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View Full Version : Deft handiwork on those up-dos!



princessp
April 21st, 2010, 06:05 PM
Okay so I feel rather dejected with my updo attempt thus far (a D+ cinnamon bun). So I am wondering how everyone gets their updos so uniform and beautiful? I'm thinking maybe I need a better mirror set-up.

So, what is your secret? Mirrors mirrors lots of mirrors? Plain old deft hands? Or do you have 360 degree telescoping eyes? Please share your tips, any mirror set-up, and/or tool you have that might help the rest of us.

SheaLynne
April 21st, 2010, 06:23 PM
I'm definitely not the best around here, but I did teach myself to french braid my hair when I was in 6th grade. I learned to do it more by "feel" than by sight. So, the mirror is not really a big part of it. I do check things along the way to make sure it is somewhat going the direction or balanced the way I want it, but usually just mirror checks here and there.

I'll be watching for better tips from others! :D

EtherealOde
April 21st, 2010, 06:23 PM
The best tool is You Tube. :) There are tons of instructional videos there, including plenty just using a single hairstick (I looooooooove those!), or a fork, or a clip (like a ficcare). Many just need you to smooth your hair back as you gather it, and just as many don't even need that.

While there are many extremely gorgeous updos that might require a lot of time and effort to create, there are just as many that can be done in seconds and have a more natural and less 'done' appearance and are really lovely and soft looking. Try looking at videos and see what appeals to your style sense, and then experiment.

It does help to be able to look at the back of your head with your hands free, but it isn't necessary to get a good result. If you think it will help, mirrors on a telescoping arm are available for not too much, and are pretty easy to install.

little_acorn
April 21st, 2010, 06:27 PM
I'm not the best hairstyler but all the ones I do are done mostly by feel with a mirror check or two (especially if I'm placing accent braids etc) at the end. If I look in a mirror I get really confused about which way I'm braiding or hand direction etc LOL

marikamt
April 21st, 2010, 06:30 PM
I am not an expert, nor am I the best 'up-do-er'... but as SheaLynne said, I am learning to do it by 'feel' (especially if I have an issue somewhere where I don't have a mirror) and I am getting better by just a lot of practice....... trial and error.......

Delila
April 21st, 2010, 06:57 PM
Not an expert, by any stretch, but I do mine mostly by touch, not by looks. At certain points I do look, just to make sure things look the way I want them too, but I don't need to have a mirror available every second.

The one thing I've noticed is that I spend more time arranging my hair at the start, getting it smoothed into position and ready to be styled, than anything else. Good beginnings lead to useful, comfy updos. :)

RenaBanana
April 21st, 2010, 07:59 PM
I just do things really really really slowwwllyyy until my hands get the motion down. Eventually I'll end up going faster (and doing a better job of it) without even realizing it. :)

Arctic_Mama
April 21st, 2010, 08:12 PM
I have taugh myself every updo I know from books and YouTube... The first attempts are never great - it always takes me at LEAST three attempts to get a feel for what my hands should do, and often another few times of fiddling (sometimes over a few days) to 'perfect' the style.

Practice makes perfect. Think and feel as you do it, then turn around and examine in the mirror when it is done. If something is funky, take it down, try again. By being very conscious of what your hands are doing and what they make the end product looks like, you will learn how to control your motions to get the outcome you desire from each style.

I don't know ANYONE who makes their best (or even passable) updo on the very first try!

chloeishere
April 21st, 2010, 10:24 PM
It's all by feel for me.

My updos aren't great, but they are generally fine. Like everyone else says, I don't use mirrors or anything, I generally don't even have a mirror around. I only know what my updo looks like if I take a picture, and I only take pictures at the end of the day, so I obviously don't worry about it that much.

Like everyone else said already, it's just a matter of practice-- the more you practice, the better and more regular you can make them. If you check your updos regularly, you can see which effects you like, and figure out how to replicate that feature. I have a lot of practice, so mine look okay.

This is one of my first updos with a hairstick (November-ish 2007):
http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k152/chloeishere/IMG_1575basicc.jpg
And this is a recent bun:
http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k152/chloeishere/IMG_8156c.jpg

I've gotten a lot better at photographing the back of my head, too! :p What a skill set!

