36 Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles for Every Hair Type and Length

All you need: A hair tie and a couple of minutes.

Emma Watson at the Prada spring/summer 2024 fashion show
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Few things in life are truly universal. But the half-up, half-down hairstyle is a rare and welcome exception: It works for almost everyone who wishes to rock it, no matter their texture, shade, or preference. It's a true workhorse. If you're looking to conceal greasy roots, a textured pony at the crown can hide them until wash day. If you're doing Pilates or going for a run around your neighborhood and still want to look chic, a sleek pull-back will keep your strands out of your face. It's the perfect way to show off trendy makeup by drawing attention to the eyes, and if you're just plain feeling indecisive, the look is versatile enough to inspire a new variation every day.

Best of all, the half-up, half-down hairstyle is the perfect style for day-to-night dressing, so you can hop from grocery shopping to a dinner party without taking a shower or reaching for a brush. This theory is more than proven by our favorite celebrities: contrasting flowing locks with some creativity up top—from a sculptural top knot to a chic half-ponytail—can look elegant, playful, or avant-garde, depending on the mood you're in or the event you're attending. Ahead, 36 reasons why some half-up, half-down styling is the best way to break up your hair routine (yes, even you, short-haired gals).

Our Favorite Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles

Zendaya's Sleek Ponytail

Zendaya attends the premiere of "Without a Net" during the 55th New York Film Festival at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theatre on October 3, 2017 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stylist Dimitris Giannetos says his go-to is a "simple sleek pony up top with lots of curls and volume on the bottom," à la Zendaya. Luckily for us, it's easy to recreate. "To achieve this style, section your hair in a ponytail from temple to temple. I recommend the Dae Cactus Fruit 3-In-1 Styling Cream to smooth through your hair and follow up with a detangling/boar bristle brush to slick your hair back," he explains. "Secure the ponytail closer to the top of your head for a high snatched pony look. After you have secured your ponytail, I would use the Kim Kimble Multi-Barrel Auto Curling Iron to create your favorite style of curls."

Emma Watson's Delicate Touch

Emma Watson is seen during the Milan Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 on September 21, 2023 in Milan, Italy.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bonus: The length of your hair doesn't matter with this style. While Watson may have a shoulder-grazing bob, tying up half of her hair with a bow instantly lengthens it with volume, while giving it a nice feminine touch.

Jourdan Dunn's Sparkly Embellishment

Jourdan Dunn's Sparkly Embellishment

(Image credit: Getty/Stephane Cardinale - Corbis)

Adding some bejeweled clips or accessories to your half-up ponytail is bound to make you shine from head-to-toe. It's also a great addition if you're keeping your makeup a little smokey and dark, like Dunn is here.

Bella Hadid's Off-Duty Curls

US model Bella Hadid poses on May 10, 2018 during a promotional event on a private beach at the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This style doesn't have to look prim and proper to pull it off, ensures Giannetos. "If you are tight on time, as long as you brush through your hair, you can quickly and easily throw the front up into a ponytail and then you are ready to go! And if you don't have time to brush through your hair, don't worry—Having some texture to your hair gives it a messy but effortless look."

Meghan Markle's Va-Va-Voom Volume

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits Macarthur Girls High School on October 19, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A half-up, half-down hairstyle is just asking for some extra volume up top. Make like Meghan Markle and tease your hair at the crown before pulling it back into a pony. This will take your hairstyle to new heights, literally. Extra points if you pull out a few short pieces to frame your face.

Jennifer Lopez's Red-Carpet Pony

US actress/singer Jennifer Lopez and US actor Ben Affleck arrive for the premiere of "The Mother" at the Westwood Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles, California, on May 10, 2023.

(Image credit: Getty Images )

For a more formal occasion (got a red carpet coming up?), Giannetos recommends playing with the placement of your ponytail. He says, "Instead of a traditional high pony, I would place the ponytails more towards the middle/back of your head, to elevate the look into a more elegant hairstyle instead of playful and fun."

Hailey Bieber's Baby Braids

A post shared by Hailey Rhode Baldwin Bieber

A photo posted by haileybieber on

How adorable is this look from Mrs. Bieber? Try it out at home by braiding two tiny sections near the part of your hair. Pull these baby braids into two ponytails near your crown and you're good to go. If you're wanting an ultra-feminine touch, add some pretty pink bows.

Kourtney Kardashian's Super Sleek Pony

Kourtney Kardashian attends the 2018 LACMA Art + Film Gala at LACMA on November 03, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're in a pinch, Better Natured's in-house hair expert, Melessia Wade-Smith recommends a super-sleek half-up ponytail. To start, Wade-Smith says to apply Better Natured Heat Styling Lotion evenly through damp, clean hair prior to blow drying to protect the hair for a smooth long-lasting style. Then section off hair into four sections and straighten with a flat iron, doing ¼ -inch widths of hair at a time. Once all your hair is straightened, use the tip of a comb to part your hair from ear to ear, then sweep this section up into a ponytail and secure the ponytail with a hair elastic of your choice.

