26 Genius Ways to Wear an Updo If You Have a Bob Haircut
It's no secret that bobs are the hottest haircut at the moment. We've seen different versions of the trendy cut on countless celebrities and all over the Spring/Summer 2020 runways — inverted, choppy, blunt, asymmetrical, braided, curly — you name it, a celebrity has tried it. And armed with the correct styling products and right professional advice, you can successfully try it, too.
However, if you recently chopped your hair into a bob haircut, you may be missing the ease of a simple ponytail, a topknot, or even the work it takes to create an intricate updo. Learning how to create updos on any hair length can take time, but it's not a style you should write off just because you have a bob. In fact, the short hairstyle is just as versatile as any other.
We've searched high and low, looking at our favorite bob-wearing celebrities and seeing how their hairstylists have gotten creative styling their hair for parties and red carpet appearances. No style is off limits just because the length of their hair is shorter. We found low ponytails on stars like Kristen Stewart, braided finger waves on Amandla Stenberg, and loads of chignons on actors like Lucy Boynton, Jennifer Lawrence, and Emma Stone.
Read on to get inspiration from some of the best celebrity bob updos. What better time to get creative than the festive season?
— Additional reporting by Gemma Cartwright
Nina Dobrev's Feathered Low Ponytail
Hairstylist Riawna Capri captioned this photo of Nina Dobrev, "Who said short hair can't have a rad ass pony?" We certainly didn't. This style is the perfect example of how you can nail so many trends in one: wispy bangs, beach wave texture, and a low ponytail. After rough drying, apply some texture spray (a product perfect for bobs) through midlengths and ends, then create a low ponytail using your fingers rather than a brush, while keeping plenty of threads of hair loose at the front. Once the hair has been secured, pull some pieces at the top of the head upward and scrunch/separate the pony to give it plenty of volume.
Zoey Deutch's Twisty Knot
Zoey Deutch twisted, twisted, and twisted some more to get her low knotted ponytail. The hair was likely first parted in the middle and smoothed back into a low ponytail using lots of hairspray. Then the tail was twisted tight until it looped back onto itself to form the knotted pony.
Amandla Stenberg's Braided Finger Waves
The intricacies of Stenberg's hairstyle combined with their honey blond hair color threaded through make it an incredibly beautiful updo. Hairstylist Vernon Francois created the 1920s-inspired look by knotting cornrows into a low bun, making sure to leave out enough braids at the front to mould into fingerwaves.
Kristen's Stewart's Tiny Tuft
If you've got lots of baby hairs and bangs that you're not quite sure what to do with, take inspiration from Kristen Stewart and try this wet look. For the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, she parted her bangs at the front for a dramatic pointed finish and scraped her hair back into a blunt low ponytail, giving a sleek yet grungy look.
Charlize Theron's Metal Bits and Braids
Charlize Theron showed us how to do an updo without having to tie up all your hair. Hairstylist Adir Abergel combed a side part into her bob, leaving most of her hair swept over and hanging down to one side. On the other side, however, is where things got interesting. Abergel created tiny plaits that ran from the part to the nape of her neck, which were then not only secured into a small ponytail but also decorated with a metal barrette placed right at the back of her head.
Charlize Theron's Blunt Edges
If you'd like to try an updo but don't want to mess with your blunt bangs, simply scrape it all back into a low ponytail like Charlize Theron at the premiere of Long Shot for an incredibly simple but stylish updo.
Lupita Nyong'o's Woven Plait
From the front, Lupita Nyong'o's hair for the 2019 Golden Globes looked like it was simply smoothed back. But when she turned around, the subtle detail at the back showed how genius this style was. Vernon Francois gathered her hair into a low ponytail, securing a bunch of blue chains to a section of hair right at the nape of the neck. Then, he took the chains and the very ends of her hair and wove them all together in a simple three-strand plait, which not only secured all of her hair in place for the evening but also added an intricate element that complemented her gorgeous dress and dazzling earrings.
Jennifer Lawrence's Romantic Knot
If sleek and smooth isn't your thing, fear not, because Jennifer Lawrence proved that bobs can get in on the messy bun action, too. Instead of creating a topknot, keep lots of threads of hair loose at the front (curl them to achieve the wave effect), then twirl the remaining hair into a low bun, pulling at individual strands to give it a messy finished look.
Cara Delevingne's Hair Cuff
Got an important occasion that requires a little more of a fancy updo? Cara Delevingne has your inspiration covered. Her updo for the London screening of Carnival Row in 2019 was perfectly brushed up into a high bun and twisted together to create a topknot. What's really clever about Delevingne's look is that the accessory at the back acts as a clip for all of the loose pieces of hair that might not be long enough to fit into the bun. A smoothing product, coupled with a stronghold hairspray, also helps keep all of the wispy pieces of hair in place.
Kristen Stewart's Laced-Up Updo
On first glance, Kristen Stewart's hair looked braided, but it was actually long pieces of black hair elastic woven through sections of gelled-back hair. If you want to try an updo that isn't as intricate as plaits but still has the same effect, give this looping style a go. Keep the rest of the hair hanging loose and piecey to achieve the same style as Stewart.
Lucy Boynton's Pretty Topknot
If you have a slightly longer bob, why not try a midpoint bun? Hairstylist Jenny Cho smoothed Boynton's hair up into a bun right at the crown of her head, leaving a short center part and two face-framing strands of hair hanging down to make the overall style feel more relaxed and less proper. If your hair feels a little too short, you can braid the back of the hair (or rope in a friend to help) from the base of the neck up to the bun to keep all of the little hairs in place — with the help of lots of hairspray, too.
