Who says updos are just for long-haired women? You can definitely rock a variety of updos even with short hair. You just need to get a little bit more creative when it comes to styling it. With proper research and technique, you can even reimagine updos created for long hair to work on short hair or any hair length for that matter.
Don’t believe us? Here are 110 beautiful short hair updos you can wear for all occasions.
Bridal updos for short hair
It’s a shame you can’t instantly grow a magical 10 inches of your hair in time for your wedding, huh? Those bridal magazines really do a good job selling updos for long hair to many brides-to-be. Don’t worry though, you can still get that elegant look you want even short hair.
Got just above the shoulder hair? Curls are your best friend. They can instantly create drama with volume without having to resort to creating a bun. But if you also have thin hair, you might need a little bit more of extra help from a few hair clip-ons. We’re sure any experienced hair stylist has them on hand for just this kind of scenario.
Those clip-on hair extensions can also help you achieve this classic bridal look. They’ll help thicken your hair out so you can fake having long hair. Pro-tip: It’s best to stick with low styles like this one to make the best of your hair length.
Here’s another way you can use curls to style short hair for a bridal look. Fake an updo and have your stylist curl your hair into waves to be styled into a beehive-like shape. Pin the ends of your hair to create a clean silhouette. This technique will be particularly useful for women who have short bobs or an overgrown pixie.
Going for a simple chignon is also a great idea as the style can accommodate almost all hair lengths. Sure, it may look too plain and simple for some but you can always amp up your look with accessories. We find that choosing a bedazzled hair barrette usually does the job.
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Fake length and volume with all kinds of curls
As you’ve seen from the previous section, curls really do a fantastic job in creating the illusion of volume for short hair updos. Here are more looks proving that fact.
With curls and some strategic hair pinning, you can have plenty of style choices when it comes to dressy or simple updos.
We find that wider and looser curls are the best choice for short-haired girls. Because of their elongated shape, they give hair the illusion of length. What more, they’re really much more elegant-looking than tight curls, don’t you think? Besides, if you wanna go for a messy-chic updo like the one above, loose curls work best.
See what we mean? Loose curls worn in an updo typically create casual looks which are best to wear for casual to semi-formal occasions like garden weddings and the like. Pro-tip: Make sure to do these hairstyles on day-old hair as it can hold on to curls more effectively than clean hair.
If you want a more put-together look, you can opt for more-defined curls like the one above. These curls can be the perfect canvas for both half-updos and updos for bridesmaids. Just be prepared as getting curls like these usually take longer. However, the perk is that they last longer than regular ones.
Fun and flirty short hair updos for casual wear
There are also plenty of short hair updos you can wear for casual day looks. One of the most popular ones right now is the half-up top bun. The style looks great on any hair length but is the cutest when worn on short hair. The addition of wispy bangs to the look also gives it a youthful vibe.
If you’re active on Instagram or read celebrity magazines, then you’re probably all too familiar with space buns. Sure, most people associate this style with children but it has become one of the hallmarks of modern street fashion today. It may not be everyone’s taste, but don’t be afraid to try out this style.
Want to go full trendy? Why not combine the half-up top bun and space bun hairstyles in one look? Look festival-ready with this creative and fun style that you can wear on casual days out or a trip to the beach. Add in some braids or an eye-catching hair accessory to complete the look.
Look completely badass with side cornrows on an overgrown pixie cut. Growing out a short cut has plenty of awkward stages but that doesn’t mean you should look awkward, too. This is also a fantastic alternative for women who find a complete side shave too drastic and permanent.
The similar style also works with bobs and lobs as you can see from the look above. Just make sure to hide the ends of your hair more effectively though.
A throwback to vintage-style updos that flatter short hair
What we like best about vintage hairstyles is that most of them are pretty accommodating for short hair. A great example is this 1940’s updo which can easily be done on lobs and even bobs.
One downside though is that they typically require more skill to do on yourself. But hey, Youtube hair tutorials are there for a reason, right? To prove our point, here’s a tutorial for a look similar to this one. Feel free to try it out yourself!
No wonder vintage updos still remain popular on the red carpet. We particularly love this curled and parted updo on Katherine Heigl. We mean, what’s not to love?
If the 1960s are more your style, you can copy Emma Watson’s faux beehive on short hair. We gotta admit, we’re pretty impressed by the creativity her hair stylist showed for this look. They really knew how to play up her hair length and still create a stylish look without seeming like they tried to hide her hair length too hard.
Going for a 1920s flapper look is probably the best route if you have a short bob or something of a similar length. Remember how short hair became hugely popular in the 1920s and 1930s? Modernize the look and take cues from Zooey Saldana’s more laid-back version of the often defined curls of that era.
Half-updos are a short-haired girl’s best friend
Or you know, you can embrace half-updos more, too. They take less time to pull off but still give off major cute vibes. Create a fun and flirty look with a simple waterfall braid along with some curls. This half-updo is also a pretty versatile hairstyle that you can wear for something casual like a coffee date or something a bit more formal like a garden wedding.
Don’t be afraid to incorporate little bits from your favorite hairstyles into your own perfect half-updo. You’ll have plenty of styling options since all styling will be focused on the top part of your hair. Take inspiration from this vintage-inspired braided look.
For busy days when you only have five minutes to style your hair, go for something like this half-up fishtail braid on short hair. Of course, you can also use other types of braids depending on your preference. Finally, secure your braids with a couple of hairpins that match the color of your hair.