Jodie Comer's Proper Pull-Back

45 Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles to Try This Summer

(Image credit: Getty/Dan MacMedan)

Texture at the root keeps this look accessible. Curl the ends with a large barrel curling iron, and tease the top of your strands near the scalp for a balanced coif.

Jessica Chastain's Under Action

Jessica Chastain attends the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on February 26, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images )

Instead of your having your top section of hair up, why not switch it up? Take the front half of your hair and tie it underneath the back half of your hair for a modern take on the hairstyle. It's still technically half-down, just with a subtle twist.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Romantic Waves

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley attends the "Club Zero" red carpet during the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2023 in Cannes, France.

(Image credit: Getty Images )

To create a vivacious or flirty half-up for more formal occasions, Wade-Smith says to go with a curled half-up ponytail look. To achieve the look, the hair expert recommends spraying Better Natured Beachy Texture Spray all over your ends to add volume and a light, brush-able hold before parting your hair into four sections. Then start curling your hair with a medium-size curling iron or wand, working in 2-inch wide sections. Once your hair is curled, use the tip of a comb to part your hair from ear to ear, and use a bristle hairbrush to weep this section up into a ponytail and secure with a hair elastic of your choice. To really dress it up, wrap a small piece of hair around your elastic and secure with bobby pins.

Lily Collins' Bangin' 'Do

Lily Collins attends the 2022 Time 100 Next at Second on October 25, 2022 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images )

Bangs aren't extra baggage—if anything, they're your best accessory, so try leaving them out of your half-up, half-down hairstyle. Face-framing, fringe bangs like Collins' will add a fun flair to any look.

Kerry Washington's Braided Top-Knot

Kerry Washington attends Variety's TV FYC Fest on June 07, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images )

Box braids are not only a protective, heat-free style that's been around for ages, but they're easy to pull up into a half-up hairstyle. The next time you have braids in, pull the top-half of your hair into a knot for a look just as cool as Washington's.

Nicole Scherzinger's Y2K Space Buns

A post shared by Dimitris Giannetos

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We all know Y2K fashion is hotter than hot right now, but Giannetos' space bun look on Nicole Scherzinger proves the trend extends into the beauty sphere, too. Try adding spiky space buns to your look for an extra dose of fun, and if you really want to go crazy, streaky highlights will really pull the look together.

Kendall Jenner's Barrette Business

Kendall Jenner walks the runway during the Versace Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2024 fashion show as part of the Milan Fashion Week on September 22, 2023 in Milan, Italy.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yet another Y2K trend coming back in a big way? Barrettes, if the Versace Spring/Summer 2024 show is any indication. Hide your hair elastic with an extra big barrette. Not only will you look like a bonafide fashion girl, but it's also a nice way to tie your hairstyle into your outfit.

Sydney Sweeney's Claw-Clip 'Do

Sydney Sweeney is seen at Hotel Martinez during the 76th Cannes film festival on May 21, 2023 in Cannes, France.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When in doubt, claw clip it out. The hair accessory will be a life-saver when you're in a pinch. It will only take seconds to pull half your hair up into the clip, plus you can make your look more fun with different colors and prints.

Margot Robbie's '70s Waves

Actress Margot Robbie attends the pink carpet for Barbie at Toreo Parque Central.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Leave it to the IRL Barbie to give us major hair envy. Margot Robbie's crimped curls add some fun texture and playfulness to any half-up, half-down styles. Use a hair crimper to get the look, or leave your hair in a French braid for several hours or overnight for similar waves.

Gigi Hadid's Baby Bun

Gigi Hadid arrives to The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gigi Hadid wasn't the only one to rock a half-up, half-down style at the 2023 Met Gala, but hers was certainly innovative. Rather than wrap the top section of her hair into a full-blown knot, she went with a tiny bun and left the tail-end hanging down. The next time you can't get your bun wrapped perfectly so, might we suggest leaving the tail out like Gigi?

Rihanna's Side-Swept Style

Rihanna attends the 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Speaking of Met Gala hairstyles, Rihanna also opted for a half-up, half-down look for the biggest night in fashion. A deep side part and texture at the roots help keep this half-ponytail style looking red-carpet fresh.

Beyonce's Braids

Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles

(Image credit: Getty/Allen Berezovsky)

Braids welcome texture to a regal updo. French-braid your strands on each side of your head, then plait what's left down your back.

Khloe Kardashian's Long Locks

A post shared by Chris Appleton

A photo posted by chrisappleton1 on

Khloe Kardashian's voluminous waves and snatched ponytail makes her crazy-long hair interesting. While her look comes from celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton, you can recreate the look with a large curling iron and some clip-in extensions.