Julianne Hough's Side-Swept Updo
Julianne Hough, as we know, is the queen of the short updo, and this latest look is no exception. It also saves you time as you only need to curl one side of your head. Create a messy side part over to one side, then slick the narrow side back behind the ear with gel, pinning it down at the nape of the neck. Curl the rest of the hair with a wand, and fluff it up with texturizing spray for volume.
Kate Mara's Subtle Twist
If you don't quite have enough hair for a ponytail, try this instead. Pull the longest strands from an asymmetric bob back to the nap of the neck, cross them over each other, and pin. Fan out the shorter hair underneath so it flicks around the ears.
Sienna Miller's Basket Plaits
You may need to enlist the help of a friend for this look, but if you can manage it, french plaits will keep even a short, choppy bob in order. Start with a center parting and braid close to the scalp, following a line about an inch above the hairline right down to the neck. Repeat on both sides, and pin the ends as neatly as you can.
Emilia Clarke's Voluminous Half-Up Ponytail
Never underestimate the power of a good half-up, half-down look. On shorter hair, it's more playful and less bridal. Emilia Clarke kept it modern with body at the crown and some soft tendrils around the ears.
Rosamund Pike's Mini Bun
This modern bun shows how Rosamund Pike kept her sleek, straight bob looking super sharp: she had an undercut. The shorter hairs at the neck remove bulk at the back and also make it easier to create a bun like this without flyaways. If you have very thick hair, consider this cut to keep your look sharp whether you wear it up or down.
Jennifer Lopez's Side-Swept Waves
If you don't want to wear your hair completely up, set it on big hot rollers, then pin one side carefully behind one ear. It'll give an Old Hollywood look that works perfectly for a big event, and your hair only needs to be chin length for this to work.
Dianna Agron's Triple Bands
Here's your day-three hairstyle. If your strands have got to that point where they could really do with a wash but your natural oils have created some cool bends and waves, try this look to make the most of that. Dry shampoo or salt spray are the key here; spritz all the hair liberally, but concentrate on the ends. Then slick it back off the face using a stretchy hairband (or three), flattening the front sections, and go wild with what's left. Technically, this isn't really an updo as all the hair at the back is loose; it's just been backcombed and teased into shape so it falls into the crown however you prefer. You can use straighteners to add a bend if you need more texture.
Demi Lovato's Slicked-Back Strands
Demi Lovato's wet-look style is a cool way to make a bob look completely different. Dampen the hair, add plenty of mousse (don't rely just on water or gel, they'll both dry), and sweep the whole lot back . . . all signs of parting. The secret is then to add lots and lots of shine spray on top to give it that just-out-of-the-pool sheen.
Margot Robbie's Unexpected Side Part
By creating an unusual parting, Margot Robbie changed up the look of her bob completely. The central section was sharply parted in line with each eyebrow and combed back as if it would be pinned in a half-up style (see Rose Byrne, next). But instead of hair clips, spray and gel did the job of holding the hair in place. You get volume and interest, without the need for fussy accessories.
Rose Byrne's Mini Pouf
Rose Byrne's look is the easiest way to change up a short style and get your hair out of your face. If you have a tendency to tuck your hair behind your ears, try this look instead and save making those strands limp and greasy. Simply create a triangle shape of hair from either side of the forehead and back onto the top of the head, backcomb it very gently at the roots, then pin or secure with a clip at the back of the head. Don't clip it too close to the face or you'll end up with an '80s pompadour.
Shailene Woodley's Messy Inside-Out Plaits
The tiniest and most intricate of plaits can completely change a short cut like Shailene Woodley's. For this look, put the hair in a center parting, then begin a reverse french (dutch) plait by taking the hair under, rather than over, with each braid. Start with only a tiny bit of hair and gradually pull in more from above and below, working backward to above the ear. Secure in place, and fluff up by gently pulling at each section. The other side of the hair is then spritzed with texturizing spray and swept back off the face.
Jenna Elfman's Spiky Twists
Shorter cuts with layers are often too short to pull back into a sleek french twist, but this funky minitwist style is easy. Spray the hair with dry shampoo for grip and body, then pull your hair back in two-inch sections starting at the top, twisting, knotting, and pinning at random toward the crown and down toward the nape. Use hairspray or a dab of pomade to flatten down any flyaways at the sides.
Taylor Swift's Folded Updo
Taylor Swift's Brit Awards 'do may look complicated, but actually it's one of the easiest of the lot. Her hair was simply tucked under at one side and pinned behind the ear. Think of it less as an "up" do and more as a "folded" do. All you need is enough hair at the neck to fold under.
Gemma Arterton's Petite Chignon
As soon as your hair gets long enough to pull into a tiny ponytail, a messy bun like Gemma Arterton's becomes an option. Simply sweep the hair back into a ponytail with lots of hairspray, coil it as best you can (letting the short hairs pop out as much as you like), and pin at the nape of the neck with plenty of grips.
Emma Stone's Shapely French Twist
Emma Stone's long bob coiled into the perfect french pleat in Cannes, but the side view shows just how many grips were needed to pin the shorter sections. This look takes practice, and you'll need your top layers to be long enough to pull back to the crown. Split the hair in two, twist the bottom section tight against the head toward one ear, and pin. Then gently comb and guide the top section into a sideways coil (in the same direction as the bottom hair) using those longer pieces to cover the messy ends of the underneath. Sound impossible? This one may be best left to a hairstylist.