How to Make a Messy Bun

Four Methods:Preparing to Create Your Messy BunCreating a Simple Messy BunCreating a Messy Bun Using Alternative MethodsAccentuating the Completed Bun (Optional)

The messy bun is a hair style that is appropriate for all types of occasions and events and is a simple up-do hair style that you can do yourself at home. From an elegant wedding hair style to quick "run to the store", the messy bun offers all lengths of hair an alternative look that is fast and easy to create. You may feel the need to try out several different ways to create the perfect look for your hair, but remember - it is called "the messy bun"! Relax and have fun while you try out your new style. No matter how you throw your messy bun together, the end result should make you feel comfortable and glamorous.

Method 1
Preparing to Create Your Messy Bun

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    Choose the perfect styling products. The following is a quick list of things you may already have around your home. Even if you don't have these things, don't worry, the messy bun can be easily created with just your fingers and a rubber-band. It is also easy enough to find all of the following items at your local 24-hour drug store. If you are thinking of creating a messy bun for a more important event like a wedding or prom you can plan ahead and find a store that specializes in carrying hair care products and accessories.
    • For the quick and simple messy bun up-do, you will need about 5 minutes, your fingers, and a rubber-band.
    • If you have more time, gather a soft brush, wide-tooth comb and an elastic ponytail holder. Preferably an elastic holder without a metal clasp to reduce the chance of hair damage.
    • Hair works best for a messy bun if it is two days after initial washing.
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    Create a more sophisticated look. Select a light-weight mousse that will allow your hair to be easily pliable yet still appear soft and natural. For extra body, select a mousse that says it includes a volumizing agent. This will be displayed on the mousse bottle. If you have very soft and fine hair or want your messy bun up-do to last for a long time, pick out a hairspray that you like to ensure your messy bun stays intact.
    • For the most natural look, choose a hair spray with a micro-fine mist for minimal build up that you can apply and reapply without washing your hair.
    • For a more extreme edgy look, choose a hair spray that offers massive volume without stiffness.
    • If you have extremely soft or freshly washed hair, you can also experiment with dry shampoo or hair salt spray to add texture. (optional)
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    Add some originality, glamour or sophistication to your messy bun design. Purchase some plain bobby pins, decorative flowers, bling gem-studded hair pins, small decorative hair clips, or similar hair items. When searching for such items remember to keep them delicate and classy. (optional)

Method 2
Creating a Simple Messy Bun

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    Create a quick, simple, elegant look. Use your fingers to comb through your hair and bring it to the back or side of your head into a ponytail. Have your rubber-band within reach, or have your elastic holder placed on the wrist you're gathering your hair with. As you bring your hair all together, wrap the rubber-band around the whole of the hair until it feels secure but not too tight.
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    Bring the bun up. Next, you can either spin your ponytail into a single strip and then wrap it around the rubber-band and stick the end back under the rubber-band; or when you are forming the initial ponytail, with the last wrap of the rubber-band, intentionally don't pull the hair all the way through - leaving a large bouncy loop of hair.
    • Pull the loop of hair further through the elastic ponytail holder to make the bun bigger and/or allow some of the strands to fall through for the ultimate messy look.
    • Grasp the sides of the bun and widen the bun's radius by gently pulling the edges out to the sides. Selectively tug on the center of the loop to give it more of a U shape.
    • Pull the ends sticking through the underside of the elastic to the left and right so that they’re more flared out against your head. Tuck any unwanted fallen strands back into the elastic. If desired, wrap a few loose strands around the elastic and pin them with a bobby pin.
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    Put the bun at different levels. For a higher bun, flip your hair upside-down and gather it in your hands. This will increase your hair’s volume and help eliminate bumps. For a lower bun, gather your hair in the middle of your head or closer to the nape of your neck. The ponytail can be as high or low as you want it to be. Note that your bun will sit where you secure your ponytail (ex: high ponytail means a high bun).

