Pretty & Simple Updo Tutorial

Today’s tutorial is full of tricks. Maybe I have halloween on my mind, or maybe I’m just tricky like that.
Either way, this one is really simple to do!
It’s especially great for thick hair, or hair that is difficult to pin up. Even if you have a “medium” (not thin, not thick) texture, though, it can still be a great tutorial for you!
You’ll need a few clear elastics, a fairly decent amount of bobby pins and some hairspray. You can do a straight hair-ed version of this too, but you’ll have an easier time with curls! 

pretty and simple hair tutorial- The Small Things Blog
Green Dress: Target
Grey Sweater: Gap (similar)
Belt: J.Crew (similar)
Earrings: Elisabeth Ashlie (out of stock! hoping to add more soon!)

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Comments (96)

  1. Zelma says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    So cute!!

  2. Posted October 8, 2012

    I want that dress!!

    • Kate says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      go get it! it’s GREAT!

  3. Posted October 8, 2012

    Kate I adore your hairstyles – you never run out of ideas.( I had a little giggle today as I think you meant to edit out “this is where we are” x3. Made it on the 3rd time!! ) Keep them coming! XX

    • Kate says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      Whoops! Thanks for mentioning this! Totally missed that when I was editing!

    • Posted October 8, 2012


  4. Amanda says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    I especially love the ghetto throwback “this is where we at.”. Hehe.

  5. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    It’s telling me “this video is private”…?

  6. Kate says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    I missed a part that needed editing! Will make public in a few hours!

    • Posted October 8, 2012

      I thought you maybe had – it showed your lovely sense of humour though!! Go edit!!! XX

    • Anonymous says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      Gotcha! Thanks!!

  7. Brooke says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    Your hair looks great! =)


  8. Tara says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    Love the look and the hair, looking forward to the tutorial 🙂

  9. Posted October 8, 2012

    🙁 I can’t view the video… it is telling me it is private 🙁 is there something I need to do to view it?

    • Kate says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      If you read a few comments up you’ll see that I need to edit it! Will repost later today

  10. Posted October 8, 2012

    On my computer is says video is private

    • Kate says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      If you read a few comments up you’ll see that I need to edit it! Will repost later today

  11. Posted October 8, 2012

    It says the video is private and won’t let me watch 🙁

    • Kate says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      If you read a few comments up you’ll see that I need to edit it! Will repost later today

  12. Posted October 8, 2012

    Can’t wait for the video to go public so I can see how you did the cute hairdo!

  13. Posted October 8, 2012

    Having the same problem others have mentioned…video is private. 🙁 Boo!

    • Kate says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      I marked it as private, there isn’t a problem. I need to do some editing! Will repost shortly!

  14. Shelley says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    i recently cut 10+ inches of my hair off, and i’m super excited to be able to try out some of your tutorials now that my hair is shorter!

  15. Lauren says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    I love the elegant, simplicity of this style! And I love you! Such an inspiration, Kate!
    — Lauren @

  16. Posted October 8, 2012
  17. Posted October 8, 2012

    Cute hair!

  18. Alisia says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    Cannot wait for the video! My hair is really hard to pin all of it so this just might work for me! So beautiful!

  19. Posted October 8, 2012

    Can’t wait for the video!

  20. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    Love this! Can not wait to try it on my naturally curly hair. 🙂

  21. Ash says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    Gorgeous! I have pretty thin hair, but I’m still hoping to give this a try. I’m attending a wedding on Friday, and I would love to have a great style like this!

  22. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    love it! very cute 🙂

  23. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    I have hair that’s is very thick & waist length. Is there another kind of elastic bands that you could recommend? Thanks Kate

    • Posted October 9, 2012

      I’m not a hair expert, but since it looks like the elastics end up hidden in the final look, you could probably use regular elastics that match your hair color.

  24. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    love it! very cute 🙂

  25. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    u look adorable on this monday!

  26. Hannah Atkinson says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    I love this up-do!! I have VERY long (waist length and VERY thick (horse tail ponytail!) hair so I have a hard time finding up-do’s that work with my hair. What kind of curling iron would you suggest for a girl on a budget?

