Half-back looks are tricky — the danger being that barrettes can sometimes feel a bit juvenile. That said, we still love the feminine face-framing look of a good half-up ‘do. We consulted with senior stylist Erica Rae of ROAR Salon to learn her technique for wearing half-up hair that feels a lot more modern, and less junior high. “This particular look has a really sporty feel,” says Erica of the style that incorporates a messy top knot instead of a braid or barrette. As a fitness professional and owner of Crush Fitness, Lander Peerman was the perfect model for this go-anywhere style. Read on to discover to Erica’s tips for the half-up top knot:


  1. First start by adding some texturizing products. I always tell my clients that half of the look of any hairstyle is what you use as your foundation. If your hair is fine and limp, add any product that will give it more texture. If you have frizzy unruly hair, add something that will smooth and define your curls.
  2. Imagine that you are creating a “U” shape part. Section your hair from the arch of one brow to the other and continue the part to the crown of your head. Secure this section with an elastic tie.
  3. Once you have secured your section, lightly twist and begin wrapping the section into a loose knot.
  4. Pin the knot using bobby pins or hair pins.Once you have pinned your knot in place you can tuck and pull at the knot. This will create more texture and make it look a little “messier.” You can then add more pins if you need to tuck any of the hair you may have pulled out back into the knot. TIP: Try not to make it look like a perfect bun on top of your head. Remember that this is supposed to look effortless and a little bit messy!

ERICA’S PRO TIP: You can change the look of this knot by moving the base of the “section/ponytail.” Do so by securing the section close to your hairline or towards the back of your crown. You can even move the section below your crown and get a messy half up look. If you do so I would recommend making a wider section: take a section from temple to temple instead of using your brows as a guide. Play around with sectioning and have fun with it! This look is great for those days when you just don’t have time to mess with your hair and is a great alternative from a regular ponytail. And the best part is that can still show off your length with this look.

photographed by kristen kilpatrick


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