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How to master the messy updo—summer’s hottest hair style


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Photo: Instagram/@mikutas
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After several seasons of boxer braids, high-and-slick ponytails, and everything in between, you might feel like you’ve earned an honorary MS degree—master of styling, that is.

If so, prepare to take a well-deserved sabbatical from complicated hairstyles, because this summer’s all about the “I-woke-up-like-this” updo.

“What I’m seeing right now is this effortlessly sexy look—like, you’ve gone three-to-five days without washing your hair, but maybe you toss it up and have little pieces coming down,” says Kristen Shaw, proprietress of Los Angeles’ new Cabin hair salon and ambassador to the clean hair-care line Playa. “To me, it’s like French girl meets California, the ‘90s mixed with a little bit of a ‘70s vibe.”

“It’s like French girl meets California, the ‘90s mixed with a little bit of a ‘70s vibe.”

According to Shaw, it’s about the essence of the look instead of an actual style, which makes it suitable for lots of hair types, from fine lobs to wild, curly manes. “You can pin the hair up into a twist, put it into a messy bun, or do a great little ponytail—it’s all about showing off the neck,” she says. “And if your hair’s really thick, even pulling it half up and letting some [strands] fall out in the front looks so gorgeous.”

No matter which option you try, the steps for achieving it are more or less the same, says Shaw. “Let your hair air dry, then take a little bit of hair oil on the ends and rake it through,” she says. “Next, go over it with dry shampoo—even on the ends—and use your hands over top of the hair to fluff it up a little bit. That combo gives you bounce and volume, and also that piece-y texture.”

When it comes to styling, Shaw stresses that you shouldn’t overthink it—the whole idea is for your hair to look imperfect. (In other words, it’s the warm-weather iteration of the post-workout no do.) “Rake your fingers from the front to the back, and use your ears as a guideline to pull your hair straight back,” she says. “This is where your twist, ponytail, or bun should start. It creates the most beautiful profile, because you’re balancing the space between the top of your head and the nape of your neck.”

And with all that curling and braiding time you’ll save, you can focus on other important summer pursuits—like finding the perfect natural bronzer to take with you on your retreat. (Priorities, right?)

Scroll down for some effortlessly sexy updo inspiration from Instagram.

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Photo: Instagram/@ninezeroone

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Photo: Instagram/@ashley_moore_

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Photo: Instagram/@sincerelyjules

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Photo: Instagram/@chrisdylanhair

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Photo: Instagram/@mikutas

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Photo: Instagram/@jennychohair

Summer’s the perfect time to try some new hair shortcuts—like swapping your dry shampoo for apple cider vinegar or using coconut oil to speed up growth.