    • Drew B says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      I just got a hot tools curling iron on sale at ulta for $35 and then with the $5 coupon off it was $30- very cheap for a quality hair tool!

    • Drew B says
      Posted October 8, 2012

      Actually I just looked at my receipt and in the ad it was 29.99 and with the $5 coupon I got it for 25:) ulta is the place!!

    • Hannah Atkinson says
      Posted October 9, 2012

      That’s not bad at all! Thanks for that advice! 🙂

  27. Posted October 8, 2012

    Thanks for taking the time to show us how to create simple yet fabulous updos! Love your blog 😉

  28. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    Kate, Love the tutorial 🙂 Please let us know when the earrings are back in stock!

  29. Tiffany says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    I have very thick hair and am looking forward to trying this also that minty color looks REALLY great on you 🙂

  30. Posted October 8, 2012

    I love love love this look! I have lots of fine hair so this probably won’t look the same on me but next time I curl my hair I’m going to give it a shot!

  31. Posted October 8, 2012

    This is great! I love the idea of making the separate pony tails…never thought of that! Thanks!

  32. Posted October 8, 2012

    You always have the BEST hair tutorials! I love this and can definitely benefit from it as i have majorly thick hair!! Thanks!

    I’m hosting a SEPHORA GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY on my blog if anyone is interested 🙂

  33. Posted October 8, 2012

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE! This is a hair tutorial that will actually work on my thick, coarse, wavy hair!


  34. ~Kori~ says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    Woo-hoo!! Perfect timing! I need an easy cute style for a wedding we’re going to and this is it!! My hair is the longest it’s been in years (which isn’t even very long) and I had no idea what to do with it…thank you for taking the time to do these tutorials. You’re great!

  35. Posted October 8, 2012

    Really pretty!

  36. Anonymous says
    Posted October 8, 2012

    LOVE the tutorial and the dress! Thinking about orderng it. If you wouldn’t mind, what size did you order? Is it true to size?

  37. Posted October 8, 2012

    1-You’re beautiful.
    2-You have a great smile.
    3-I love your tutorials. Just like you standing there teaching me how to do it!


  38. Posted October 9, 2012

    If I was rich, I would pay you to come over to do my hair and make-up every morning!

  39. Anonymous says
    Posted October 9, 2012

    Seriously? Could I buy your closet from you? I love everything you wear! You inspire me…I just don’t know how to put the inspiration into reality! 🙂 You always look so fresh and pretty. Thanks for your blog – I (and many others) love it!

  40. Posted October 9, 2012

    That do looks so awesome! Love all your hairstyles!

  41. Amy says
    Posted October 9, 2012

    I am about to order some of those little miracle bobby pins you use. I know you said Diane Brand on your FAQ, but what size and color do you use? I want the EXACT ones. You’re awesome!!

  42. Kelly says
    Posted October 9, 2012

    I can’t wait to try this! Thanks! 🙂

  43. Posted October 9, 2012

    Great Video! I can’t wait to try this one! thanks so much

  44. Posted October 9, 2012

    I do my hair similarly to this all the time. It looks great on you. I love updo’s. I think having your hair down all the time is overrated! 😉

  45. Jocelyn says
    Posted October 9, 2012

    Kate, could you tell me what lipstick you’re wearing in this? It’s so pretty!!

  46. Cori says
    Posted October 10, 2012

    do you have a full body picture of this dress? thinking about buying it but target only has a pic of just the dress not on a person.. I kind of want to see how it fits 🙂

    love the tutorial I have super long curly hair and love learning in these tutorials but there are very few that i could actually do.. at least without taking hours haha.. excited to do this one!

  47. Anonymous says
    Posted October 10, 2012

    When you jam the bobby pins into the pony, do they go directly into the center area, or outside the elastic towards the center? Thanks.

  48. jules says
    Posted October 10, 2012

    I found your blog via pinterest, and LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!! I have shared it with numerous ladies after getting compliments on my hair!! I did this specific one yesterday, it was so easy to do, and so cute! Thank You So Much for sharing your knowledge with those of us (ME) that are not that great at fiddling with our hair!

    Blessings on your day!

