aka The Perfect Hairstyle for Lazy Girls
Does it seem like you’re the ONLY one who can’t quite master this whole messy bun thing no matter how hard you try?
Or maybe you’ve sorta figured it – but you still don’t look exactly amazing. Instead at times it seems you look more like some homeless person standing at an expressway exit holding a cardboard sign.
Or perhaps you’ve got it down – mostly. It just takes like 43 tries to get just the right amount of messiness and who has time for that? Especially if you’re running late in the morning. I mean isn’t this supposed to be quick and simple?
Well, if any of that sound familiar let’s see if we can’t play the role of messy bun savior here. Sharing what you need to know to get you looking all messy and cute – in nothing flat.
You can also check out these seven questions you didn’t know to ask when it comes to how to do a messy bun.
Otherwise here you’ll find 12 messy bun variations demonstrated in the videos below complete with a cheat sheet for each.
Do take note of the “difference maker” pointed out for most of them. That’s the move I felt that most seemed to make that particular bun different from the rest.
Oh and PLEASE don’t miss the seven extremely helpful hacks found waaaay towards the bottom. You never know when they might come in handy.
Now I’m willing to bet that with a little bit of practice almost anyone should be able to whiz through all twelve of these in next to no time at all as long as you have
- dry shampoo
- hair brush
- maybe a pick (optional)
- bobby pins
- hair ties
Anyway here’s the dirty dozen.
Quick Section Navigation
- #1 Big, Loopy and Messy?
- #2 Understated Elegance
- #3 Tightly Twisted Tresses Turmoil
- #4 Messy “Fan” Bun
- #5 High and Messy Mayhem
- #6 Low Bun Imperfection
- #7 Classic Top Knot
- #8 Classy Top Knot Hair Free For All
- #9 Twisted Sophistication
- #10 Elegant Bun Bedlam
- #11 Long Hair Messy
- #12 Short But Really Big and Messy
- BONUS: Seven Extremely Helpful Hacks
Don’t forget that any of these somewhat-disheveled-yet-still-gorgeous updos are perfect for second day hair which is great for the overall health of your locks. While still leaving you looking like an off duty hair model.
So are you ready?
I sure hope so. Because this first video walks you through four different ways to get stylishly messy.
4 Easy Messy Buns
In way of prep it’s always a good idea to brush out your hair first to remove tangles.
And since you’re probably working with second day hair apply your fav dry shampoo to disguise any oiliness lurking just under the surface of your strands.
That aside, to get things started the first one is both easy and the epitome of a totally tousled look.
Big, Loopy and Messy?
- Pull your hair back into a high ponytail.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: Slip the elastic over your strands once WITHOUT pulling the hair completely through.
- Flip the hair, scoop up the remaining ends and use your elastic to secure all the bits and pieces. This will result is a big clump of hair on top of your head.
- Tuck any stray ends back under the elastic.
- Bobby pin things in place to create the degree of messiness you’re going for.
- Loosen the rest of the hair to add to the voluminous look.
Not quite as messy as some of the others, this gives you a more polished look if that’s what the occasion calls for.
- Part your mane to the side as usual.
- Tease the underneath hair on either side of the part to give things a bit of a body boost.
- This time gather your hair into a low pony.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: Wrap the ponytail around your finger / onto itself without twisting.
- Then secure in place with your hair tie.
- Go ahead and loosen the hair around the bun and finger style a little for an effortless look.
Tightly Twisted Tresses Turmoil
With this one you’re looking for volume to spare so tease lightly to begin with to get that. Then…
- Bend at the waist and flip your hair over your head.
- Pull your hair into a high pony on the top of your head. (If need be use a troll doll as inspiration.)
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: Tightly twist all your hair from the ends to the roots with this one.
- Next wrap the twist around onto itself and secure with your faithful elastic.
- As before loosen the rest of your hair as well as the bun itself.
- Bobby pin to bring the bun against your head.
- Finish with hairspray.
Messy “Fan” Bun
This one is even more volume packed than number three and revisits teasing your roots – only more so.
- Gather your hair into a loose high ponytail like you did with the first bun.
- Build in volume and body into the ponytail itself by teasing down to the elastic.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: Move the hair tie up a bit so you can create a “hole” in the hair with your fingers. Thread the rest of your pony through it about halfway leaving a compact bun that looks kinda like a fan.
- Loosen up the bun.
- Whatever loose ends you’ve got need to be stuffed back under the elastic to hide them out of sight. For this reason keep the hair tie looser so you can easily incorporate those ends into the bun.
- Fluff the bun as desired and pin to secure.
Anyhow that’s four. Here’s six more.
6 More Easy Messy Buns
High and Messy Mayhem
High messy buns like this might be ideal for girls with thick hair that is heavier and so harder to “bun up”.
