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The right updo takes your look far away from the everyday. Sweep hair up for a dose of instant drama and feminine flair for all your holiday parties. Sure, the updo can be daunting, but professional intervention is not always needed. Unless it's your wedding or another stellar style situation where only perfection will do, a little know-how and practice is all it takes to live it up right -- day, night, anytime.
Here, five updos you can try at home. Be sure to select the style that complements your face shape.
Chignon Who it's for: This style is slimming for round faces, especially when volume is added at the crown to elongate the face.
How-to: Collect hair into a ponytail at nape of neck and secure with a clear or hair-colored elastic. Pull the ponytail through a chignon pillow (found at beauty supply stores) and wrap hair around it. Secure with bobby pins. For a sophisticated and clean look, slick hair back. For a more romantic look, try a sideswept front.
French Twist Who it's for: Good for all face shapes, since you can customize by adjusting hair volume to flatter face shape.
How-to: Gather hair into a ponytail between crown and nape, but don't anchor it. Twist the ponytail all around, twice. Tuck ends into twist and secure with bobby pins. Smooth out the rest of the hair by carefully brushing over the twist and securing strays.
Alternate method: Smooth hair over the top of the head with a brush into a loose ponytail. Sweep hair to one side, then secure hair in this position by placing bobby pins up the center. Brush the remaining hair down, twisting and securing it over the pins with longer bobby pins. Use small bobby pins to secure the twist and smooth where needed. Pull out a few strands around the face to soften the look, spread out the hair on top of the twist, and spray lightly with hairspray.
Loose Waves Who it's for: This style works for just about any face shape. Adjust curls to flatter your own face shape.
How-to: Separate hair into small sections, and curl hair with a one-inch curling iron. Take random pieces and secure to crown with bobby pins. Leave some soft loose pieces in the front to frame face.
A Funky, Retro Updo Who it's for: This style works for just about any face shape
How-to: Comb your hair and then part to one side. Take a two-inch-thick piece of hair from the front of your head, on the side of the part with more hair. Section it off, and pull the rest of the hair on that side behind the ear. Lift the section of hair, and back-comb it with the teasing comb. Pick up the teased section from the end, and roll it backward, creating a barrel. Secure it to your head with bobby pins. Repeat with a section of hair on the other side of the part. Grab the remaining hair on both sides from just above the ear and pull it into a mid-height ponytail. Twist the top half of the ponytail, the part closer to your head, and pin it at the elastic band. Take the remaining loose end of the ponytail, wrap it around the elastic band, and secure it with a bobby pin.
Braided Bun Who it's for: This style works for round, square, or oval faces, but adds too much height for long faces.
How-to: Create a tight ponytail with a clear or hair-colored elastic. Divide ponytail into three equal sections, braid, and secure with an elastic at the end. Pulling it above its base, wrap the braid around itself, securing the edges to the head with bobby pins. Flatten any flyaways with hair pomade and finish with hairspray.
Tips for Making Your Updo Last 1. Skip the shampoo. Don't wash your hair the day you want to style an updo. Freshly washed hair is too slippery to grip a style well.
2. Use funky hair accessories as an anchor for your updo. I like sparkly diamond-studded barrettes for evening, colorful clips that slide into hair for daytime casual, or an elegant tortoiseshell comb for any time.
3. Styling products are an updo's best friend. Use the right one for your hair type:
-- Curly heads should use styling cream, silicone, or oil, but avoid sprays or mousse, which are too stiffening.
-- Straight hair types should try pomade for extra shine. Mousse or volume sprays also help build texture and make hair more "grippable."
-- Thick tresses triumph with straightening balm, hair polish, and silicone.
A mist of hairspray, designed for your hair type, is a must-have finale for all updos.