  49. Lucy says
    Posted October 10, 2012

    I love your hair and tutorials, but could you please do a post about how to style hair for winter accessories? I just bought a cute big headband/turban with a pretty jewel on it, and need some tips for how to style it. The hard part is the side-swept bangs and huge forehead I have.

    Any tips on how to style hair with winter accessories would be great! Thanks!

  50. Posted October 10, 2012

    Very nice!

  51. Taylor says
    Posted October 10, 2012

    You have multiple styles on your hair tutorials very.similar to this one. Yet this is by far the easiest one! I am on day 2 hair and my hair was already.curly to start with. This style took me tops 15 minutes and looks like i went.and it done! Where the others took a bit longer! And i used alot less bobby pins! I Ttyl all of your tutorials you post and have been able to do.almost all.of them! Thankyou for taking your time to teach.those of us who don’t really know what our own hair. Because.of this blog my hair.looks fantastic on a daily basis. Even.on the days it shouldn’t! So thanks so much.for that!

  52. Inge says
    Posted October 10, 2012

    I tried this for work today, super easy to follow, and turned out very nicely. I got several compliments! Thanks for sharing!

  53. Posted October 11, 2012

    Tried this for the first time yesterday…super easy and I loved it! Thank you Kate!

  54. Anonymous says
    Posted October 11, 2012

    What kind of shoes are you wearing with outfit?

  55. Marissa says
    Posted October 12, 2012

    Thanks so much! Tried it and loved it.

  56. Anonymous says
    Posted October 13, 2012

    Hello! I have just discovered your blog & I love it! It’s a great help on “all the small things”. I was wondering if you could make a video or blog about growing out an inverted bob and how to make the transition flattering. I think if I could get it into a long layered bob the growing out would be easier but I always cave when the back looks shabby and just reshape the cut. It’s honestly the most difficult cut I have ever had. I had no idea the frequency in upkeep it would need or that it would look so awkward growing out. It would be a huge help to me and probably many others!!

  57. Anonymous says
    Posted October 14, 2012

    I just discovered your blog last week and it’s amazing! I have tried this hairstyle several times over the last few days but I’m still having a few problems I’m hoping you might have some ideas about. How do you hide the bobby pins when you are pinning the top sections of hair? I end up with a row bobby pin ends sticking out at the top. Also, I can’t seem to hide the rubber bands on the sides because they make the hair stick out so far. I thought at first that maybe they were too tight, but it didn’t work any better the second time around when I loosened them up a little. I am using teeny tiny “invisible” rubber bands. Even with my problems though, I have gotten so many compliments! I look forward to trying all of the other hairstyles on your blog.

  58. Kim says
    Posted October 15, 2012

    Thank you so much for this, Kate! Did this for a wedding on Saturday and got many compliments! If you want to see how mine turned out, check out the pictures on my blog post!

  59. Tori says
    Posted October 19, 2012

    Wore this style tonight and got many compliments! By the end of the night, it was starting to “droop”. Wondering if I did something wrong. Do you put the bobby pins in a certain place or direction? Thanks! Love your blog!!!

  60. Anonymous says
    Posted October 27, 2012

    Thank you! Wearing it to a wedding today. Specially liked the kitty meow in the early part 🙂

  61. Posted November 7, 2012

    Thank you for sharing! I am a hairstylist and have really enjoyed these tutorials 🙂 You and I appreciate the same hairstyles- loose & tossled, but elegant. LOVE! Can I ask what your haircolor formula is?

  62. Anonymous says
    Posted November 10, 2012

    Thank you so much for making a video for people with thick hair! My hair is ridiculously thick, so I actually added a 4th pony above the three that I took from the crown section to make it more manageable, and then pinned the top section with a bit of a poof right at the fourth pony and pinned all the last pieces. It worked GREAT and will be perfect for a wedding I’m going to tomorrow! Would love to see more ideas for people with thick hair!

  63. Posted November 13, 2012

    You have officially been crowned the hair genious! I have tried numberous hairstyles on your blog, and loved this one soo much I reblogged it at!
    Thanks so much for all your great post!