Kate Middleton's Twisted Look

Catherine, Princess of Wales applauds Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic following her victory in the Women's Singles Final against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on day thirteen of The Championships Wimbledon 2023 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 15, 2023 in London, England.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Because we can't have her title/husband/wardrobe/tiaras, we might as well try and steal her style tricks. As always, the princess keeps it classy with a twisty half-up style, one of her signature looks, might we add.

Ciara's Bedazzled Middle Part

Ciara arrives at The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Got a festival coming up? Take inspiration from Ciara's Met Gala look and throw some glitter in your middle part. The spiky top knots add even more of a galactic vibe to this edgy look.

Ashley Greene's Swooping Strands

Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles

(Image credit: Getty/)

To add some zhuzhing effect to your half-updo, drape the strands closest to your forehead up and away from your face like so.

Halle Bailey's Curly Edges

Halle Bailey attends as Pandora Celebrates Lab Grown Diamonds With A New Diamond District on September 06, 2023 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A half-up, half-down hairstyle is the perfect opportunity to show off cool edges. To create Halle's look, comb your edges into mini curls along your hairline for an extra-pretty detail to your look.

Anya Taylor-Joy's Twisted Side

Anya Taylor-Joy attends the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 10, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For a look that's as elegant as it is easy, try Anya Taylor-Joy's twisted hairstyle she donned to the Golden Globes. Simply take a front section of your hair and twist away from your face, then pin in the back. For a true half-up style, make sure to twist sections on both sides of your hair.

Ashley Park's Tousled Top-Knot

Ashley Park attends the "Joy Ride" world premiere during the 2023 SXSW Conference and Festivals at The Paramount Theater on March 17, 2023 in Austin, Texas.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sometimes the messier the better, as is the case with Ashley Park's top-knot style. To get the look, skip brushing and spray your roots with your favorite texturizing spray (we love Oribe's Dry Texturizing Spray) to give them some grit, then pull the top section into a loose bun. Feel free to make it messy.

Kristen Stewart's DGAF Floppy Ponytail

45 Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles to Try This Summer

(Image credit: Getty)

The perfect weekend look: tying back a messy half-ponytail (dark roots and all!) and letting the rest of your hair hang loose.

Issa Rae's Swept-Back Style

Issa Rae attends "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse" Screening Hosted by Halo & 2 Chainz at Regal Atlantic Station on June 1, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Leaving little to no hairs free to surround your face will help draw attention to your beautiful face and other parts of your ensemble, like those gorgeous hoop earrings Rae's wearing. You can even add baby braids for a pop of texture.

Hoyeon Jung's Knotty Updo

Hoyeon Jung attends "In America: An Anthology of Fashion," the 2022 Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Squid Game star Hoyeon Jung opted for not one top knot, but multiple for her Met Gala look, and we're obsessed. The knotted top half is paired perfectly with cascading beach waves, resulting in a look that's edgy and pretty at the same time.

Rooney Mara's Mini Bun

45 Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles to Try This Summer

(Image credit: Getty)

Keep a long hairstyle interesting by tying back a mini bun that's placed towards the back of your head rather than on top of it.

Penelope Cruz's Side-Swept Bangs

Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles

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While most people opt to keep their hair away from their forehead for a half-updo, Cruz's side-bangs are a fresh take on the style that frames her face to perfection.

Camila Cabello's Wispy Bangs

45 Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles to Try This Summer

(Image credit: Getty/Gotham)

Ciara's Waist-Length Locks

45 Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles to Try This Summer

(Image credit: Getty/Kevin Mazur)

Colored dreadlocks offer an array of styles at your service, including this loose half-up, half-down bun. Ciara looks effortlessly beautiful, and so can you.

Lily Rose Depp's French Girl Waves

45 Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles to Try This Summer

(Image credit: Getty/ANGELA WEISS)

Soft waves paired with floral jewelry and embellishments are just so pretty. A large barrel curling iron can help you achieve the same chic look.

Emilia Clarke's Bob

45 Gorgeous Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles to Try This Summer

(Image credit: Getty)

Clarke's look proves that you don't have to possess long hair to master the half up/half down style. To copy her look, part hair in the center, tease the hair at the crown of your head, and leave some pieces out (or wrap them around a curling iron) for a wavier effect.

Meet the Experts

Dimitris Giannetos headshot
Dimitris Giannetos

Dimitris has worked behind the scenes at fashion shows around the world including Paris, Milan and New York. He has worked with brands such as L’Oreal and has styled many notable celebrities including  Camila Cabello, Ciara, Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly, Cindy Crawford, Joey King, Alessandra Ambrossio, Meghan Trainor, Britney Spears, Amal Clooney, Rosalia, Maria Menounos, and many more.

Melessia Wade-Smith headshot
Melessia Wade-Smith

Melessia Wade-Smith is a Hair Artistry Education Manager at Zotos Professional and serves as Better Natured’s in-house Hair Expert.