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 • Hair  • Haircare Guides  • Your Ultimate Guide to (Easily) Creating Every. Type. Of. Bun.

Your Ultimate Guide to (Easily) Creating Every. Type. Of. Bun.

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Main Image – Karynabartashevich/Stocksy

How many funny memes have you seen themed around ‘the messy bun’? There’s one in particular that I see over and over again.

First, it depicts ‘everyone else’ throwing their hair up into a casual messy bun and it being perfect. Then it shows ‘me’ doing the same thing, and it results in a comedic mess, much like Miss Trunchbull. I could not relate more.

And it wasn’t just the messy bun I longed for back in my long-haired days. Just any kind of bun, really. From top knots and ballerina buns to messy buns and low chignons.

But the problem was I could never find an easy-to-follow guide telling me how to create *all* of the buns.

So, forgive me if this introduction all sounds a bit simple. But simplicity is key. And sometimes you just want to read an article with a step-by-step on all the ways to put your hair in a bun. Right?!

With help from Headmasters colour ambassador Sian Quinn, celebrity hairstylist Clyde Haygood, stylist Nikki Corzine, and director of artist education at Blo Blow Dry Bar Becca Raziuddin, I decode, well, buns! And how to create them. All of them. You’re welcome!


The messy bun

Head of a young woman from behind. Hair bun

Image – Michael Kachalov/Adobe

Why it’s popular:

“It’s a fantastic option for feeling stylish, especially on days when you prefer not to wash your hair,” says Corzine.

Where to position it:

“A messy bun should always be high up,” says Quinn. “This gives it a cooler, more casual feel while still flattering the face shape as you’re able to see the bun from head-on.”

Pull out some whispy hairs at the front of your hair and around your face for a really effortless look.

How to create it:

  • “Put the hair in a high ponytail, then wrap the hair around a tong to create a wave and some movement,” she says. “Then split it into two sections and knot them together leaving tails out from each end.
  • “Use open pins to secure the knot into the base and then place and secure the tails randomly around it to look pretty, while leaving some sections out.”

Product spotlight:

Tappers and Pointers Waved Hair Pins (£1.75 from Move Dancewear/$2.50 on the US website) are exactly the right shape and give good grip.


PRO TIP: When inserting open pins to secure a bun, “make sure they go underneath the elastic [of your original pony] for security,” says Haygood.


The top knot

Image – Lustre/Adobe

Why it’s popular:

The ultimate model hairstyle, it looks neat and tidy and gives an air of authority and power. Plus, it’s brilliant for pulling the skin on your face upwards slightly. Free facelift anyone?

Where to position it:

“On the very top of the rounded part of your head,” recommends Haygood.

How to create it:

  • “First, put the hair in a high pony, then use a smoothing oil to smooth out the hair,” Quinn explains. A top knot works best on medium-length hair as with short lengths, there may not be enough hair to create the top knot look once you’ve made a high pony.
  • “Knot two pieces [of the pony] together [to form a high top knot shape], softly using your fingers to massage the hair out to create some fullness.” Finally, secure the loose ends in and under your elastic with pins.
  • If your hair is very long, you may need to knot the two pieces together more than once until it looks more like a top knot.

Product spotlight:

Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil (£35 on Look Fantastic UK/$33 on the Living Proof US website) is my favourite oil for achieving grease-free sleekness and it smells absolutely amazing.


PRO TIP: “Sometimes it’s hard to style your hair and not see the back of your head,” says Raziuddin. “Use a mirror behind you and in front of you to see what you are doing to make it easier when putting your hair in a bun.”


The ballerina bun

Young beautiful woman stands on her side with bare shoulders and back. Concept of hair and makeup, skin and body care bun hairstyle

Image – Alena/Adobe

Why it’s popular:

As Quinn says, “It’s beautiful and wearable”. Plus, it is probably the neatest bun out of them all and works particularly well on straight, sleek hair to continue that neatness.

Where to position it:

“Trace from your jawline to the centre of the back of the head,” says Quinn.

How to create it:

  • “Secure your hair in a pony,” Sian explains. “Then hold the pony from the tip and use the end of a pin tail comb to back brush the pony to create volume.
  • Then use your hands to wrap the full pony around itself and secure with pins.” Haygood adds, “If you are going for a substantial sized bun and have fine hair, you can use a bun filler or ‘donut’ to help get the size you want.”

