The 32 Best Celebrity Updo Hairstyles to Show Your Stylist

For all occasions: Wedding, fancy dinner, party where you'll run into your ex.

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So you have an event that necessitates a truly fabulous updo: welcome! We know it can be tricky to discern how to wear your hair up in a way that works for your hair volume, texture, color, and thickness. What works for one person will decidedly not work for another—especially if you have a protective style in your hair or a naturally curly texture (as someone with 3A hair, loose ringlets, I can speak to this issue), or conversely if you need extensions to add the necessary volume to obtain a longer updo. Mercifully, this is where celebrities come in—they're constantly playing around with different hairdos, colors, and hair enhancements so that they're always giving us something different on the red carpet. Whether it be a wedding, a formal event, or some other special occasion that necessitates the work of a skilled stylist, these are updos that will be the right amount of polish without having to spend literal hours in the salon chair. Or, if you're attempting it yourself (many good vibes, because I have been there) there are some on here that aren't so difficult that you can't pull them together in a pinch.

Below, the 32 best celebrity updo hairstyles to show your stylis.

Kate Hudson

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This very simple '00s style is nevertheless a chic deployment of the ponytail—in other words, on Kate Hudson here, it looks like a chic and literally pulled-together look, instead of (as is so often the case) a haphazard style that feels like you pulled your hair back after a gym workout. The key is in brushing the hair carefully, using the right product (often a cream) in the right amount, and working in sections to wrangle each strand carefully. Hudson takes it up a notch and wraps a strand of hair around her elastic.

Lady Gaga

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Ah, the French braid. The beloved hairstyle of 10-year-olds everywhere, it can be tough to make the classic style look elevated. Even though Lady Gaga naturally makes it look easy, there are a few key elements to elevate it. She has sharp and edgy makeup—which, even though this is a hair post, is still an important element to your overall look—and the visible roots give some visual surprise. The soft bun at the bottom contrasts with the sharply defined and slicked-back braid itself. Masterful!

Anne Hathaway

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The word that comes to mind as we gaze upon Anne Hathaway's simple bun is: sweet. Much like Hathaways endearing personality, this bun almost skews cute but dials it back just a bit. It's very obvious that there's not a ton of product in her hair—her stylist has simply swept the hair back from her face, deployed some strategic pins to keep it at the middle of her head, and tucked her long hair in. It's not overly fancy, but it still feels polished. The floral pin (which matches with the earrings) is a nice touch.

Kate Winslet

celebrity updos kate winslet

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The French twist is one of those classic hairstyles that—I'm just being honest here—can feel unbelievably dated when styled incorrectly. The "overly curated" French twist, with nary a hair out of place, is not the French twist of today. Here, Kate's natural wavy texture is still present (she even has some frizz poking out of the top), her shorter pieces are secured with hairspray, and she's got tendrils at the front for a softer, less "done" look. The whole thing is very in keeping with her aesthetic.

Addison Rae

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The TikTok star makes use of an accessory that everyone should be using—a thin black bow, which is so chic and minimalistic. Since Rae is on the younger side compared to some others on this list, she styles her ponytail in a simple, youthful style, with a few face-framing strands and minimal product. But, should you want to emulate the look but in a more mature-seeming way, one way to achieve that is by lowering the ponytail to the base of the neck and giving the whole look some more volume.

Tessa Thompson

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Box braids and other protective styles are gorgeous on their own, but when you want to wear them in an updo, they can be an exceptionally chic look, as with Tessa Thompson here. This actually looks to be a braided bun, worn high on the head, looped around the forehead, and secured at the base in a circular shape. You'll need some clips to hold the style in place and a ponytail holder to make sure the braid doesn't budge. Beads and pins in the braids can be a nice accent—although in this case, it's hard to add anything cooler than the green color in Thompson's braids.

