The half-up, half-down hairstyle for women is popular for special events such as weddings and proms. They take some styling effort so it’s not typical everyday wear, but when done, it can look fabulous.
Check out these many halves up half down hairstyles for women. Includes braids, ponytails, prom, wedding, simple, curly styles and more.
What is a Half Up Half Down Hairstyle?
Half up half down hairstyle simply refers to any type of hairstyle that is lifted from just above the ears or at the temples and pulled back from the face. This section of hair can be put in a ponytail, braided, twisted, or clipped in a variety of different ways. The lower half of the hair is then left loose and down. This type of style is often thought ideal because it offers the best of both worlds; beautiful long hair is shown at its best in the lower half, while the upper portion is kept out of the face and can be styled to suit any occasion.
Half up half down hairstyles have been around for hundreds of years, seen as far back as the Renaissance Era, though this style didn’t become popular in America until the 40’s when Victory Rolls gained traction. We can probably thank this particular hairstyle for laying the groundwork for the half up half down styles we love so much today.
13 Different Types of Half Up Half Down Hairstyles
1. The Half-Up Ponytail
This style is enjoying a lot of time in the limelight right now. It’s a high up ponytail that trails down from the crown of the head with one small section of hair wrapped around the hair band to hide it.
2. Up High Bun
This is a cute spin on an old classic; the bun. The top half of hair is sectioned off and pulled back, twisted or braided, then wrapped around itself and pinned or clipped or tied into place on the crown or top of the head.
3. The Side Braid
This style is currently trending and breaks all the rules. It’s a new take on the French braid. Starting with an extreme side part (use the outer edge of your eyebrow as a guide), make two sections of hair. The heavier section will be left loose, while the small one makes the braid. It’s certainly not the traditional way to do half up half down but is still along the same lines.
4. Half-Up Bouffant
Elegant and classy, this style is a modern salute to the beehives of the ’60s. It can go as formal or casual as you like. To get this look, pull the top half of your hair up, do a bit of backcombing (or teasing) on the underside near the roots, and tie or pin in place. The ends hanging down can be curled, braided, or twisted however you want. Pro tip: to help reach higher levels of volume, apply a little hairspray or mousse before backcombing.
5. Braided Half Updo
This one can be done in a couple of different ways. In one style, the sides of the top half of the hair are braided until they reach the back of the head and then held in place. These can be simple, quick braids or French braided, whatever suits your preference or ability. The second way is to pull the upper section back and then begin the braid at the crown of your head.
6. Fish Tail Half Up Half Down
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A pretty spin on the braided half updo, this style starts with the top section of hair on one side of the head and is braided, in fishtail fashion, across the back of the head horizontally.
7. Cute Bow Updo
For this style, the upper half of the hair is pulled back and then tied (yes, tied) into a classic bow. The style itself is all the adornment it needs, though it will certainly take some practice to achieve without help.
8. Up Top Clip Style
This style takes the mid-section of the top half of your hair and clips it in the top-center of your head. This part of the hair can be left flat, backcombed for a boost, twisted in small sections, or braided as far as the clip. It’s especially gorgeous when the loose ends and lower half are curled.
9. Just the Sides
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Another way to get the half up half down look is to pull back only the sides of the hair, leaving the top middle loose. Take wide sections that start at the top of your ear and extend to the spot directly above the outer corner of your eyebrow, pull each side back and secure it with a bobby pin or clip. The sections shouldn’t touch at the back of the head and should leave a wide section of hair loose down the middle.
10. Asymmetrical Half Updo
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For this style, the upper half of the hair is secured off to one side of the head. The hair can be combed over the top or pulled around the back to achieve this and can be done plain, in braids, or twisted however you like.
11. Half Up for Short Styles
Half up half down hairstyles aren’t just for those with long, flowing locks. Even if your hair only reaches the bottom of your ears, you can pull off this look. Just be sure to secure the hair well to avoid flyaways.
12. Half Up Braided Crown
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This style works best with hair that falls below the shoulders, as it requires longer to achieve. The upper section of hair is woven into one thick or several thinner French style braids across the back of the head. The braided “crown” can sit high or low and gives a very romantic, renaissance look.
13. Intricate Half Up Half Down Styles
This term refers to any half up half down style that is highly detailed. It can mean any style where opposite sides of the hair are braided or weaved loosely together (resulting in a unique “net” look across the back of the style), several braids of the same or different style woven throughout the style, or even techniques that turn the hair itself into different shapes such as flowers.
