Half Up to Full Updo


This is one of my favorite ways to style my hair, especially when it’s styled curly to begin with.
All you need is a few good bobby pins and hairspray!

1. If your hair doesn’t have any product in it, go ahead and spray a little bit a hairspray all over so it has some “grab”.
2. You can tease at the crown for a little extra lift (see this video for teasing)
3. Begin by sectioning off a small section at the back crown of your head and secure with two bobby pins running parallel.

 4. Loosely grab a section on one side of your head and pull it back and over the bobby pins in the center. Essentially, you are covering those first pins so you don’t see a mess of bobby pins it the back.

5. Do the same on the opposite side and cross over the section you just did. Secure with a pin or two and your done with the Half Up part. You can leave it just like this!

6. If you want to continue into an updo, swirl your hair in a circle, hold in place with one hand, and begin adding pins to the circle to hold it in place. 
(see those pins in there? If you stick them in perpendicular to your head you won’t see too much of them!)

And there you have it! Perfect simple updo that anyone can do! It helps to have hair approximately shoulder length or longer for the updo part, but anyone with shorter hair can always do the half up!
Good Luck and let me know how it goes!

Leave a Comment

Comments (80)

  1. Laura says
    Posted August 5, 2011

    you make it look so easy! I can never get my hair to stay with just bobby pins – I must be doing something wrong!

  2. Posted August 7, 2011

    Thanks Laura! Make sure you are putting the Bobby pins in zig zag side down! And insert them right where your fingers are holding the hair!

    • Anonymous says
      Posted August 7, 2012

      wow, such a simple thing, but I always used them the other way….explains alot and I will try it!

  3. Posted August 9, 2011

    love your up do I have long hair and often wear mine up in the summer and hot weather

  4. Kaysi says
    Posted August 9, 2011

    Love it! I need you to come do my hair because I know that it won’t look like yours when I do it!

  5. Heather says
    Posted August 12, 2011

    I love this hair idea! Would you be interested in doing a guest blog entry for us? Our blog focuses on brides on a budget. We’ve followed your blog, follow us back? Thanks for the great ideas for hair, so cute. -Heather

  6. Posted August 12, 2011

    Heather: absolutely! email me with more details. I am so excited! {[email protected]}

  7. Laura says
    Posted August 15, 2011

    Kate – I tried w/ the bobby pins zig zag side down and it worked beautifully. I had several people ask me if i got my hair professionally done! Thanks for the tips!

  8. Posted August 15, 2011

    Love ur hair do’s. Please share more!! 🙂

  9. Posted August 16, 2011

    Laura: so glad the zig zag side down bobby pins worked for you! 🙂

  10. Posted August 16, 2011

    Jessica: I’m definitely going to share more! Working on videos as I type!

  11. Chelsea says
    Posted August 16, 2011

    I am so trying this, this weekend for a wedding. my date and I are getting ready together in the hotel so it may be a lil more difficult with someone watching – might need to practice 🙂

  12. Posted August 16, 2011

    Chelsea: Definitely practice! And make sure you’re hair has hairspray on it BEFORE you try to put it up. It will work much better that way! Good luck and let me know how it goes!!

  13. Posted August 16, 2011

    I used to call the first hairstyle “up and down” when I was a kid. My mom would ask, “How do you want your hair?” and I’d say, “Up and down.” Gorge hair, and gorge do!

  14. Suzanna says
    Posted August 16, 2011

    so pretty, thanks for showing how it’s done! 🙂

  15. Posted August 16, 2011

    oh my goodness.

    your my NEW FAVORITE BLOG.

    you not only have been added to my blog roll,

    but i am working on a post to feature all your amazing tutoirals!

    can’t wait to see what you post next!

    -angie {you can find my blog here}

  16. Posted August 16, 2011

    Angela: Thank you so much!! Can’t wait to see the post!

  17. Posted August 17, 2011

    I have a wedding to go to this weekend, so this is perfect timing! Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  18. Carli says
    Posted August 21, 2011

    Really cute ‘do-may have to try this for work tomorrow!

