Meet your hair’s new best friend: the slick, center-parted updo. There’s a reason everyone, celebrities included, keep going back to it. It’s like the LBD of hairstyles—dependable, polished and as good for a dinner date as it is post-spin class. And it’s realistic for those who don’t exactly have the dexterity to DIY a fishtail braid (they’re really hard, OK?). But the best part: Done right, you’ll never have a bad hair day ever again.


“The center part makes any style more modern,” says hairstylist Mara Roszak, consulting hair expert for L’Oreal Paris, who created the updo for Brie Larson at this year’s SAG Awards. But the real magic in this is that you don’t have to work very hard to get it. At most, says Suave celebrity hairstylist Jenny Cho, you need an elastic hair tie and a smoothing cream like Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Weather Proof Cream ($6, You could always blow-dry hair first or run a flatiron over the ponytail to exaggerate the sleek look once your hair is dry—but no pressure to do either. “First, part damp hair down the center and smooth over frizz and flyways with a dime-sized amount of the smoothing cream,” says Cho. “Then, gather hair into a low ponytail or bun and secure it with an elastic.” That’s literally it. The only question we have: What are you going to do with all of this extra time on your hands?

Like everything good in life, there’s a slight catch. “This look is harder to style with lob-length hair and shorter, because strands tend to slip loose from the ponytail holder,” explains Cho. If that bugs you, you may be tempted to pile on more and more product until your hair doesn’t budge—but that can make it look grimy. Instead, Roszak is a fan of bobby pins (the more, the merrier) to keep everything in place. That’s only if you want that super-sleek look. An easier option, especially if you’re just running to the office, is to let the strands fall out and frame your face. In fact, you might even come out ahead if you do this, since pulling all of your hair off your face leaves nothing to the imagination. “It makes all of your facial features look very prominent,” says Cho. If you have any blemishes or dark under-eye circles you’d rather not highlight, go ahead and load up on concealer if it makes you feel more comfortable.

For a party or a friend’s wedding (or anywhere with the perfect storm of photos and dancing), finish with a shine-boosting hairspray (we love R+Co Vicious Strong Hold Flexible Hairspray, $29, to lock hair in and prevent a frizz halo. To be extra safe, you can even spritz it on before you pull your hair back, too. “Adding it before and after creates a strong base hold,” says Roszak. Stash a toothbrush sprayed with hairspray in your purse to touch up any fine baby hairs that escape. And that’s it—come rain, shine, or a really long night, your hair will still look gorgeous.

Watch 16 Confessions Your Hairdresser Will Never Tell You: