Think you have to be Rapunzel rock a beautiful updo? Think again! medium-length hair can reach new heights with these beautiful, elegant, and just plain fabulous updos. Whether you need some inspiration for a prom, wedding, anniversary, or just want to do something different, these photos will totally hit that inspiration spot for you. Grab some bobby pins and get ready to see this year’s best updos for medium length hair!
#1: Fishtail Braid
FYI: Braids are not only for Coachella. Quirk up formal attire with a twist.
#2: Simple Braid Updo
Weaved into perfection, this messy yet impeccable hairstyle is for the carefree and graceful gals out there. Lots of amazing texture and depth!
#3: Twist Updo for Medium Hair
Tons of texture and volume make this simple twisted style the right updo for any occasion. The face-framing pieces in front work to showcase your best features.
#4: Simple French Braid
How would you describe this look? This braid is a twist on the classic French braid. It combines traditional braiding techniques with macramé stitching – something I love incorporating into my work. My favorite thing about this braid is that it is so versatile! In this case, I braided to the nape of the neck then pinned the remaining hair under the braid to give a sleek look perfect for work or special occasions. However, if I had continued this braid through the ponytail it would look similar to a DNA braid as it also has a natural tendency to ‘spiral’. Any advice for someone considering it? I would tell anyone considering this braid that it looks great on many hair lengths and textures. Sometimes clients think braids only work on long hair but this is not always the truth! If you choose to wear your hair like this you only need mid-length hair. If your hair is long enough for a traditional French braid, it is long enough for this braid too! However, if you wanted to continue this braid through the ponytail you might need to add a weft or even a ribbon for added length to create the spiral. Here I kept the look sleek but it looks beautiful on textured hair too. It can look elegant or edgy, depending on how you choose to style it.
#5: Textured Loose Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would describe this look as a textured loose updo with a braid. My favorite thing about this updo for medium length hair is the two-stranded braid. It brings the whole look together! What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? To recreate this look, I recommend using one product that creates texture and one that has flexible hold. For someone who has smooth and straight hair, texture would be greatly needed to hold this look well. I mainly use KMS hair products and recommend using Hairplay Dry Wax because it builds texture and has flexible hold. I would also finish with a finishing hairspray that doesn’t give a hard and crunchy feel to it. I recommend the KMS Hairstay Firm Finishing Hairspray. Also, I didn’t curl the hair prior to creating this look since this person’s hair was naturally textured, thick, and very easy to work with. However, someone with smooth hair should curl their hair first because it would hold and control the braid and the twists much better. This would prevent straight strands from sticking out and making the whole updo look unfinished. What type of client would you recommend this look for? I recommend this look for someone who considers themselves trendy and looking for a side updo. It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t want the polished and sleek look. I also recommend this look for someone comfortable with their hair part to be on one side because it would look more cohesive with a side updo.
#6: Classy Low Twisted Bun
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would describe this medium updo as timeless and classy. My favorite thing about this upstyle is how it makes her fine, short hair appear fuller than it is. I love how it’s off her neck in a flattering way for those hot summer days. I also love the twisted look on her! Twists are flattering on all ages and add so much dimension to any style. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? The products I used are dry shampoo before working and a hairspray to finish. I like dry shampoo because it adds a little bit of texture and roughness to the hair while absorbing any natural oils in the root area. When hair is super clean it’s a bit harder to work with because it is so soft and smooth. Using dry shampoo adds a bit of roughness to help keep the hair in place as you work with it. I love hairspray to finish because it locks the look in place so this beauty can go all night without worrying that her hair will come undone. Bobby pins and mini elastics will also be your best friend in achieving this look.
Follow these steps to recreate the look:
1. Brush hair, then apply dry shampoo at the root area if needed. Loosely curl the hair.
Step 2: Add volume at the top of the head by backcombing/teasing three back to back 1-inch sections around the crown area.
Step 3: Section the hair into two sections, starting at the end of the back combing below the crown and straight down the nape. Clip sections at the side of the ear. Having clean sections will help you create the look you’d like without all the hair overwhelming your working area.
Step 4: Take the first section and start twisting in an upward direction, adding more and more hair as you go, staying as close to the hairline as possible. Once you reach the back of your head and you can see the part line defining the sections, take a little elastic and tie off the section.
