29 Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles To Inspire Your Next Styling Sesh

Half-up, half-down hair might just take the award for the most versatile hairstyle. It's a style that works on anyone as long as your hair is long enough to pull back. Plus, it's such an easy hairstyle to love since it keeps your hair out of your face while also letting you keep your hair down. Short or long, straight or curly, all shades of the rainbow, and even clean or greasy, there's a half-up, half-down style to suit any hair type. 

Half-up, half-down hairstyles are so versatile there's an option you can wear to any event, too, whether you need an easy style to hide greasy roots until your next wash day or you're planning an elaborate half-updo for your wedding. Depending on the half-up, half-down style, it can look practical, sultry, or romantic, so you'll see versions of this style everywhere, from the workplace to the red carpet. Throw your hair up in a claw clip for an easy day-to-day look, slick it back in a high half-pony for a night out with friends, or try one of the almost endless half-updo bridal styles, with their elegant twists, braids, and curls. Keep reading for half-up, half-down hairstyle inspiration you'll want to emulate for all occasions.

Half-up with a bow

Even the simplest of half-up, half-down hairstyles can be prettied up with a bow. Whether for a basic half-up look as seen in this photo or an intricate hairdo with twists and braids, a bow is elegant and feminine and makes any half-up ponytail feel dressier. It's easy to find or even DIY this hair accessory: Just use a simple craft ribbon, thin silk hair scarf, or a hair bow clip. To elevate your look, pay attention to textures and choose materials according to the season, such as a linen bow for summer or a velvet bow for colder months.

High pony

A high, slicked-back ponytail always looks sleek and sophisticated, and you can bring that vibe to your half-up styles as well. Since it pulls your hair out of your face, a half-up, half-down high pony is the perfect way to show off a statement makeup look. With enough hair spray or gel, this style will stay solidly in place, so it's also stellar for days or nights you expect to get a bit sweaty, such as at a festival. This look adds an even more glamorous touch to the slick ponytail with the hair wrap detail and loose waves.

Lots of curls

Curly hair and half-up, half-down hairstyles go together like peanut butter and jelly — they're a great way to pull your curls back while keeping them on full display. Half-up, half-down styles can add a crazy amount of volume to curly hair. It sections your hair into two layers and gives curls the space to bounce and shine. To really emphasize your hair texture, pull out a few wispy curls in the front to frame your face.

Braided accents

You can get creative with braids many different ways, and half-up, half-down hairstyles are the perfect place to experiment. To get this trendy look, take two front pieces of hair and create face-framing braided strands. Then section off two sections right behind those pieces and make pigtails, then braid. Starting with pigtails gives the braids a little more volume to make them stand out.

Waterfall braid

A Tumblr-era classic that still holds up today, a waterfall braid is a favorite for both every day and bridal half-up, half-down styles. It's a little more traditionally pretty rather than trendy, and it's perfect for special formal events or when you need to look professional. Paired with loose spiral curls and a statement hair barrette, this hairstyle looks fit for a princess.

Messy space buns

Space buns have captured our hearts — they're just so cute and versatile. Half-up space buns make a gorgeous festival or concert look since they're fun and practical. They keep your hair tied back for dancing and running around, but let you keep most of your hair down to complete your event look. Messy space buns look a little more casual and undone, so they're suitable for everyday wear as well.

A pretty bandana

You can't go wrong adding a pretty hair accessory to a half-up, half-down style, and a lacy bandana is always the right call if you want to achieve a charming cottage-core inspired look. When it comes to bandanas, there's an option out there for everyone. Opt for pretty patterns and pops of color, or go for a black or classic bandana pattern for a grungier vibe.

Back with a barrette

A unique hair barrette adds personality to a half-up, half-down hairstyle, and if you coordinate it right, it can really pull an outfit together. This pink barrette with a pink dress is the perfect example — match colors or patterns between your hair accessory and your outfit to make it look all the more cohesive.

Slicked back

If you want to keep your hair tied up tight and out of the way, but still want part of it flowy and down, a slicked-back half-up style is the answer. Use hair gel or hair spray to tame any fly aways and keep the front portion of your style in place. This simple look is pretty and professional, so it's great for work and everyday life, but with the right makeup and accessories, it's a sleek style for a special event as well.

Use a claw clip

Since they're so easy to use, claw clip updos have been all the rage in recent years. Not only do claw-clip styles look nice, but, since they don't use tight elastics, they can be gentler on your hair. Use a claw clip to create a fetching half-up, half-down style that's casual for every day. Consider using a smaller claw clip if you have short or thin hair.

Claw clip bun

Elevate a half-up, half-down claw-clip style by tying up a bun instead of your usual ponytail. This tip adds a bit more oomph to your look. We think this inspiration photo is a great example of how well it goes with a minimalist street-style outfit — it's classy but a little more noticeable than the usual basic half-up ponytail.

High pigtails

As adorable as space buns, but easier to style, high half-up, half-down pigtails are just plain adorable. If you have trouble creating space buns, stop at this step instead and style some pigtails. To get this look, add a flip to the ends of your hair using a hair straightener. It makes the pigtails look even more bouncy and fun.

