Are there ageless updos, styles that work for just about any client, of any age? Many silhouettes can be tweaked to be either more modern and sophisticated or younger and less structured. MODERN reached out to the King of Updos, Martin Parsons, and asked him to share “ageless” upstyles that can work as is, or be adjusted for the appropriate setting or client.


Multiple flaps and criss-crossed sections make this style unique and it can be personalized for any client with any amount of hair. The beauty of this finish is that it can add width or height where needed.

Customize: For a younger or more mature client, just place flaps above the rounds of the head, leaving the sections below the occipital clean and sleek.


Sleek, Chic

This sculpted shape will be (and should be) different on each client. In this version, the height along the top creates an almost faux-hawk finish, with a tighter, sleeker feeling along the parietal. It looks like sculpture on the head.

Customize: For a younger client, exaggerate the top for a stronger, more dramatic high style faux-hawk.


Building a Foundation

This is the roller set Parson’s uses as the foundation for all of his updos. Parsons, and just about every updo artist, will tell you that the best style begins with a proper base. He prefers to set the hair with hot rollers to allow the strands to blend all the different hair lengths up the hair shaft.

  • Large sections are combed down at 45 degrees and rolled up to avoid marks, dents or separations.
  • Sections are wrapped diagonally toward the face.
  • Use very little product during the set. Most of the product will be used at the end once the hair is shaped.


High Chignon

This is elegance at its max. For this look, Parsons directed all the hair to the crown and interwove sections to create structure, volume and an interesting shape. Then twist at the base, anchoring to the sleek to both define and separate from the rest of the silhouette to add a special element to the finish.

Customize: For a younger look, make the crown larger and more exaggerated. Create a strong braid for the anchor. For a more mature client, make the crown a bit smaller.

Updo Tips From The King        

  • Always watch around the ears, pull the hair down. Filling in that space makes the neckline softer. It also makes the neck look thinner and longer.
  • Move your body when styling.
  • Don’t worry about bobby pins showing while you are creating a style. They can always be covered at the end.
  • Horizontal sides create a more sophisticated finish.
  • What makes it modern is not the texture, but the silhouette.
  • To smooth the sides of an updo use the back of the comb, not the teeth.


Fringed, French

This twist on a twist is the perfect sophisticated updo for any woman of any age. It beautifully shapes the head while the faux fringe can hide an imperfect front hairline.

Customize: Take the end of a tailcomb and pull out along the back for a younger and less structured finish.

View the HOW-TO here. 


Conceal, Connect

This intricate upstyle is the result of “ruffling” where sections are twisted and then pressed up with fingers. Each twist is pinned to the next section, connecting to marry the other twists. “It’s important to break them up so that they don’t look like sausages,” Parsons says.

Customize: Larger sections make it a bit more romantic and ideal for the bride. Smaller sections make it a bit busier and ideal for a more mature client.

View the HOW-TO here.


Hair: Martin Parsons, assisted by Michelle Pleasant
Photography: Roberto Ligresti
Makeup: David Maderich
Fashion styling: Alejandro
Nails: Reiko Omae

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