As a stylist, one area you’ll need to excel in is in updo creation. A frequent favorite of hair gurus, creating updos can be both highly rewarding … and uniquely challenging.

To help you create a winning updo for The Annual Eveningwear Updo Competition this year, here are several important tips you’ll want to keep in mind.

Create a look that’s unique to the client.

Fashionable updo looks come and go as frequently as the seasons. Some, such as a loose chignon or a French twist, seem to be eternally pretty and never go out of style.

Regardless of what your favorite ‘dos are, however, or which you’ve seen on the red carpet most recently, you should always cater your updo style choice to the client.

Be sure to have a consultation appointment with them first. Ask them what they like, talk about how they want their end look to be, and closely examine their features before deciding on a final updo.

Remember that texture and setting are key to a good updo foundation.

Ideally, your client will have washed their hair the day before, which will help provide optimal texture. You’ll also want to make sure their hair has been blow-dried. Another key to obtaining the right texture is using the right products.

Whenever using heat on the hair, be sure to use a thermal spray (factor 3 is recommended). As you require hair spray and shine spray throughout the styling process, use a medium hold spray and a weightless shine spray. This allows the hair to stay in place while at the same time remaining pliable.

Another key to a good foundation is the proper set. The roots of the hair must be properly anchored and elevated, but too much traditional teasing will make the final updo appear old-fashioned. While setting the mid and ends of the hair is fine, experts recommend a crimp at the root instead of setting or teasing.

Pin and secure the hair properly.

Bobbie pins are the most secure pins for stabilizing your updo. Using fewer pins is always better, but don’t skimp either. The pins are what anchors the hair well enough so that your client can walk, dance, and move as they please — without worrying about their hair falling out.

If your client has layers, be sure to secure the ends in place (a baby elastic works wonders) prior to pinning.

Use these tips when you compete at this year’s Annual Eveningwear Updo Competition! Good luck!