Product spotlight:

So Eco Tail Comb (£4 on Look Fantastic UK/$4.25 on Beauty Bay US) is ideal for combing and sectioning the hair whilst being affordable and this Boots Hair Donut (£2.50 on the Boots UK website/or this similar one on the Primark US website for $1.50) is easy to use.


The classic bun

brunette with a smooth bun hairstyle from the back. on gray background

Image – Alena/Adobe

Why it’s popular:

Much like the ballerina bun, it suits everyone, keeps all your hair off your face and looks smart.

Where to position it:

Anywhere. That’s easy!

How to create it:

  • “Gather your hair and secure it into a ponytail at your desired place using a hair tie,” explains Corzine. “Once secured, twist the ponytail the length of the hair until it becomes super tight. The tighter the twist, the better the bun will look.
  • Start to wrap the twist around the hair tie in the same direction until you’ve created a bun. You can secure it with bobby pins for a beautiful finish.” Spritz with a lightweight hairspray to avoid flyaways.

Product spotlight:

Percy & Reed Session Styling Flexible Hold Hairspray (£18 on the Percy & Reed UK website/or the Percy & Reed Hold It Right There Hairspray for $21.48 on Feel Unique US) does its job without leaving the hair crusty or stiff.


The plaited bun

how to do a bun plaited bun hair

Image – Yuliyam/Adobe

Why it’s popular:

It adds a textured twist to the classic bun.

Where to position it:


How to create it:

  • Tie your hair into a ponytail, then split it into three sections. Braid each of the three sections, securing them individually with a clear elastic at the bottom. “Use your fingers to fluff up the braids to make them look fuller,” adds Quinn.
  • Then take your three braids and braid them all together, loosely, again securing with an invisible elastic at the bottom. Next, take your giant braid and wrap it around the base of your ponytail to form a bun, carefully laying the braids around each other.
  • Secure the bun at both sides with pins for security and pin the loose ends so that they’re tucked under the ponytail’s elastic.

Product spotlight:

Kitsch No-Snag Elastics (£4 on Look Fantastic UK/$6.00 on the Kitsch US website) are not only invisible but they don’t tear the hair either.


The low bun

outdoor portrait of a young black female, wearing a white shirt, in profile low bun hairstyle

Image – Renedehaan/Stocksy

Why it’s popular:

When worn on the side, “it gives a soft, romantic feel and it’s less severe,” Quinn explains. Give it a centre part though and this slicked back bun is also an instant celeb look a la Selena Gomez and Emilia Clarke.

Where to position it:

Either “resting at the back near the hairline or worn on one side, keeping the bun behind the lower part of the ear,” says Haygood.

How to create it:

  • “Section out a veil [of hair] around the front hairline and tie everything behind it in a low side pony,” says Quinn. “Split the hair into two pieces and twist them in on each other and secure with pins.
  • Then take the veil at the front hairline, give it a bend with a tong and insert the pieces softly around the bun using pins where it looks pretty.”

Product spotlight:

Babyliss PRO Ceramic Dial A Heat Tong (£42.50 on Look Fantastic UK/$45.25 on Beauty Bay US) heats up quickly and produces tight curls that can be brushed into a looser wave.


The takeaway

Hey, nice buns! (Sorry, couldn’t resist). But seriously, now that you know how to create your favourite styles, you’ll be rocking the chicest buns in town.

Most of them start with a ponytail – easy peasy – which instantly gives your style some security. Just make sure you arm yourself with plenty of pins and lots of practice.


Meet the experts

Sian Quinn is colour ambassador for Headmasters. The first Headmasters salon opened in Wimbledon Village in 1982 and has grown into one of the UK’s biggest salon groups, consisting of 54 salons and 2 academies, employing over 700 Stylists, 200 Apprentices and 100 Front of House Team.


Clyde Haygood is a celebrity hairstylist and Pura D’Or partner. His clients include Katy Perrym Demi Lovato, Shakira, Erika Jayne, Khloe, Kourtney and Kim Kardashian and Kylie and Kris Jenner and is recognised as one of the top hair stylists in the fashion and beauty industry.


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


Nikki Corzine is a master stylist and the owner of The Canyon Salon in Westlake Village, California.  The Canyon Salon is a full service salon with a wide range of specialty services and first class customer service.


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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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