Step 5: Repeat on the other side.
Step 6: Tie both sections together to form one ponytail.
Step 7: Taking one hand, separate the top of the ponytail above the elastic to create a hole. With the other hand, pull the ponytail through the hole, creating a bun look and pin into place.
Step 8: Use your fingers to separate the twists and bun to make them appear fuller. Pull out a few strands of hair in the front to create face framing pieces that are flattering. Use your favourite hairspray to finish.
What type of client would you recommend this look for? The bridesmaid in this photo has fine, medium density hair that fell above her shoulders. This look was so flattering on her. This look can be created on any hair type, but the look will vary depending on who it’s on. This is a date night, ladies night or night out look. It you want to wear it casually, take out the backcombing and your good to go!
#7: Modern Twisted Bun
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? My favorite thing about this updo is that it’s an elegant, modern twisted bun. This hairstyle is super charming and romantic. It’s easy to create and timeless. You can wear it for almost any occasion too, whether you’re going to a wedding, an evening out, a party, dinner, etc. It is perfect for any type event where you want to look fancy really! What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? This is a hairstyle that has volume and texture at the front and moved into a twisted bun in the back. It’s best to wash your hair the day before, without conditioner! Conditioner makes your hair too sleek and to heavy, which will make it harder to get this look right. Use a Volume Lift Mousse on towel dried hair. I personally use the Tecni Art Volume Lift Mousse by L’Oreal Professionnel to create volume from the roots. When styling, first divide your hair in two sections. Take each section from ear to ear so you have a front and back part. In the front part, use a dry shampoo to create volume and texture and tease the roots. I like the Tecni Art Crepage de Chignon by L’Oreal Professionnel. It helps to create maximum volume with a textured, undone style. Gather your hair into a ponytail, twist it and secure it with a hair tie. Wrap it around itself to form the bun. Then, pull out the twist to create more volume. Use bobby pins to hold it in place. Don’t forget to mist this hairstyle with a fixing spray so it will last all day. Here again, I use L’Oreal Professionnel. Maybe it’s time they sponsor me! What type of client would you recommend this look for? Whenever you want a trendy and luscious look, you have to go for this hairstyle! The ideal length for this updo would be collarbone and longer. Because it has volume at the front, it makes your face look longer. If you have a shorter or rounder face, you can create this style and look extra fabulous!
#8: Romantic Faux Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would call this style a romantic and modern faux updo. This bridesmaid had medium length fine hair. She wanted a sophisticated style with soft flowing movement. To make it work, I used a severe side part that flowed into structured curls off to the side, creating a youthful and elegant look. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? Mizani Styling Lotion is one of my favorite products for special occasion hair of all textures. I worked a dime-sized amount of product through her hair before sectioning it into thirds. I then pulled Kenra’s Styling Mousse through one section at a time to hold her hair in place. I used a 3/4-inch iron on each of the sections to curl her hair away from her face, then pinned the right side of her hair back to create the illusion of a full updo. The left side is held with Kenra’s #25 hairspray, which I used to finish and hold the entire look all day and night. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This style has a vibe that’s fresh and youthful, yet still sophisticated. It’s a great way to create a transitional updo with fine or medium length hair. I think it’s perfect for anyone from Sweet 16 to bridesmaids, or even brides of all ages.
#9: Voluminous Half Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? This is a half up half down updo that is smooth and has lots of volume. My favorite thing about this look is that you can wear it just about anywhere. You can dress it up for the perfect bridesmaid look, or you can just wear it as an everyday style. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? To create this look, I used Unite Expanda Dust in her crown. I did a lot of back combing in the crown of her head and smoothed it out with my back combing bush. I also used a flat iron to smooth and straighten her hair, and to bend her ends on the top.I topped off this look with Unite Smooth and Shine styling cream on the hair we left down, Unite 7 Seconds glossing spray all over, and of course the Unite hairspray. What type of client would you recommend this look for? Updos for medium hair are so versatile. Anyone could wear this look from super long hair to super short hair. Shorter hair will have more of a sleek and sassy look to it.
