Elegant Bridal Upstyling with Caralee Pridemore
Brides are BACK, baby! Wedding stylists are super-busy these days helping guests get ready for their long-awaited special days. Proper preparation is the key to creating an elegant bridal upstyle with all-day hold, according to Sam Villa Ambassador and bridal stylist Caralee Pridemore.
Caralee creates the most Instagram-worthy wedding hair as an on-location stylist in Dayton, Ohio. She has tons of unique upstyling tips and techniques to help you design beautiful, polished shapes with BIG volume in all hair types.
Read on to master Caralee’s perfect low bridal bun:
Prepping the Hair
Correctly prepping the hair builds the fullness and texture needed to support the style. For this updo, you’ll start by texturizing the hair, then create smoothness with a thermal brush, and finish by teasing the back area for mega volume. Do not prep the hair with a flat iron, which will over-flatten the hair and crush the volume you worked so hard to create.
Step One: Texturize
Divide clean, dry hair into two halves along the midline. Working from bottom to top, spray small sections of hair with your favorite thermal protectant and lightly crimp the hair with the Textur Professional Texturizing Iron. Carrie recommends starting at the roots and texturizing about four finger widths down the hair shaft for tons of lift and volume. Continue this process until all of the hair has been prepped.
Step Two: Smooth
Section off the hair in front of the ears and secure with Dry Sectioning Clips on each side. Secure the back section with another clip, leaving the hair in the nape area loose.
Smooth out the ends with the Pro Results 3-in-1 Blow Dry Hot Brush on the Combination setting. This is the secret to getting beautiful, elegant smoothness while maintaining volume! Simply place the brush under each section and glide through the hair from mid-shafts to ends while gently twirling the brush away from the head.
Continue this process with the rest of the back section, working up the head from bottom to top. Then repeat with the front sections on each side, taking care to get the face-framing pieces smooth and polished.
Step Three: Tease
Section off the hair about mid-way up the head and secure the hair on top with a clip. Prep the lower back section of hair with Healthy SexyHair Re-Dew Conditioning Dry Oil & Restyler. Pick up a wide subsection and backcomb it near the roots with the fine teeth of your comb on top of the hair. Back-combing adds TONS of volume to your bun. Don’t worry if it creates some frizz-- this hair will be fully concealed by the upstyle!
Continue working up the back of the head, teasing horizontal subsections of hair until you achieve the level of volume and body you want. When you reach the crown of the head, place the teeth of your comb underneath the hair (instead of on top) and work in smaller sections for a smoother finish. Do not tease the hair in front of the ears.
Once you finish teasing the hair, use your comb to gently smooth the hair over the top of the teased sections. Apply a dab of AIIR Smoothing Cream to your hands, emulsify the product by rubbing your hands together, and gently run your hands over the surface of the hair for added smoothness and shine.
Creating the Upstyle
Step #1: Secure the hair in front of the ears with clips.
Step #2: Begin at the center back of the head. Grasp a section of hair with one hand and use your other hand to gently pinch and pull out small “ridges” of hair in the crown area. All the prep work you did to build a strong foundation will give these ridges tons of structure and hold. Bobby pin the section in place.
Step #3: Mist the hair with R+Co Balloon Dry Volume Spray and use your fingers to shape and direct the hair as you pin side pieces to the center back.
Step #4: Repeat Step #2 until you’ve added all the side pieces to a half-upstyle, leaving the hair in front of the ears loose.
Step #5: Pull all the hair behind the ears into a low ponytail and secure with an elastic at the nape of the neck.
Step #6: Comb through the “tail” of the ponytail to smooth it out, then mist the hair with AIIR Shine Spray.
Step #7 [Optional]:
To add extra volume to the bun, wrap a cut-to-fit piece of hair padding around the base of the ponytail and secure it with hair pins. If you’re working with extensions, place them around and underneath the ponytail. You can also apply tape-ins directly to the hair padding.
Step #8: Split the ponytail into 2-3 smaller sections. Wrap each section around the base of the ponytail and secure it by pushing U-shaped pins into the hair padding. Use standard bobby pins to secure the ends and shape the style.
This is where your artistry can really shine through-- place the hair where you want it and create beauty with symmetry! Think about tailoring the shape to suit your bride’s unique style, wedding dress and vibe.
Step #9: Release the front sections of hair from the clips, mist the hair with AIIR Shine Spray and part the hair where your guest prefers.
For more volume in the front, lightly backcomb the hair underneath and then smooth out the hair with your comb. For a super-sleek look, use the Sleekr Professional Straightening Iron to smooth out the front pieces ONLY. If your guest wants face-framing waves or curls, grab your iron and create those now!
Starting on one side, sweep the hair back and hold it softly in one hand while you pinch and pull out small pieces for more texture. Place this section wherever your bride would like-- over the bun, under the bun, or crossed over the back-- and secure the hair to the bun with U-shaped hair pins. Repeat on the opposite side.
Step #11: Use a quick blast of Shine Spray and your fingers to smooth out any flyaways. Tuck the ends in and secure with large bobby pins.
Step #12: Add any accessories that your bride has chosen and finish the style with hairspray.
Elevating Your Upstyling
As we move into the 2022 wedding season, what hairstyling trends can we expect to see? While laid-back boho looks are still ultra-popular, Caralee predicts that more brides will be asking for sleek, polished and elegant updos. Glam waves are coming into fashion, as are styles that reveal a bride’s ears à la Ariana Grande!
Perhaps reflecting our return to the hustle and bustle of pre-pandemic life, these new looks add a touch of formality to the soft, natural texture that’s been trending for so long. Learning new prep and styling techniques is the perfect way to elevate your special-occasion updos and bring together volume, smoothness and shine! Follow @SamVillaHair and @caraleestyles on Instagram for more free education and beautiful bridal styles.