If you’ve ever wondered how to do a top knot, you’re in luck. This seemingly simple (and super fashun) look has been keeping All Things Hair HQ buzzing, particularly as we near warmer, brighter, potentially stickier (!) seasons ahead.
Once thought of the go-to look of lazy gals everywhere (#sorrynotsorry), the top knot hairstyle has earned its keep in the beauty world; we’ve seen it everywhere from NYFW to the red carpet. Its appeal lies in its super-polished, almost rigid bun aesthetic, but one that’s surprisingly versatile and, yes, relatively easy to recreate, with the help of the right products and tools.
If you’re looking for a hairstyle that’s equal parts glam and simple, but also value your precious snooze time in the morning, you’re in luck: We’ve just put together a few of our most requested top knot how-to articles for your reading pleasure. So whether you’re the gal who doesn’t have time for complicated hairstyles in the A.M. or are just all about that formal, movie-star glam for every day, we’ve got just the tutorial for you.
To illustrate, we show just how easy-peasy it is to nail the chic, effortless top knot hair look in three ways: One featuring the classic, messy top knot and the other featuring a half-up top knot on curly hair, plus a bonus, runway-to-real way set of inspo looks!
Read on to check out our quick step-by-step guides to rocking this tried-and-true fave:
Look 1: How to Do a Top Knot
Step 1: Start with clean hair.
A fresh, clean base is always the best foundation for a style that puts shiny strands front and center. We love using Love Beauty and Planet Indian Lilac & Clove Leaf Shampoo and Indian Lilac & Clove Leaf Conditioner for soft, shiny locks.
Step 2: Use a hair mist.
A light hair mist helps detangle, condition and nourish hair even after the shower. The Good Stuff Weightless Protection Mist is a quick and easy way to moisturize hair, and we love how absorbs instantly and protects hair—super ideal for high-tension buns and updos. After misting and detangling, proceed to blow-dry until locks are completely dry, root to tip.
Step 3: Gather hair into a high ponytail—or flip your head completely over.
Yup, you heard us: Flip it and reverse it! Some women find that flipping their head upside down helps them gather and center their hair perfectly onto their crown, while others are able to brush towards this spot easily while upright. Use a boar bristle brush or paddle brush for smooth results, refining any bumps with a fine-toothed comb. You can get things even sleeker with a smoothing gel, like TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Firm Control Gel, gently applied onto the base of your pony. If your hair is on the thicker side, you can secure your pony at this stage with a neutral or hair-colored elastic at the top of your crown. Optional: You can also play with your edges or baby hair at this point, smoothing them down on your forehead in the desired shape.
Step 4: Coil, coil, coil.
Create a rope twist with your ponytail and coil it around its base, forming a round bun. Secure it in place with a hair tie or some hairpins tucked in at the seam, and finish with a light hairspray, like TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Smooth Hold Hairspray Level 2.
Look 2: Easy Top Knot Hair Half-Updo
Start on clean, freshly washed hair.
A half-updo needs some volume and traction, but your curls are dry, you’ll need to provide it with some moisture. Use Dove Absolute Curls Ultra Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner to help nourish and define your curls. Towel-dry your hair and follow up with a curl recall cream, such as Bed Head by TIGI On the Rebound, before blasting your curls with a diffuser.
Section off your crown.
Using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb, gather together the top section of your crown.
Twist your hair.
Begin twisting your strands to form one snug rope twist. Support the base of your ponytail with your other hand.
Create your knot.
Coil your twisted section around itself, making a cinnamon bun-like knot, on your crown. Secure your new bun with bobby pins or with a hair tie looped around the base.
Smooth down the frizzies.
Apply a smoothing serum or oil (we like Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil) to the base to add shine and prevent flyaways and halo frizz.
If needed, adjust your half-up top knot hair bun so it rests perfectly on your crown (a few careful tugs will do). Otherwise, you’re all set!
We love top knot hairstyles because they’re simple and easy to do in the nick of time. However, top knots have the potential to be something much more than a basic bun. This season, opt for upgrading your updo into a work of art. What do we mean? Create a sculptural statement with your bun and have fun. Read on to learn how to create some of our favorite knotted looks of the moment:
Look 3: Sculptural Top Knot Bun
Type of Top Knot: The Sleek Tower Bun
How to Style: Apply a quarter size amount of Suave Professionals Firm Control Sculpting Gel to clean air-dried hair. Smooth the gel throughout your hair lengths (root-to-ends), then gather into a ponytail. Twist the ends of your hair until it begins to spiral on its own, then wind it up into a tall bun. Secure the height of your bun with hairpins and allow your hair to dry.
Origami inspiration with a modern twist.
Type of Knot: Origami-Inspired Undone Bun
How to Style: This style is so easy you could most likely do it with your eyes closed. Apply Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil to your strands for shine, then gather hair up into a high ponytail. Loop your hair ends through half-way, leaving the ends peeking out. Apply pins around the base of your bun to secure your top knot in place.
Type of Top Knot: The Double Bun
How to Style: Why have one, when you can create two? Create this look by applying TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Firm Control Gel to your damp hair. Use a boar bristle brush to smooth your hair up into a sleek and neat bun. Coil the ends of your ponytail to create a bun and pin down to your head. Your bun should resemble a long eclair as opposed to a round donut. Secure with pins to hold the shape in place. Take an elastic hair tie and wrap it around the middle of your bun to create the illusion of two.