Method 3
Creating a Messy Bun Using Alternative Methods

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    Create a higher-end look with a more sophisticated style. Comb your hair with your wide-tooth comb and soft brush to free your hair of tangles and hidden hair accessories (ex: clips, bobby hands, etc.).
    • Apply two pumps of mousse to your hair starting at your roots and working the product to your ends.
    • Back brush/comb your hair to tease it and create more volume. Brush the front of your hair down over your forehead. Then back-brush it by placing the brush in the middle of the hair and gently brushing back toward the roots; do this until the desired level of teasing is achieved.
    • Repeat with the sides of your hair by lifting your hair and back-brushing again.
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    Get rid of bumps. Gather your hair into a smooth ponytail, smoothing out the bumps with your free hand. If smoothing unwanted bumps with your hand doesn’t work, use your wide-toothed comb. Hold your hair in place with one hand and secure it into a bun with the other.
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    Make a ballerina bun. Wrap your elastic around your hair once or twice to make a ponytail. Coil your hair around the base of your ponytail as if you were putting it in a ballerina bun. Flatten the bun to your head and secure it with either the same or an additional elastic (or by pinning it with bobby pins; when done well, this helps the look a lot).
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    Tease the bun hair. Use the elastic to secure a ponytail, hold the ponytail up behind you, and tease the ponytail by down brushing the hair toward the elastic holder. Spray with hairspray, if desired, then loop your hair once using a second elastic. Feed the loose ends of the hair through the loop, and then secure the entire looped bun with the remaining elastic. Allow the ends to poke out through a messy loop.
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    Work with longer hair. For those with hair 1-2 inches past your shoulders, loop your hair and wrap an elastic holder around it once. Feed the remaining hair through the first loop to create a second loop. Make sure to hold onto the ends of your hair so that they don’t slide through and undo the second loop. (Note that your first loop may get tighter as you pull your hair through to make a second.) Wrap the remaining elastic over both loops to secure them into a loose knot.
    • Alternatively, if your hair is quite long, wrap it around the base of your pony, then secure it loosely with a second elastic. Loop your hair and wrap an elastic around it once.
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    Finish the look. When you’re done, gently smooth your hair back over the crown of your head, and brush the edges of your hair to look less messy. Apply a thin layer of hair spray, if you plan on wearing your chic, messy bun for several hours or in harsh conditions.

Method 4
Accentuating the Completed Bun (Optional)

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    Add more body. Run your fingers through the front of your hair to loosen it from the elastic and add body. This look creates a more classic, crown look; perfect for the office.
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    Add a headband (or two). Slide your favorite or outfit-complimenting headbands on your head, two inches away from your hairline. If you have blond hair, use two black headbands or darker colored headbands. If you have brown or black hair, try using white headbands or a different light colored headband.[1]
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    Add decorative hair pins, clips or jewels. Adding beautiful small bling or flowers will really make your look stand out. It is important that you don't over do it. The messy bun look is one of simplicity and elegance. Adding to much will make your messy bun look gaudy and unnatural.
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    Find out what works best for you. Play around with your hair until you've accomplished the perfect bun. Leave out strands of hair before you pull up the majority of your hair into the ponytail. Once you have created the main bun, separate your hair into strands in the pony-tail and individually twirl them into separate strands and wrap them around the bun securing each strand with a bobby pin so that you have multiple bun strands surrounding the main bun. Pull a full wispy pieces of hair out from the front and sides of your hair for a messy, whimsical look or lightly pull the hair at the back of the bun to loosen it and let it naturally fall.[2]
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    Mist your entire head with hairspray. Make sure you spray about seven to eight inches away. If you are feeling really adventurous you can purchase glitter hair spray for a stunning sprinkle of glitter and shine!
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    Finalize your messy bun. There are several different ways to create your messy bun masterpiece. The more you play around with your own style, the more styles you will come up with that you like for yourself. The most important part of choosing to create a messy bun is that it look natural and not over-worked or too tight. When you are finished creating your messy bun look, you should feel relaxed, glamorous and whimsical. As you learn to master the craft, you will be able to control the look so that people will think you are naturally endowed with the perfect locks!


  • Braid your hair at night so that it will be wavy, then in the morning (quickly) put it in a loose bun; then (if necessary) pull some of your hair out. You could put a headband or hat to finish the look, or leave it as it is.
  • Remember, a messy bun isn't supposed to be perfect. If it looks kind of casual it's fine.
  • Don't comb your hair back too much when doing this. It will cause the hair to break and also cause split ends.
  • If your hair is not cooperating, wet your hand and apply a little water to your hair for assistance.
  • For soft, morning waves bun your hair after showering the night before.
  • This can easily be turned into a romantic look by softly curling the pieces of your hair to create small tendrils.


  • Don't pull your elastics too tight, as they can break or damage your hair.
  • Be patient when backcombing your hair. Use a paddle brush for best results and time-saving efforts.

Things You'll Need

  • Elastic ponytail holders
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • Soft brush
  • Optional:
    • Mousse
    • Hairspray
    • Paddle brush
    • Bobby pins
    • Colored headbands

Article Info

Categories: Hair Buns