Tired of ponytails?
Need a quick “go to” alternative you can literally do while walking out the door?
Well, a top knot is an ultra chic street style that’s ideal for day old or two day old locks.
As these six inspo worthy tutorials show it’s a versatile, no fuss hairstyle you can play with as much or as little as you want. Making it a great choice for when you’re running short on time.
Insanely easy there are few if any hard and fast styling rules really. You more or less can just make it up as you go or do what you feel like that day.
Sometimes you can go for a more carefree undone look with flyaways galore.
Other times you can craft an uber sleek ‘do.
You can even opt for a Mohawk braided variation if you dare. (Yes there’s a tutorial for that below.)
But get this. Reality is it’s likely you will never do two of these exactly the same. Just as no two snowflakes are the same you’ll find no two top knots turn out the same either.
So yeah each time you do it you’re producing an original.
But that’s not a problem because this style can be pulled together so quickly. If you don’t exactly love it how it turned out, simple, you try again.
That said, it’s not hard to eventually end up with something you like. Something awesome even.
Quick Section Navigation
- Top Knots Defined
- #1 Do Walking Out The Door Easy Top Knot
- #2 Half Up-do Top Knot
- #3 Messy Top Knot
- #4 Half Up Mohawk Braided Top Knot
- #5 Cute Knot For Short Hair
- #6 Big Voluminous and Glorious
Top Knots Defined
Now if you’re wondering, like we were, what is a top knot anyway? Or what’s the diff between one of them and say a messy bun?
The clue, as pointed out on a Loreal site, is in the name. A top knot ideally should sit high atop your head.
The second trait, less frequently obsessed over, is your hair should be slicked back nice and snug against your scalp. That makes flyaways a definite no no for purists.
Should you worry too much about that second point? Not so much.
Luckily this has evolved into a style with plenty of room for stylistic freedom of expression. In fact many tend to loosen the strands on the crown on purpose for added height and volume.
So there’s nothing wrong with loosening the hair in front just a bit so it’s not quite the strict librarian look unless that’s what you’re going for then that’s perfectly fine. But a bit of poofiness is a good thing too.
That’s the 411.
Now let’s unleash the hair divas to show you six ways to do them each prettier than the last.
#1 Do Walking Out The Door Easy Top Knot
Who else wants a quick, simple yet fuller top knot that’s totally classy looking? Then here’s your ticket to everyday top knot sophistication.
Better still the vid’s got all sorts of interesting hacks you won’t want to miss.
Also with this tutorial you not only get to see the top knot pulled together once, she does an encore performance. This gives you a second chance to see her do what she does – which is slightly different than most. Well worth the second look.
As with other videos here dry shampoo plays an important role to noticeably thicken and freshen your mane and sop any excess oil. She emphasizes spraying it generously anywhere your hairline is visible.
Tip: While she uses a brush it’s okay to finger comb the hair gathered up to create an effortless look as opposed to brushing it out first. You’d finger comb when going for a more casual style that’s not too perfect or too sleek.
Difference Worth Noting: Pay attention to how she grabs a section of the bun from the front and pulls it around to the back to snug things up. Those strands, again now in the back, are then tucked into the elastic to shape and mold things into more of a knot of your choosing. You can tuck as much or as little into the elastic as you want. Obviously tucking more will give you a tighter knot. Less will give you a more full-bodied, more poufy style.
It’s also worth mentioning again that this style will look different every time you do it.
Plus the less effort you put into fussing with the bun the better it will look.
She claims to do up this style while she’s walking out the door – which tells you she doesn’t put a whole lot of energy into the obsessing over it.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t stick in a bobby pin or two or three to rein in any bit that’s going particularly wild.
Tip: Okay but say you love a super high luxurious style but bobby pins can’t hold it together? Maybe it’s time to go old school and break out the hair combs. Yeah. All you do is stick one deep into the knot until the top hits your elastic. Now your top knot isn’t going anywhere yet everything looks nice and loose. If you are looking for hair combs that will stay put all day and not slip out of your hair these may have the grip you need.
#2 Half Up-do Top Knot
This three minute tutorial is perfect for anyone looking to quickly work longer hair into a somewhat casual half up style based around a whimsical top knot.
Tip: If you’re wondering here’s how wide to go when separating/sectioning the hair to knot up – you’re probably safe to start from the middle of your eyebrows. Think the faux hawk region of your head. This will mean gathering less than anything approaching half your hair.
