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Share to PinterestMessy Bun Ideas To Up Your Hair Game
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Messy Bun Ideas To Up Your Hair Game

By Sara Anderson
Share to PinterestMessy Bun Ideas To Up Your Hair Game

You've seen messy buns on your favorite TV characters, influencers, and maybe even your next-door neighbor. The hairstyle is effortlessly cool, but you're not quite sure how to replicate it.

Wonder no more—we've got your back. The messy bun might not be a no-brainer at first. But once you get the hang of it, it's as easy as quickbreads. All you need for a basic look is a few minutes and a rubber band or three.


Be wise, texturize

Share to Pinterestwoman curling her hair with a curling iron
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Before you get started, consider when you last washed your hair. If it was about two days ago, perfect. But if you have super soft and straight tresses or your hair is squeaky clean and won't hold, you might want to use some texturizing spray or dry shampoo to help your cause.

You could also use a curling iron to create some waves. People with curly hair can use a leave-in cream to tone down frizz and stray baby hairs.


Make a basic bun

Share to Pinterestwoman tying her hair into a bun
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The first thing you need to do for a fuss-free messy bun is pull your hair up into a comfortable ponytail. It can be a high ponytail, a low one, or somewhere in between. Now gently twist the ponytail to condense it and wrap the strip of hair you've created around your hair tie. You can use bobby pins to secure it in place but don't make it too tight. Or you can tuck the end underneath the rubber band.


Build it out

Share to Pinteresthairdresser hands fix bun to woman's hair

Hold the sides of your loose-ish bun and pull ever so slightly in opposite directions to make the bun wider. You can make your way around the bun, lightly pulling the hair.

If you tuck hair under your hair tie when forming a higher bun, fan the ends out to give them more of a triangular shape against your head. And, that's it. You're done with the simplest version of this look.


Take a more structured approach

Share to PinterestBrunette girl with a big messy bun hairstyle and the blue sky as background

For a different take on the classic messy updo, begin by brushing and detangling your hair. Apply one or two pumps of a lightweight mousse or a non-hardening volumizing product to your roots and brush it through your hair.

Make a ponytail and tease it for added volume by lifting it, placing a comb midway between your roots and ends, and brushing towards your elastic. This is also known as backcombing or down brushing.

Spritz hair spray and grab a second hair tie. Loop your hair once and pull the ends through the loop you've formed. Twist what's left under the bun or secure with a third elastic for a more secure finish.


Get me bodied

Share to Pinterestwoman fixing her hair bun
Grace Cary / Getty Images

Zhuzh the entire style up by placing your fingers on your head like you're about to give yourself a head massage and gently tugging towards and away from the bun. Tousling and loosening the look adds volume and shape. Just like with no-makeup makeup, natural looks often involve a fair amount of tweaking.


Rough it up

Share to Pinterestgirl in a bun playing with her hair
Lauren Devon / Getty Images

You can enhance your messy bun by taking a couple of minutes to play around. Before you pull your hair up into a ponytail, leave some wispy bits to frame your face. Or, once you complete the bun, you can run your fingers along your hairline and pull contained pieces of hair out to achieve a similar effect.

This option is less severe ballerina and more manic pixie dream girl.


Work-arounds for Rapunzels

Share to Pinterestwoman with hair bun working on her laptop

Here's what you need to do for a bedhead top knot look if you have very long hair.

Make a high ponytail, pull the hair through a thin or thick hair tie, and shift to grab the elastic with your dominant hand. Twist the elastic once and hold it in place as you form a donut with your other hand. You'll have a long section of ends just doing nothing at this point, and that's fine. Pull the twisted elastic over the donut-shaped bun twice, and when it's secure, loosen the bun a little and give it shape.

Gather the ends towards the front of your head, open the elastic, and tuck the ends back and inside the elastic. The complete look is fabulous and has dimension.


Workarounds for shorties

Share to PinterestRear view of woman with a low bun arranging clothes in rack
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Just to be clear, if you have something akin to a buzzcut, then you'll need to grow out your hair to make a messy bun.  GI Jane and pixie cuts are definitively badass, but they won't suffice, here.

If, however, you have a longer bob, you can work with that. Try a side bun. Leave some pieces of hair to frame both sides of your face, and on one side, twist the rest of the hair and pin it back. On the other side, make a low-side pony. Pin the pony into a messy bun shape and, finally, pin the face-framing pieces back, covering your ears.


Workarounds for curly peeps

Share to Pinterestwoman with curly hair wrapped in bun
Linda Raymond / Getty Images

For guys or girls with curls, a donut sponge does the trick. You can serve the look you want by making a ponytail and placing the donut sponge around its base. Wrap your hair around it, and there you go! You can smooth down untidy flyaways with a light hair gel or clear eyebrow gel. This hack takes no time at all and will have you snapping a bunch of selfies.


Pick out final flourishes

Share to Pinterestwoman with messy bun posing

Fancy hair clips or cute pins can elevate your messy bun for regular outings or add a little pizzazz to themed looks and costumes. You can use bling or flowers for flair.

Alternatively, add a headband for a sophisticated touch. Go for a color that creates a noticeable contrast with your hair, and slide it up and away from your hairline.



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