Pulled Donut Braided Updo

Ignite your creativity for several new looks with one jaw-dropping style! In this video, Sam Villa, Redken 5th Avenue Global Artistic Ambassador and the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Sam Villa shares one of his many, must-have styling tricks! An incredibly creative technique that can transform your up styling skills and open your creativity to explore new fun ways to style hair!


Start with dry, smooth hair to avoid fly-aways or indentations in your style.

To begin your updo, you will create a ponytail at the crown area with all hair directed back. Be sure to have a hair bungee/elastic and hair pins nearby.

  • A great tip to find the placement for your ponytail is to create what Sammy calls a hand pocket.
  • Open your non-dominant hand with your thumb up, facing the ceiling and lay your other four fingers flat (pictured below).
  • Place the knuckles on the back of your hand against the head at the crown.
  • The curve in between your thumb and fingers should lay where your ponytail will be secured on the head.

Step 1

  • Use a Sam Villa Signature Series Paddle Brush to remove all tangles by holding the brush vertically and the handle facing down.
    • Why hold it this way? The rows of the brush are vertical so it mirrors the grain of the hair allowing for better detangling.
    • Brush the hair from the front and back hairlines into the hand pocket to gather hair into a loose pony.

To smooth and polish the hair:

  • Keep your hand pocket secured against the crown and close your fingers around the pony (pictured below).

Step 2

  • Use the Sam Villa Signature Series Styling Brush to gather the hair from the front hairline back (ending at the hand pocket).
  • Once the brush reaches the pony, loosen your grip to gather the smooth hair into the pony laying in your palm (pictured below).

Step 3

  • Close your grip back around the hair to secure (pictured below).

Step 4

  • Continue to brush all the hair around the head as you open and close your grip, until the desired smoothness is achieved.
    • Keep your grip tight around the base of the pony at the crown.
  • Grab your hair bungee (elastic) and place in between your thumb and forefinger of the hand holding the pony (Don’t loosen your grip).
  • Allow 1-inch of the elastic to be left out (pictured below).

Step 5

  • Slide your thumb forward so that the middle of your thumb is touching your forefinger.
    • Keep your grip tight.
  • Wrap the long part of the elastic around the tip of your thumb once.
  • Wrap the elastic around the tip of your thumb once more, then bring it under the index finger and around to the left side of the pony.
    • Your index finger will hold the elastic in place by applying pressure to it laying against the head.
    • Complete wrapping clockwise to reach the starting position (at the thumb).
  • Wrap the elastic around the base of the pony clockwise with tension.
    • Keep a tight grip on the hair.
    • Follow this technique to wrap at least three times.
  • Release your grip.
  • Gather both ends of the elastic above the ponytail and tie as you would a shoelace- two times!
  • Once the elastic is tied twice, keep both ends in your hands and cross your arms over one another, then pull tight (pictured below).
    • You should hear a POP! This will give us the confirmation that the pony is secure.
    • Choose to cut off the remaining elastic pieces or leave them as is.

Step 6

  • To cover the elastic, gather a hair pin (pin #1) and slide the closed end of the pin on a diagonal underneath the elastic that is holding the pony (slide halfway through).

Step 9

  • Gather a 1-4-inch of hair from the opposite side of the hair pin, and bring it up and over the pin.
  • Wrap the hair around the pin counter-clockwise using tension.
  • Place your thumb down to hold the piece securely as you wrap the hair around, until you reach 2-inches from the ends. Stop wrapping.

Step 8

  • Grab another hair pin (pin #2) and gather the remaining ends into the open part of the pin (as if you were threading a needle).
  • With the ends gathered into pin #2 (outside left side of pin #1), pass through the closed end of hair pin #1 (still secured in pony-reference below).
    • The remaining ends should end up on the inside right of pin #1.
    • Place pin #2 down.

Step 7

  • Gather the remaining end, and pull on them as you glide pin #1 down and out of the pony.
    • The ends should glide underneath the elastic as you pull the pin down.

To create the bun, be sure to have a donut, a cloth elastic, small elastics and hair pins readily available.

  • Ask your client to lean forward.
    • Hot Tip: Have your client place their elbows on each thigh, and have them rest their chin in between each fist.
  • Gather the hair from the pony into the middle of the donut.
  • Push the donut up to the base of the pony.
  • Fan the hair out to cover the entire donut and smooth out the hair with Sam Villa Signature Series Styling Brush.
  • Place the cloth elastic around the hair to wrap around the donut.

Step 11

  • Gather hair from the top of the bun and slice into three sections.

Step 10

  • Bring the three sections back and over the bun.
    • At this point your client will sit upright.

Step 12

  • Braid all three strands once.
  • Start gathering the hair from around the bun to include into your braid, directing all strands of the braid towards the inside.
    • Be sure to maintain tension!

Step 13

  • Continue to braid working towards the inside of the bun and adding in hair.
  • Once you reach the bottom of the bun, you will start to gather hair from underneath, bringing it over to the center.
    • This will resemble a fishtail technique.
  • Follow this technique to braid as far to the ends as you can.
  • Tie with an elastic.
    • Hot Tip: If you have an elastic that’s too thick, twist it to tighten it before you tie around hair!
  • Hold the ends of the braid tightly with one hand, and gather hair from the top of the braid in your other hand.
  • Pull on both ends at the same time to loosen the braid.

Step 14

At this point, this can be a style in itself!

To achieve the up-style in the video:

  • Pull onto both ends until the hair pops off the donut!
  • Let go of the hair and allow it to fall into place.
  • Grab the center of the braid with your fingertips and bring it up and over to the top of the pony.
  • Create your up style by pinning into place.
    • Hot Tip: Where you hold is where you pin!


This technique allows for several looks from a night out to the runway! Use your creativity and run wild. From a smooth pony to a braided pony, to a unique up style, this one technique opens up an arsenal of new fun ideas! We hope you’ve enjoyed this video!

Recommended Tools for this technique:

Signature Series
Paddle Brush


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