Life & Beauty Weekly: Hair & Beauty

By Stephanie Tweito Jacob for Life & Beauty Weekly


When you think of updos, you may think of fancy, elaborate hairdos and a major time commitment. But updos really can be casual and easy!

“The word updo confuses many — it’s an intimidating visual that comes to mind for most,” says Andrea Claire, celebrity hair and makeup artist who has worked with Miranda Richardson, Sarah Slean and Alanis Morissette. “But an updo is simply an upswept hairstyle.” Try these four easy updos that work for day and night.

For Fine Hair: A Casual Knot
It’s important to roughen up soft, fine strands to keep them from slipping out of the style, says Claire. “The problem with fine hair is that as soon as a few pieces start slipping, more will soon follow,” she says. Apply about three fingertips worth of a strong-hold gel to damp hair from roots to tips before blow-drying. Tousle hair with your fingers as you dry, then spritz 2-inch sections with a styling spray before you start pulling it up.

Beginning at the front of your hair and working your way toward the nape of your neck, randomly pull pieces back (some small, some large), and pin them into an off-centre knot. Pin some pieces loosely, others tighter, until you achieve a pretty look that’s also a little crazy and free. A key tip when pinning back each section of hair: “For non-slipping upswept hair, pin hair by creating an X formation with two pins,” says Claire.

For Thick, Curly Hair: A Romantic Chignon
“Curly, thick hair is perfect for a romantic chignon — curly hair has a naturally softer appeal, leaving the look more whimsical and carefree,” says Claire. Start by pulling your hair into a low, slightly off-centre ponytail and securing it with an elastic, leaving the front sections loose around your ears. Then, gently twist the tail as you loosely wrap it around the elastic, creating a sort of relaxed chignon.

Secure all four corners of the chignon with hairpins. (Again, be sure to use the “x” formation when placing the pins.) Don’t worry if a few strands fall out — it’s all part of the look. Next, divide the remaining hair around your ears into a few pieces and pin them back one at a time to either the chignon or your head. Again, it needn’t be too neat! Finish with a flexible-hold spray.

For Straight Hair: Go High
“A high chignon looks both sophisticated and polished on straight hair,” says Claire. To pull off the look, she advises using colour-matching accessories with your hair. “In other words, if you have brown hair use brown elastics,” says Claire. “Not matching your hair accessories can look awkward and tacky.”

A high chignon is even easier if you use a hair donut the same colour as your hair (available at beauty supply stores). First, apply a volumizing mousse to damp hair before blow-drying. Spritz the front and sides with hairspray and pull hair back into a high ponytail with an elastic. Then, take the donut and slide your ponytail through the hole of the ring. Pin the donut on four corners at the base. Gently tease the ponytail with a fine-tooth comb, and then spread the hair around all sides of the donut. Tuck hair around the donut and pin hair on all four corners again before giving a final spray.

For Ponytail Lovers: A New Twist
If you’ve fallen into a ponytail rut, try shaking up your routine. Place it someplace new: just below the crown, at the nape of the neck or over to one side, securing with an elastic and leaving a few pieces loose around the front. Done!

Or take it to a new level: After spraying the front and sides of your hair, brush your hair back into a ponytail that’s high enough to be seen when you look straight into the mirror. Tease the base of the ponytail, spray each teased section with hairspray and gently smooth the top and sides.  “Every woman has a sweet spot for their ponytails,” says Claire. “The perfect height for you will help lift and awaken your facial appearance. You just need to choose from sleek (straightened), soft and elegant (curled) or natural for your overall ponytailed look.”

Stephanie Tweito Jacob is a freelance writer who specializes in beauty, fashion and health. She has held editorial positions at Allure, More and O, The Oprah Magazine.

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