Many Updo Options
Updos for African American hair can range from simple and chic buns, to more elegant or eccentric styles. Whether you prefer a casual curly look like the updo pictured or a more sophisticated style, there is something for you.
If you don't like the structured design of most updos, try this laid back updo that you can style at home.
This style will be easy for those who have naturally curly or wavy hair. Make a center part in the hair, and twist the right side of the hair in a loose twist and pin to the side. For the left side, make two loose twists on the side of the head and pin to the side. Begin to pull the hair into a small messy side bun, leaving the ends free. Spread the bun out with your fingers so it looks fuller. If you're satisfied with your natural curl pattern you can stop here. Another option is to wrap the ends of the bun around a curling wand to create loose curls. Spray with a light holding spray to hold the curls.
Low Side Bun
An offset low bun is an understated and prim updo which is great for any occasion. This alluring hairstyle can be done in a matter of minutes from home. To get the exact style as pictured, the hair will need to be flat ironed or blow dried straight. Next, make a deep part and sweep the sides of the hair back into a side ponytail. Begin to twist the hair into a loose bun, and secure with a bobby pin. If you would like a perfect or bigger bun, try adding a donut insert like the Conair Bun Maker Set.
This ageless bun is a go-to style for many women. It can be worn to weddings or other formal occasions, or just as an everyday style. For this style pull dry hair into a centered ponytail. Begin to braid the hair in the ponytail all the way down, and put a thin elastic band on the bottom of the braid. Next, begin to wrap the braid in a bun using bobby pins to secure it in place. Finish by tucking the end of the braid underneath the bun and secure with a bobby pin.
A subtle pompadour can always make for a vintage and posh hairstyle. Tell your stylist you would like a small centered pompadour at the front of your hair and to pin the rest of the hair in a bun.
To get this look at home, part the top of the head into a triangle section. Begin to take small sections and back comb them for volume at the front of the head. Once the entire section has been back combed, begin to push the triangle section forward, and a hump shape will begin to form. Place bobby pins around this area to help hold the shape and spray with hair spray. Brush the rest of the hair into a ponytail and secure with a hair band. Twist the hair into a bun and secure with bobby pins.
If you're getting bored with your natural hair, try this fancy updo. Tell your stylist you would like a French twist braid for the back of your head, leading to bun at the top of your head.
For at-home styling, apply a gel or mousse to the hair. Brush all of your hair forward and slightly tilt your head down. Starting at the nape, separate the hair in two pieces begin to twist the hair until you get to the top of your ears, then secure with bobby pins. After securing the twist, brush the top portion of the hair neatly into a ponytail. Begin to make a bun out of the ponytail and secure with bobby pins.
Twisted and Curly Updo
Adding twists to an updo adds an element of uniqueness, especially when they are surrounding curls. To get this look at a salon, tell your stylist you would like a faux hawk with twists on the side and curls down the center of your head.
For at-home styling, twists can be done on wet or dry hair. Section the center of the hair off in a ponytail holder to keep it out of the way. On the sides of the head, start by parting the hair in the same way you would part for cornrows. Separate the hair on one side into two sections and twist the hair until the twist is completed, securing with bobby pins. Repeat on the other side. For the center of the hair, set on perm rods if it is wet, or use a small curling iron to create spiral curls.
Single Twist and Single Braid
Add instant polish to your look with a classic casual updo. Simply tell your stylist you would like a single twist in the front of your head and an oversized braid in the back. Depending on the length of your hair, one pack of braiding hair may need to be added to achieve such a long braid.
At home, part the front of your hair on the side and begin to twist, secure with a bobby pin. The rest of the hair should be brushed into a ponytail, and be braided into a classic braid and the ends should be secured with an elastic band.
If you're adding a pack of braiding hair, twist your ponytail into a tiny bun and secure with an elastic band. Next attach the braiding hair to your bun. Most braiding hair comes with a rubber band right in the middle of the hair. Do not remove this, because it helps to keep the hair in place. Begin to place the braiding hair over the bun until it is no longer visible, and secure with bobby pins. Proceed to braid the hair into one big braid and secure the ends with an elastic band.
This updo would be a great protective style for those looking to take a break from damaging styles, though it would be difficult to do at home. For this look tell your stylist that you would like to have small cornrows braided at the front of your head, and finish with a goddess braid at the top. Depending on your hair length, your hair braider may need to add a pack of braiding hair to complete the goddess braid. Discuss with your stylist how much braiding hair will actually need to be included to get desired results.
Piecey Updo with Large Cornrows
This style can be done by your stylist or at home. If you're getting this done in a salon, tell your stylist you would like six cornrows at the front of your head with angled partings, and the rest of your hair, if you have the length, to be placed in a ponytail with your hair curled under and with separated pieces. If your stylist says you don't have enough length or volume, try adding in a hair piece such as the Revlon Twister Hairpiece.
For styling at home, part the top portion of the hair from ear to ear. Place the bottom portion of the hair in an elastic band to keep it out of the way. For the top portion of the hair, begin to make slanted or angled partings to start your cornrows. Split the hair into three sections and proceed to braid the hair all the way to the ends of the hair.
After completing the cornrows place the ends of the braids, along with the bottom portion of the hair into a high ponytail. If you're wearing your real hair, curl the ponytail with a flat iron and use pomade to separate pieces. If not, go ahead and attach your chosen hairpiece.
Spiked and Twisted Updo
If you have layers, this funky style will work in your favor for the spiked look. Tell your stylist you would like an off to the side spiked and knotted updo.
For at-home styling, first begin by parting the hair on the side, leaving a small portion of the hair out on one side only. Brush the rest of the hair into a side ponytail. Begin to tie the hair into a knot and pin it. Don't worry about fly-aways or falling layers, as they will add to the look. After making the first knot pin it, then make a second knot and secure it. Make sure the ends are left free. The ends can be flat ironed straight and separated with a pomade.
Barrel curls are an interesting updo option. If you're going to a salon, tell your stylist you would like a style that gives you volume at the crown and off-to-the-side barrel curls.
If you're doing this style at home, begin to back-comb the hair near the crown of the head to create volume. You can also use bumpits if you're not partial to back-combing. Brush the remaining hair to the side and secure with a ponytail holder. Begin to take sections of the ponytail and curl them with a curling iron. Loosely wrap the curls around your fingers to create a barrel curl. Secure the curls using bobby pins, but leave the ends out. Spray with a light holding spray.
Add flowers to your updo to accentuate beautiful pin curls. This salt and pepper color can be achieved by those who are naturally going gray, or by adding in salt and pepper-colored extensions. Tell your stylist that you would like an updo with pin curls centered at the top of your head. Length will play a very big role in this style, so if you have short hair, prior to your appointment discuss with your stylist what length of extensions will be needed and how many bags or bundles will be used. Be sure to wrap the hair in a satin scarf to preserve your style.
For more creative hair options, take a look at pictures of hair color for African American women.