Kate Middleton

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If someone could creditably claim to be an expert at the fancy updo, it's Kate Middleton—she's been doing formal hairstyles since she became a working royal. (Seriously, if you need inspiration for a wedding or other super-nice occasion, just Google her name and start saving every image that appeals to you.) She normally opts for a thick barrel curl that is placed carefully in a loose chignon; That's not a knock, as she often opts for a very "done" and highly styled look. Hair pins, and a bunch of hairspray, keeps everything neat and tidy for hours.

Vanessa Hudgens

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The top knot can be a real commitment. It helps, as with Vanessa Hudgens here, if you have long, thick hair (or at least long, thick extensions). There's not a flyaway to be seen with this style: The hair is swept up, away from the face, and a tight braid is held in place with a multitude of hair pins—black, in this case, to match her hair color. You can also go with something more soft and romantic, especially if it's a wedding style, but this edgy style feels extremely chic—particularly with the black dress.


celebrity updos ciara

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Here, Ciara's got the biggest, bounciest curls in all the land in this high updo style. On top of the impressively dimensional highlights she's already got going on, these curling iron curls are heaped on the top of her head, with some pieces at the front to give the whole thing a softer look. Truthfully, this looks could skew "prom" quite easily (and Ciara's innate coolness is already doing impressive work to make her look so effortless), but the trick is to make the front pieces less curled and more artful.

Jennifer Lopez

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Remember those zigzag headbands (they were popular in the '90s and '00s) that pinched your head horribly but gave your hair a pleated, pulled-back look? Well, this is the more grown-up version of that. This can be achieved a couple ways—one is with a ponytail extension hair piece attached to the top of the head, another is with a bunch of hair pins around the head if your hair is naturally longer, and still another is with a stretchy banana claw—if you happen to be attempting this look yourself.

Maddie Ziegler 

celebrity updos Maddie Ziegler

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Actor, dancer, and author Maddie Ziegler shows that the slicked-back hair look doesn't have to be extreme. With two loooong pieces at the front (the opposite of having shorter fringe or bangs frame your face), she's balancing between extremes here: A very exact center part and smooth hair pulled back, then a messier, piece-y bun extending at angles at the back of her head. Ziegler has rocked some pretty extreme hairstyles —she did work with Sia, after all—but this one is polished and perfect.

Blake Lively

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If you've naturally got long, thick hair (or long, thick extensions—no judgment!) the long, messy braid might be for you. Blake Lively is imbuing it with some natural coolness, thanks to know...Blake Lively, but it's not impossible to emulate a similarly bombastic style. Pull your hair back, high on your head, then do a simple braid all the way down. The key is not to be exact about it. The pieces can be different thickness, you can have wisps and frizz peeking out—the drama is in the length.

Coco Jones

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This bun on singer-songwriter-actor Coco Jones is deceptively simple, because it's incredibly sleek but doesn't have a ton of volume. Jones, who's worn her hair in a multitude of ways, keeps things uncharacteristically minimalistic, which I actually love. The hair is swept back, then knotted, following her jawline all the way up to the top of her head. The front piece—only one, and used to frame her face, in a nice retro touch—keeps it from feeling like a ballet dancer bun. If you want simple, this is it.

Emma Stone

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An updo so loose it's practically wearing your hair down: Emma Stone has it! I will note that this is not a look for an event where there might be wind, or if you're doing any big movements because Emma's longer hair is just shaped delicately, held in place with (I assume) hairspray, and tucked in at the nape of the neck. It looks so pretty and windswept, but just note, again, that this is an updo for a particular type of occasion—not for an event where you need to set it, forget it, and dance all night, in other words.

Laura Harrier

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Not everyone—in fact, usually very few people—do short bangs well. If you happen to be blessed with hair that straightens effectively (Harrier has naturally curly hair, but she uses keratin treatments twice a year, according to Vogue), then you should absolutely go with a style that shows it off. Whether those are her natural bangs or not, the key is to have them flow downwards on the forehead and then curve out towards the rest of the hair. Then, the strands on the head go straight back into a simple bun.