  19. Posted August 23, 2011

    I just saw this on Pinterest and I LOVE it! I have ALOT of hair and can’t seem to get a bobby pin to stay in. What am I doing wrong??

  20. Posted August 26, 2011

    Found this on Pinterest thank goodness!! I will be trying this out!! I’ve looked through your other posts….great blog!! And now on to your Etsy!!
    Newest follower! 🙂

  21. Posted August 29, 2011

    How do you get your hair to look so “piecey”? (Is that even a word?!)

  22. Posted August 29, 2011

    Brandi: It’s because it was curled, hair sprayed about 10 hours “old”. If you try the curling your hair with a curling iron tutorial you’ll see that you don’t brush out the curls, you just separate them with your fingers. Hope that helps and thanks for reading!! 🙂

  23. Posted September 2, 2011

    You make it look so easy! I need to try this. Gorgeous.

  24. Posted September 7, 2011

    Well. I LOVE this half-up style and tried it, but maybe my hair’s just not right for this one. (?) I have long fine, straight hair, no bangs. My problem was figuring out how much hair to start with in that initial section at the back of the crown. Too much and the pins won’t hold it. Not enough and I end up with weird extra hair around my face that just hangs there. *sigh*

    I do a half-up messy bun a lot of the time (with an elastic band, no pins) but I could definitely use some ideas for something that looks a little more finished…


  25. Posted September 7, 2011

    Kristofer and Ivy: Sorry you are having trouble. Sometimes certain styles won’t work with certain textures. My sister has longer hair than mine so maybe the styles I do on her will work better for you!

  26. Posted September 9, 2011

    Hello I am new to your blog and i love it.. the first thing i saw was your apple pie! WHOA DELISH!!! anyway i have extremely long hair.. like down to sacrum. (top of booty) I usually do braids, fishtails, and buns/ponytails. but as you would probably suspect all that hair is so heavy and causes aches. what other hair styles would you recommend? ps, my hair is layered, but could use a “re-shape” as i call it. Much love!

  27. Posted September 10, 2011

    Melissa: sounds like you have long hair! Have you considered cutting it to your shoulder blades? Sometimes long hair begins to “take away” from the hairstyle since it’s just sooo looong, you know?

    That might help give your hair a little life! 🙂

  28. Posted October 4, 2011

    I just spent two hours watching you tube videos and trolling your site! How awesome!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could just take a class and figure out how to do something – anything with my hair. But it’s embarrassing to admit you need help! Now with three daughters, I really need ideas. Thanks so much – you make it easy and so do-able! Love it!!

  29. Becca says
    Posted October 7, 2011

    I am so glad I came across your blog… I think you may have saved my hair’s life! 🙂

  30. Posted October 15, 2011

    I did this today and it looked amazing! And my hair -never- looks amazing, haha! So thank you so much for posting this! however, my hair typically doesn’t stay curled for very long, no matter how much hair spray I use. Is there another product I should be using before I curl my hair to help with this? Thanks so much!!

  31. Posted October 15, 2011

    Amanda: try using a medium hold hairspray before you curl! That will help a lot!

  32. Posted October 16, 2011

    So pretty. Found you through pinterest I love it! Now I’m off to explore your blog.

  33. Courtney says
    Posted October 19, 2011

    I tried doing this on my hair, but I have naturally very thick curly hair and the bobby pins won’t stay. I love this hairstyle and would love it to work with my hair, is there a trick to using bobby pins on curly hair? Thanks!

  34. Amanda says
    Posted October 23, 2011

    This is great! Thanks so much for the tutorial! I usually have a mess of bobby pins showing…now I know how to polish my half-up style! I’ll be following you!
    Best Wishes and Blessings,

  35. Posted October 25, 2011

    Thanks for the tutorial. Wore my hair in the half-up style to a wedding this last weekend. It was so much fun and I loved that it went up with only 4 bobby pins!