Some of the improvement is going from about shoulder length to waist, but the practice with hairsticks and bunning were also very important!

heidihug
April 21st, 2010, 11:02 PM
Good beginnings lead to useful, comfy updos.
Bingo. Delila's right. Use the tools that work for you - for me it's my favorite brush, hair sticks and Good Hair Days pins. I spend several minutes carefully brushing, gathering and smoothing my hair before I even start putting it up in the morning. Making the actual cinnabun, for instance, takes me only about 30 seconds; a Chinese bun about 2 minutes. I rarely have to do them over because those are my two go-to buns, the ones I use about 80% of the time. Practice has made them so much easier to do neatly and quickly.

GoddesJourney
April 22nd, 2010, 12:09 AM
You know, iii can stand for a lot of numbers. If your hair is particularly voluminous, which it seems like it might be, you may still have a hard time with certain updos even at 29". I concurr with the whole YouTube thing, by the way. Just keep trying them until you get it and your hands will start to remember.

countryhopper
April 22nd, 2010, 12:36 AM
I think it has more to do with hand positioning than anything else. Once your hands know what to do, no problem ( I learned this while trying to master a 5 strand braid!)

I agree-- mirrors confuse me while braiding or styling; I have to use them AFTER to check and see that everything came out ok and is smooth, even, etc.

I also have problems using mirrors when backing up in a car. Hmm. Maybe they are related? :D

Aliped
April 22nd, 2010, 12:47 AM
I only look in a mirror at the very end, just because I need to be sitting down. I find it's a lot easier to do fiddly things above or behind your head if you are sitting down. If the updo feels secure, it probably is. And yep - I learn't every single updo in my repertoire from you tube!

Pixna
April 22nd, 2010, 07:14 AM
Practice, practice, practice. Bunning techniques are not just in the head, they are in the hands. I had to practice a few different styles probably each about 50 times (or more!) before I got the hang of them. Even now my head, hands, or hair "forget" what to do sometimes. I never, ever look in a mirror when I put my hair up. I only look afterward. With practice, you'll know if you got it right -- there's no need to look until it's done.

Angela_Rose
April 22nd, 2010, 08:06 AM
Practice, practice, practice. Just keep working on it until it's comfortable, secure, and then worry about how it looks. You'll eventually get the muscle memory.


And sometimes, even the best of us have a massive disaster!

Delila
April 22nd, 2010, 09:35 AM
One psychological hurdle I had to get over in the beginning was that I was trying to handle my hair less in the interest of being gentle. I struggled with the idea of doing an updo three or four times in the space of a few minutes, since it seemed to mean handling my hair a LOT more, not less.

What I learned along the way is that it just takes time to figure out how to prepare your hair for any particular style.

In the long run, all that practice will mean that you'll be able to put your hair up once, and leave it there, no extra fiddling required.

princessp
April 22nd, 2010, 11:21 AM
Wow, I pretty much assumed you all had a victorian dressers set up with mirrors galore. I can braid (regular and french) without looking and I know what you mean, I think a mirror would mess me up. But after seeing these crazy awesome buns I thought there must be a tool/trick. So practice, practice, practice, practice it is. And also my hair might not be long enough for some of them, very good to know!

So does anyone out there not brush their hair regularly? I definitely don't, so I'm wondering how you prepare your hair for the up-do in that case. That was fantastic advice that the preparation is most important (it makes a lot of sense). Do any non-brushers or people with hair like mine have advice for preparing hair for an updo? Is it just a lot of finger combing? Maybe I could use a very wide comb (my wave/curls go berserk if I brush therm)

Thanks for all the great tips.

ETA: Angela Rose I see you are a iii, I think your hair might be like mine (or would be if it were as short as mine). How do you prepare your hair?

ravensinger13
April 22nd, 2010, 12:05 PM
My hair is also quite curly, and I only comb it out a couple times a week with a wide-tooth comb. When I'm doing an updo I comb it all out, comb more, part if I need to, then finger comb to make sure everything is laying the right direction.

Pixna
April 22nd, 2010, 12:08 PM
My hair is very wurly. I use a wide-tooth comb to smooth and neaten it before I do an updo.

spidermom
April 22nd, 2010, 12:11 PM
Uniform and symmetrical up-dos? Ever seen my photo album?

curlylocks85
April 22nd, 2010, 12:39 PM
When I do updos, I do use mirrors. I do agree that with some styles it has a lot to do with feel, but I need to see what I am doing, (I am a visual learner), especially if it is my first try, how else will I know what I am doing if I only look afterwards? :shrug: I can do a French and Dutch braid without looking, but only because I practiced in a mirror first. It definitely does take patience, practice, and trial and error.

When I do my updos, I use oil on my hair first. I find that it helps to smooth down my hair. I use a wide toothcomb on my ends. If I use it on the rest while dry I get mega volume on top of the already mega volume.

Alcenaia
April 22nd, 2010, 12:56 PM
I have two mirrors opposite each other, one on a door and one on the wall. With those I can see pretty much my whole head, depending on the angle of the door.

Braiding while looking in a mirror mostly confuses me. The mirrors are mainly for checking symmetry and learning new updos.

I agree with everyone's comments about starting off right. I spend more time combing and smoothing than actually wrapping buns, etc.

Practice! :flower:

ravenreed
April 22nd, 2010, 12:57 PM
I suggest you try a different bun. My cinnamon buns never turn out well, but nautilus buns do. Infinity buns looked terrible until my hair got a few inches longer and then magically were fine... You might have to experiment to find the one that works best with your length and thickness.

Sheltie_Momma
April 22nd, 2010, 04:23 PM
Wow, I pretty much assumed you all had a victorian dressers set up with mirrors galore. I can braid (regular and french) without looking and I know what you mean, I think a mirror would mess me up. But after seeing these crazy awesome buns I thought there must be a tool/trick. So practice, practice, practice, practice it is. And also my hair might not be long enough for some of them, very good to know!

So does anyone out there not brush their hair regularly? I definitely don't, so I'm wondering how you prepare your hair for the up-do in that case. That was fantastic advice that the preparation is most important (it makes a lot of sense). Do any non-brushers or people with hair like mine have advice for preparing hair for an updo? Is it just a lot of finger combing? Maybe I could use a very wide comb (my wave/curls go berserk if I brush therm)

Thanks for all the great tips.

ETA: Angela Rose I see you are a iii, I think your hair might be like mine (or would be if it were as short as mine). How do you prepare your hair?

Hey OP - I noticed we have similar hair types so I thought I would chime in. I have best luck doing braids and updo's on wet hair, it just is easier to work with (I have layers in addition to waviness and frizz). On non-wash days I use a coney-leave in which helps smooth the hair and makes it easier to work with. Lastly, I only just reached 32 inches and the last inch has made all the difference - suddenly my cinnabuns have an little extra tail to tuck in, my figure 8's have evened up, my nautilus' aren't popping out - it's nice. And even though my ends are sort of wrecked, it makes me hesitant to trim because that little difference from 29 to 32 inches was the total turning point to up-do's for me.

ETA: I don't use a mirror until the end when I usually have to jab in a pin or two. It actually messes me up more!

walterSCAN
April 22nd, 2010, 05:14 PM
Like a lot of other posters said, I rarely use a mirror when I'm putting my hair up-- it actually looks better if I don't, usually! I pretty much do styles I know (have done more than twice) by feel. Unless, of course, I'm doing some kind of small braid at the front that needs to look just right; then I check in the mirror. If I watch myself do it though, it almost always comes out wrong.

For new updos, I use youtube! I just comb my hair out while watching it once through, and then watch it again and do what the person in the video is doing... It usually works pretty well!

Capybara
April 22nd, 2010, 05:17 PM
I'm not the greatest at up-do's, but I find that if I go very slowly and deliberately while checking in the mirror, they turn out much neater than if I just throw it up without checking in the mirror. Then again, I do like both the neat look and the messier look - they go with different outfits and occasions :D

freznow
April 22nd, 2010, 07:01 PM
I rarely if ever use a mirror (just to check if I did it right.) I go/went by feel, experimentation, and subsequent experience.

Some of my best hair-do pictures are from the month when I didn't have access to a mirror at all.

princessp
April 23rd, 2010, 01:47 PM
Hey OP - I noticed we have similar hair types so I thought I would chime in. I have best luck doing braids and updo's on wet hair, it just is easier to work with (I have layers in addition to waviness and frizz). On non-wash days I use a coney-leave in which helps smooth the hair and makes it easier to work with. Lastly, I only just reached 32 inches and the last inch has made all the difference - suddenly my cinnabuns have an little extra tail to tuck in, my figure 8's have evened up, my nautilus' aren't popping out - it's nice. And even though my ends are sort of wrecked, it makes me hesitant to trim because that little difference from 29 to 32 inches was the total turning point to up-do's for me.

