Nothing beats a surprise beauty detail that’s a little unexpected. Whether it’s a tiny accent decal on your nails or a speck of glimmer smeared along your lash line, sometimes the best things often go unnoticed at first. That’s the case with the latest trend popping up all over New York Fashion Week: the “underbow” hairstyle. Similar to the idea of a “flipside” manicure, where a hidden color is painted on the underside of the nails, the underbow look features a silk bow or other hair accessory under an updo or bun, rather than on top of it.
At New York Fashion Week, the trend popped up at the Alice + Olivia show and on countless fashionable people on the streets. That’s why we tapped Matthew Curtis – the celebrity hairstylist behind the Alice + Olivia show’s hair looks – to tell us everything you need to know about the look, from how it came to be to how you can achieve it at home. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is the Underbow Hair Trend?
The underbow updo is exactly what it sounds like: a bow situated underneath an updo like a bun. “Fashion trends often cycle through decades, and the mid-20th century – when Truman Capote’s ‘swans’ were prominent – has experienced a resurgence in popularity,” Curtis tells POPSUGAR. “People are drawn to the elegance and sophistication of that era, leading to a revival of hairstyles and accessories from that time.”
So, why bows? “The swans of Truman Capote’s social circle, including women like Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, are remembered for their timeless style,” he says. “Modern fashion enthusiasts seek to capture the essence of that bygone era through elements like bows under buns.”
It’s not only that. Curtis adds, “Bows are symbolic of elegance. They add a touch of grace to hairstyles and serve as a subtle yet eye-catching accessory, making them a desirable choice for those who want to exude sophistication and charm.” Plus, they’re multifaceted, and the hidden detail is always fun. “They can be incorporated into various hairstyles, from casual buns to formal updos, making them suitable for different occasions.”
If you’re ready to try it out for yourself, the good news is the style is perfect for any hair texture, whether it’s wavy, coily, or straight. It works especially well for those with a bit of natural texture, but for those without, it can easily be added with the help of products and hot tools.
How to Do the Underbow Updo
One thing to note is that this trend works best on those with shoulder-length or longer hair. If you have shorter hair, achieving a bun high enough to showcase a bow may be difficult, but you can always add extensions if you’re intent on trying out the look.
Whether you’re starting off with wet or dry hair, you’ll want to make sure you begin with a heat protectant. Our current favorite is the Drybar Hot Toddy ($29). Once your hair is fully prepped and ready to go, start off by creating a center part, then bend some texture into the hair using a flat iron. To make sure the wave stays, use a product like the Living Proof Dry Volume and Texture Spray ($36). Once you’ve added a bit of a bend, “create two ponytails, one at the nape of the neck and one at the crown,” Curtis says.
Then, coat the hair with the Living Proof No-Frizz Smooth Styling Serum ($36) and rope braid the two ponytails together, then slightly pull them apart to create a messier look. “Pin the two rope braids to create a voluminous center ben,” Curtis says. Finally, adorn the bun with a ribbon situated at the base of it. To give everything hold, use a lightweight hairspray like the Matrix Fixer Hairspray ($22), a POPSUGAR Beauty Award winner.
Underbow Hairstyle Inspiration
If you’re ready to try out this fun hairstyle for yourself but not sure which direction to take it, keep scrolling for some inspiration photos to get the creative juices flowing.