  64. Posted December 31, 2012

    I just found your blog via a pin on Pinterest, and I’m so impressed! I’ll be a new follower, for sure. Thank you for the great how-to videos. You do a great job explaining and breaking it down, which I really appreciate.

  65. Posted January 5, 2013
  66. Lisa says
    Posted January 5, 2013

    How many ponytails do you normally section your hair into for this look? I do not have thick hair, I have regular to thin hair. Just curious.

  67. Posted January 23, 2013

    Thank you so much for posting such cute and easy hair tutorials! I have super thick hair that im trying to grow out. It’s in the weird stage around my shoulders so the messy updos and buns are perfect for me at work. I also love that we live in the same city and experience the same weather here in Raleigh! You post according to the season! LOL Love it! Keep them coming!
    XOXO Nancy

  68. Posted May 30, 2013

    Hi! Just found your blog through Pinterest. My hair is almost shoulder length, but I definitely want to try this hairstyle once it gets long enough. Quick question (I hope), my hair is pretty thick and every time I’ve attempted to curl it, the curls fall out within an hour (even after using a ton of hair spray). Any tips for that?

    • Posted June 3, 2013

      I know this wasn’t intended for random internet people to answer but I thought I’d throw my opinion out there since my hair does the same thing. Try turning the heat up on your iron/holding it longer, if you get a really good base curl it should stay longer. Also, I got some 3-Day Straight styling spray by John Frieda which helps. I know it sounds contradictory since you’re not trying to straighten your hair, but all it really does is help hold whatever heated style you’re attempting to do. Oh and heat protectant also helps to make the ‘base curl’ last longer, plus it protects your hair….obviously.
      One other thing, try starting in the middle of your hair instead rolling the iron from the ends to the scalp. Since that’s the part that needs the most time on the iron it really helps.

  69. Posted June 6, 2013

    Hi, Thank you so much for breaking these hairstyles down. I am 35 yo and am very hair challenged. You make it so easy for me to be able to do these. I would ask for a few more of these “for thicker hair” tutorials though. Some of the styles I just can’t seem to get all my hair up or in bobby pins. Thanks so much!

  70. Posted July 11, 2013

    Just found this tutorial and I love it! You explain it so clearly and make it look so easy. I can’t wait to try!

  71. Posted August 22, 2013

    This is such a cute hairstyle! I always have trouble with my hair because it’s super thick, long and unruly. Also has a bit of long layers that I have trouble with. I find that whenever I use bobby pins they will stay for about a minute and then spring out of my hair and across the room no matter how many I use. Do you have any advise on how to get these pins to “stick”? I already have to use 10-12 just to keep my bangs out of my face and pin the stray sides. My hair is just so heavy that I cannot keep any volume in the crown either, and teasing doesn’t seem to do much. I love my hair, but am lost when it comes to styling. Please help!

  72. Posted January 18, 2014

    Oh my goodness…I already adore you! I’m a new follower now for sure. Your little burp and “excuse me” won me over! Hehe! 😉 Love the tutorial – I’ll be trying this out tomorrow. Happy weekend!

  73. Posted March 30, 2014

    I love the green on you! Another great tutorial! Thank you! Can’t wait to try it!

  74. Julie says
    Posted May 25, 2014

    Hi Kate I am a hairdresser and also ballroom dancer in Memphis. I have had more fun watching your hair videos and using them on myself and my clients. I have referred clients to watch them also. As much as I tease hair and show a client How to ,,,I think watching you do your own step by step really helps. Thank you for all the great updo videos! Love them!
    Julie Sanchez

  75. Jessica Zandi says
    Posted May 27, 2014

    This is perfect!! My hair is super long and this will be perfect to help me pin all of it up!!!

  76. Taramissue says
    Posted June 2, 2014

    This was absolutely brilliant and easy to follow! I am so excited to try it!

  77. Karina says
    Posted August 26, 2014

    I can’t see the video :/ . I love all your videos by the way, and congrats and your new baby!!!

  78. Karina says
    Posted August 26, 2014

    Never mind I got it, not sure what happened the first time I tried to watch it. This is definitely my next hair do!

  79. TESSA says
    Posted September 27, 2020

    Absolutely love this one Kate.