- Pull all your hair back and up
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: Wrap once with your elastic. You’ll want to leave some ends out. Then wrap it again a second time around the entire bun.
- Next pull the bun apart in all directions almost to the point where it’s starting to fall out. Don’t worry you’ll pin it as needed from there to hold it in place. But you want to add some fluffiness to the ‘do.
- Rein in any flyaways with eyebrow gel.
- While holding the bun finish by pulling some hair out of the base of the bun with your fingers to loosen and add some poofiness which softens the style. (More on this later.)
- Pull out some piecey strands to frame your face which is something you’ll likely want to do with all of these to soften the look.
Bam! One fun carefree style.
Low Bun Imperfection
This second one is lower on your head with your part line showing.
- Gather your hair up like you would for a pony tail leaving your part visible.
- Wrap once with an elastic.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: Then wrap it again only the second time only pull your hair part of the way through to leave some hair out of the bun you’ve just created. (You can clearly see with this one how much of the hair is left excluded from the bun.)
- Next tug at the hair in the bun to create the messiness. The idea is to shape the bun how you want it to look. You might actually find it helpful to tug at it from opposite sides when shaping.
- Again finish by loosening the hair not up in the bun using all your fingers to relax the look.
I know. This second one is not THAT unlike the first one. The biggest difference is it sits lower on your head and your part is retained.
Tip: For a smoother finish you might want to brush your hair back rather than using your fingers when gathering and pulling it into the ponytail.
Another Tip: If things get too super saggy, lift the entire bun and pin it to your head being generous with the bobby pins. In fact you might need the alternate to bobby pins listed in the hacks below. Doing this is also a way to add a bit of poof to the style just in front of the bun if you like.
Onto the next one.
Classic Top Knot
- Flip your hair upside down. This helps you to get the ponytail as high on your head as possible.
- Gather it all into a bun high on your head. This is another instance where thinking of troll dolls might come in handy.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: When wrapping the hair tie this time leave a bit of a loop with the long ends of those strands hanging down. Gather those ends and tuck them back inside the elastic to create a SECOND loop right behind the first one.
- This gives you two loops to loosen and work with instead of just one.
- Pin to your hair as needed to create this lovely messiness.
Classy Top Knot Hair Free For All
- Pull your hair up and wrap your elastic as before.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: This time the idea is to create a little donut shape with your hair and wrap that with the elastic. Note that the ends are left hanging.
- Loosen the bun and then tuck those loose ends back inside the elastic.
- Loosen the bottom hair off your head and there you go – messy bun number 4 on this vid.
This one is best for those days when you want a bit more polished look. It’s slightly different way to approach the twisted method demonstrated on the previous video.
- Pull the hair up as before.
- Twist the strands.
- Wrap the twisted hair onto itself.
- Wrap your hair band around the twisted bun.
- Loosen both the bun and the rest of your hair as desired.
This next one is my favorite on this video.
Elegant Bun Bedlam
- Pull your hair into a high ponytail secured in place with a hair tie.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: Divide that pony into three sections.
- Take each section and divide it in half so you have two smaller sections.
- Twist those two smaller sections together around each other.
- Pick a small bit of hair and while holding it at the end slide the rest of the hair down towards your head to scrunch all the hair up.
- Pull apart the now scrunched up hair to loosen it and make it appear bigger like you would a braid.
- Wrap that casually around the elastic and pin the end into the rest of your hair.
- Repeat with the remaining two sections. Wrapping each one around the previously wrapped section of hair to create your bun in three stages.
- Catch any loose ends and stick into those into the bun. Bobby pin as needed.
Ideally you’ll want to finish this look by wrapping one scrunched up section around the front to hide the hair tie. Another on one of the sides. And the third around the back. When done the elastic should be nicely out of sight.
So that’s six more ways to work this messy bun thing so you end up with an adorable style that in no way will remind anyone of a blooming onion.
I know that was a lot to take in.
But please bear with me a bit longer.
Especially if you have longer hair.
Because while perhaps a little more involved, this next video demonstrates a slightly different, dare I say more voluminous, way to approach bun bedlam..
It’s one that might work best for those with long hair. If that’s you, why not take a peek?
Long Hair Messy
- Pull your hair into a high pony.
- Grasping it at the base, let the rest of your hair fall around your hand.
- DIFFERENCE MAKER: This is where you’ll want to gather all that drooping hair into a bun shape and wrap with your elastic. Like she points out, with all the ends hanging out it should remind you of a mop on your head.
- To clean it up, tuck all those loose ends up under the hair tie. This gives you what amounts to a ring of tucked in hair around the first bun or a bun within a bun effect.
- Bobby pin all around to secure it in place. Depending on your hair you may want to cross pin some to make sure things stay.
That’s all there is to it.
