Three ways to upgrade your up-do

01:12, Apr 30 2013
Michae Beel milkmaid braids
Channel your inner Heidi (of the Swiss alps, not Heidi Klum) with these sweet milkmaid braids.
Michael Beel milkmaid braids 2
Michael Beel shows how to do milkmaid braids.
Michael Beel high pony
Michael Beel shows how to tame your hair into a slick ponytail.
Michael Beel high pony 2
This sleek, sharp, straightened ponytail won't make you look like you're on the way to netball.
Michael Beel low bun
Can't bear the thought of sleek, tidy hair? The messy, low bun is the look for you.

He was just named New Zealand Educator of the Year at the Industry hair event. and he's an international runway hairstylist. So when Wellington hairdresser Michael Beel publicly declared war on the messy topknot known as the 'Bondi Bun', he got our attention.

Earlier this month Beel said the style had "had its day.  Have you come from the gym? Are you at work? What are you doing? I've just come back from London Fashion Week and it's all about being groomed and slick."

So we challenged him to come up with three alternatives. They may require a little bit more work than twisting your hair into a bun on the way to work, but no one said being groomed and slick would be easy!


1. Straighten hair with irons to create a smooth, glass-like finish. (Don't forget to use a heat protection product, your ends will thank you for it.)

2. Scrape hair back into a tight clean ponytail at the crown. Keep hair smooth by using hairspray to keep flyaways down. The look is 'tight, smooth and polished' as seen at the most recent Northern Hemisphere fashion weeks.


3. Take a small piece of hair and wrap it around the base of the ponytail. Secure with a bobby pin.

4. Re-straighten ends with the irons if needed and add a last spritz of hairspray to secure flyaways. A little shine spray to finish will give the look a modern shine.


1. Work with your own natural texture. Use a sea spray to give the hair a beach-y texture if needed. This look works with your natural parting or a side parting,  but currently centre partings are major on the catwalks so give it a go!

2. Pull hair back into a soft romantic ponytail, low at the nape.

3. Take the tail and softly plait it. Take a small piece of hair at the end and push the plait back onto itself so it  becomes messy and textured.

4. Twist the softened plait onto itself and secure with bobby pins (make sure the textured bun you have just created is soft, textured and full).


1. Working with the natural, dried texture of your hair, create a centre parting and pull the hair into two ponytails sitting just behind the ear. Secure each with a hair tie.

2. Plait each ponytail in a classic three-strand plait and secure ends with a hair tie.

3. Take each ponytail, pull over the top of the head and pin to secure. Tuck the ends underneath the ponytail to give the look of a braided headband. 

4. Lightly fluff up the edges of the hair to give the look a feeling of lightness and casual undone-ness.