12 Updos That You Can Do With Short Hair

The beauty of hair is that you can change it at any time. A new style not only transforms how someone looks, but it can also drastically modify how they feel. Consider the influence that popular hairstyles have had on culture in just the last few decades. In the late '80s, once the crimpers were stashed and teased bangs started to fall flat, the bob emerged. Since then, short hair has bounced in and out of popularity, and it's been hard to keep up.

By the time your hair has a chance to grow out, fringed layers are back in. Take, for instance, the 2023 hair trend on the rise known as "The Mixie." A blend between a pixie and a mullet, this style allows an effortless look, proving the versatility that a short haircut can give.

If you've recently made a big cut, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by potential limitations. Having short hair doesn't mean updos are impossible. Short hair is easier to work with, and it looks good on nearly everyone. When it comes to styling short hair, sticking to the classics will ensure an effortless and timeless look.

Multiple top knots

A top knot is a classic look that dates back centuries. A gender-neutral updo, this practical style provides freedom from the hair during daily tasks. Most of us use a top knot to get through chores like cleaning or running errands. However, this look has become a staple for everyone from celebrities walking the red carpet to professional gymnasts.

Take this casual classic and twist things up by incorporating multiple top knots into your 'do instead of just one. Tying your hair up in multiple knots is a great way to get through periods of time between washing days while also giving your hair a unique look.

Keep the knots about the same size to provide uniformity. You can opt for symmetrical knots, with two or three on either side of your head. Alternatively, you could go for a singular line of top knots from the front to the back of your head. Include accessories, like a barrette, or go for a glossy look by applying a small amount of monoi oil to your hair before styling.

Chignon with a flower

chignon, or low bun affixed at the base of the hairline, is perfect for those with short hair as can be difficult to get the strands close to your neck to stay inside of high buns. Rather than tightly twisting the hair, a chignon is often tucked and pinned, allowing for a fuller look (via L'Oréal Paris).

If you feel like your chignon still falls a little flat, include a flower, which will help fill it out and give it an elegant feel. Choose something large and vibrant, like a pink hibiscus flower. Aerosol hairspray can help preserve the flower. Once you've sprayed the flower, let it dry before attaching it to your bun either with a hair tie or ribbon strung through the base of the flower. You can also opt for faux florals if you are sensitive to pollen or f you'll be around pets since many flowers can be toxic to cats and dogs. This will also allow you to reuse the flower for future hairstyles.

Faux hawk

While a faux hawk might look like a more intense updo on the list compared to the rest, it's fairly simple and can provide a high-fashion style. A traditional mohawk requires the sides of the head to be shaved. In this alternative look, gel or pins are used to tightly pull the hair up on each side.

To achieve a faux hawk, section the hair off into three parts, one on top of your head, one on the crown, and one close to the neck (via )Refinery29. Use pins or hair ties to smooth the sides back. Curly and textured hair can be worked around these pins to help fill in the gaps between sections, creating a uniform section from your forehead to your neck. Use pins or ties the same color as your hair to create a seamless style.

If your hair's a little thin and you struggle to get that full look, you can instead pull the hair into a single braid down the center of your head for more volume.

Half-up, half-down

A small clip can make all the difference for your hair. This half-up, half-down style is a sleek look and perfect for hair that is too short to shape into a top knot, chignon, or even a ponytail. Gently slide your thumbs under the front pieces of your hair and pull it back, away from your face.

Where you clip your hair will depend on the look you're going for. A low clip with loose tendrils provides a more casual look, whereas clipping it tight and high makes for a sleeker look.

When it comes to clips, choose one that accessorizes your outfit. There's no denying '90s trends are making a comeback, and hair clips provide some of the wistfulness of the decade. Include a glittery butterfly clip for a small taste of nostalgia, or go big and choose a claw clip. "This look is feminine, easy, and romantic," Clariss Rubenstein, a hairstylist and member of the R+Co Collective, told Byrdie.

High ponytail with a headband or scarf

Headbands are one of the oldest hair accessories, according to Vogue. In some cultures, headscarves are worn for religious purposes, while other cultures simply incorporate headbands as a means to keep hair out of the face. The ponytail, another age-old hairdo, can be combined with a headband or headscarf for a look that is both eclectic and functional.

Though a ponytail might not feel like the fanciest of updos, an added accessory will take the look up a notch. And by choosing a versatile headband, you can repeat this hairdo with multiple outfits. A style like this will accentuate your facial features, which can be further enhanced with the addition of other accessories, like glasses or chunky earrings.

You can push all of your hair back into a headband or separate face-framing bangs from the rest of your hair. Consider a thin band with rhinestones and a sleek ponytail for a more elegant occasion or a simple stretchy headband with a braided ponytail for a more athletic style. If you have curly hair, you can let a few tendrils cascade around the face to create a fuller look, and use a texturizing spray for added volume.

High bun with bangs

This hairstyle is reminiscent of the billowing fountain for which Brigitte Bardot was well known. You don't have to have long, thick hair to achieve this retro-inspired updo, though. Instead, the main focus is on the bangs. Whether you have thick-cut bangs or just a few face-framing layers, the right product can help you achieve this fanciful updo.