  36. Lucy says
    Posted October 28, 2011

    My reaction when I saw the finished style “whoa my God thats beautiful”. I really love your hair styles they are so nice and the tutorials are ‘recreate friendly’ Thanks a bunch for sharing.

  37. Posted November 21, 2011

    Hi kate! i got the half part just fine… but the circle part i’m really confused on how you got it to look like a circle and how you put the pins in. i tried the zig zag part of the pins down and still it’s coming out a blob. any hints?

  38. Anonymous says
    Posted November 22, 2011

    cute! great for thinner hair, but not the best for thick.

  39. Posted November 23, 2011

    You’re just the best thing ever. It helps me too that your hair is similar in color and length to mine, so when I’m futzing through the tutorial it looks just like what I’m working with 🙂

  40. Posted November 28, 2011

    Awesome..you should get the blonde bobby pins and you can’t see them at all!

  41. Chelsea says
    Posted December 1, 2011

    Kate! I just found your blog on pinterest and I LOVE IT. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do cute updos and curl my hair with a straightening iron! Well.. I tried curling it with the straightening iron… I only got a few real curls and they didn’t hold (any tips?). Soo I tried this style with my half curled/bouncy hair and it’ll be awesome for the holidays.

    I’m a college student and over break I’m planning on tackling some of these hair dos.. Wish me luck 🙂

  42. Sarah says
    Posted December 4, 2011

    Thanks for this tutorial! I did my hair like this last night for a military ball. I’ve never done such an easy (and time efficient) updo that made me feel so elegant!

  43. Lauren says
    Posted December 10, 2011

    I just bought a hot tools curling iron and was looking for some tutorials (since I can’t curl my hair and make it look good – it always looks like a burnt mess!) This is such a pretty hair style and I will definitely be attempting it! (half up)


  44. rachel says
    Posted December 22, 2011

    Do you have any suggestions for people with thin hair? My hair is pretty thin. How do you get the bump, my hair doesn’t do that because it is so thin, do you do the flat iron, and tease like in your video first?

  45. Anonymous says
    Posted December 24, 2011

    Kate, your blog is incredible – I am loving looking at your hair and trying to do this myself! I have naturally wavy hair and I always try and do different things so these are great ideas!

  46. Anonymous says
    Posted December 25, 2011

    Awesome!! Used this hairstyle on my hair at Christmas and I got many compliments!! I am thinking about using this updo for prom, with my hair straight!

  47. Laura says
    Posted December 26, 2011

    I need help with the curling process! Not sure what is wrong with me but I just can’t do it and I love your curls…HELP 🙂

  48. Posted December 27, 2011

    OH MY! I can do this!!! Yay! Thank you for taking the time to help us ladies be beautiful! 🙂

  49. Laura C says
    Posted January 4, 2012

    I tried this this morning and it turned out alright for my first try. my hair is probably a little shorter than yours and I have layers but this is a nice trick for something different, I just have to practice perfecting. At least it’s stayed in so far! Thanks for posting!

  50. Goates says
    Posted January 8, 2012

    You are my new favorite blog and I’ve recommended you to so many friends who are now asking me how come my hair always looks so cute now. 🙂 You are fabulous! Keep the hair style videos coming! I LOVE THEM!!!

  51. Sara says
    Posted January 18, 2012

    Do you have any videos and styles for short hair? Mine is above my shoulders.

  52. Myndi says
    Posted January 20, 2012

    Thank you for this! I tried this last night for my date with my husband and it was so easy to do and looked great! Can’t wait for more hair tutorials!

  53. Posted January 31, 2012

    cute i’m 13 this is so cute thanks for sharing!!!!!

  54. Shewee810 says
    Posted February 12, 2012

    Could not make this work for the life of me – zig zag sbobbypins hairspray my hair is naturally curly so that wasnt it.. it almost seemed as if my hair was too short.(even though it is like the same length as yours..lol)but if was just like different layers popping out and looking extra hideous! so I’m Bummed.

  55. Posted February 20, 2012

    What bobby pins do you recommend? I have very thick hair.

