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How-To: Purposely Messy Updos

Y'know, usually when I think of rock stars, I think of long hair flying around stage. But at tonight's Fashion Rocks event, most of the revelers had their hair pulled up. Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Esposito and Mischa Barton were among the women who went with a messy, imperfect updo—which is exactly the kind of stylish but unfussy look you'd want to wear at a music-meets-fashion event.

There's something really sexy about this, too, because it isn't as buttoned-up as more formal updos can be. And best of all, it's easy to create a variation on this look in just a few minutes. For my tips,

After towel-drying hair, spray it with a lightweight styling spray such as Bumble and bumble Styling Lotion ($24). Work it through hair, then use a paddle brush to separate and dry hair with a blow dryer.

For Jennifer Esposito's and Mischa's look, work a small amount of mousse through the hair at the back of your head. This will create volume. Now, I haven't been able to see the back of Jennifer's head, but Mischa is rocking a fancier version of a look I like to call "I have to run to the grocery store and my hair is a mess." Basically, you're going to make a crazy ponytail. Gather most of your hair with one hand, leaving a few face-framing strands loose. Use a Goody clear, "ouchless" hair elastic to create a high ponytail in the back. From there, double up on your ponytail: Divide the ponytail into four sections, then bring one at a time back to the base of your ponytail, securing it with another elastic. I know this sounds complicated, but it really isn't. You know how sometimes you just "fold" a quick-and-messy ponytail into itself so it doesn't hang as long as it normally would? That's the general idea.

For Jennifer Lopez's look, pull your hair straight back (from the front), then gather the hair in the back of your head and pull it into a high ponytail. From there, try wrapping your ponytail around its base—think of the way a piglet's tail does a curlicue—and secure the hair with bobby pins. If your ponytail were a clock, you should be pinning your hair at each "15-minute mark," but you can do more. Don't worry if a few strands jump out! Messy is what you're going for.


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