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19 Beautiful Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyle Ideas You Haven’t Tried Yet

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

We’ve all been there—fussing with our hairstyle when we can’t choose between a ponytail, braid, or letting it all loose. But too often, we forget about the happy medium: half-up, half-down hairstyles. The classic half-up ponytail is a go-to for when you want the best of both worlds—a style that keeps hair off your face and feels a little glam. And when it comes to creating the style, the options are actually endless—as we’ve seen many celebs prove on the red carpet. Ready to explore a whole new world of hairstyle options? Read on for the 19 prettiest half-up hairstyle ideas you should try for every occasion.

1. Half-Up Bun

A photo of Ciara with a half-up bun
Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Pulling some of your hair into a topknot is one of the easiest ways to change things up from the simple half-up pony. If you have thin hair, try popping on a bun-shaped hair extension like INSERT NAME HERE’s Sammy Tousled Wave Bun for volume like Ciara’s.

2. Curly Half-Bun

A photo of Yara Shahidi with a curly half-bun hair
Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

As Yara Shahidi proves, curly hair buns are the glam look you didn’t know you needed—and this half-up bun is no exception.

3. Asymmetrical Accessories

A photo of Lana Condor wearing a black hairband with pearls
Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images

Half-up, half-down looks can always benefit from a hair accessory, and Lana Condor’s embellished piece adds a whole new layer to her look. For a DIY version, try tying on a black velvet ribbon and clipping in PINK PEWTER’s Emma Pearl Accent Metal Hair Clip at the base.

4. Simple and Soft

A photo of Margaret Qualley with middle part hairstyle
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

There’s nothing simple about Margaret Qualley’s gorgeous half-up look: Her piecey ends and middle part give the style a laid-back, almost boho vibe.

5. Braided Bun 

A photo of Letitia Wright with a braided bun and a hair accessories
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Take note for your next black-tie event: Letitia Wright’s micro braids and bun are stunning on their own, and the added crystal embellishments are simply perfection.

6. Royal Half-Up

A photo of Kate Middleton with a half-up hairstyle
Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

If you look up “half-up hairstyle” in the dictionary, there should be a photo of Kate Middleton. The key is to start with a great blowout, as Kate always does, for that perfect curl and enviable shine.

7. Easy Romance

A photo of Gigi Hadid with a runway look
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

This is one runway look you can actually steal for real-life (promise!). Make like Gigi Hadid in Chanel by leaving your hair soft and natural, brushing your hair back over the crown of your head, and keeping it secure with a ribbon.

8. Retro Volume

A photo of Jennifer Lopez with ‘60s-esque style hair
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Think of Jennifer Lopez’s ‘60s-esque style almost like a regular high ponytail, only instead of securing it with a hair tie, it stays in place with a hidden headband or bobby pins and the hair is fanned out to create that bouffant-like shape.

9. Swept-Up Box Braids

A photo of Issa Rae with blonde streaks and box braids
Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The blonde streaks aren’t the only thing that adds dimension to Issa Rae’s box braids: Her hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood also wove small charms into the back of the style.

10. The New “Fountain”

A photo of Kim Kardashian with a fountain hairstyle
Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

The fountain first popped up in the ‘90s, and thanks to celebs like Kim Kardashian, it’s trending all over again. Wear it with mermaid-like texture, à la Kim, or go straight with flippy ends for a full throwback vibe.

11. Bridal-Worthy Florals

A photo of Madeline Brewer with a white rose hair accessory
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Hairstyles like this one on Madeline Brewer are why we’ll never be over flowers as hair accessories, especially as a wedding hairstyle. Pinned in at the base, white roses make a stark contrast to slick-straight hair, but they would be equally amazing with curls. If you’re ambitious, you can use fresh blooms, too.

12. Bombshell Waves

A photo of Doutzen Kroes with bombshell waves
Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Teasing your hair may lighten things up, but it does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to the final look. Case in point: this voluminous, wavy look on Doutzen Kroes, that would work with everything from jeans and a T-shirt to a formal gown.

13. Peek-a-Boo Shave

A photo of Zoe Kravitz with braids with half-shave hairstyle
Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images

One way to level up half-up hair? With a half-shave, of course. Leave it to Zoe Kravitz to add a new, beyond-cool twist to the braided half-up look we didn’t see coming.

14. Tied Up in a Bow

A photo of Lucy Boynton with a black bow
Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Yes, short hair can still do a half updo! (In fact, it often holds better than a regular ponytail.) Try tying your strands back with a ribbon for a classic look.

15. Tiny Top Knot

A photo of Lucy Hale with a tiny top knot hairstyle
Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

If your hair is lob length, you may still be able to style the top of your hair into a small messy bun like Lucy Hale’s.

16. Long, Loose Waves

A photo of Blake Lively with long loose waves
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

For super-long hair, try securing your half-pony at the crown of the head like Blake Lively did here. Not only does it shorten the overall look, but it also helps prevent hair from looking flat.

17. ‘90s Glamour

A photo of Rosie Huntington Whiteley with a '90s glamour look
Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

The sideswept angles in Rosie Huntington Whiteley’s hairstyle may harken back to the ‘90s, but her soft curls keep the look feeling so fresh and now.

18. Pop of Pink

A photo of Hailey Baldwin with bubblegum-pink hair color
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

For most, Hailey Baldwin’s bubblegum-pink hair color would be enough of a statement on its own. But her medium-length hair and twisted half-up style keep things interesting (and prove pink hair is just as versatile as any other color!).

19. Sleek and Sculptural 

A photo of Cindy Bruna with a sleek and sculptural hairstyle
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Cindy Bruna’s hairstyle is best executed by a trained hairstylist, but if you’re going to DIY, be sure to use a flat iron that won’t damage hair, such as the SLEEK'E HAIR Exclusive 1″ Hair Straightener in Black (and be sure to have hairspray handy).

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About the author
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated July 21, 2021 12:00 AM