The Messy Side Updo

As a hairstylist, I’ve done a lot of wedding hair. The most frequently requested style, and also the most universally flattering, is the low side updo. And the messier the better. I am not a fan of polished, perfect updo’s. They look too “placed on”, instead of lived in! 

So here is the tutorial for a low Messy Side Updo! Perfect for any fancy occasion, or if you are just feeling fancy when you go to the grocery store. :)

A few things to consider:
1. Hair my length or longer will work with this style. Any shorter and you may have issues with it falling out.
2. The longer the hair, the more bobby pins.
3. You must must MUST have some sort of product in your hair (hairspray is prefered) for it to hold as you are styling it. 
4. You can adjust how far to the side it is, based on each section placement.

Refer to this post to see what’s in my hair. 


**I’m wearing a new lip color by MAC called Bare Again.

(Top: Banana Republic Outlet, Earrings: Elisabeth Ashlie Jewelry, Jeans: Francesca’s skinny jeans that I rolled up myself {no name}, Shoes: Target Grey Wedges) 

Comments

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  1. Lauren says

    LOVE this! However, I think i’m going to have to wait until my hair grows a tad longer. I like more “played” in updo’s myself.

  2. says

    Thanks for another useful, stylish and simple tutorial! I get multiple complements whenever I style my own hair accordingly.
    I had a question for you. How useful is sea salt spray in creating a wave in hair? Is it drying or damaging to hair with frequent use? Do you have a specific brand you recommend? The back, bottom portion of my hair has developed quite a natural wave, while the top, front of my hair remains fairly straight. A little uniformity would be nice on days I don’t want to blow dry and flat iron, etc.
    Thank you for any advice!

  3. Anonymous says

    I look forward to your tutorials on Monday! I am a hair stylist myself, and love the cute ideas. Thanks for posting :) Can not wait till the next one ! :) Kim

  4. kendra says

    LOVE THIS!!!!! I could spend hours touring around your blog…I have thin/fine hair and my hair is long(probably mid back length) and it never seems to hold curl..I think my problem is that I am not using enough products. Cant wait to go buy some new products and try these styles!!! Also, I am curious, What college did you go to in NC? I live in Western NC and went to Western Carolina University.

  5. says

    I love this tutorial. I have tried my own way of a “messy side up do” and yours is a winner! I can’t wait to try it out – house work can wait! You have the cutest profile as well. :)

  6. says

    Found your blog a few weeks ago from pinterest… been stocking you ever since!! I love your tutorials, etc. My hair is now too short to do much of the updos, but still I love them!

    PS the cat in that picture is totally striking a pose. haha!

  7. says

    I’ve thought about this before, but seriously – can I “kidnap” you for a girls’ weekend of something sometime and spend the entire time having you impart to me all of your amazing wisdom and playing with our hair? I promise to give you loads of wine and chocolate and maybe – if we’re feeling especially decadent – a bunch of croissants topped off with champagne?! ;o)

  8. says

    Our Family: Aquage makes a sea salt spray. Google it. It might be exactly what you are looking for. But it could also be something like throwing a few loose curls in the top and sides to match the natural curl in the back?

  9. says

    Recently discovered your blog & I love it! I have slightly past my shoulder, naturally curly hair. I haven’t found many updos that work well with my length and texture, but almost everything you post looks so nice on me. Thank you! Thank you!!

  10. says

    Love this! Thanks so much for posting! This is very similar to how I had my hair done for my wedding, so it’s great to actually know how to do it. I tried this today for work, and was very surprised that it actually stayed put all day! This is the second one of your tutorials that I’ve done, and I again got a lot of compliments! A girl could get used to this! :)

  11. says

    I just found your blog. Totally awesome for you to share! I’m looking forward to scrolling through all your tutorials over the weekend when I have more time.

    Can I just say? You are drop dead gorgeous. Gah! I’m a bit jealous. LOL. That first picture of you right after the video is fabulous!

    Thanks again for sharing all this goodness with us. Can’t wait to look through it all.

  12. says

    I tried your messy updo today. You are right, it will take some practice but the first attempt is cute enough that I’ll certainly be doing it again and again until I master this. Thanks again for the tutorial!

  13. Anonymous says

    I am attempting to do this style but am having a bit of trouble. My hair is longer, probably a couple inches below my collar bone. I can get the knotting part fine, but then what do I do with all the length? any help would be much appreciated!! thanks!

  14. Ashley says

    So I love this and I want to try it, BUT I don’t have cute bangs like you. Mine are almost the length of the rest of my hair. How should I include them into the do? Or should I just play with them and see what looks best? –Ashley

    • says

      Great blog post, I just passed this onto a usiterinvy student who was doing a little analysis on that. And he in fact purchased me lunch because I discovered it for him. .. So let me rephrase that: Thankx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and enjoy learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Two thumb up for this blog!

