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10 Easy Topknot Hair Styles for Women Over 50 That Make Thin Hair Look Thick

And the how-to video that shows you all the steps!

Some days, all we want to do is toss our hair up into a messy bun and head out the door. However, creating an effortless-looking updo that still looks polished isn’t really so effortless to many of us. And if you have fine or thin hair, you might think you can’t wear the pulled-back style in fear of it making your hair look thinner. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be so complicated — you just need to learn the tips and tricks to crafting the perfect topknot hair styles. And best of all, the style actually makes your hair look thicker. Here, we tapped celebrity hairstylists to get the exact step-by-step how-tos for any style of topknot you could dream of.

Why topknots flatter women over 50

As we age, we unfortunately tend to experience loss of volume and thickness in the hair. You may feel the only way to combat this is by styling your hair down, fearing that any sort of updo will reveal bald spots, an uneven hairline or the plethora of other insecurities we may have when it comes to our hair. However, the thought that you can only style your hair up if you have thick hair is a common misconception. In fact, hair can look even thicker when pulled into a topknot than it would left down.

“Topknots are flattering on mature women because for women with finer hair, this style can give the illusion of more volume and fullness. Topknots give a sense of youthfulness!” affirms celebrity hairstylist Davontaé Washington. “Plus, they are easy to maintain and, lastly, pulling the hair back will give you an instant face lift which can be ultra flattering.”

Related: 13 Best Haircuts for Thin Hair That Make Hair Look Fuller From Every Angle

How to create a classic topknot

Washington shares the 101 for how to style hair into the perfect topknot:

  1. “First, brush and detangle the hair, sectioning it into your desired look. Make sure to use your hands and brush to smooth out all humps,” he says.
  2. “Once you gather the hair into place, use an elastic band to secure the hair into place and then take the hair and twist around the base forming a tight coil.”
  3. “Tuck any loose ends under the bun and secure with a very small bobby pin or rubber band.”

For a visual demonstration, watch this video from YouTuber @JuliaHunterHavens.

Related: How to Style Thinning Hair So It Looks Twice as Thick — 9 Tricks You’ll Wonder How You Lived Without!

How to ensure your topknot stays all day

Bobby pins, styling gels/creams and hairspray will be your best friends when it comes to creating a style that lasts. Also, making sure you are securing your hair into a ponytail first before creating the bun will go a long way when it comes to hold.

“If you secure it [the bun] with your rubberband or bobby pin, it should last you,” says Washington. “It also depends on the base style of your top knot — are you creating it with curly or straight hair? Is it super sleek and slicked back or are you embracing texture?” For sleeker looks, he says “you will want to use waxes, gels or hairsprays to keep the look perfect throughout your day. If you are embracing a softer, natural look, a flexible hold hairspray will keep your look in tact without making it appear stiff.” A great hairspray to try is HH Science Hold My Style Hairspray.

Related: Simple Ponytail Looks for Everyday: 8 Easy + So Flattering Twists on the Classic Style

10 celebrity topknot hairstyles to try for yourself

1. The looped topknot

Jennifer Lopez topknot
Jennifer LopezRALL/BackGrid Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Sweeping hair into a bun allows the breeze to cool off the face and neck. And one that looks “undone” ensures the style appears intentional if the weather messes it up. Plus, the texture from a teased bun that rests at the back of the crown distracts from a small, sharp chin in front, while loose, sideswept tendrils hide furrows across the forehead. 

To do:

  1. Create a deep side part, then blow dry 2″ sections of hair using a round brush, lifting strands up and off of the scalp to create even more volume.
  2. Wrap 2″ sections of hair around a 1″ curling iron, like Hairitage Wand It Need It 1″ Curling Wand, until all hair is curled. Next, leave out a 2″ section of hair on each side in front, then secure the rest of the hair into a high ponytail at the back of the crown.
  3. Back-comb hair in the tail, then fan out the teased strands around the pony’s base. Pin various strands into place for a tousled look. Set with hair spray.

Related: Pro Stylists’ Tricks for Curls That Last and Last So Hair Stays Lush + Voluminous All Day

2. The messy topknot

Halle Berry topknot bun
Halle BerryKarwai Tang / Contributor / Fred Duval / Getty

Pulling long locks up into a messy topknot keeps hair out of the face. And if the effortless style starts to come undone, it will look intentional, says Kali Ferrara, hairstylist at The Salon Project by Joel Warren in New York City. 

To do:

  1. Secure hair into a high ponytail
  2. Pull the tail of the ponytail through a sock bun and place onto the crown of the head
  3. Split the tail into two equal sections and wrap each segment around the perimeter of the sock bun until all hair is wrapped and pin in place.
  4. Gently tug on 12” sections of hair within the bun for a messy, undone finish.

3. The slicked-back topknot

Lynn Whitfield topknot bun
Lynn WhitfieldNoam Galai/Getty Images

A slicked-back look pulls focus up for a face-lift effect. Plus, it works with any hair length, and doesn’t take much skill to create.

To do:

  1. Use a brush and a hair wax, like Nexxus Slick Stick Strong Hold Hair Wax, or styling cream, like dae Cactus Fruit 3-in-1 Styling Cream, to slick hair up into a high ponytail. Secure tightly.
  2. Wrap hair into a tight topknot, and secure with a ponytail. Gently tug on the bun to give it more volume, but don’t tug on the roots or crown.
  3. Fix any flyaways or loose pieces with gel.

4. The twisted topknot

Eva Longoria updo
Eva LongoriaDaniele Venturelli / Contributor / Getty

Two reasons to love a sky-high messy bun: It takes ­minutes to create, “and it directs attention upward to elongate and slim the face,” says hairstylist Robin Emtage, who’s worked with Susan Lucci and Diana Ross.

