potential hazards. Also, plenty of easy curly hair updos don’t require much manipulation, if any at all.
The bottom line? Updos don’t just look stunning: They can also shield your strands from breakage & other forms of damage.
What Styling Products are Necessary for Achieving an Updo Hairstyle?
Quality products are one of the keys to scoring & preserving curly hair updos, helping you nail gravity-defying volume, combat humidity & define your updo hairstyle of choice.
Let’s take a peek at the curly hair products you should stockpile:
- Mousse – Mousse is your go-to formula when you’re intent on achieving hold & definition.2 PATTERN’s Curl Mousse may be lightweight in texture but it’s heavy on natural, nourishing ingredients like Marshmallow Root & Castor Oil. Whether your natural texture is 3B or 4C or somewhere in between, this sweet-smelling mousse leaves curls pillowy, luscious & touchable.
- Styling cream – Styling creams share several of mousse’s benefits, such as polish & endurance, but they also add enviable shine. PATTERN’s Styling Cream pairs shea butter with cacay oil & sweet almond oil—emollient ingredients that enhance hair’s health & glossiness.3
- Gel – Gel has come a long way since it first hit the hair care shelves. Gone are the days when it left hair sticky & crunchy. Now, well-formulated gels leave hair silky & soft. PATTERN’s Strong Hold Gel keeps natural curly hair updos hydrated, protected & in place, thanks to ingredients like aloe vera & chia seeds.4
- Edge control – PATTERN’s Edge Control is just the product your baby hairs have been asking for. The formula promotes shine & glide, helping you sculpt your edges for an intricate look.
What Tools are Needed for Curly Hair Updos?
Enchanting finger waves held back with accessories require little more than well-prepped hair, high-performing products & the dexterity of your digits.
Other curly updo hairstyles, though, benefit tremendously from specially-crafted tools:
What Are the Best Occasions for Wearing an Updo Style?
Part of the allure of updos is that they can be altered to match your plans & mood. A messy bun is ideal for going from a yoga class to a night out, just as a slicked-back style can take you from the office to an evening run to a concert.
Still, there are a few specific celebratory times that are especially well-suited to updos:
- Date nights
- Holiday parties
- Formal events
- Job interviews
6 Curly Hair Updos
Ready to rock an updo? Grab your styling products and tools.
#1 Braided Bun
A braided bun gives the timeless hairstyle a chic, eye-catching edge. This particular updo is especially beautiful if you have micro braids or individuals—just think of Zoe Kravitz’s signature boho look.
To ace the braided bun, follow these steps:
- Detangle your hair with your shower brush &/or wide tooth comb.
- Apply styling cream & separate hair into three sections.
- Braid your hair & wrap it into a bun at the nape of your neck, or the top or back of your head, depending on the look you want to obtain.
- Secure with bobby pins & a shot of finishing spray.
Best for: Hair that is shoulder-length or longer.
#2 Double Bun Updo
Unique & inspired, double bun updos command a double take.
Hone that space-inspired ‘do by:
- Applying curl mousse or strong hold gel to maintain the sophistication of this style.
- Dividing your hair into two separate sections, starting at your ears
- Twisting the top section into a bun & leaving a few strands loose to pull the look together.
- Wrapping the bottom section into a coil.
- Using the extra strand of hair to “unite” the buns.
Best for: Medium-length hair & longer.
#3 Messy Cascade
Don’t be fooled by the name of this updo: the messy here is wholly intentional & lends itself to a glamorous, fashionable look. It works especially well with tight coils, which add to the drama of the style.
You can attain this romantic updo by:
- Applying mousse to give your curls shine & springiness.
- Pull your hair on top of your head using your fingers, securing it with an elastic band & letting your curls cascade naturally down your head, neck & shoulders.
- Using your edge tool around the perimeter of your face to shape to your liking, or let a few curls bounce around your cheekbones.
Best for: Medium to long hair.
#3 Messy Bun with Face-Framing Pieces
Buns highlight your natural bone structure, while face-framing pieces elevate the flirtiness of this popular hair style. Simply:
- Pull your hair into a loose ponytail at your desired height (high, medium or low) but keep several pieces around your face free.
- With your fingers, take a small section of your ponytail, wrap it around the elastic & pin.
- Repeat with the rest of your ponytail.
- Leave a few ends loose to add to the messiness of the look while pinning in others.
- For the pieces around your face, use your curl mousse & edge tool to separate & define curls, or iron straight to emphasize the texture of the rest of your hair.
Best for: Shoulder-length hair & longer.
#4 Sleek Bun With Edges
Think of stunning sleek buns & Kerry Washington might spring to mind. As modern & striking as this look may be, it’s fairly simple to replicate:
- After shampooing, apply PATTERN’s buttery Leave-In Conditioner to help hair retain its moisture.
- Comb in your strong hold gel from roots to ends.
- With your edge tool, brush hair into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck.
- Coil hair around the elastic to create a bun, using pins like PATTERN’s Hair Pins to keep curls in place.
- Use the mini brush of your edge tool to create swoops around your face.
- Dab on Edge Control to keep hairs in place.
- Perfect with the pointed edge of your edge tool.
Best for: Shoulder-length hair & longer.
#5 Cornrow Bantu Knots
Cornrow Bantu knots strike that ideal balance between cute & regal—& are just as fitting for the red carpet as they are for a Sunday picnic. Attain summer-ready knots by:
- Applying style cream to sustain your hair’s hydration.
- Separating hair into four distinct sections.
- Twisting each section into a knot & tucking it in the ends of your cornrows.
Best for: Chin-length or longer.
#6 Pineapple Updo
Braided & unbraided pineapple updos take sleeping pineapples up a notch to give you one of the choicest ways to celebrate your curls. They might appear elaborate, but they can be done in a pinch—especially with the assistance of superb products:
- For an unbraided style, apply curl mousse to give your tresses extra shine & definition.
- Flip your head over & gather your hair into a ponytail on top of your head, securing it with one of PATTERN’s Satin Scrunchies.
- Use your fingers & a touch of Edge Control to sculpt your curls, letting them hang in a way that suits your taste.
For a braided pineapple updo, pull ¾ of your hair into a pineapple updo. Braid the other sections & secure at the base of your scrunchie with pins.
Best for: Medium to long hair.
Perfect Your Curly Hair Updo with PATTERN
Curly updos like braided buns, messy cascades & Bantu knots can elevate your style & protect your hair from damage, & the right styling products can help perfect any look.
PATTERN’s collection of prime styling products is just one part of our M.O.
We also offer those with curly & coily hair a wide selection of cleansers, conditioners, treatments & accouterments—all with the aim of helping you achieve lush, healthy styles.
Turn your next updo into an occasion of its own with our nutrient-rich, award-winning gems.
- Billero, Victoria, and Mariya Miteva. “Traction alopecia: the root of the problem.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 11 149-159. 6 Apr. 2018, doi:10.2147/CCID.S137296
- McLyntock, Kaitlyn. "How to use hair mousse like a pro." Byrdie. 8 April, 2022. https://www.byrdie.com/why-use-mousse-in-hair
- Watson, Kathryn. "Almond oil for hair." Healthline. 18 September, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/almond-oil-for-hair#hair-benefits
- Watson, Kathryn. "Aloe vera for your hair: what are the benefits?" Healthline. 15 October, 2022 https://www.healthline.com/health/aloe-vera-for-hair#benefits-for-hair