Best Face Shape for Half Up Half Down Hairstyles
Which face shapes are best suited to half up half down hairstyles? Luckily, all of them. The trick is to learn what your shape is and then find out how to accentuate or soften it using a hair cut and style. With half up half down styles, this can be done in a few different ways. You can add bangs or pull them back, part the hair a certain way, or simply strategically add or decrease volume.
- Inverted Triangle
Best Types of Hair for Half Up Half Down Hairstyles
Due to the extremely versatile nature of half up half down hairstyles, they tend to work well with any hair texture.
This effortless hairstyle involves soft backcombing at the crown with side-swept bangs and the rest of the hair falling in soft waves. It makes for a very graceful yet chic hairstyle.
This hairstyle has tight French braids running along the side and top of the girl’s head. It adds a lot of height to the crown of the head and looks edgy and stylish.
This youthful hairstyle uses the classic waterfall braid but ends it with a twist by pinning up a small bun at the side of the head right above the ear. It works great with slightly curly hair because it will have more grip than silky straight locks.
Adding a twist to the classic top knot, this hairstyle sweeps up the hair from the crown for two small top knots, leaving the rest of the hair flowing loose. It’s trendy, simple, and easy to do yourself.
A loosely tied thick waterfall braid makes for a simple, but pretty hairstyle and works really well with very fine-textured hair to add volume.
Soft curls are entwined with flowers to create this elegant, pretty hairdo. There’s a little bit of backcombing at the crown where the hair is pinned back but the rest of the locks are gently curled into one another for a soft finish.
This boho-inspired hairstyle involves intricate braids cascading down the back of your head with a combination of French, Dutch, and waterfall braids.
This hairstyle has tons of volume. With backcombing at the crowns and lots of voluminous curls, it adds height to any hairdo out there.
Gentle curls are the star of this hairdo. Sweeping the curls to one side gives an elegant, softer look.
This hairstyle combines effortless waves with intricate braids at the crown to give a polished look. There’s a side parting to give an elegant, mature look.
Simple, but neat – this hairdo pins back the hair from both sides of the forehead for a very put-together look.
Soft waterfall braids at the back of the head are a great way to showoff colorfully dyed hair like we can see here.
A simple, no-fuss hairstyle that looks beautiful? Sign us up! This simple angled knot at the back of the head gives a great effortless effect while being easy to do.
Nicole rocked this beautiful bohemian hairdo in 2009, complete with a forehead band to hold up softly backcombed and pinning her hair at the crown.
For those with braided hair, this hairdo is a great way to add some style without being too intricate. Two side buns at the crown of the head give a very Princess Leia from Star Wars look.
The singer sports a classic backcombed hairdo. This look is timeless and requires minimal effort. Always a good choice when you want some volume to your hair without too much fuss.
For girls with short hair, this hairstyle is an easy, beautiful option. Hair is messily pulled back at the crown and tied there for some extra volume while the rest of the hair is left wavy and free.
The singer rocked some voluminous medium length hair. The hair is backcombed at the crown, leaving the bangs to fall gracefully on the forehead. It looks stylish while still keeping it classy.
The actress sports a top bun at the crown of her head with messy waves. This is a great, easy hairstyle that works with any kind of hair length and most textures.
For a rocky, edgy look, go with wet gelled locks like Hailee does here. She’s got some of her hair brushed back and pinned at the crown and the effect is sleek while still being extremely sexy.
The actress goes for a simple, pretty look by pinning her hair back with minimal backcombing for a youthful look.
The legendary Game of Thrones actress is known for Khaleesi’s elaborate hairstyle but she likes to keep things simpler in real life. For people with short hair, you can see here how the classic middle part and pinning the hair to the side works to give a clean, pretty finish.
The singer’s iconic hairstyle feature a half up, half-down hairdo featuring a sleek ponytail at the top of her head and a split sleek parting of her hair down either shoulder for a polished finish.
Side flowing waterfall braid is a beautiful option for longer hair. It’s easy to do and is a very pretty, feminine finish to a hairdo. The best part is that it works for any hair length and looks just as good.
This half-up, half-down hairdo combines soft waves for the pinned top half of the hair with softly bunched curls on the bottom half for an intricate but beautiful hairdo. There is slight backcombing at the top to give some lift and volume to the hair and hold the waves in place. This is best done on longer hair so there is more space to play with it.
Gigi Hadid was backstage before the Anna Sui Spring 2017 Fashion Show on September 14, 2016, in New York City. Her hair was styled to a unique half-up hairstyle with a beehive finish.
Gigi Hadid was quite lovely with her black dress and pinned half-up hairstyle when she walked the runway at Bottega Veneta Fall/Winter 2018 Collection at the American Stock Exchange on February 9, 2018, in New York City.