#10: Classic Formal Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would describe this medium-length updo as a classic formal bridal updo with a soft romantic aspect. My favorite thing is how it is structured and loose that the same time. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? To create this look, I used Living Proof Dry Texture Spray, Living Proof Control Hairspray, and Aerogel Hair Finishing Spray. Pre curling the hair with a 1 to 1.25-inch curling iron doesn’t hurt. Instead of doing a sleek chignon, I added crisscrossing overlapped twists from the middle and each side, then loosened them gently. What type of client would you recommend this look for? I recommend this look for someone with light to medium hair thickness. Any hair texture would work as long as it properly prepped. This looks for for someone who is wanting a classic romantic and formal look without it being too structured or too messy. To me this look is perfect for an a-line or trumpet gown.
#11: Effortless Casual Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? This style is the epitome of effortless perfection. I love that it’s soft and romantic with an air of “I just threw it up”. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I love a good texture spray. Kevin Murphy’s Doo.Over is perfect for giving texture with a bit of hold, while still maintaining the tousled and effortless nature of the style. Give a quick wave to the hair with a wand or iron, followed by a bit of finger combing. Pull the hair into a low pony, knot the hair, then secure with bobby pins. Leave face framing tendrils if desired. The looser the better! What type of client would you recommend this look for? This look is great for everyone and would best suit someone with fine to medium textured hair of any thickness. It is perfect for an unexpected night out after work or an outdoor wedding.
#12: Romantic Contrast
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? This updo for shoulder-length hair was created for a very rustic and romantic wedding. It is soft and compliments any dress, being classic and elegant all at once. My favorite thing about it is how the contrast of her hair color just adds to the texture and flow of the style! What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? To create this style, I used a hair primer from Scruples to first get the hair ready for heat. I also used their Hi-Definition Hairspray because it is flexible and allows me to work with the hair. For added shine and to control flyaways, I used their Velvet Molding Gloss from Scruples, then finished with Kenra Maximum Hold Hairspray. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This look is great for clients who have color contrast, specifically blondes or lighter brunettes. With dark hair we sometimes lose the intricacy of a style. Medium to thick hair texture is best as well. If the client had finer hair I would made this style a little bit more deconstructed. This style is soft enough and elegant enough to wear to any event.
#13: Youthful Braided Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? We created this look out of necessity. It was over 90 degrees outside this day and very humid, so this bridesmaid wanted a look that would stay put all day and not fall flat. I French braided the front of her hair, leaving out just a few wispy pieces, and pulled the rest of the hair into a bun off to the side. I love that there are fun details and texture to this look from every angle. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? Curl the hair first. I used a flat iron to curl, but a curling iron would also work. This gives the hair more fullness and hold when creating an updo. Always use bobby pins that match your hair color. You do not want pins to showing in your final look! I ALWAYS finish with a humidity-proof, long lasting hairspray. My personal favorite is Bed Head Masterpiece Hairspray. It is the best of both worlds because it gives beautiful shine and all day hold. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This hairstyle could really work for a variety of women. This is a cute, playful look that could be great for a date night or wedding. The braid in the front keeps the style youthful and fun, while the bun keeps the look sophisticated. This really works well on almost anyone with shoulder length or longer hair.
#14: Messy Bun
This rocker updo hairstyle is giving us the chills for its quirkiness! Perfect on highlighted strands, enhance your hair’s definition with a simple updo decorated with the fanciest accessories.
#15: Modern Bun
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would describe this look as soft, loose and modern. I love that it has a very classic feel with a modern edge to it. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I always start out by prepping the hair with a hot tool. For this look, we needed a smooth base without too much curl, so I smoothed out her hair with a flat iron and gave it a very slight curl. As for the products, I always use Kenra Thermal Styling Spray with my hot tools. This provides long lasting hold for curls that are really tight or very loose. Next, I use Redken Quick Tease and Redken Powder Grip at the root to achieve nice volume at the crown. I also use these synonymously with backcombing in all areas that require it. I typically backcomb where the main structure of the updo will be for strength. While working the style, I use Kenra Platinum Working spray and to finish, I use Sebastian Shaper Plus. If there are any flyaway hairs or smoothing that needs to be done, I use a Tancho pomade stick to tame these areas. Always start with small amounts of product. You can always add more if need be, but you can’t take it away and if it’s too much! Another must have for updos is a tail comb for those precise touches. I also recommend that stylists carry all different sizes of bobby pins. The jumbo ones are my favorite for really securing the base structure of an updo. What type of client would you recommend this look for? I think what gives this look such a strong impact is that she has a slightly longer fringe and face framing layers. Both of these components are important to achieve this particular look. When doing bridal styling, I always try to keep in mind that these looks should be timeless. No one wants to look back at their wedding pictures and wonder what they were thinking! So when I consult with the client, I always try to ensure we are choosing something that stand the test of time. This style would work well for anyone that has longer hair with those face framing layers and fringe.
