How to Do Updos for Medium Hair

Updated February 16, 2017

If you have medium-length hair, nothing adds more drama to your locks than an updo. Rather than slicking your hair back into a ponytail or wearing it super straight, the updo hairstyle is a chic style option for formal special events and dressy casual occasions. In fact, this style is perfect for bad hair days or when you are growing out a non-flattering hairstyle. Using a few expert beauty techniques, you can style your hair in an updo at your home.

Shampoo and condition your hair. Use products made specifically for your hair type. For example: If you have thin or limp strands, use a volumizing conditioner. Towel dry your hair.

Coat damp strands with a setting lotion or volumizing mousse. Apply a dollop of the product to your hair, starting at the roots and ending at the tips of your strands.

Dry hair completely using a blow dryer set on medium heat. Separate hair into four sections. Secure each section with a plastic butterfly clip. Using a round barrelled brush, blow-dry your hair. Point the nozzle of the blow dryer downward as you straighten hair with the brush. Repeat with each section until hair is completely dry.

Curl 3-inch sections of the hair with a curling iron. Starting at the forehead, create loose spirals with a medium-barrelled curling iron. After curling your hair, finger comb the hair to release the tight spirals and create waves.

Gather hair at the nape of the neck, and then loosely twist and pull upward into a loose full knot at the crown. Secure the knot with plastic hair clips and hairpins.

Frame your face with stray tendrils. Curl long wisps in the front with a medium-barrelled curling iron.

Finish the look with hairspray. Spray a light-hold hairspray to complete the updo.


To add shine, add a light glossing serum to the hair, before twisting the hair into the updo. If you want to add more lift in the crown, tease the hair or back comb with a rattail comb before curling the hair in step 4.

Things You'll Need

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Large towel
  • Setting lotion or volumizing mousse
  • Plastic butterfly clips
  • Round-barrelled brush
  • Medium-barrelled curling iron
  • Plastic hair clips
  • Plastic hairpins
  • Light-hold hairspray
  • Glossing serum
  • Rat-tail comb
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About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.