Taylor Swift adds a twist to a simple pinned back hairstyle by adding tight curls. It makes the hairdo seem more textured and more voluminous.
Known for her iconic role in Sex and the City as fashionista Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker gives us major goals with this elegant, wavy half up, half-down hairdo. She curls her bangs for some added texture at the front of the face while the rest of the hair is swept back with gentle backcombing, leaving the remaining hair to flow down gently.
If you want something slightly more interesting than a classic waterfall braid, try this asymmetrical braid that zig-zags down the back of the head beautifully.
Singer Mabel rocks an Ariana Grande inspired hairdo but keeps it less sleek and more comfortable with soft waves and freed bangs that frame her face for a softer look.
Katy Perry rocks a very Cleopatra inspired hairdo for the Golden Globes after-party with heavy backcombing and twisting curls. She’s left her bangs to frame her face giving the overall look a classy but soft finish.
This beautiful voluminous hairstyle works gorgeously for a formal event like a wedding. It’s got plenty of texture to it and looks absolutely stunning on long hair.
The TV personality shows off a volumized hairdo featuring soft curls and curtain bangs that flows onto the sides of her face. It adds an intriguing look which is a perfect match on her stunning dress.
The singer showcased her quirky and youthful side with her thick and playful curls parted in the middle with cornrows when she attended the Nickelodeon 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards.
The Brazilian model walked the runway with her edgy tousled, wet-look upstyle during the Marc Jacobs Runway Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week held last September 17, 2015.
Adriana Lima had that beautiful pregnant glow at the 40th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing in the American Museum of Natural History last July 13, 2009. She paired this with a light blue dress and a half-up hairstyle.
The actress was seen with a groovy loose half-up hairstyle to match her casual ensemble at the World Premiere of “Love Happens” held at the Mann Village Theater in Westwood last September 15, 2009.
The TV personality flaunted her wavy half-up hairstyle during the Art Of Elysium’s 12th Annual Heaven Celebration held last January 5, 2019. It complimented her black off-shoulder dress perfectly making her red lipstick stand out.
Freida Pinto wore her shiny raven straight hair in an elegant half-up for the 69th Golden Globe Awards last January 15, 2012 complemented by her elegant necklace and blue dress.
The actress looking all charming and sweet in a gorgeous dress that she wore during the 2016 LACMA Art+Film Gala last October 29th. She finishes the look with a half-up hairstyle incorporated with long curly tendrils.
On May 20, 2018, Rachel Bilson arrived at the Disney ABC International Upfront with a sweet smile showcasing a half-updo hairstyle with her wavy auburn tresses.
Charlize Theron was spotted at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards last January 6, 2019, in a black halter dress and a sleek half-up hairstyle with neat side bangs.
Salma Hayek was spotted last October 3, 2016, going to the Stella McCartney fashion show with her husband Francois-Henri Pinault. She was wearing a pair of fashion-forward sunglasses to complement her half-up loose and highlighted long hair.
Last February 26, 2017, Salma Hayek was in the photo room of the 89th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. She looked fresh in her half-up loose and tousled hairstyle.
Paris Hilton slayed the runway for Namilia during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery II at Spring Studios on September 11, 2018, in an edgy red outfit. She finished the look with her waterfall waves center-parted and half tied on both sides.
The singer arrived at Just Cavalli disco – Paris Hilton for skincare on October 22, 2018, in a purple deep V-neck dress and her highlighted blonde waves styled in half updo showing off her eccentric earrings.
Gwen Stefani opted for a vintage elegant look with her semi-teased half-up platinum blond hairstyle during the American Music Awards 2015 last November 22, 2015.
Gwen Stefani attended the An Evening With Women last May 16, 2015, in a simple, medium-length half-up hairstyle that goes quite well with her all-black outfit and simple make up.
Alyssa Milano wore a black one-shoulder dress paired with hoop earrings at the Lifetime TV Summer Luau last May 20, 2019. She finished the look with a sleek half updo along with pink lipstick.
This female celeb gives us long-hair envy in a sky-high pompadour half-up style at the 2013 Young Hollywood Awards on August 1, 2013.
Sandra Bullock was at the world premiere of “Premonition” at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood last March 13, 2007. Her sexy gray dress went quite well with her messy half-up bun with a hairband.
Sophie Turner struck a pose while sporting her slick half upstyle during the HBO post-Emmy Party at the Pacific Design Centre held on September 23, 2019.
