How to Create a Messy Braided Updo

Messy, braided updos are great for when you want to get your hair out of the way, but don’t want to put in the effort to make things look sleek and smooth. They are great for those with curly hair, but people with straight hair can pull them off too. You can easily make them fit for a special night out by tucking in a simple hair accessory or two.


EditMaking a Single-Braid Bun

  1. Make a side part in your hair. It does not matter what side you make the part on. You will be braiding the side that has more hair.
  2. Grab a small section from your hairline. Make sure that you grab it from the side that you parted your hair on. For example, if you parted your hair to the left, grab the hair from the left side of the part.[1]
    • Consider clipping the rest of your hair out of the way.
    • If you have bangs, grab your hair from just above your bangs.[2]
  3. Start braiding that section of hair. You can do a French braid or a Dutch braid if you want to get fancy.[3] You can also just do a regular braid if you want something simpler.
  4. Continue braiding until you reach the nap of your neck. Finish doing a regular braid, then tie it off with a clear elastic. Do not add any more hair to that section. You will be left with a thin braid. The rest of your hair should be loose.[4]
  5. Pull your hair into a low ponytail. Do not include the braid in this ponytail.[5] Secure the ponytail with a hair tie that matches your hair color.
    • For an even messier look, exclude a few strands of hair from the ponytail in addition to the braid.
  6. Twist the ponytail into a bun. Secure the bun with another hair tie, then use bobby pins to secure the bun to your head. Once again, do not include the braid in the bun.[6]
  7. Wrap the braid around the base of your bun. Secure the braid with a few more bobby pins. If you left a few strands of hair loose, wrap them around the bun as well, and secure them with bobby pins.[7]
  8. Finish it off. Go back to the braid coming out of your part. Use your fingers to gently pull the loops making the braid apart. This will make it look fluffier and messier.[8] If you have bangs, consider curling them for a delicate look. You can also tuck them behind your ear, or clip them out of the way.[9]

EditMaking a Doubled-Braided Updo

  1. Part your hair. You can part it down the center of off to the side. This style works best with shoulder to collarbone-length hair.[10]
  2. Section off your hair. Separate two thin sections of hair from your temples. Pull the rest of your hair back, then tie or clip it out of the way.[11]
  3. Braid the two sections. Braid the first section, then tie it off with a clear elastic. Braid the other section, and tie it off at well.[12] When you are done, they will be sort of dangling by your face. If you’d like to, you can temporarily clip them out of the way.
  4. Split the rest of your hair into two sections. Untie or unclip your hair. Split it down the center into two equal-sized sections, just like making two braids or pigtails.[13]
  5. Braid both sections of hair. Do not include the mini braids from the top of your head. Tie each back braid off with a clear elastic.[14] If your hair is very thick, you may need to use a mini hair tie or regular hair tie instead. Be sure to use one that matches your hair color, however.
  6. Pin the left back braid across the back of your head. Take the left back braid. Pull it across the back of your head, towards your right ear. Secure it with bobby pins.[15]
    • If your hair is very long, you may have to bring the braid back over to the left side of your hair, and secure it with more bobby pins.
  7. Repeat for the right back braid. Take the right back braid, and pull it across the back of your head, right above the first braid. Secure it with bobby pins. Tuck the end under itself, and secure it with some more bobby pins.[16]
    • The right braid should hide the end of the left braid. If it doesn’t, then tuck and pin the end of the left braid out of sight.
    • Again, if your hair is long, you will need to wrap the right braid back towards the right side of your head.
  8. Pin the mini braids above the back braids. Unclip the mini braids. Wrap them across the back of your head, right above the back braids. Tuck the ends under themselves, then secure the mini braids with bobby pins.[17]


  • These style work best with unwashed hair. If you just washed you hair, consider adding a texturizing spray or mousse to it.
  • Use hair ties and bobby pins that match you hair color.
  • If you can’t find bobby pins that match your hair color, try painting them with matching nail polish first.
  • If you can’t find clear elastics and have dark hair, you can use black elastics instead.
  • Dress the updo up with a chic hair accessory.
  • Spray the updo with a lightweight hairspray for extra hold.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Mini hair ties or clear elastics
  • Bobby pins

EditSources and Citations

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