    • says

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  15. Anonymous says

    found you on pinterest…..your tutorials are some of the best – so easy to follow. You’re updo’s look awesome…..keep posting!!

  16. says

    I found you on Pinterest and have enjoyed perusing through your tutorials. I am also a hairstylist and I LOVE that you are showing how to do these styles on your own hair…no smoke and mirrors. And each style (not including prep time) seems to only take about 5-10 min. I took your advice and got the Aquage Uplifting Foam…LOVE it. I look forward to waking up each morning just so I can fix my hair. Been awhile since I could say that! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  17. says

    I tried this hairstyle today and I love it! Your tutorials are very helpful. I have been so tired of doing my hair the same 2 or 3 ways so I’m glad to have more ideas on what to do now!

  18. says

    You have changed my life! I just got my hair cut with bangs (longer than yours but inspired by you). Since then I have been watching all your tutorials. I have never been able to do my hair till now. Thank you!!

  19. says

    Hi, found your blog via Pinterest, and I really like this updo going to try it this weekend! I will follow your blog it looks very good and also ”simple” in a good way no complicated hair updo’s as I am not so handy with my long hair! Anyway thanks a lot and ”see” you soon!

    Marion
    (The Netherlands)

  20. Becky says

    You have literally changed my hair life. I get so many compliments on my hair styles now and I owe it all to you. Thank you for sharing the stylist inside scoop!

  21. Anonymous says

    Tried this today! Doesn’t look as good as yours, but for my first try it looks pretty good! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Such an awesome tutorial.

  22. says

    I came across your blog last night around 3 am cause I couldn’t sleep and actually did a hairstyle as well. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and think how the heck did I not find your blog any sooner! Thank you so much for sharing these tutorials. I have long hair and wih two kids it ends up in a ponytail… a lot! These tips are quick and easy and fun to do! Thank you so much!!!

  23. says

    Hi Kate, I loved your video tutorial. It was so much fun to watch. Thanks for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

    • says

      Excellent blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring wrierts? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any recommendations? Thanks!

    • says

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  24. says

    I’m Amy & I like many other found you through pinterest. Anyhow, do you think that this messy side updo is possible to do with long hair that goes to the middle of your back?

  25. says

    Just wanted to add to the others: your blog is amazing and a hair-changer for me! Tried this hairstyle just now and it worked great!! It IS easy, your way. Except I put it up too high, against your advice to put it between ear and neck. Oh, well. Something to work on next time.

  26. Lindsey says

    Hi- I saw what you said about just twisting long hair up, but is there a trick to getting the bobby pins to hold? It seems like they’re not wanting to stick in or maybe I’m trying to put too much hair up per pin? I have that’s longer and thick so maybe this updo won’t work? What are your thoughts? I LOVE yours and would love to be able to make it work!

  27. Lisa says

    I love your video, this hair style is amazing!! thank you so much. I did modify it a little bit and did a half up half down look using your technique, and it is so perfect. love your blog!

  28. Hope says

    Why is that you start with curly hair? It seems like by the end you are twisting it around in such a way that it wouldn’t matter if it were curly or straight.

    My sister shared your site with me and I have to say I am absolutely in love! Thank you!

  29. Chelsea says

    Kate, thank you so much for all your hair tutorials. I’ve been doing this do for a bit and love how it looks. Growing up, my mom wasn’t around much and never taught me how to do my hair. Now that I’m an adult, I love knowing how to do my hair and look girly every once and a while. I can’t thank you enough for helping me feel beautiful!

    • says

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  30. Anonymous says

    1) I appreciate it when you talk about what to do when you have different textures/thickness of hair than you have.
    2) I also liked it when you throw in a “don’t ever” do this. For some of us, this does not come naturally, so those obvious (to you) pointers help some of us.
    -Angie :)

  31. says

    Hi! I just wanted to say that I tried this style out last weekend for the hubby’s christmas party & I LOVED it! It took me a few tries but will definetly wear it again! Thanks so much for sharing & for all your hair pointers!

  32. Anne says

    I just tried this out last night for my husband’s holiday work party & I loved it! I received so many compliments on my hair & it was so easy! I have naturally curly hair, so I was able to skip the first step. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial!

  33. Anonymous says

    Hi i love this look but I have thick long curly hair it can be pain to work with. Do you have any ideas for New Years Eve party looks?

  34. Anonymous says

    This is my favorite site for hairstyles! You are so cute :) I just love your style! Classic but you can wear it any day of the week. Thank you for teaching me how to (safely) trim my bangs in between cuts, too. You are the bomb girl :)

  35. Anonymous says

    This is a really cute hairstyle…really simple, yet also elegant!
    My only complaint is that I needed to section my hair into four sections because of my length and thickness, but other than that, it’s a winner for me!!
    Thanks!

