Okay so the name of the style alone implies it’s gonna be, well you know, messy and effortless.
Yet if it seems you’re the only one who can’t come up with stylish messy buns using one or two hair elastics, a couple of bobby pins and about 30 seconds of effort – you’re not alone.
Because if you’ve ever tried to get it right on the first try you know that’s seldom how it works out.
Yeah so you may have trouble coming up with a messy bun that is cute enough to wear in public without fear of ridicule or embarrassment.
Or you need something that has more to offer than some tiny, flattish, awful looking poor excuse of a bun despite using, what, half a can of dry shampoo plus an invisibobble?
Any of this can leave inquiring minds like yours with questions. Here’s the list of seven common ones covered here. (And yeah the seventh one is something we all struggle with.)
Quick Section Navigation
- What’s a Messy Bun Anyway?
- Are Messy Buns Bad For Your Hair?
- Going Messy Without Bobby Pins, Really? (video)
- When Is This Style Work Appropriate?
- Any Way to Easily Control Baby Hairs Gone Wild?
- Dealing With the Dilemma Of Thin Hair? (video)
- The Trick To Keeping It Where You Put It
QUESTION: What’s a messy bun anyway?
Known as the perfect lazy girl style and if done right it’s still good enough to be selfie worthy and suitable for posting to your Pinterest board.
Otherwise, a messy bun is like one of those you’ll-know-it-when-you-see-it kind of things. Think a loose, laid back, somewhat haphazard updo that lets you pull your hair up and off your neck.
Sure some are little more than an elastic and a shock of hair hurriedly throw together.
But I’m really not sure if anything so disheveled or sloppy actually counts as much more than an after-thought used by those holding a sign suggesting they’ll work for food however.
Luckily with just a bit of care you can get away without shampooing and look chic and super cute doing so.
Are Messy Buns Bad For Your Hair?
QUESTION: Can messy buns cause hair breakage? In other words are messy buns bad for your hair?
If you’re a messy bun addict and if you’re asking if pulling your hair back like this is bad for you hair, well…
Two things can happen that aren’t the greatest for the your hair.
If you’re using an elastic, yeah that can cause the strands to snap where tie meets hair.
Two, any time you pull your mane back and do it tightly you can risk pulling hair along your hairline out by the roots. And we both know thinning hair there isn’t likely going to be your best look.
So if you’ve become a little too familiar with a messy bun you might want to switch things up more than just occasionally.
Yeah, it’s never a bad idea to take a break from any hair style no matter how cute it makes you look.
This certainly applies to any that rely on hair ties or gathering you hair and pulling it back putting tension on the strands on the hair line around your forehead area. (think updos or pony tails)
Then too, move it!
Like with pony tails you might find you can avoid any concerns over breakage if you’ll but move the bun around from day to day.
So shift it higher or lower or a bit to one side or the other. Just enough to make sure the elastic is working over a different selection of strands each day or two.
These two ideas will take the pressure off and pretty much eliminate any concerns you may have about breakage.
Messy Buns Without Bobby Pins?
QUESTION: Is there any way to do a messy bun without bobby pins?
Here’s the perfect way to style your bun if you’re so lacking in the “how-to-do-hair” department that even how to put in bobby pins right escapes you.
Or this works for those who want something that lets them avoid bobby pins because removing them can be such a pain at times.
For the answer keep watching.
In just over two minutes you’ll see this approach demonstrated TWICE. Yeah it goes that fast.
- Step 1) Apply dry shampoo to those unwashed, second day strands.
- Step 2) Brush it through.
- Step 3) Pull all your hair into a high pony.
- Step 4) Secure the base of the ponytail with your favorite elastic.
- Step 5) Twist the elastic and spread the hair of the ponytail out into like a donut of hair around the base to start to form the bun. (This donut is the key to this style.) Some ends will be left out sitting draped on your head. That’s okay.
- Step 6) While holding the donut of hair with one hand wrap the elastic around it two times to create your bun.
- Step 7) Mess it up some by tugging at the bun to expand it to your liking.
- Step 8) Gather the ends to the front, then loop them back over and tuck inside the elastic. This trick is what eliminates the need for any bobby pins.
There you have it. Easy-peasy and not a bobby pin in sight.
When Is This Style Work Appropriate?
QUESTION: When is a high, messy bun appropriate for work?
Okay so you’re worried about the hair police at work. Gotcha.
Afraid of being accused of not looking “professional” enough whatever that means anymore in this business casual world.
Afraid you won’t be taken seriously.
Or afraid this is simply not an appropriate, read no nonsense, work hairstyle. <gasp>
Sure it’s hard to argue with the fact that a messy bun is a great way to style long hair. But the reviews of office suitability here are decidedly mixed.
