Easiest Everyday Updo Ever
On days I don’t shampoo (or am having a bad hair day), I often default to wearing an unfussy knot at the nape of my neck. My inspiration is Caroline Bessette-Kennedy on her wedding day, though I probably come closer to Kelly Rutherford (the “mom” in Gossip Girl). This style is classic and chic and allows me to look polished when I don’t have the time (or patience) to do more to my hair.
If you already have a default style that works for you (or can create a tousled updo in your sleep), you can stop reading now. If, however, you’ve always wanted to rock the perfectly-imperfect nape knot (and your hair is long enough to pull back), here’s how I do it.
Stock up on a few secret weapons
Having the right tools makes all the difference. I swear by Sephora Snag-Free Hair Elastics in Clear ($4/pack of eight; sephora.com) or Karina Simple Plain Gummy Elastics in Clear ($3/pack of 150; ulta.com) plus Good Hair Day Magic Grip Hairpins in Crystal ($5/pack of ten; sallybeauty.com). I choose the clear color because they disappear in any hair hue. Note: The Karina elastics come in that big pack because they will stretch out after two or three wears. The hairpins will, however, last forever.
Douse with dry shampoo
Flip your head upside down and spray your under-layers with dry shampoo; this gives the hair texture and grip so it stays put—and won’t slide out of your elastic. I like Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($20; sephora.com) or Batiste Dry Shampoo ($8; ulta.com).
When I wear my hair back, I prefer a deep side part, but a middle part or even pulling all of your hair straight back looks chic too. You do you.
Wrap it up
Scrape your strands back, as though you were pulling it into a low pony, and wrap a clear elastic once or twice around the base (thicker hair will probably need one wrap, thinner hair types may want two). Then wrap again, but as you start to pull your tail through the stretched elastic, STOP. Pull only an inch or two of the ponytail through the elastic and cinch. This should create a small stubby loop of hair near your nape, while allowing your ends to flop free.
Tuck it in
Now wrap those floppy ends around the base of your stubby pony until there is only an inch or so of hair left; tuck those ends under the elastic at the base. (Note: If your hair is shorter, you may not need to do much wrapping before it's time to tuck.) To add extra support to your knot (especially if your hair is thick or heavy), wrap a second clear elastic around the base and/or slide in one or two Magic Grip Hairpins.
I finish with a quick spray of light-hold hairspray around just the knot to keep things neat. What I am using now: Nexxus Comb Thru Natural Hold Design and Finishing Mist ($14; ulta.com). Lots of pros also swear by L’Oreal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Unscented Spray ($15; ulta.com).