Constance Wu

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This is a bit more ornate than we usually see Constance Wu wear, and I for one am a fan. It's unexpected to see something as structured as a braid going around the front of her head, where the front pieces dangle and hang down. The whole thing feels milkmaid-but-modern (and requires some length in the back, or some other way to get a long enough braid to wrap all the way around the crown of your head, like a hair piece). The fact that it's wispy and flyaway gives us a general "windswept" vibe I appreciate.


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Fun fact: Rihanna's natural hair texture is curly! Here, she bundles loose waves at the very top of her head and lets the curls flow down like a curl fountain. Knowing her, that might have been a casual choice—in other words, simply taking an elastic and forming a loose ponytail—but it's also easy to have the same effect with a slightly more upscale vibe by using hair pins concentrated around the mid-crown. This style works with or without bangs, but it helps to have the hair flow in front of the face.

Kristen Stewart

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Somehow, Kristen Stewart makes extremely casual hairstyles look red carpet-worthy. (I think it's the general aura of not being overly fussed?) She loooooves a visible root, with her dark blonde hair peeking out from under her lighter blonde hair dye. This is a little less crunchy/wet than she normally does, so for my money this is a perfectly emulatable style. She has thin hair, so the bun at the top of her head is teeny and sticking straight up. Have a few pieces sticking out at the sides, and add sunglasses: voila.

Kendall Jenner

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There's messy ponytails, and then there's this! I technically think this is a bun, but still: It might take some artistry to make this look haphazardly cool instead of just...haphazard. It helps that Kendall Jenner's hair is lighter at the bottom, giving some dimension to the look (and setting off the bun as separate from the pieces around her crown and in the front of her face). This really is one of those: Put a bunch of hair pins in at random places, experiment with what looks good, and then leave the house!

Janelle Monae

celebrity updos Janelle Monae

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Adding some bling to your updo is a fun choice that—so long as you do it artfully—is usually a good decision. Janelle Monae here is blessed with extremely upscale clips and bobby pins, but she also doesn't overdo it. (In case you missed it, Monae often goes graphic with black and white outfits, so the hair pieces are also thematic with the rest of what she wears.) And that's really the key: The accessories should match, or at least complement, whatever you have going on with the rest of your look.

Zoe Saldaña

celebrity updos Zoe Saldaña

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I will admit: This curved rope braid is absolutely not for beginners, and it might be hard for you to do this at home unless you feel extremely confident about your hair capabilities. It's not the rope aspect that's so tough, but the fact that the sections are so small and the shape is delicately curved. But! I still think it's a gorgeous look, and very Zoe Saldaña. Sometimes she wears her hair down, and she often opts for softer styles, but this is more architectural—and thus a fab choice.

Alexa Chung

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Alexa Chung has talked in the past about how much the fringe in front of her face is important for framing. This is....some pretty extreme fringe (look how short those front pieces are! And look at how long the ones at her jawline are!) but she is absolutely working them with a gentle curl and a messy top knot. It sort of gives a "homemade" vibe to the look—as in, did you cut your bangs yourself?—but honestly that's a very Alexa Chung thing to do. So if you've got a fun, funny, eclectic vibe, this is the hairdo to match.


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Zendaya has graced us with a multitude of extensions, wigs, braids, and other hairstyles over the course of her iconic career. Name a hairstyle, and she's probably experimented with it at least one (seriously, Google the time she went with a bowl cut to the Met Gala!) This swoosh-y up do, which may be a wig or extensions, is still just a very joyful vibe from the mononymous starlet. It feels quite 60s, especially the flipped out ends of the ponytail, yet doesn't feel costume-y thanks to the slicked-back pieces at the front.

Samara Weaving

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This twisted bun style on Samara Weaving is probably the coolest thing I've ever seen. If you have longer hair that isn't too thick, that's perfect for this choice. The bulk of the hair is wrapped into a twist, then a smaller, thinner strand wraps over it for some visual interest. It honestly works better if you have straight hair (with wavy or curly hair, the precision of the look will get lost, and it might end up just looking like a big mess at the back of your head), but if you can, I think you should try it immediately.

Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift has graced us with a lot of cool updos over the course of her long career (if you like her style, you have...a wealth of inspo at your fingertips). This soft and gentle look is probably one of my faves: In case you missed it, she used to wear her hair very curled, and this gentler, wavy but not too curated look is a lovely evolution of her style (just like her "Eras" tour! Sorry, had to). I love the piece-y nature of it, with the bangs, front fringe, and even a long strand in the front, with a messy braid in the back. It feels like Taylor, just more evolved.

Halle Bailey

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If you know anything about Halle Bailey's role in The Little Mermaid, you'll know that she's got cool, luscious, thick hair—and, according to the film's hairstylist Camille Friend, it utilized her natural hair to attain. "I started to understand who [Halle] was and why the natural hair element was important to keep,” she said, adding, ”Halle’s locs are down to her waist, over 24 inches.” This hairstyle makes use of that length, pulled back and up high in a ponytail (with some locs wrapped around), then long in the back. Look at those two tiny baby hairs!!

Margot Robbie

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The low bun isn't necessarily a hairstyle for every face shape (it makes me look like a young colonial gentleman), but of course Barbie (Margot Robbie) has no issues with it. The face-framing pieces are at roughly chin-level, and the messy bun is at the base of her neck, meaning the visual details on both front and back are roughly the same length. The bottom of her hairdo trails down her back, which feels more casual than if everything was carefully pinned back. Technically this is not an "up" updo, but it's such a cool look if you have the hair for it.

Meghan Markle

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Meghan Markle has absolutely perfected the "simple bun" look in her royal (and post-royal!) life. This is just about as good as it's going to get for the "messy but not sloppy" aesthetic she's made her own. The pieces in front are tucked gently behind her ears. There are some flyaways, but not too many (the shorter layers are coming out of her hairdo). And then a cool, dimensional bun at the back gives a gorgeous visual interest to the whole thing. It's a complex configuration, but you wouldn't necessarily know it at first glance.

Jennifer Lawrence

celebrity updos jennifer lawrence

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Taking the idea of "face-framing pieces" and going to the absolute extreme, Jennifer Lawrence just has an entire section of hair hanging in front of her updo (any more, and it wouldn't count as an updo at all). She has naturally curly hair, apparently, but this looks to be styled in a gentler wavy configuration with some loose braids at the back. To be honest, it looks stunning on her: JLaw has a naturally cool and casual vibe, so even her most upscale updo is going to look looser and less rigid. If you have the length to pull it off, I want you to try it.

Gabrielle Union

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Gabrielle Union has stunning 4C hair (meaning the tightest curl pattern of all the types), so when she leans in and shares her natural hair texture with us, it truly is a blessing. This is pretty straightforward—if you have the volume, density, and length, that is, so it's not for everyone—smooth the hair at the crown, attach a bunch of clips or pins at the middle of the head, and fluff the back so you get as much volume as humanly possible. Petition to get her to wear her hair like this all the time.

Gemma Chan

celebrity updos gemma chan

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Gemma Chan has some enviable hair (and I love it when she wears it down and loose), but this chignon is such a pretty style even though it's more minimal. The key is its subtle messiness; Firstly, she's got a couple inches of visible darker roots—very cool, especially for a red carpet. Secondly, there's a touch of wave to her hairstyling, and her hair isn't pulled back tightly, which means the look has dimension and movement even while it's pulled back. Thirdly, it's not overly serious: There's wisps and flyaways, but somehow it looks intentional instead of sloppy.

Lupita Nyong’o

celebrity updos lupita Nyong’o

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According to Vogue, Lupita Nyong'o's 2018 Oscars hair was a work of art "inspired by images of Amasunzu hairstyles traditional to Rwandan culture." This is three braided segments, with golden thread interwoven into the design. It's not the only time Nyong'o has shown off an ornate and detailed design, but for my money it's one of the most successful. This one definitely isn't for someone who doesn't have enough hair—and it's definitely one that a stylist would have to work on—but imagine how stunning it would look.

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.