updo noun. (up'doo')
From: "do your hair up" and "hairdo"

What's an updo?

An "updo" is beautician's jargon for putting someone's hair up. This kind of hairdo is commonly requested by females involved in formal functions such as beauty pageants, bat mitzvahs, weddings or proms.

A typical updo for a woman with shoulder-length hair will involve pulling some or all of her hair back in a ponytail bound with a rubber band (which is painful to get out later, but it needs to be a rubber band so it will have a strong hold). The beautician will then take individual locks of hair from the ponytail, curl them, spritz them down with hairspray, and arrange them with the aid of bobby pins.

The beautician will often arrange the curls to look like the petals of a flower; a good beautician can also create the illusion of longer and fuller hair. After the hair in the ponytail has been arranged, the beautician may curl the bangs or arrange them in a stylish sweep of some sort.

Updos for those with very long hair often involve putting the hair in one or more braids and coiling or piling the braids atop the head. Alternately, some updos may involve separating long hair into multiple ponytails and loosely knotting the tails every few inches.

Women modeling in fashion shows may end up with very complex updos that involve braiding or winding their hair around a wire frame such as an artfully clipped and bent coathanger. Such updos can take hours to complete.

How much does an updo cost?

A typical pull-it-back-and-curl-it updo will take 30-40 minutes and cost $25-$40 in most midrange U.S. salons. It will take longer and cost more if you request a shampoo or haircut in advance of the updo. More complex updos that involve braids etc. will cost more.

Is getting an updo painful?

It depends on how tough your scalp is and how you react to having your hair pulled. Your hair will certainly get pulled, and you are likely to be jabbed in the scalp with a multitude of bobby pins. In short ... yes, it can be painful.

Why get an updo?

A good updo is impervious to wind, humidity, etc. Once your hair is done, you can pretty much forget about it unless you get caught in a severe downpour. There's no worrying that your hair is blown out of place or has gotten frizzy.

And finally, an updo can be a fairly dramatic and attractive departure from your normal everyday appearance.

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