To do:

  1. Work a nickel-size amount of a smoothing serum, like Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Working Serum, through hair to combat frizz and flyaways, then brush hair back and secure into a high ponytail at the crown. 
  2. Wrap the ponytail into a messy bun around the base of the pony; pin in place. 
  3. Gently tug on small sections of hair throughout the bun and let some ends stick out to create an “undone” effect. Set with hairspray.

5. The piecey topknot

Sheryl Lee Ralph topknot
Sheryl Lee RalphCindy Ord/VF23 / Contributor / Steve Granitz / Getty

A tousled, piecey topknot gives thin, fine hair thickening movement. Also flattering: Leaving bangs to hang loose frames the face, says Emtage.

To do:

  1. Wrap 2″ sections of hair around the barrel of a 2″ curling iron. Once all of hair is curled, brush through with fingers to break up coils and create loose waves. 
  2. Leave out side bangs, then gather and secure the rest of hair into a high ponytail.
  3. Take various sections from the tail and loosely wrap around the base of the pony, alternating the direction you wrap hair; pin in place. Then gently pull out 2 to 3 tendrils from the bun. Set with hairspray.

6. The regal topknot

Helen Mirren topknot
Karwai Tang / Contributor / Dave Benett / Getty

Securing hair into a bountiful high bun keeps the neck exposed so you won’t overheat. And it also pulls focus away from agers like jowls or laugh lines. Celebrity hairstylist Valery Joseph‘s tip: Create the style with hair that hasn’t been washed for one to two days. “This not only makes it easier to work with but helps strands stay in place all evening long.”

To do:

  1. Brush hair back to form a high ponytail; secure with an elastic. Then back-comb various sections in the tail to create volume and give hair added grip.
  2. Separate hair in the tail into three equal sections, then wrap each section around the base of the ponytail; pin in place. Gently tug on small sections of hair in the bun to fan it out. Set with hair spray.

Tip: Love the hairstyle but have short hair? Simply sweep and pin back strands, then add a clip-in bun hair piece, like POP by Hairdo Wavy Hair Wrap, at the crown of the head.

Related: The Hidden Secret to Achieving Thicker Looking Hair From Home — In Seconds

7. The coiled topknot

Kyra Sedgwich updo
ROBYN BECK / Contributor / Getty / Wire

The bouncy look of a curl-infused updo creates an overall softness that offsets a strong jawline. Plus, a topknot directs focus up, in and away from the jaw’s harsher angles, says hairstylist Kiyah Wright, who’s worked with Angela Bassett and Kerry Washington. And the texture from defined coils gives finer strands youthful depth and dimension.

To do:

  1. Wrap 1″ sections of hair around a 1″ curling iron.
  2. Gather curls into a high pony and secure it with a hair tie. 
  3. Loosely wrap the tail around the base of the pony so it forms a “messy” bun and pin into place. 

8. The accessorized topknot

Sienna Miller bun with ribbon
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

The simple low-cost way to jazz up any updo in seconds? Add a ribbon! Wearing a ribbon as a headband with a topknot takes the everyday style from standard to stunning. Even better: Ribbons add texture and contrast to locks, which creates the illusion of thicker hair.

To do:

  1. Brush hair up into a ponytail and secure with an elastic.
  2. Wrap hair around the elastic and secure with pins, creating a “messy” bun.
  3. Leave front pieces or bangs out and style with a flat iron or curling iron.
  4. Grab a 2″-wide black ribbon and tie around near the front of your hair to create a ribbon headband. Secure in the back tightly.

9. The sleek and smooth topknot

Jada Pinkett Smith topknot
Jada Pinkett SmithJason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty

“The height of a spiky sky-high topknot ‘lifts’ eyes and cheekbones as it directs the eye upward,” says hairstylist Andre Walker, who has worked with Oprah Winfrey. Another plus: “Wavy face-framing tendrils add youthful edge.”

To do:

  1. Part hair down the middle, then smooth a pea-size amount of a shine serum, like Kérastase Huile Gloss Réparatrice Intensive Shine Repair Oil, onto strands to boost luster.
  2. Leaving out a 1″ section of hair on each side in front, brush hair up into a tight ponytail at the top of the crown and secure with an elastic.
  3. Tie the tail of the pony into a knot, leaving the ends to fan out on top, then pin in place. Next, wrap the loose front sections around a 1″ curling iron and gently brush out curls. Set the style with hairspray.

10. The tousled topknot

Lisa Edelstein topknot bun
Lisa EdelsteinFrazer Harrison / Staff/

Celebrity hairstylist Brant Mayfield, who created this updo for Lisa, says this bun will stay in place all day long, no matter how much you sweat or move around, despite it looking effortless.

To do:

  1. Use a round brush to smooth 2″ sections of hair at a time while blow-drying for a silky-smooth appearance.
  2. Pull hair into a high ponytail and secure with a hair tie. Next, split the ponytail into four equal sections, twirl each section into a roll and pin at the tail’s base.
  3. Use fingers to gently tug on each rolled section to fan out hair and hide any gaps, so it appears as a single bountiful bun. Set with hair spray. 

For more hair styling inspiration, click through these stories:

At-Home Keratin Treatment Gets You Silky, Shiny Hair for $100s Less Than at the Salon

How to Achieve Kate Middleton’s Gorgeous Hairstyles + the $13 Product Her Hairstylist Uses

How Lisa Rinna’s Hair Cut Changed Her Life: And How You Can Get the Look

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