From smooth and sleek to sexy messy, pulled back ponytails and updos are storming the red carpet this holiday season. Ready to rock your own swept-back style? Read our step-by-step guide to creating the perfect updo. Or check out our hairstyle handbook for guides to creating over 100 different hairstyles.
Anne Hathaway's simple pulled-back style perfectly frames her face and doesn't detract from the details of her dress. By loosely combing her hair back at the temples into a knot she steers clear of looking too matronly.
She proves that bouffant is not a dirty word. She opts for all-out glamour with this sleek look. This style requires a lot of effort to create — every hair is accounted for — but the end result is worth the time.
There was a time when a ponytail was strictly reserved for schoolgirls and tennis players, but this season the sporty style has been a red carpet smash hit. Camilla Belle's low pony gives her a touch of grown-up elegance when paired with a lacy dress and some chic earrings.
Christina Milian, on the other hand, takes a more flirty approach to the ponytail look by pulling her hair off of her forehead with a little black headband, and fastening the rest of it to the side.
Retro glamour is a guarantee for red carpet success. A firmly structured and intricate bun like Diane Kruger's recalls old-fashioned elegance.
She's successfully remained age-unidentifiable for decades; this messy updo is one reason why. Sweeping her hair up and away from her face and allowing a few loose strands to fall is youthful and elegant at the same time.
Her barely there wisps of hair still manage to pull off an updo. Lesson learned: No matter how short, as long as there's enough hair to hold one bobby pin, you can work this sleek style.
One of the great reasons to rock an updo is simply for the silhouette. Eva Longoria Parker is a perfect example.
She proves that a little volume around back can make or break a beautiful ponytail. The look is created by teasing the hair at the nape of the neck, pulling the remaining strands over it loosely and fastening into a low pony. Then, wrap a swath of hair around the band for the finishing touch.
Her tousled updo recalls a more relaxed version of a flapper's meticulously styled finger waves in the front. Jones finishes off the look by pinning the rest of her hair back at the nape of her neck. A great way to swing an updo with above-shoulder-length hair.
Old Hollywood glamour: Lauren Conrad looks like she stepped out of a black and white movie with this updo, and the look works perfectly with her bold red lipstick. If you're going to attempt this at home, may we suggest stocking up on bobby pins.
She attempts a more severe updo by pulling her hair back from her forehead tightly. In order to keep this look light she uses a headband with a playful feather embellishment.
The trick with hairspray is to look like you're not using it. Molly Sims's pulled-back style looks perfectly tousled, but rest assured, not one of those strands will fall out of place. In order to keep your style and avoid helmet hair, extend your arm, keeping hairspray at least six inches away from your head.
To emphasize the texture of her messy bun, Sarah Michelle Gellar clips her hair to the side in front before pulling the rest of it into a pile of beautiful curls at the back of her neck.
Another way of accessorizing the messy/curly updo is by using bobby pins to fasten only the ends of the hair to the crown of your head. To secure the loose hair into a distinct style, Scarlett Johansson uses a pretty, little barrette.