Remember too that while styling purists would say you want your hair tightly pulled back to the knot not everyone agrees. Some find, as she does, that you might prefer to pull out and loosen the hair around the crown area a bit.
This helps to keep things looking loose, relaxed and not quite so uptight – even to the point of being undone and maybe even little bit messy. Which is quite alright if that’s the look you’re going for.
Remember This: Precision is not at all that important except when it comes to knot placement. You can get an idea if you nailed it or not if you see the makings of the top knot when you look in the mirror suggesting it’s not lost somewhere on the back of your head. To make sure that doesn’t happen you need to position it in the sweet spot not too close to your face yet not too far back on your crown.
#3 Messy Top Knot
Looking for a simple style that oozes effortless glam? Then this one’s for you.
It comes across with an casual, almost careless, vibe yet looks totally adorable while doing so.
Difference Worth Noting: After the hair is pulled through the thick elastic (click here for one that doesn’t easily lose its shape) to form the ponytail it’s fanned out and wrapped with the elastic again to create the knot. (You’ll want to tug on the knot to shape and fluff to your liking.) This means the ends are going to be left out on all sides. Gather those to the front of the base of the knot and stick them through the elastic. Deal with any loose bits the same way.
Like with the first video, the process is repeated so you can see it done twice.
Tip: If you have a problem with flyaways or baby hairs you can’t live with use this clear mascara to tame them. It’s a cheap hack.
You can always pull out some strands to frame your face. Or not. Doing so makes for a more lived in look.
Tip: Many will twist their hair in the ponytail that’s wrapped upon itself. How often you twist depends on how long your hair is.
Now if you have shorter pieces in the back that insist on falling out, you can simply twist them and bobby pin them into the hair to keep the twist in place.
Tip: The straighter, finer and/or slicker your hair the more you may need to manufacture texture to get the knot to hold together if you aren’t working with second or third day hair. For some that applies even when you are working with less than clean hair. If that doesn’t work you can always try a little light back combing.
#4 Half Up Mohawk Braided Top Knot
For anyone wanting to change up their normal routine nothing like a little braid to help you along your way.
You’ll find a cute Mohawk braid married to a top knot adds a slightly flirty edge yet is easily achieved. They just so happen to work together flawlessly too.
Difference Worth Noting: Well, doh, the braid obviously. Now you’ll want to keep the braid tight and as close to your scalp as you can. Then to fatten it up you’ll pancake it to add some heft and fullness to the plait. (And remember that Dutch braids are the best choice when looking to disguise dirty hair.)
The other difference is the gentle teasing with a brush for extra volume. texture and overall hold-ability. You may find teasing smaller sections works best rather than having a go at the entire chunk of hair you’ve pulled up.
Tip: Another way to get those baby hair and flyaways under control is to use clear eyebrow gel like this one if clear mascara doesn’t do it for you.
#5 Cute Knot For Short Hair
Yes it’s challenging but possible.
Yes it is more of the ballerina variety but it still qualifies.
Difference Worth Noting: With short hair you’ll be pulling through almost all your hair through the elastic to form a little loop. It’s this loop of hair that serves as the basis of your top knot.
Tip: Using tiny bobby pins (like these from Conair) that are inserted on the fly as you wrap the bun on top of itself allows you maintain control over the final style.
#6 Big, Voluminous and Glorious
Anyone looking for a super cute second day hairstyle needs to watch this video.
It transforms a high pony tail into an adorable voluminous style that lets you squeeze in another day of not shampooing without guilt or embarrassment.
Tip: Typically you can use either a scrunchie or a hair band when pulling this updo together. However you may find scrunchies help to keep your top knot securely in place a whole lot better.
Difference Worth Noting: She twists her hair and holds that in place with the tie ending up with two “loops” of hair. (You’ll want to pay attention to that part of the video to “get it”.) That’s the trick to this approach.
Being a low stress, casual kind of style means you want to just take any leftover hair or bits that fall out and stick them back inside the elastic. This helps you hide the elastic too although visible elastic is not the end of the world here.
You get a lot of helpful views from all angles of the style in progress here so you can see just what she’s doing.
Tip: When tugging to loosen and shape the knot you may find it helpful to go at it from opposite sides at the same time.
If you could use a steady diet of inspo, tutorials and encouragement do remember to follow our Pinterest boards. It’s where we stash all our content like this so you never miss a single awesome hack, tip or idea.