    • says

      Simply wish to say your post is as surprising. The crlaity in your post is just nice and i can assume you are an specialist on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to use your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the great work.

  36. Anonymous says

    Could you demonstrate a way to do this without having to tie a knot in the back? I have a graduated bob that is just a tad shorter than yours in the back and I can’t do the knot but I can put my hair up.

  37. Anonymous says

    I think you may be the cutest person I’ve ever seen! I love all the tutorials and am so glad that you don’t mind sharing that you got your pieces from target! Just shows you can look classy on any budget!

  38. says

    This is AH-MAZING. i’ve had curly hair all 16 years of my life, as do my 2 sisters and my mom, and its always an issue trying to find unique ways to do up-dos with the layers curly hair requires. i just tried this and it looked adorable. definitely wearing this to school tomorrow, thanks!!! :)

  39. Anonymous says

    So… I’m stuck at work for 12 hours but I can’t tell you how EXCITED I am to get off work and try this out! I live in NC also, but I’m guessing you’re closer to the Raleigh area :( BUMMER. Needless to say, I LOVE all your styles and that you take the time to walk us through step by simple step! I’ll leave another comment after I’ve tried it out! ;] -Ashley

  40. says

    My hair has recently been cut again.. And a year ago i went from blond (my whole life) to a brunette for my 30th birthday. i used to always try new and cute things to my hair but lately I’ve been bored and it’s a little frustrating. Now seeing your videos i feel excited again. Thank you so much for your blog!

    • says

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  41. says

    My hair has recently been cut again.. And a year ago i went from blond (my whole life) to a brunette for my 30th birthday. i used to always try new and cute things to my hair but lately I’ve been bored and it’s a little frustrating. Now seeing your videos i feel excited again. Thank you so much for your blog!

  42. says

    I am so going to try this tomorrow! I can do nothing with my hair except straiten it and put it up in a ponytail…I bought a curling iron today, and watched your tutorial on how to curl..so after that battle…I will totally give this a try! This looks simple enough, and with 4 kids, (5, 2 1/2 and 8 1/2 month old twins) I DO NOT want mom hair..I want to look pretty without it taking an hour to acheive! Wish me luck!

  43. says

    Kate- I have 5 kids (13,10,7,4,& 3) and work full time as the office manager of a small private classical school that my husband and close friend started 7 years ago. (www.dominionclassical.org)
    I LOVE YOUR BLOG! You have a true gift in educating us “inquiring minds” in all things fashion and beauty.
    As you can imagine, I do NOT have a lot of time to devote to getting MYSELF ready. About how long does it take for you to get ready?– from the time you step out of the shower, until you are ready to walk out the door?
    I love all your tutorials and how easy you make it look~ very inspirational! THANK YOU!

    Christy
    http://gloriouscacophony.blogspot.com/

  44. Anonymous says

    Kate,

    Thank you so much for these easy to follow tutorials! I had a beach wedding last month and wanted something laid back and easy. I was able to do my own hair for my wedding and everyone was astonished when I told them I did it myself. Thanks for helping make my wedding day (and my wedding pictures!!) a success!

    Jill

  45. says

    i was in my sister’s wedding in july and i did this hairstyle! all the other bridesmaids had theirs done and said they liked mine better. :) thanks for saving me some moolah and for all the tips!

  46. Laura says

    I have never been one to “do” my hair. Mostly flat iron and go. Love, love, love your blog. I tried this for a date night with my hubby and it was great. Your video was perfect especially for me a visual person. Thank you! I have some confidence now that I don’t have to have my hair the same all the time.

  47. Anonymous says

    I did your messy side do for a wedding I was going to. It turned out beautiful!! I got so many complements (my hair looked better than the brides). Your video was easy to follow and the “do” was easy to “do” on my own hair. Can’t wait to try other styles for date night! Thanks!!!! Lisa

  48. says

    I found you on pinterest and LOVE your hair tutorials. Most of the hair tutorials on pinterest are for long hair or I just find pictures with no instructions. All your hair styles are super super cute, I’m so excited to try them all!

  49. says

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  50. says

    I looove your site :) I have longish hair that I’ve known what to do with! Your site has been pure gold for me!! I have done this hairstyle six times now and every time I do it, it turns out differently. Each time, it gets easier and looks a bit better. People always think I have gone and gotten it done professionally. Love that!!! Thanks so very much for your work with these tutorials. You are a blessing to many people!!!

  51. says

    Thank you so much. I love your tutorials. I have hair the same length as yours and have been putting up the same boring way for years. These hairstyles make me feel so much better! Thank you!

  52. says

    I have thicker and longer hair and it helped so much when I sectioned my hair into four sections instead of three! Thanks so much for your tutorials! I plan on styling my hair like this for my upcoming bridal shower!

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