Looking for something a bit fancier? Try putting your hair in a French-style side braid with a deep side part. Add some oomph to the style and curl the ends of your to preserve some length. Don’t forget to secure your hard work with some extra hold hairspray to make it last all day.
Never underestimate the power of hairpins and hairspray.
Since putting short hair up into an updo often results in short baby hairs to become more noticeable, consider hairspray and hairpins as your best friends. Stock up on them to achieve different hairstyles and pull them off.
Here’s a great example of how hairpins can benefit you. Want to put your bob up into a bun? While your hair’s length can get you a top bun, you’ll still have to deal with the pesky shorter hair strands at your nape. Get rid of this problem and put in some rows of hairpins behind your head.
You can also fake a complex updo using tons of hairpins and zigzagging hair twists. The picture above is pretty self-explanatory on how you can DIY this look at home. Just ensure that you secure your pins snuggly to avoid your twists from unraveling. We find that spraying your pins with a coat of hairspray before putting them in your hair usually does the trick.
Look effortlessly elegant with this simple folded-in low bun for short hair. To get this look, start with a ponytail and then part it above the hair tie in the middle. Next, roll the rest of your hair inside the part you created and secure the ends with hairpins.
Turn your overgrown pixie into a red carpet-worthy updo with a little help from some strategic pinning and tons of hairspray.
Here’s a similar look on Katherine McPhee. While we’re not a fan of this hair color on her, her Greek goddess-inspired hairstyle is simply to die for, don’t you think?
Keep your updo low to make the best of your hair length
Since you gotta preserve the already short hair length you have, you don’t want to cut into it further with a high ponytail or bun. Besides, low ponytails and buns, especially when paired with a deep side part, easily give the wearer a sophisticated and elegant vibe. This is definitely a look you can wear to the office.
If you want something more complicated than a simple low bun, you can incorporate elements of other hairstyles to it. Here’s a fantastic example of this principle in action.
Better yet, divide your hair into smaller sections and put them in twisted buns like the one above. This loose and laid-back look is the perfect one to wear on a busy day of errand-running. It will definitely do the job of keeping hair out of your eyes, so you can focus on finishing that long to-do list.
If you have side bangs, keep them in place by doing a side twist first and then tying it back into a low bun. You can also leave a few strands loose to frame your face. We find that using hair pins instead of hair ties is a better way to secure your way and still make it look neat.
Still, you can opt to use a small section of your own hair to wrap around your ponytail for a more seamless look.
Learn the wonder of creative hair weaving
We’re big fans of hair weaving as a styling technique. It utilizes the hair’s length pretty well and it just looks so cool, too. It may look complicated, but trust us, you can definitely learn how to do this on your own. Start with this hair weaving tutorial and we’re sure you can master it after a few practice looks.
See what we mean? Hair weaving is a magical look but it isn’t sorcery at all. You’ll find plenty of cheat sheets like this online. We’ve included our favorite ones here. Take a look and pick the one you like best and try it out on yourself or a friend’s hair.
Seriously, who would’ve expected frame 9 to come out of that simple half-up pony from frame 3? Creativity can really take things to a whole new level, huh? Think you can invent your own hair weaving updo for short hair? There’s nothing to lose if you try!
If the looks above are still too complicated for you, you may want to start with this simpler look. Try it out and tell us how it goes!
The great thing about this hairstyle is that it’s a great alternative for going to a hair stylist for a formal updo. Hey, not all of us have the cash to blow every time a friend of ours is getting married, right?
Braids always work for just about any hair length
We swear braids just looks great on everyone regardless of hair color and hair length. And you don’t need to be a master braider to pull off braided looks. Case in point is this cute and simple side braid on a curled bob.
With the many types of braids out there, you can pretty much come up with endless looks that’ll work on your short hair. For example, you can use a French-style or Dutch-style braid to put your hair in an updo by wrapping the braid around your head.
You can also mix braid styles to create unique and brand new looks. Take cues from Jennifer Morrison’s fishtail and milkmaid braid mash up. This is an amazing look to wear on casual days out on the beach or on a coffee date.
Not a fan of fishtail braids? Get the look with a simple three-strand braid instead. Make them look extra full and thick by teasing the hair first before putting it in very loose braids. This way you’ll end up with a messy-chic look. Amp up the messy part and let a few (or more) hair strands loose on the sides, too.
You can also use braids to keep the upper half of your hair looking good before you tie the rest into a low bun. Try out a headband braid to keep short bangs out of your eyes.
A crowning braid paired with a low bun will also do the trick.
Aside from using tons of hairpins, another way you can avoid stray short hairs is by styling your hair from the bottom up. For example, you can use an inverted braid to secure the back part of your hair to pull off a bold look similar to what Alicia Keys’ has in the red carpet photo above.
You can even do multiples of this braid to create a funky look like the one on the right.
The technique particularly looks good when with a French-braid and thick textured hair to create a full-bodied look. You may need to do a few practice tries in order to get the style right though.
But if your hair’s just too short to put into a consistent braid, opt for a series of mini buns at the back instead. The look will definitely get you a few head turns given its creativity and uniqueness.
Here’s another take on the ingenious style. You can go as big or as small as your hair allows. Just make sure to do the buns in a similar size to each other.
What do you think of these gorgeous updos for short hair? Did you find a style you like?
Scroll further down to see our full list of short hair updos.