Start by collecting the hair closest to your neck and sweeping it upwards towards a high bun. Twist your hair once and pin it into place. Next, take thick pieces from the front of your face and pull them out of the bun. You can use a flat iron and volumizing spray to flip your bangs inward, creating a curtain effect around your face. This style looks great with tight curls as well, so a flat iron may not be necessary if you're playing into your natural texture. Spray the rest in place and give your bangs an extra fluff. Play into the messiness and enjoy the added volume to your new 'do.

Slicked bun with a middle part

One struggle of having short hair is not having a big bun to work with. Using a middle part will give your hair a sleek look in what is referred to as an "off-duty bun" (via Glamour). This model-inspired hair has become a quick staple for hairstyles of all kinds but will work perfectly with short hair. A regular slicked-back bun puts all the attention on the face, almost removing the hair as a main feature-defining factor. Incorporating a middle part puts dimension back into your style, creating a more focused look. This symmetrical updo draws particular attention to the middle of your face, perfect for accentuating your strongest features.

This is an easily accessorized haircut that can provide versatility — perfect for growing out a shorter style. A simple 'do like this gives you the freedom to find boldness in other areas of your ensemble, too. Try large hooped earrings or intense makeup, like a strong red lip or a smokey eye.

Space buns with flowers

Buns date back centuries and have played a major role in daily life for generations. According to Hairstory, in Chinese traditions, buns were associated with married women, and in Indian culture, top knots were believed to absorb spiritual vibrations. In our modern, industrialized world, hair is often encouraged to be kept up in professional settings, as loose hair accounts for many workplace injuries.

Hairstyles of today are often a combination of culture, history, trends, and pop culture. Enter: Space buns, a mix between top knots and pigtails named after Princess Leia's iconic hairdo in "Star Wars." Space buns provide a youthful look, which can be further enhanced with the use of multiple accessories, like flowers. Sometimes short hair makes it difficult to put your hair into one full bun, let alone two. Adding in flowers will fill in the gaps and holes when making smaller top buns. Incorporate playful colors into your style for a more ethereal look, or focus on a monochromatic theme, like all white florals. Use smaller and more delicate flowers for this look, such as daisies or alyssums.

Flipped with a claw clip

Like a top knot, a claw clip is often associated with a casual way to keep your hair up when on the go. Alternatively, this sleek accessory can be styled just right to give you a clean, put-together look. Though the claw clip is making a resurgence, it never fully went away as a staple accessory.

For the perfect claw-clipped style, pull your hair back into a single ponytail. Twist it tight all the way to the ends of your hair. Pull the end of your hair towards the crown of your head, and then clip in place. Let the ends of your hair become untwisted, creating a sprout from the end of the claw clip. This will add texture to any length of hair. Curly hair will help cover the clip and provide a bounce to your 'do, while straight hair will make for an edgier, spiked look.

Claw clips come in many shapes and sizes, so they can be adjusted as needed depending on the look you're going for and the texture and volume of your hair. If your hair has trouble staying in the clip, you can also utilize a hairband before twisting and clipping.

Pinned back

Sometimes short hair is just too stubborn to go into a ponytail or clip. Pins, however, can help you achieve a sophisticated look. Gone are the days of trying to hide hairpins. Instead, play up the pins and crisscross them for a grungy style à la Kristen Stewart (via Vogue).

Start by taking large bobby pins and pinning your hair flat against one side of your head. This will keep it away from the face and off the neck without the use of a gel or other heavy product. To take it up a notch, you might include colorful bobby pins or accessories with jewels or stones.

If you have curly and textured hair, you can start pinning pieces back, playing into the messiness for an edgy look. Wavy hair parted down the middle also looks great with just one side pinned, letting the other fly loose and bouncy. Alternatively, straight hair can be combed back and pinned more uniformly for a sleek appearance, especially with the use of a middle part. A side part can add a dramatic effect for both textures.

Loose low bun with tendrils

A messy bun is taken to a more refined level when delicate tendrils are added to frame the face. To achieve the perfect messy bun, pull your hair back into a low ponytail. You can start tight, but avoid brushing out any waves or curls. Once all your hair is pulled back, begin rolling your hair into a circle, wrapping your hair around itself in a bun. Pin it in place. Now, use your hands to gently massage your scalp with your fingertips to loosen the bun. Be patient, and don't tug on your hair too much or else you might create bumps.

What makes this hairstyle stand apart from the rest is the use of face-framing tendrils. Use your finger or the thin end of a brush to pull the front pieces of hair out from the bun. Start where your hair is parted and slowly move down to the hair surrounding the ears. Use a straightener or curling iron to smooth any flyaways. You can also incorporate a braid before tying your hair back to add extra dimension.

Slicked down with barrettes

Barrettes or hair clips may get overshadowed by long tendrils, but a super short haircut is sure to accentuate your hair accessories. As hairstylist Justine Marjan said of hair accessories when speaking with Allure, "It changes a look completely without any skill level required."

Another fun aspect of barrettes is that you aren't limited to the use of just one or even a singular style. Let maximalism into your look by adorning your hair with multiple barrettes in multiple styles. They are lightweight and sturdy, meaning you won't have to worry as much about them falling out of short hair as you would with bobby pins. And why not let your creativity flow and personality show by decorating your own barrettes? Beads and small trinkets from the craft store can help you create a one-of-a-kind hairstyle. The use of barrettes can also allow you to play with a sleek wet look. You can even use gel to shape your hair into classic finger waves.