Master Class: Create an Updo

Ditch your played-out ponytail for this chic updo. Hairstylist Mark Townsend of the Sally Hershberger Downton New York Salon shows you how in six steps.

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February 1, 2010 3:15 PM
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hair in curling iron
Rebecca Greenfield
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Prep Squad

Start with second-day hair because it has more texture and is easier to style. To create extra body, divide strands into five sections, and curl only the bottom half with a 1 1/2" curling iron to avoid kinks near the scalp. "The curling-iron step isn't essential, but it only takes a few minutes and gives the look more polish." says Townsend.

MC Recommends: Matrix Vavoom Gold Heat Blow-In Volume Loton, $14.
stylist brushing hair
Rebecca Greenfield
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High Horse

Next, secure hair into a high ponytail. Use a flat brush to gather hair up to the crown of the head. "The higher, the better," says Townsend. "This look is all about silhouette." Then bind the ponytail with an elastic. "Just don't pull the hair so tight it looks like you had a face-lift," he adds. To create a fuller topknot, wrap a strip of hair extensions around the base of the ponytail after it has been tied.

MC Recommends: Blax Snag Free Elastics, $3.50 for 12.
hair braiding
Rebecca Greenfield
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Home Plait

With your ponytail in place, braid the tail. "I use a lot of spray while braiding to add grip," says Townsend. When complete, either bind the end with another elastic if you have fine hair, if you have thick hair, skip the elastic and hold the ends until you pin them up.

MC Recommends: Sally Hershberger Genius Spray Wax, $12.50.
updo hairstyle
Rebecca Greenfield
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Pin the Tail

To create the bun, gently twists the braid around the base of the braid around the base of the ponytail. Fasten the knot into place with closed bobby pins. "The key to using bobby pins is to crisscross each pair to make an 'X.' It prevents slipping." says Townsend. For fine hair, spritz hairspray on the pins first and allow a few seconds to dry before fastening.

MC Recommends: Goody Blonde Collection Bobby Pins, $3.99 for 50.
Rebecca Greenfield
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She's Come Undone

With the bun in place, shorter layers might start to fall out. "Some flyways are pretty," says Townsend. "But you don't want the whole updo coming apart." Use open-ended pins to refasten pieces of hair back into the bun.

MC Recommends: RickyCare Invispin U Pin, $2.99 for 30.
Rebecca Greenfield
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Tidying Up

To finish the look spritz a clean mascara wand with hairspray and comb up from the nape of the neck toward the bun to smooth down any stray hairs. Also do this above the ears. "Only the bun should have a messy texture," says Townsend. To glam up the look even more, add a jeweled hairpin or simple hair band.

MC Recommends: Face Secrets Disposable Wands, $2.99 for 12; Garnier Fructis Flexible Control Anti-Humidity Hairspray, $4.11.