Settled in with my festive eggnog latte from Starbucks I flipped on HBO to discover Ms. Britney Spears giving a live performance at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
After the shock of seeing Britney live on HBO I noticed her hair of course.
She was doing a special number where she was dressed as a ballerina in an official tutu.
Her hair, which is shoulder length, had many choppy and uneven layers. For the ballet piece her hair was up in a top knot.
Even with the choppy bangs and pieces hanging around the back, the top knot looked stunning.
Yes, top knots are always hot. They have tremendous holding power for brides, Prom goers and anyone wanting to instantly dress up a look.
Even better, top knots are easy to do on hair that is shoulder length or longer that can be captured into a ponytail.
Getting Started Tips
The model shown in this article has medium length, medium thick hair with a slight wave. This updo style is designed to work best for hair that is medium thickness, shoulder length or longer.
Thin or fine hair can easily be woven into this stellar top knot style.
One option to consider with baby fine hair is to use a volumizing shampoo and gel or spray to blow up the hair cuticle. This will help achieve a fuller set of hair loops for the crown and back of the head.
Curly or wavy hair may need to be temporarily straightened before a sleek look can be successfully created.
There are many great styling products available on the market today that will assist in temporarily styling your strands stick straight.
Moderate natural curls or waves can be incorporated easily into the style.
Thick or super thick hair may not be able to achieve the desired level of sleekness. It would be possible to re-create this look on thick or super thick hair that has been relaxed.
Although most face shapes will be flattered by this style, if your face is long and thin it is better to design the updo so it lays closer to the head with more volume added along the sides.
Oval, round and heart shaped faces will look beautiful in this style.
Square faces can achieve balance by carefully pulling ringlet tendrils down around the jaw and cheeks to soften.
Round face shapes can achieve a slimming effect by adding more height at the crown, adding tendrils at the cheeks and playing with a light dusting of side parted bangs or hairline tendrils.
Step By Step Instructions
If possible, create this look on hair that is not freshly washed. Right after a shampoo hair tends to be soft, slippery and harder to work with. This is especially true for an updo style.
Step One: Using a Boar's head or similar style brush, a "hair friendly" comb or your fingers, carefully smooth and brush your hair into a very high ponytail that rests at the top of your crown. Secure the ponytail with a "hair friendly" hair band that matches the color of your hair.
For extra hold try the famous Bungee Bands that are a favorite of Jessica Simpson's hairdresser Ken Paves.
Note: If you are having difficulty getting the ponytail base high enough, bend over at the waist and create the ponytail "upside" down which will give you more lift potential for the base.
If you prefer bangs, these can also be added to the style. Keep in mind that if you modify the style from the instructions the look will not be identical to the photos shown in this article.
Step Two: Apply a good hair spray to saturate and dampen hair.
This will help to make hair more manageable as you style. It will also help to keep the updo in place much longer.
Step Three: Eliminate any flyaway or frizzy hair depending on your hair texture, type and condition by applying a moisturizing heat protecting conditioner or a styling cocktail which includes a leave-in conditioner and/or defrisant product along with a straightening balm.
Apply the formula of your choice to your fingers and then use them like a comb to smooth the ponytail from roots to ends.
Step Four: If you want curls like shown in the photo, set your entire ponytail on either Self Adhesive Rollers or hot rollers that are medium (approx 1 inches) in diameter.
Medium rollers will add uniform texture and make the style easier to achieve. Remember that it is important to experiment weeks before your Prom to determine which size rollers give you the best texture and curl for this style.
If you don't have medium rollers use a medium barrel curling iron and methodically work from one side of your ponytail to the other side.
After you have curled a section of hair, pin the hot curl into place at the top of the ponytail. Once all the curls are cooled, remove the pins.
Step Five: After the curlers have finished setting or "cooled" carefully remove them.
Spritz lightly with a light styling spray or use a good sculpting gel that you carefully apply to your fingers and then lightly "finger comb" through your hair using your fingers to avoid dislodging your curls.
Note: Do not use a brush or comb. Use your fingers to style and arrange your hair.
Step Six: Starting at one side and working clockwise carefully sculpt a medium sized curl into a soft medium sized loop. Then pin the new loop/curl near the crown at the base of the ponytail.
Be careful to work lightly as possible to retain the new curler set. Use your fingers as much as possible to smooth.
Step Seven: Keep the hair as close to your head as possible (as shown in the photo) since this updo look is sleek, elegant and close to the scalp. You will make as many or as few curls as you desire for the look you want.
The photo to the side has approximately 12 loops that are closely pinned together.
If you want to try other options, you can wrap hair around the base of the top knot for a more woven look. Or you can just pin curls to the diameter of the ponytail. Pin with hairpins that match your hair color at the base of the ponytail.
Step Eight: When you are finished all of the loops/curls should have been carefully merged into the ponytail to create a soft top knot effect.
Remember to take your time and check each strand as you pin. Make sure that each strand is firmly pinned once you position it.
You have the option to make big fat loops or twists or smaller twists. The key is to sculpt the loops or twists from the middle of the head to the bottom as shown in the photos in this article.
Step Nine: When you are finished with the top knot, spray each loop/curl with holding or styling spray for strong hold. Create one or more tendrils.
Step Ten: Carefully tuck away and pin any remaining hair ends from obvious view. Either pin down any straggling pieces for a smooth elegant look or tease them up for a more feathery look.
Add a little styling paste for a more edgy look. Or keep the look soft by spraying with a light hairspray to finish the look.
Decorate the finished updo style by adding one or more gorgeous fresh flowers or add pink crystals or white crystals, colored tiny crystal headbands, hair snaps, magnets or jeweled clips. If you prefer wear this beautiful style without any adornments.
Note: The style in the photos with this article uses pearl hair pins the HairBoutique.com Marketplace.
If you use fresh flowers, wait to pin them into your hair right before you leave for the Prom to keep them as fresh as long as possible.
Other Styling Options
You have many other options with this look. If you prefer, you can skip the curls and just wrap the tail of the hair around the elastic and hold the top knot in place with two or three pairs of crisscrossed bobby pins.
Or you can apply lots of hair paste and hairspray and wear the ponytail as a wild bushy topknot look. Only your imagination is the limit.
The beauty of a Top Knot is that it can be customized in so many ways that no two will look alike. Use your imagination to key your Top Knot to your gown and the look you are going for.
The other advantage of a carefully anchored Top Knot is that you can dance the night away without worrying about dropping tresses or a lopsided updo. So go out there and dance your big night away.
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- Revised Publication Date: 05/22/10
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