Short But Really Big Hair Messy Bun
Now this video shows how to work with shoulder grazing length hair – so yeah a messy bun tutorial for shorter hair by someone who really has shorter hair! This technique would likely work with chin length or longer strands I’d imagine.
As you’ll see with shorter hair like this there are really two sections to style. So that’s why there are more steps here.
One last point. Styles like this benefit from second or third day hair because it has the needed grit and texture to work which is important.
- If working with freshly washed hair manufacture the needed texture with dry shampoo and hair spray. After applying brush the dry shampoo through then go wild with hair spray – scrunching as you go to make it really messy and texturized.
- Gather your hair on the top of your head and secure with a hair tie. Note that the tie is wrapped around so the gathered hair is roughly the shape of a bun. In other words don’t pull all the ends totally through the tie – the goal is messy imperfection
- Tug and loosen the hair on the top of your head around the bun to get some volume there.
- Using bobby pins neaten things up by pinning ends, pieces and random bits of hair sticking out into the bun while also loosening as you go to get a shape you like.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: There’s a reality with shorter hair that makes messy buns harder to do – the short bits in the back above the nape of the neck that weren’t long enough to pull into the bun. Here’s how to solve that.
- Spritz those bottom strands with hair spray.
- Brush through to smooth out.
- Gather then slip a clear hair scrunchy near the end creating a tiny ponytail.
- Work that into the rest of your hair in the back to hide it best you can using two or three bobby pins to secure it in place.
All and all a clever hack shorter haired girls everywhere should appreciate.
Finally, if you like you can run a hot iron through the baby hairs framing your face for a more polished look.
So yeah you guessed it. It does take a little effort to look effortless. Just not too much.
With that you’ve got 12 different ways to wear your hair up. Once you master them, none should take more than a few minutes to pull together. Ideal for days when wearing your hair down just doesn’t match your mood.
Okay so we know this may look easy at first glance. But you have to have a trick or two up your sleeve to make this look stylish yet imperfectly effortless.
To that end let’s quickly point out seven or so hacks to keep in mind when creating your messy bun.
BONUS: Seven Extremely Helpful Hacks
The first hack is pure genius. Who knew eyebrow gel could be used to tame any flyaway hairs that tend to want to sprout up and stand proud whenever you pull your hair back into buns like these?
An over-abundance of flyaways or baby hairs is probably not the look you’re going for. So slay them with a light coating of clear eyebrow gel and then smooth over your strands. Something like NYX Control Freak Eye Brow Gel will run you $6 or $7 at your local CVS or Target and should work fine.
This is a great way to get the control of hairspray without leaving your hair feeling the least bit crunchy or stiff looking.
Another good one is loosening up the pulled back hair off your head. When you loosen the hair not pulled up, I feel you give more of a consistent carefree look to the style rather than a severe, almost slicked back, librarian’s look. Naturally you may feel differently.
If that’s not enough, the third hack adds a little balance to the look by remembering to pull out pieces to frame your face. Adding a bit of piecy-ness like this is never a bad idea with any ponytail, top knot or updo.
One underlying key is all the texture you’re adding to your second day strands with dry shampoo. On top of not being freshly laundered dry shampoo should give any bobby pins you use plenty to hold on to. Making for a great way to save hair that is somewhat dirty.
Obviously you should feel free to create these buns as high or low on your head as you wish. Those with thicker, fuller hair may find that putting their hair as high as they can on their head will help to keep it from sagging five minutes after you’re done.
Oh and for number five some report that so called “spin pins” or “spiral bobby pins” can work wonders for anyone with long thick hair. They’ll hold your bun securely in place all day. Goody makes some that might be just what you need. That counts as a hack, right?
Also if you have extremely long or thick and heavy hair maybe use more than one hair tie. If that isn’t enough perhaps hair spraying the ties to give them extra “grippiness” would help.
But if your truly thick hair doesn’t respond and still flops to the side of your head in five minutes like a beached whale try this hack. HINT: The secret lies in splitting the ponytail in two!
I know what you’re thinking. But judging by the favorable comments left, this approach has at least a chance of being helpful if you are working with a thicker mane.
Now if you prefer you can always tease the hair in the front of your head just a little to build in some natural looking volume. Then smooth it out to disguise the fact you back combed it. Another good hack some who have mastered the messy bun use without even thinking.
Finally it goes without saying the hair band you use should be close to your hair color so it blends in better.
That was at LEAST seven hacks now wasn’t it? I sure hope so.
Okay so maybe at this point you picked up enough pointers so that you feel you can pull off a totally wearable messy bun. That holds together even if all evidence suggests you did not get the gene required to do a one yourself. What do you think?
If you want more styling ideas like this that rate high on the cuteness meter please follow our popular pins board on Pinterest.
Sarah Cummings says
Awesome! Love the videos you shared. Thank you! ?