#16: Romantic Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would describe it as a loose, romantic updo. I love this style because it’s softer than perfectly pinned updos, and it’s also easy to fix if a piece or two comes loose throughout the day. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I had her wash and blow dry her hair the day of because she gets oily. I used quite a bit of product to provide texture (Moroccan Oil Dry Texture Spray, Puff Me, etc). I finished with a firm hold hairspray and shine spray to set everything. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This style was perfect for someone like her fine hair, low maintenance. I do this look on all different face shapes because detailing in the front can be tailored to those needs.
#17: Boho Chic Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? This is a bohemian chic updo and it’s such an awesome look because it is very versatile. It can be worn to a formal event, then change up your outfit and hit up the after-party later. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I used quite a bit of Davines Texture Spray and Fresh.Hair dry shampoo by Kevin Murphy to get more texture and volume after I curled the hair. Everything was loosely pinned and the key points are the pieces around the face that gives it that nonchalant feel. What type of client would you recommend this look for? I believe this look suits all hair types as well as face shapes. It’s more about the vibe than anything else. This look is perfect for someone who wants that “pretty girl” hair without looking overdone. It’s for a laid back chick that seeks elegance, yet still wants her carefree personality to show through.
#18: Textured Side Bun
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would call this look a textured side bun. The client wanted something with texture and body at the root, and wanted to incorporate a braid as well. My favorite thing about this hairstyle is how it looked both balanced and beautiful from every angle. We wanted it to look done, but not overdone, and I think we achieved that. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? Wash the hair the night or two before styling. The doesn’t need to be too clean so that it will hold volume at roots. I used Natalie Anne S1 Powder to achieve volume at the roots. I also used my teasing comb to help achieve volume in the crown and under the part. I curled the rest of the hair with my Ghd iron to create the texture. Section hair into three sections two front sections taken from the ear forward, and one back section. I focused on securing the back section first. Once that was secure, I pulled down the front and brought it back softly. I used bobby pins and fringe pins to hold the bun in place, and lightly hair sprayed as I went to secure curls in place. created an outside/Dutch braid at the front and used Natalie Anne S2 powder to rouche the braid, gently pulling it out so it wasn’t so perfect. What type of client would you recommend this look for?This is a style that suits many face shapes. For someone with a square and harder jawline, you can soften this style by pulling pieces out around the face and ears. This look would be great for a bride, bridesmaid, wedding guest, or for an engagement party. This style was created for my client’s engagement party.
#19: Sophisticated Bohemian
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I describe this look as “sophisticated bohemian”. I absolutely love the detail yet softness that the look provides. The back of the updo allows for a little detailed expression, while the front imparts the more “boho”, lived-in look. I absolutely love creating that juxtaposition. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I use Aquage Working Spray to set and cool the curls, and Aquage Finishing Spray to hold. I recommend a Marcel 1-inch barrel curling iron to curl with. Always clip and cool your curls it makes for a long lasting updo! What type of client would you recommend this look for? This is the perfect updo for the bride who is looking for a style that can impart both elegance and trendiness with a touch of bohemian. The addition of florals gives it even more of a bohemian touch. This updo also works well for those ladies with medium length hair, finer hair strands, or even those whose hair doesn’t necessarily hold a curl. It’s great for those brides who hope to have beautiful hair when thy are dancing queens at their reception.
