<p>Today&#39;s updo hairstyles are much less fussy than before. You&#39;re free to explore your creativity more without worrying that every single hair needs to be in its place.</p><p>While Rihanna&#39;s updo has its roots in the classic hairstyle, she puts her own spin on it with long, messy bangs and a brilliant color. This view from the back showcases how it&#39;s styled back there.</p><p>Is backcombing necessary? On natural and/or thick hair, it&#39;s really not. Plus, backcombing often leads to tangling, and who feels like detangling once the night is over? If you want more volume in the crown area, add a bit of extension hair if you like. Simply brush the rest of your tresses over it and make sure it&#39;s well hidden before you head out the door.</p>Gel and a soft-bristled brush help you achieve this Ciara look. Topknots are made to be worn at the very top of your crown, instead of the usual bun or chignon, which sits lower. Although topknots need a bit of hair to look full, you don&#39;t necessarily need to have hair trailing down your back: bun additions are affordable and easy to find. Once you pull your hair up and secure it with an elastic, attach a piece for added fullness if desired. If you have the length, however, simply twist your hair around and around and then secure it.To get LeToya Luckett&#39;s look, start with softly curled hair. Style bangs to one side and pull the remainder of hair to the back, gently twisting into an updo. Secure everything with pins and it&#39;s as simple as that.<p>Color makes everything more interesting, especially when there&#39;s so much contrast going on, as seen with Melanie Fiona&#39;s take on the topknot bun. Bright blond streaks stand out dramatically against darker shades. Both colors mix it up in this thick bun. When choosing gels to smooth back your hairline, stick with higher quality ones that won&#39;t dry out and <em>definitely</em> won&#39;t flake; the last thing you want messing up your hot &#39;do is dried-out gel flakes all over the place.</p><p>Directing hair toward the front is one way to take the updo and turn it completely around. Thandie Newton demonstrates that beautifully with this curly to-the-front style. Hair is gathered at the top and slightly to one side, then secured. Lengths are then pulled out fan-like and loosely secured underneath, creating a wide bun.</p><p>The partial updo gives you the best of both worlds: the elegance of an updo in the front and plenty of length in the back. Gabrielle Union softens it up with big waves and lots of movement. Top lengths are loosely gathered in the back and secured randomly, which gives them a carefree look that&#39;s not tight. Bottom curls are allowed to fall in any direction.</p><p>It&#39;s easy to wrap hair around itself and then style into a bun. Another way to secure those lengths is by twisting hair as you wrap it, as shown on Ashanti. Twisting is a great way to add security to very long or thick locks.</p><p>This Alicia Keys hairstyle offers plenty of volume and dimension. While the back of the hair is up and out of the way, the front is softly curled and allowed to fall forward. The extremely high crown makes this style a good choice for round-faced women who need height in this area to minimize fullness.</p>Start with a base of braids, like Jill Scott does, and leave the bottom lengths loosely curled. Direct everything to one side and you have this unique style. Long braids are gently pinned in circular patterns, softening up the look.Mary J. Blige has worn many different hairstyles over the years, but this one combines a favorite color with a classic &#39;do. Her updo hair has a retro vibe to it, with its sideswept bangs and incredibly high crown. A light misting with hairspray and this style will last through every moment of the day or night.