A cute scrunchie

Another way to dress up a simple half-up, half-down look is with a scrunchie. Pretty much any option will do, and there are a lot of choices. Choose from different colors, textures, sizes, and patterns to complete your look, such as by matching your scrunchie color with your makeup, as seen in this inspiration photo.

Silky hair scarf

Silk hair scarves are so classic they never go out of style. The best part? Hair scarf styles tend to be low maintenance, while elevating any hair look and adding personality to basic outfits. Tie one around your half-up, half-down ponytail or bun to make it look effortlessly chic.

Braided space buns

A neat but adorable space bun look, this braided option is excellent if you have straight hair. If you have silky, straight hair, you know the pain of trying to get it to stick in a bun hairstyle. Braiding your hair makes it easier for your silken strands to stay in place, while giving the finished style a cool textured look.

Slick part

A lot of sleek hairstyles pull all your hair back and forgo a part. But if you feel that makes your head look like, well, an egg, then keep your part in place. It looks just as nice slicked back (as you can see in the inspiration photo above) and can make you feel more comfortable by keeping your usual part.

Pretty twists

Half-up, half-down hairstyles and pretty braids and twists are a match made in heaven. There's a reason why photos like this are on almost every wedding mood board! It's a gorgeous look, and when done up with gentle curls and dainty hair accessories, this style is a look to save for when you want to feel your best.

Patterned headband

Is your usual half-up style feeling a little boring? A patterned headband can instantly give it some color or pattern to enhance your look. With preppy and academia-inspired fashion making a comeback, headbands aren't going anywhere. Channel your inner Gossip Girl by using a headband to adorn your crown.

High half-up bun

Ballet-inspired but much more relaxed, a half-up bun is a tasteful way to style half-up, half-down hair. Neat high buns look dignified but can feel a bit severe when you pull back all of your hair. Leaving the bottom section down makes it feel more casual and also gives you the opportunity to add more style, such as with loose waves in this photo.


Middle parts are having their moment right now. One way to emphasize your middle part is to throw it in a half-up, half-down style. To get this pleasantly symmetrical look, take time to part your hair right down the middle in a straight line. Then loosely pull back the side sections of your hair to keep your middle part prominent.

Eye-catching hair clips

Whether butterfly clips, flower clips, or these funky star clips as pictured in the photo, a statement clip in the front of your hair is one way to get that Y2K aesthetic. Placing a playful hair clip on your half-up 'do is one way to change it from classic to trendy. Combined with a couple of skinny braids and a Y2K-inspired outfit, this hair look is a cute contemporary take on 2000s fashion.

Flipped-up ends

A hairstyle with flipped up ends feels charmingly vintage — it's a trend that's made its way into a few decades throughout history. Bring it to the modern era with a chic half-up, half-down style. An easy way to achieve this look is with either a flat iron or curling iron. Use your chosen hot tool to curl the end section of your hair outwards.

Boho braid

Instead of tying your half-up, half-down style into a ponytail, opt for a loose braid. It's more distinctive than a plain pony but just as simple to do (as long as you know how to braid your hair). This style looks effortlessly thrown together, but if you want to take it up a notch and make it more girly, add some loose curls and tie a small ribbon to the end of your braid.

All tied up

Another easy way to switch up a half-up ponytail is to add more elastics. The more ponytails, the more intricate this type of style can look. Use small elastics to tie up some front sections of your hair. You can go with two, as in this inspiration photo, or add more to get a '90s-inspired look. Leave the sections as-is or join them at the back in one neat ponytail to bring it all together.

Bold bangs

Want your bangs to be the star of your look, but not feeling like it's a ponytail or bun type of day? Meet in the middle by doing a half-up, half-down style. Pulling the top section of your hair back works by making your bangs look more prominent but also has the advantage of keeping most of your hair down for an enviable flowy look.

Pigtail braids

Youthful with a bit of sass, half-up pigtail braids are a great choice for when you want to look stylish but keep your hair out of the way. These simple braids feel sporty and look just as good if you get sweaty, so they're another practical look for festivals or even athletic dates, whether a hiking or rock climbing date.

Spiky bun

Popularized by Bella Hadid, the spiky bun is the '90s-inspired "it girl" style of the moment. There's a way to incorporate it into your half-up, half-down repertoire as well, with the half-up spiky bun. This look is a low-effort but edgier take on a regular half-up, half-down bun.

Voluminous curls

A half-up, half-down hairstyle with cascading curls is timeless for very good reason. There is pretty much no situation where this style looks out of place, whether at work, at brunch with friends, or at a fancy gala. Though simple, this look is one of many that gives half-up, half-down styles their versatile reputation.

Braided face-framing pieces

Face-framing braids can add some edge to your regular half-up, half-down look. If your usual face-framing strands look too "pretty," tie them in tight braids for a slightly grungier aesthetic. To emphasize the cool girl feel, follow along the lines of this inspo photo with tousled waves and fox eye makeup, and you're good to go!