#20: Double Crown Braid
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? This is a half double crown braided style with soft waves. My favorite thing about it is that it’s so natural and looks effortless. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I always say that building a great foundation is key for any style whether it’s up, down or half up. The main products I used for this were Kevin Murphy Hair.Resort Spray for setting and Redken Braid Aid for the braids themselves. I finished with Kevin Murphy Session.Spray. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This look is great for anyone who is trying to achieve a soft and effortless look from a young girl to a bridesmaid to walking the red carpet.
#21: Free-Spirited Waves
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? My favorite thing about this hairstyle is that it is loose and organic looking, especially with the addition of the baby’s breath. This look is currently popular and goes well with bohemian style weddings/events. This look is very elegant and can be dressed up or down. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? To create this look ,I curled the hair with a 1-inch curling iron and sprayed sections with Aquage Beyond Sealing Spray to protect against the heat. After curling each piece, I left it to cool while curling the rest of the hair. When all the hair is curled and cooled, I ran my fingers through, breaking up the looser curls into waves. After pinning the hair half up, I used one of my favorite R+Co products called Outerspace which is a flexible hold hairspray that gives enough hold for the curl to last and creates nice texture without making the hair crispy. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This particular look is very versatile and great for the free-spirited festival goer. It is also a lovely, less formal approach for a bridesmaid. This style is best for fine to medium hair texture and mid-length to long hair.
#22: Trendy Topknot
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? This is a fantastic mid-length hairstyle. This cut was achieved by a blunt horizontal one-length line. Removal of weight was achieved by heavy slide cutting with smaller vertical subsections. We added the topknot to finish! My favorite thing about this cut/style is the many ways it can be worn and how simple it is to achieve. Topknots can be dressed up with a sexy dress or dressed down with a tee and jeans. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? To create this look, I used a 1-inch barrel curling iron. Before the blowout, I used Aveda Smooth Infusion style prep cocktailed with Aveda Confixor for a little bit of grip while keeping frizz at bay. I curled loose ribbon curls, then finger tousled them bit. Finally, I sprayed a tad of Aveda Air Control on the top section, pulled an elastic halfway through twice, and wrapped the remaining hair leftover around the knot with a few bobby pins. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This look is ideal for many hair types. It is a great style for thick hair wanting to remove weight with slide cutting, still keeping that blunt line look without a lot of layers. This is also great for thinner/fine hair as one length creates a look of density. Not much slide cutting is needed, or any at all in this case. This look has lots of versatility, customized especially for YOU!
#23: Soft Flowing Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would describe this look as a softly curled, flowing updo. I love the way her fringe curves and sits in neatly, really blending into the curls at the back. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I definitely recommend a lot of hairspray! You can also add some thickening cream to blow dry with before creating the updo. What type of client would you recommend this look for? This look would suit any face shape because it’s not pulled back off the face. I recommend it to ladies with shoulder-length or shorter hair, and with fine to medium thickness hair. It’s versatile enough to wear for an evening meal or a wedding party.
#24: Undone Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? This look has a more undone and casual feel. It is not overly done and not too loose at the same time. I love this look because the hair looks very soft, tousled and romantic. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I recommend using hair matting powder products so the hair can achieve more texture and volume. I recommend a working hairspray as well to create the fine detailing work. What type of client would you recommend this look for? I recommend this to clients who prefer a look that is more natural and not screaming for attention. It is perfect for someone who prefers more casual and relaxed atmospheres. This hairstyle works nicely with highlighted hair and can suit any face shape as the shape of the overall look can easily be adjusted.
#25: Romantic Curly Updo
How would you describe this look and what is your favorite thing about it? I would describe this look as a romantic and loose curly updo. The key to this look is keeping the bun low and leaving pieces of hair out as you pin the curls. What tips or products do you recommend to recreate this look? I recommend using Joico Hair Shake for added volume and texture to the curls. Give the bottle a good shake, then spray it on the roots of the hair. This gives the curls more grip when styling them. To give curls more textured volume, pull apart each curl as you pin it toward the back of the hair. Spray each curl after you pull it apart with hairspray. I like Kenra Volume 25 for good hold. What type of client would you recommend this look for? I recommend look this for the client who wants to look glamorous, yet somewhat effortless. This is such a romantic look that fits every face shape. If your face is rounder, I recommend leaving some pieces near the face down to slim the sides. If you have naturally curly hair, this also works because you can just work with your natural curl pattern.