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All you need to know about growing and maintaining healthy, shiny hair, plus celebrity photos for your hairstyle inspiration.

The romantic updo

January 2nd 2010 04:31
There's nothing like a soft, tousled bun for those occasions when you want your hair to look its best, while at the same time not having it look too "done". This updo is romantic, feminine, carefree and quite timeless: it was hugely popular in the 1990s due to its ease of styling, and made a major comeback a few years ago when bohemian style slipped back into vogue. Celebrities have embraced it as a red carpet hairstyle, but it's ultimately one that you can wear any time of the day or night.

Romantic updo
Relaxed, and yet so very elegant

Provided that your hair is long enough to get into a ponytail, you won't have a problem creating a romantic updo. Girls with curly or wavy hair are really blessed here, as they already have the volume required to keep this updo looking soft, but if your hair's stick-straight then you'll need to do a bit of preparation in order to prevent the style from looking too flat. Former Australian hairdresser of the year, Oscar Cullinan, tells us how it's done.

"Apply a volumising product to freshly washed damp hair, then blow-dry with your head upside-down, using your fingers rather than a brush to maintain a natural texture," he advises. "Pull your hair back into a ponytail, again with your fingers for a messy, wispy look, then back-comb the ponytail with a wide-tooth comb to add more volume. To finish the look, wrap the ponytail onto itself, so it creates a bun, and secure the ends with bobby pins."

Romantic updo
This style looks beautiful with or without a fringe

Romantic updo
Wear it high, or wear it low...

Romantic updo
... add a flower for an extra-feminine touch, or let it come undone.

If Cullinan's technique sounds like too much effort, you can use my method which doesn't require blow-drying. Simply use a sea spray product (I like John Frieda's Beach Blonde, it has the most amazing summery fragrance) on unbrushed, second day hair, muss it up further with your hands, and fold it into itself, securing with a hair elastic. Make sure you have a hand mirror to check the back... and voila! It may not be perfect on your first try, so until you become well practised in creating this updo, you'll want to allow at least five minutes for re-tries.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you mustn't be too precious about it. This bun is meant to be unstructured and a bit messy, so if you're a hair perfectionist you may need to bite the bullet and accept that having every hair in place is really not an option here. Also, the way in which you wear it is entirely up to you: some girls prefer a low chignon, while others choose to wear their buns topknot-style. Check out the gorgeous messy updos on these celebs for inspiration, and get ready to embrace your inner romantic!

Jessica Stroup romantic updo
Jessica Stroup

Miley Cyrus romantic updo
Miley Cyrus

Emma Watson romantic updo
Emma Watson

Sienna Miller romantic updo
Sienna Miller

Jennifer Lopez romantic updo
Jennifer Lopez

Vanessa Hudgens romantic updo
Vanessa Hudgens

Mila Kunis romantic updo
Mila Kunis

Leighton Meester romantic updo
Leighton Meester

Jennifer Garner romantic updo
Jennifer Garner

Taylor Swift romantic updo
Taylor Swift

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