ETA: I don't use a mirror until the end when I usually have to jab in a pin or two. It actually messes me up more!


I'm glad you posted this. I have braided my hair often after I wash it, but haven't been doing it lately because I wasn't sure if it leads to breakage. So I guess this was okay, good to know.

Thanks everyone, I'll keep trying other kinds of updos and see if something else might look better.

AgnesONutter
April 23rd, 2010, 04:36 PM
I have an IKEA bathroom cabinet with mirrors on the inside of the cabinet doors, when opened I can see my head from both directions but really only use this feature to check how my updo looks. Generally, I do things by feel too, and think like the others have already said that it is just a matter of practise. No good tricks except the one about starting with a smooth, nice canvas.

Masara
April 24th, 2010, 12:30 AM
I use a mirror right at the start to make sure my hair is smooth (I brush) and I haven't missed any, then I move away from the mirror, turn my back or close my eyes. I don't look in the mirror again until it's completely finished. I even put pins in by feel (although I may readjust them)
As many people have said, it's all a question of practise; you have to learn what feels right.

When I'm learning a new updo, I often mime it through while watching on youtube. I probably look like an idiot, sitting in front of my computer with my hands behind my head, waving them around, but it helps me to get the idea into my fingers.

As for symetrical and centred updos...... most of my buns end up on the left of my head (so I look that way when taking photos to make it less obvious) Sometimes I have to restart because it's too extreme, but mostly I just go with it. I remember a maths teacher talking about twin Dutch braids I had done and going on about axes of symetry. I know from experience that they were way off being symetrical, but obviously, the difference wasn't as noticable as I thought.

Stevy
April 24th, 2010, 09:32 AM
I never look in the mirror whilst I'm braiding or bunning, it just confuses me. I stand with my back to a wall mirror and use a hand mirror to look at the effect when I'm finished. But I can generally tell whether an updo's going to work or not by feel, anyway.

frizzinator
April 24th, 2010, 08:41 PM
Practice, practice and more practice. I used 2 mirrors opposite each other during the couple of months I dedicated to practicing making buns. Every time I made a new bun, I remembered whatever was troublesome about it, and I usually remade the same bun differently or tried securing it with a different hair toy.

It was very helpful for me to reverse the direction I made the bun. For example, with your cinnamon bun you might be twisting your hair in the same direction everytime you make it, so the next time you make it, twist it in the other direction which automatically makes you coil it in the other direction. For me, playing was learning.

Try different ways to hide the tail-end, and different ways to insert the hair toy (this was extremely helpful for me). A number of small details can make a big difference. When you see a member's photo showing a hair toy securing an updo in such a way that you cannot figure out how it is holding, just ask the member how the hair toy is inserted. There is a ton of information here, and sometimes you have to spend a lot of time searching.

You can make the bun tighter or higher on your head or lower. You can make the bun, then turn, twist or flip it over to tighten it up. Another thing you learn with practice is which buns require you to start on one side of your head in order to end-up being centered on the back of your head.

Practice showed me which hair toys held certain styles better than others. Photos made it crystal clear which styles looked best on me, and the photos documented my research so that I never forget which style works best with a certain hair toy.

With a quick look at my photo album, I identify which hair toy matches my outfit, then I know which updo works best with that hairtoy. But I sometimes have to pick a different updo because collars and hats also determine how the hair can be worn.

It takes a lot of practice, but if you make an updo repeatedly, you will master it.

adiapalic
April 24th, 2010, 10:24 PM
At first I feel for it, then I double check in my mama's bathroom--she has a medicine cabinet mirror that opens toward two large sliding door mirrors, so I use it to see the back of my head and check the bun. :)

Milui Elenath
April 25th, 2010, 12:21 AM
I also do it mostly by feel and only look in the mirror to tuck in ends. It's definitely smoother and easier when hair is more oily than first washed IMO.

And as others say practice. - I do disagree that the first time bun is NEVER good. Sometimes (often) the first time I follow the instructions it comes out fantastic, then I take it out and try again . . . that's when I realise it was a complete fluke. :D

But also some days you just have the knack of a particular style and other days not. Even after doing a style over and over I will suddenly have updo incompetancy and have to do another style bun or other.