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 • Hair  • Haircare Guides  • The Beginner’s Guide To Nailing The Perfect Messy Bun (Even Without Hair Skills)

The Beginner’s Guide To Nailing The Perfect Messy Bun (Even Without Hair Skills)

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Main image – Amorburakova/Stocksy

Ah, the messy bun. Name me a girl who doesn’t love the ‘I just shoved my hair up and now I look carefree and fabulous’ look (which we all know took five tries to get just right).

Because, of course, sometimes the messy bun can go wrong. Occasionally we put a little too much effort into looking carefree (oh the irony). 

So, what was meant to be a whimsical, messy bun can end up looking like a forced and, dare we say it, tidy chignon! Not the look we were going for. 

So, how do you create the perfect messy bun? You know, without it looking like you’ve put effort in. Experts Robin Emtage and Becca Raziuddin are here, armed with some step by steps. 

All in the name of keeping your bun the right side of perfectly imperfect.


Image – Renedehaan/Stocksy


The tools you’ll need

  • Bobby pins
  • Hair ties
  • Hair oil
  • Texture spray


How to do a classic messy bun

  • ‘Flip your head upside down and gather your hair into a high ponytail at the crown of your head,” explains Emtage. “Use a hair tie to secure the ponytail in place.”
  • “Take the ponytail and twist it around the base, forming a bun shape and secure with another hair tie,” she says. 
  • “Let any loose ends hang out for that effortlessly messy look.”
  • “Apply a few drops of natural hair oil to your palms and run them over the surface of the bun to add shine and control frizz.” 
  • “Use bobby pins to secure any overly loose sections,” she adds.


How to create a low messy bun

  • “Start by gathering your hair into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck,” begins Emtage.
  • “Secure it with a hair tie, leaving some strands loose for that casual vibe,”
  • “Twist the ponytail and wrap it around its base, forming a low bun,” she says. “Secure the bun with another hair tie or bobby pins if needed.”
  • “Apply a small amount of hair oil to your hands and run them through the bun for added texture and polished finish.”
  • “Gently pull on the bun’s sides to loosen it up and create a relaxed, messy look.”
  • Finally, “allow a few face-framing strands to escape for that effortless charm,” Emtage says.


How to do a braided messy bun

  • “Start with the texture you want,” says Raziuddin. “If you want a bun that is on the messier side or more lived in you will want to add some waves and use a texture spray to create the foundation for the look.”
  • “Figure out where you want the bun to sit on the head and create a braid in that spot,” she continues.
  • “Pinch and pull the braid out for a messier effect.”
  • “Then, wrap the braid into a bun and pin for security,” she explains.


How to create a high messy bun

  • “Figure out where you want the bun to sit on your head and create a ponytail in that spot,” Raziuddin explains.
  • ‘Wrap the ponytail into a bun and pin for security.” Remember, it doesn’t matter if the bun isn’t perfect.
  • “You can pull out the bun a little for extra texture,” she adds. 


The takeaway

The perfect messy bun seems to have three vital elements. Your hair’s texture, the positioning of your bun and using a mixture of contrived strands and ones that have fallen naturally.

Arm yourself with some bobby pins and hair ties. And keep a hair oil or texture spray handy for the perfect finishing touch. 


Meet the experts

Robin Emtage is a beauty stylist and the founder of beauty company Silktage.


Becca Raziuddin is a celebrity hair consultant and Director of Artist Education at Blo Blow Dry Bar, the world’s largest blowdry bar chain with more than 150 locations across the US and Canada. She’s regularly featured in the likes of Byrdie and Oprah Daily and works with some of the world’s biggest designers on their New York Fashion Week shows.


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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University

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