  56. Carla says
    Posted February 29, 2012

    Thanks for sharing this style. I have a LOT of hair and, using a few more pins, am able to pull this off. Planning to use your idea for an upcoming job interview 🙂

  57. Anonymous says
    Posted March 3, 2012

    absolutely gorgeous & simple. thank you! i’m new to long hair, just moved back to the south, & unfortunately just hanging it natural is not very pleasant in south texas heat. thank you!

  58. Anonymous says
    Posted March 10, 2012

    can you do the half up with longer hair?

  59. Anonymous says
    Posted March 19, 2012

    I have never been able to make my hair look good. Just long, curly and just hanging there. You have made this so easy and I need to say thank you!!!! I will always keep an eye on your blog and its a favorite. Thanks again.

  60. Anonymous says
    Posted March 19, 2012

    I pinned the updo to my pinterest board last year and I get a repin almost every other day…100’s so far!

  61. Anonymous says
    Posted April 30, 2012

    Your site is my go to site for hair now. I have been trying to figure out how to get soft curls since I was in high school and I finally got it after watching your video. Thank you so much!!!!!

  62. Posted June 7, 2012

    Looks fantastic. Better than when I tried to do it.

  63. Anonymous says
    Posted June 26, 2012

    wow this is beautiful fantastic i love it on my hair it camee out soo great , i love this page thanks for the adives & tips

  64. Anonymous says
    Posted August 5, 2012

    How do you do this all by yourself?? I think you’re hiding 2 extra arms somewhere…or maybe…eyes in the back of your head!! LOL anyway…LOVE it!!!!

  65. cc says
    Posted August 7, 2012

    Thank you so much. I just watched your videos!! They were so helpful!!

  66. Stephanie says
    Posted August 21, 2012

    Hey Kate, I actually didnt know you had a blog until the other day when I saw it on Justins facebook, that yall went out and 4 people recognized you from the blog. I’m his cousin. Anyways, I have absolutely fallen in love with this. Yesterday I did the pretty ponytail, it was too freaking cute and today I did the half updo with a messy bun at the bottom. I love how you break it down into steps and make it do able for just about anyone!


  67. Anonymous says
    Posted September 9, 2012

    omg how do u do that im 11 so in middle school u have 2 look great it looks so eazy but hope it will work on my wavy hair 🙂 😮
    thanks 2

  68. Anonymous says
    Posted September 16, 2012

    This looks beautiful!! I can never do anything with my hair. its shoulder length at the front and about an inch shorter at the back but is also really really soft so never stays up. ill give the half up do a try though to see how it goes! Beth X

  69. Erin says
    Posted September 23, 2012

    I love all of these hairstyles but none of them work on my hair because I have extremely thick straight hair, that is cut in a bob with straight across bangs. Do you have any suggestions for me?

  70. Ashley says
    Posted April 9, 2013

    My hair is a long a-line, but it’s really thick! I don’t think 4 bobby pins could hold my hair. Maybe I should start at the top with less hair and do more sections?

    I love your blog and tutorials! I’m here via Pinterest 🙂

  71. Posted August 3, 2013

    Question, my hair is straight and will nit hokd a curk, wave nothing..urrr. any suggestions on how I can successfully master this fabulous up do. Oh. And BYW I have a cowlick in a widow’s peak I know lucky me you’re jealous..~Thanks Jamie, Trussvilke, Al

  72. Amy says
    Posted September 16, 2014

    Hi Kate-
    Just a quick FYI I found these pictures on Pintrest today and when I opened the link a VERY naked woman showed up. Someone has hacked something somewhere on Pintrest or elsewhere using your photos.
    Thought you would want to know.

  73. Posted September 20, 2014

    Hi there to every , since I am genuinely eager of reading this website’s post to be updated on a regular
    basis. It carries nice material.

  74. jovana says
    Posted September 20, 2014

    OMG! you literally saved me with this updo! I have a wedding to go to in T-35 MINUTES and i just got home from work. i love you.

  75. Posted September 20, 2014

    Great article.