When it comes to a hairstyle that does it all – from making your locks look thicker and fuller to getting you through a few extra days between washes – it doesn’t get much better than the classic half-up hair ‘do. Universally flattering and easy to achieve, whether you opt for a tousled beachy effect or a slick-backed version, there’s a reason why Ariana Grande (and now a whole slew of celebrities) have made half-up hair their signature look.
“The half-up half-down style has been around a number of years, and it’s not likely to go anywhere fast as it’s a super versatile style that looks great for a number of occasions,” agrees Color Wow’s International Creative Director Dom Seeley, stylist to everyone from Olivia Culpo and Kendall Jenner to Huda and Mona Kattan. Although it’s been a popular style since the 90s, global lockdowns and canceled hair appointments have seen it get a major revamp, making it one of this year’s hottest styles. “Half-up hair has been great for lockdowns when people are spending more time on Zoom calls, because it makes you look put together and like you made an effort. It’s also fool-proof and easy to achieve with the right products and tools”, Seeley tells us.
But it’s not just Ari who’s been swishing her signature half-up pony, as this last year has seen everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Beyoncé, Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, and (of course) the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan wearing the half-up half-down ‘do. Why? Simply put — because it’s easy, it’s cool, and it’s chic. Which is why we want in on the action.
“Some of the key benefits of wearing your hair like this are that it hides a number of sins. For example, if you want to push back your hair wash day and your hair is too oily to get away with another style, then you can use the hair’s natural oils to get your half-up ponytail snatched and make it look like you made an effort,” Seeley reveals. “It also hides those pesky roots if you didn’t manage to make it to the salon, and — if done at the correct position and pulled tight — it can elevate your face structure and give you a youthful, lifted appearance.” Like we said, a hairstyle that does it all.
Who Does the Style Suit?
Everyone – literally. And no, you don’t need waist-length locks à la Grande to get the look, as the likes of Kim K and Lucy Boynton have recently proved. No matter your hair length, type, or texture, you can pull off the half-up hair trend.
“The great thing about this style is that it suits all women. It’s a sexy, flattering silhouette to wear as it snatches your face, so it can make you appear slimmer and fresh-faced. It works on all hair lengths too, so long as you can fit your hair into a ponytail from mid-scalp to crown. It’s a versatile style that can be worn sleek and straight or curly or wavy,” says Seeley.
What if you have super fine hair or thick, heavy curls? “If you’ve got finer or shorter hair, then you may want to add some extensions to create a fuller, longer ponytail, but that’s not always necessary,” Seeley adds. “If you have super curly hair, you may want to smooth through around hairline to make it sleek and smooth. But any texture works great because you’re taking the front half of the hair up, so it’s flattering for all hair types, face shape, and textures”.
Of course, there’s no forgetting the fact it can actually make you look fresher and younger faster than a pot of expensive face cream. “It’s all the rage teamed with cat-eye makeup, so depending on the placement and position of the half-up ponytail, you can really give yourself a ‘facelift’,” agrees Seeley. Great hair and a youthful, lifted appearance? Sign us up.
Get the Look
It couldn’t be easier to get the half-up hair look yourself, and – even better – is that even if it’s not slick and perfect, it looks effortlessly boho. Here, Seeley reveals his top half-up hair tips to Savoir Flair to get you started.
Make sure you’ve prepped your hair with the correct products like a mousse or a root volume spray and blow-dry your hair into the direction you want your half-up ponytail to sit. This will make it so much easier for you to gather your hair and make it neat and sleek
Use a hair oil or hairspray depending on the final look you want to create, and if you want it matte or shiny, etc. Apply it all over your roots and hair to slick down baby hairs and also to give the hair structure and hold when it’s tied back. This will also give you that clean, slick look.
If you struggle to tie your hair back and lose tension using a regular hair tie, then invest in some hair bungee bands with hooks. These are super easy to hook in and wrap around to secure the section of hair.
If you want to extend your lengths, apply some extensions to give you a more glamorous, full look, and take the half-up style to an event or make it the ultimate date night look.
Finally, lock it all in place with a strong hairspray. If you want to add detail with baby hair edges, then use a pomade or edge control product and detail the hairline to add dimension and interest to the finished look.