June 3, 2023


When it comes to getting hair styled for any occasion, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the options. When choosing between having your hair up or down, settling on somewhere in the middle can be a happy medium. A half-up, half-down hairstyle can not only solve the indecision woes, but it’s also a great option for extremely thick locks that may cause a headache when tied up. There’s a ton of versatility for a half-up, half-down style for any hair concern. We’ve rounded up a list of 25 half-up half-down hairstyles to inspire your next big occasion, with a few hair hacks along the way.

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Classic Box Braids

box braids

Wearing your hair half-up, half-down is almost as timeless as box braids, which have been around for centuries and are now commonly worn as a protective, heat-free style. Celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway whipped these two classics together for a timeless look on Laura Harrier for the BlacKkKlansman premiere.

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Topsy Tail

One of the simplest tricks to dressing up a half-up, half-down style is the classic topsy tail. Once you’ve put half your hair up into a ponytail, split your hair down the middle right above your hair tie, and flip your ponytail through that hole. Voilà. You’re out the door in a minute flat.

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Mohawk Partings

mohawk braid

Half-up hairstyles don’t always need to come back from the sides. Pulling your hair back in a mohawk parting, generally starting around the arch of your eyebrows, is an edgy twist on this classic go-to.

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Bejeweled Twist

hair clip

An easy trick to getting clips or combs to stay intact is to place a small braid underneath the desired area to help give your accessories something to lock into. You can cover the braid up with an effortless twist like the one seen here, and your hair will be instantly full of secrets.

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Natural Volume

natural volume

To get a half-up style that’s tight on the sides without compromising a natural amount of volume everywhere else, turn to a teasing brush. You can use this handy tool to backcomb the roots for volume and brush those sides back nice and tight. Apply a little hairspray directly onto your brush before bringing the sides back to give your style added longevity.

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Protective Measures

protective hair tie

No matter your hair type, using a hair tie that won’t pull or damage your hair when you take it out is imperative to your strands’ integrity. Protect your hair by using a coil hair tie or a corkscrew pin to twist your desired shape into place.

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Clean 60s ‘Do

clean 60s 'do

Flipping out the ends of your hair with a 1 1/4″ barrel may be the trick to getting a ’60s inspired half-up hairstyle, but finishing everything off with a good shine spray will keep things looking extra smooth, taking your look to a whole new level.

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Waving Iron

wave iron

You don’t always have to do something fancy to the way you pull half your hair up. Instead, try adding some effortless texture and movement to your hair beforehand. Waving irons are especially easy for this—no curling techniques required.

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Snatch It Up

snatch it up

“Snatched” ponytails are all the rage right now. To incorporate the trending style into your half-up ‘do, brush your hair straight up from behind your ears toward the center of your head where you’d like your half-up ponytail to sit. Adding a cord or wrap around the base of your ponytail will keep it tall and extra perky.

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Classic Three-Strand

double braids

If your hair is thick and heavy, try replicating this three-strand braid for your half-up style. Taking large sections and loosely pulling them apart will give you a beautiful finish without the headache of an updo.

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Sophisticated Side Sweep

side sweep half up half down

An easy tip to cheat your way to a little extra volume is with a side part – not the side part that feels most natural to you, but the opposite side. It might take a little getting used to, but changing your parting can drastically take your half-up style from cool and casual to coiffed sophistication.

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Bottoms Up

bottoms up

The best part about a half-up, half-down hairstyle is being able to keep your hair back off your face while still showing off your beautiful natural texture.

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Micro Braids

micro braid

Pinning two micro braids into each other is a five-minute style that can elevate your beauty look and fits a multitude of occasions. You can start at the temples or start around the ears for a looser vibe.

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Space Buns

space buns

Never underestimate the power of two mini space buns. This simple, but fun style can add a bit of 90s-style attitude to your look.

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Thread Wrap

thread wrap

This half-up, half-down style is as simple and as casual as it looks. The color and material of thread you use to wrap half your twists up is an attentive detail that can be paired with your ensemble for a more thoughtful, formal occasion.

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Pearl Pins

hair jewels

The half-up bun is a great style to fall back on when you need to pull the hair off your face without much thought. But if you have some pearl pins floating around that you can pop into that bun, you’ll be fooling others into thinking you actually spent time doing your hair.

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Buns ‘n’ Bobs

bob haircut with half up bun

Having short hair should never be a limitation to your styling possibilities. If you don’t have enough hair to naturally get your half-up ‘do into a bun on its own, rely on a ponytail extension that you can easily clip in at the base of your hair tie.

Keep your ponytail extension length to 12″ or 16″ at most in an effort to keep your bun looking thick and filled out, while still appearing natural against shorter hairstyles.


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A Simple Bow

half up hairstyle with a bow

Next time you toss the wrapping and tissue paper from a gift, store those ribbons to keep in your beauty arsenal. They’ll transform everything from second-day hair to a voluminous blowout, and they’re the perfect accessory for a simple half-up, half-down, no matter the occasion.

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90s Texture

90s texture

Between the long bits hanging down around the face and the messy, grunge-like texture, this half-up, half-down style is giving us a major ’90s flashback.

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Sleek Sides

sleek sides

To keep your sides nice and sleek, use a strong hold hairspray or shine spray (depending on your hair type) directly onto a flat brush as you bring the sides back to pin.

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Boho Hair Wrap

boho hair wrap

A hair wrap is surprisingly easy to do—especially with all the YouTube references out there—and can give your half-up, half-down style a little extra pop of flair. Color coordinating your hair wrap to your eyeshadow? Now that’s a game-changer.

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Knotted Braids

Braids are easy to pull into a half-up style. Try knotting them up to get more interesting shapes and added dimensions. You’ll only need one or two good hairpins to secure them into place.

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Twisted Fishtail

twisted fishtail

Bringing your sides back into a simple twist will give you the most control over how you want to frame your face with a half-up half-down style. Adding a fishtail braid beneath that twist turns it into a bohemian summer style, perfect for getting you through all those graduations, weddings, and evening BBQs.

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All Braids, All Day

all braids

Aside from how cool this half-up half-down style is, the perk to sporting a full head of eccentric braids is the next day texture you’re going to get from unraveling them all.

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Pull Through Braid

The pull-through braid actually has zero braiding involved. Create two ponytails as you would for a classic half-up half-down hairstyle, one beneath the other, and split the top ponytail in two, around the bottom ponytail. Continue to cascade your way down.