An updo, when it's done in a salon, can transform your hair from long and straight to tight and curly. This style isn't without its dangers, however. It takes a bit of pinning, sprays and basic know-how to help your hair defy gravity and stay in beautiful piles atop your head. Use the wrong stylist, and your updo may turn into a tangled mess by the end of the night.
An updo, as the name implies, is a hairstyle in which the hair is pulled up and curled around the head. Some styles are rigid and bun-like and are designed to be worn along with a tiara or a bright barrette. The hair is swept back from the face into a tight ponytail. The ponytail is then segmented into several pieces. Each segment is then twisted and pinned into a curl format, or braided and twisted about the head. These segments can be pinned on the top of your head, the back of your head or the nape of your neck. These updos are often worn for formal occasions, such as weddings or prom dances.
In a so-called "messy" updo, the natural unruly nature of hair is allowed to shine through. These styles also typically begin with a ponytail, but the gathering is quite loose. Strands may be left to frame your face and neck. Some strands may be pulled out of the ponytail and curled separately. These updos can end in a loose bun with several wispy ends that shoot in all directions or can end in a tangle of loose, romantic curls. While this style is meant to look as though it was just slapped together, it may take quite a bit of work to make each strand have the messy look you crave. This updo format can also be worn to outdoor weddings, but it's appropriate for the workplace or romantic dinners as well.
In general, it's easier for your stylist to create an updo if your hair is slightly dirty. Squeaky-clean hair is slippery and resists the twisting and pinning that's required for an updo. Updos are easy for people with long hair to achieve, as you have enough raw materials to work with. Some stylists can create an updo with medium to short lengths of hair, although this may require a large application of product such as gel or holding spray to achieve.
Choosing a Salon
As mentioned, a poorly designed updo cannot resist gravity, so finding a salon with extensive experience in creating these hairstyles is important. If you have friends or coworkers with hair textures similar to yours, ask for recommendations. Stop women in the street with fabulous hair and ask for the name of their salons. Next, visit the salons themselves for direct observations. While you may be tempted to hit the formal, high-priced salons right off the bat for your updo, remember that some smaller salons may be less expensive, and they may have more experience in working with these traditional, conservative hairstyles. Once you've chosen a salon, talk to the stylist about the style you're looking for, and ask to see samples of his or her work. Make sure the salon itself is clean and well-lit. Ask about pricing, and how long it will take to achieve your hairstyle.
In general, an updo takes a significant amount of time to complete. Each segment of hair must be dealt with separately, and this can mean a lot of work for your stylist. Expect to spend at least an hour in the styling chair, more if you're looking for a formal updo with a lot of height. If you're planning on using an updo for your wedding, plan to take a trial run through your hairstyle, a few weeks before your wedding. Bring your headpiece and veil with you to this appointment. By walking through the hairstyle before the big day arrives, you'll ensure that the style is comfortable, stays in place, works with your accessories and looks the way you want it to. You can bring feedback to your stylist for your final styling session.
Prices vary widely from salon to salon and state to state. Most salons charge at least $50 in 2011 for an updo styling. Some salons begin their pricing in the $100 range. Some salons charge much more for wedding updos, as they have to incorporate your veil and other accessories. These prices reflect the styling time only. To have your hair cut or conditioned would cost more.