Blake Lively’s lovely orange leather dress was a perfect match for her sandy blond half-up hairstyle at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards at the Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal Studios back in August 7, 2011.
Blake Lively rocked the messy half-up hairstyle to her wavy sandy blond hair when she attended the 12-12-12 Concert at Madison Square Garden last December 12, 2012, in New York City.
Emma Bunton rocked an edgy half updo with some airy bangs during the Los Angeles premiere of their movie “Spiceworld” held on January 2, 1998.
Britney Spears looked gorgeous in a nude floral dress that matched perfectly with her messy blonde half updo. This was taken at the 2014 People’s Choice Awards held on January 8th.
Tyra Banks had a long and wavy raven hair with a half-up beehive look at the 50th Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue at Dolby Theatre on January 14, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA.
Tyra Banks’ blush pink dress is a perfect pairing for brown dyed half-up hairstyle at the NBC TCA Press Day Summer 2017 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 3, 2017, in Beverly Hills, CA.
Taylor Swift tied her shoulder-length hair in a half updo with bangs at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards on August 11th in Hermosa Beach, CA.
Actress Miley Cyrus wore a lovely colorful blouse with her vintage half-up hairstyle with a loose highlighted look and curtain bangs at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards at Universal City, Hollywood on August 20, 2006.
Miley Cyrus shone the brightest with her black shiny sequined dress and gorgeous half-up hairstyle with tendrils on the side at the MusiCares Person of the Year Gala at the LA Convention Center on February 8, 2019, in Los Angeles, CA.
Katy Perry is having fun wearing her metallic blue jacket paired with a high-waisted skirt and pink halter that goes well with her retro-inspired half up half down wavy hairstyle as she attends the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards.
Selena Gomez emphasized her youthful glow with her lovely black dress and messy half up bun with loose tendrils and bangs at the premiere of “The Dead Don’t Die” at the Museum of Modern Art on June 10, 2019, in New York City.
Emma Stone wowed everyone with her lovely black dress and messy bun hairstyle that has thin tendrils on the sides at the 10th Annual Governors Awards at the Ray Dolby Ballroom on November 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA.
Scarlett Johansson wore a Dolce & Gabbana nude dress at the Annual Opening Night Gala of Superheroes Fashion and Fantasy, Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in New York on May 05, 2008. She paired this with a messy half-up hairstyle with loose tendrils and a headband.
Jennifer Lawrence’s white dress complimented her elegant messy half up with loose strands of bangs at the side at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Premiere at the Nokia Theater on November 17, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA.
Beyonce with her brunette partial waves arranged into a half updo during the DREAMGIRLS Los Angeles Premiere at the Wilshire Theatre, Los Angeles, CA on December 11, 2006.
On April 13, 2014, Rihanna’s long and curly raven hair was swept up into a messy low bun hairstyle with loose curly tendrils at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at the Nokia Theatre LA Live.
On September 12, 2019, Rihanna attended the 5th Annual Diamond Ball benefiting the Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street. She came wearing an all-black outfit to pair with her messy top knot bun hairstyle with loose curtain bangs and tendrils.
Actress Angelina Jolie was at the world premiere, in Hollywood, of her new movie Taking Lives on March 16, 2004. She wore a stunning brown short dress that she paired with a messy and loose half-up hairstyle with tendrils and bangs.
Angelina Jolie wowed everyone with her sexy yellow dress that went quite well with her loose and tousled half-up hairstyle with bangs at the world premiere for “Ocean’s Thirteen” at the 60th Annual International Film Festival de Cannes on May 24, 2007, in Cannes, France.
On November 11, 2010, Natalie Portman paired her gorgeous floral dress with a half-up hairstyle that has curly tips at the Los Angeles premiere of her new movie “Black Swan” at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood.
On June 17, 2019, Cara Delevingne attended the 2019 TrevorLIVE New York Gala for The Trevor Project at Cipriani Wall Street. She was quite lovely in the white outfit that she paired with a slick half-up hairstyle with a sandy blond tone.
Vanessa Hudgens was at the 81st Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on February 22, 2009. She wore a gorgeous black floral strapless dress that paired quite well with her messy bun hairstyle with loose curtain curly bangs.
Kate Hudson attended the BRIDE WARS Premiere held at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square Theatre in New York, NY on January 05, 2009. She came wearing a white and black strapless dress that emphasized her neckline along with her messy upstyle that has loose curtains bangs and tendrils.
Vanessa Hudgens wore a simple black outfit to go with her charming and messy double bun hairstyle with loose tendrils on both sides at the “Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer” World Premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater on September 8, 2015, in Los Angeles, CA.
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