Updo hairstyles that work with fine hair?
March 16, 2012 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Looking for suggestions for tutorials on modern, easy, and soft-looking updo hairstyles. I've found plenty online but they are tailored for women with very thick hair-- but I have long straight hair that's very fine, and wouldn't work for most of those styles. Alternately (and it surprises even me that I'm asking this), are there clip-in or elastic-style hair extensions that you could recommend to help add some thickness to pull off a pretty updo?

My hair is currently long (down to my shoulder blades) and layered, though I'm growing those out to see what it looks like and if it increases the overall density of it from top to bottom. I've always had super-fine hair; it's not thinning, it's just thin. When I style it down straight it looks thicker and like it has lots of volume, but when gathered together it is clear how little there really is.

I'm bored with wearing it down (straight or curled) or just in a ponytail (which I really only do at home). I find getting ready in the morning to be boring and tedious, and so I like to play around a lot with makeup because it makes mornings more interesting; I'd like to be able to do the same with my hair.

I'm looking for ways to occasionally style it up off of my neck (especially as spring and summer are coming), but I can't seem to find pics or tutorials that look good with finer hair. If I curl it, it has quite a bit more volume, so that's an option, but the thing where you braid parts of it first and then build those smaller braids into the overall style to increase the volume doesn't work for me, because I don't have enough hair to pull it off.

I like most of these, but they just won't work with my hair as it is. It's not the part around the crown that is the problem (I know the tricks to boost volume there), it's that there just isn't enough hair through the middle and ends to do anything pretty with. For reference, if I gather my hair up tightly at the nape of my neck, the resulting "circle" around the hair at its thickest point is the size of a quarter; because of the layers, it thins out from there down. Even when those are grown out, though, I'm looking at a quarter's worth of hair overall.

So-- any recommendations for tutorials on styles that might work? Alternately, can you recommend a sort of non-permanent hair extension that looks natural and isn't super-expensive that could boost the volume so I could pull off one or more of the looks similar to the ones in the link? I'm not a hair-extensions kind of girl at all, but adding them for updo volume wouldn't be too awful, I think.
posted by mireille to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
You need a hair rat! Cheap to buy, easy to make, and even my lack of hair skills can deploy one with half-decent results when required (mostly back in my theatre days). Wow, I hadn't thought of them in years, but now the wheels are turning...
posted by smirkette at 8:44 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Check these out originally from Martha Stewart Weddings:

- A lovely side chignon
- A half updo
posted by Dragonness at 9:40 AM on March 16, 2012

Would you consider a hairclip? The Ficcare Maximus small or medium might work with your hair to do French twist styles. I have long, quite thin hair and I use the medium size to do work-appropriate but not super fancy updos. There are video tutorials on youtube and on the company website, and the clips come with an instructional booklet. They are expensive but worth it in my opinion. My hair always looks professional and neat with basically zero effort.
posted by CheeseLouise at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2012

I love those Ficcare clips - make sure you don't get the large size, it's huge.

For a casual look, gather your hair back gently, not super tight but firmly, give the whole mess of it a twist around and then up - you can hold that up with one very small claw clip down in the "shaft" part. Depending on where you clip it, it will stay up against your head or the top part will come down and fan out a little.

That mall earring store (Claires?) has a section of hair updo thingies - avoid. I tried three or four on a whim and I was so disappointed.
posted by mrs. taters at 9:53 AM on March 16, 2012

How to do a Sock French Twist
The Fun Bun
Gibson Tuck

All courtesy of Pinterest. I have the same kind of hair as you. Mine is longer, but just as thin.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:09 AM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

Ooh! I especially like the chignon from Dragonness and the Gibson Tuck from TooFewShoes. The reason I'm drawn to these is because the holding-up mechanisms (pins, clips, whatever) are hidden. The Ficcare clips are pretty and totally an option but I definitely like the hidden stuff even more.

Another thing I like about the chignon and the Gibson Tuck is that are that they are quite soft-looking AND manage to cover the ears somewhat. I have tiny satellite dishes on either side of my head and am most comfortable when they're minimally exposed.
posted by mireille at 10:32 AM on March 16, 2012

I just came in here to rec the Gibson! I have stupid thin hair with stupid layers and REALLY stupid ears (less small satellite and more big wings) and the gibson looks great. You've got to practice a bit to do it.

Plus, you learn real quick who's on Pinterest when you wear it.
posted by AmandaA at 11:35 AM on March 16, 2012

I love Goody Spin Pins, which disappear into your hair and are easy to use to create a bun. You can also do a French twist or other hairstyles with them. I carry them with me in my purse at all times the way other women carry an elastic for a ponytail; if I get sick of my hair down during the day, it takes no time at all to put it in a bun. Better yet, there's no dent in the hair the way there is if I wear a ponytail. They're also $6 at Target for either 2 long ones or 3 short ones.

Just FYI: thick hair can be fine hair. Fine is the opposite of coarse, and thin is the opposite of thick. I have thick but fine hair, which means there's a lot of it but it weighs almost nothing, and it will slip out of most clips and pins quickly. Spin Pins stay put.

I also have a hair fork that I like a lot- this one- which also holds a bun pretty well.
posted by aabbbiee at 1:38 PM on March 16, 2012

This Sock Bun tutorial shows a trick for creating a fuller bun with not too much "styling" involved.
posted by to recite so charmingly at 5:27 PM on March 16, 2012

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