You might feel that as long as the style demonstrate some domestication you’d be okay. You know it looks somewhat tame rather than all floppy, fall apart messy or like you overslept and had no time to style?
Admittedly a messy bun may not throw off the sophisticated vibe of dressy ponytail hairstyles. But perhaps you can dress it up with accessories of some sorts on those days when you’re in a lazy girl state of mind.
But basically one great way to tell is to watch what others at work do. Especially the higher ups. Take a cue from them about what is or what isn’t going to pass muster when it comes to hairstyles.
Or as thetalko.com says, “try a nicer style first and test the waters before attempting to pull off a messy bun.”
Hope that helps.
What About How to Easily Control Baby Hairs Gone Wild?
QUESTION: Got any tips for controlling all the baby hairs that sprout up when wearing a messy bun?
Yeah those wild little hairs along your hairline and such can be annoying. Too many to bobby pin but nowhere cute enough to ignore.
The solution lies in product. Traditional ones would be mousse, hair spray or gel.
One that come highly recommended for jobs like this is Aussie Instant Freeze hairspray which literally instantly freezes those babies in place. Either that or pick up a can of Got2b off Amazon.
Both are highly rated so worth a shot, no?
But if you don’t want to go there let’s think outside the box.
Now I know it sounds crazy but I’ve seen YouTubers swear by clear mascara for situations like this.
That little wand is perfect for attacking those pesky baby hairs, smoothing them down and making them stay put.
Being clear no one will be the wiser.
Easy addition to all the hair stuff you schelp around in your purse too.
Just don’t get carried away with how much you apply. Don’t want any unsightly clumps of whatever to be seen mysteriously clinging to your strands.
Dealing With the Dilemma Of Thin Hair
QUESTION: What about messy buns and thin hair?
Yeah I feel you. It’s hard to produce hair out of thin air.
That’s where this video comes in.
Just seven quick and easy steps and you’re done.
Step 1) Spritz with hairspray to add some texture.
Step 2) Lightly rough tease but nothing to exacting. Just shooting to back come in some volume.
Step 3) Pull your hair up into a high pony
Step 4) She twists the hair tie and wraps the hair with it three times
Step 5) Tug and fluff without making it too loose
Step 6) Pull out the hair on the crown to give it a bit of a poof.
Step 7) Finish off with a final spritz of hair spray.
You shouldn’t have to work too hard to rock this one.
No trying a thousand times to get it just right.
No spending hours styling.
Yet you may just end up with the cutest messy bun ever!
So what makes this work?
Tip #1: She fell back on an old reliable. That is gather your hair into a high pony and tease the underside to give it added volume. Then take care when creating the bun so as to hide the ratty bits leaving the smooth strands on the outside. You’ll also want to be sure to wrap some strands around the base of the pony, using a second hair tie if need be to secure the bun in place.
Tip #2: While she used hair spray for added volume you can also see if working in some mousse into damp strands and letting things air dry while scrunching every now and then can give your thinner locks a body boost. To insure it does spritz in some texturizing spray. If you need help with that check out this post about texturizing spray.
Tip#3: Another way that might just create the illusion of fuller hair is to use a scrunchie instead of a hair tie. That can bulk up the bun making it look bigger, more messy.
The Trick To Keeping It Where You Put It
QUESTION: How to do a messy bun that stays up?
Ahhh, bun security.
If you’ve found even a million bobby pins can’t secure your messy bun so it lasts without falling apart two words – spin pins.
Yep, prepare to be impressed as you can spin pin your way to a gorgeous messy bun regardless of how long or thick your strands are.
Weighing in at two and half inches long these work great at holding even long, absurdly thick hair where you put it perfectly.
Can you say indestructible hairstyle?
These are super simple to use. Just corkscrew them into your style and they’re sure to stay there all day.
Although these spiral wonders do work best when they have some grit to grip i.e. second or third day hair, you can always manufacture that with dry shampoo.
Works great with an elastic for superior yet comfortable hold. The ends have like a rubber tip (similar to bobby pins?) too.
Here’s what you get with these…
Takes less than a minute to screw them in place.
Hold better than bobby pins which can fly out of thick long strands over time.
Some even swear they’re better than claw clips.
And there’s no risk of pulling out hair when taking out like can sometimes happen with elastic bands.
Don’t be surprised if they become one of your favorite hair accessories.
Messy buns lover? If you want to keep up with updos and styles and so forth why not follow our Popular Pins board on Pinterest for even more useful answers like these and hair hacks you’ll want to know that can boost your overall styling IQ?
Barbie McConnell says
Great article! Keep up the good work, girl! Also, do you think you could write about bleaching delicate tresses? Maybe how to get hair in condition for box color bleaching with Garnier PL2? Thanks so much! Barbie McConnell
Barbie, thanks so much for the kind words. You’re sweet.
Also your suggestion might be a good idea. We’ll look into it!!!