Your Ultimate Messy Bun Hairstyle Guide

All Things Hair | 08 May 2019
messy bun featured image
2 minutes Style Easy

All of the messy bun hairstyles you’ll ever need in your lifetime! 

Let’s be real for a second: there’s nothing quite as satisfying as the perfect messy bun. But, how to do a messy bun seems somewhat counter-intuitive, right? Like any hairstyle trend, even the ‘so-called’ messy looks can take some time to master. There are tons of variations on the messy bun that you’ll want to make sure are suited for your face type, hair texture, the occasion, the workplace the weather, and of course, your personality.

Plus, with summer just around the corner, your social calendar is about to get a whole lot busier. And with just a few tweaks you can easily transform a standard messy bun into something really special. Our favorite way to do this? Curls, of course! Read on to discover how to create various messy bun styles for any occasion.

Tutorial: How to Create a Messy Bun

messy bun step 1

Rough Rake.

Gather hair into a ponytail using your fingers.

messy bun step 2


Spray your ponytail with a texturizer like Bed Head by TIGI Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray.

messy bun step 3


Hair hack: backcomb or tease random sections of your ponytail for more volume.

messy bun step 4

Wrap It Up.

Coil hair around into a bun, leaving a few strands loose. Secure with a hair tie and pins on the underseam.

messy bun step 5


Finish with hairspray. Our personal fave is TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hairspray Texture Hold Level 1!

messy bun step 6


Your messy bun is officially effortless and chic.

Tips for Getting The Perfect Messy Bun Hairstyle and Some Ideas to Try

a top knotted hair woman on a pink background

1. Use day-old hair.

Your dirty little secret is safe with us. And, to be completely honest, you’re not the only one. Whatever the reason–time, maintaining oil production, wanting a texture refresh–we’re on board. To refresh your second-day locks, try some of the Nexxus Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist–not only will it leave your hair looking and feeling refreshed, it smells great, too!


2. Get traditional hair ties.

Okay, ladies, we get it: we all hate those annoying crimps in our hair from hair ties and have become smitten with the no crease hair ties. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when it comes to messy buns, the silky elastics that we love just don’t cut it. In order to create maximum hold to keep the base of your messy bun in place, it’s best to use traditional hair ties–you know, the ones.

3. Bobby pins are your best friend.

Messy buns are basically synonymous with flyaways and loose tendrils. That said, you want to keep every out of place strand…ahem…in place. Yes, we are back at it again with the counter-intuitive business. For this part, simply secure the main strands with some bobby pins as you maintain that flawless messy look you’ve been striving for all day. Plus, a few well-placed bobby pins are sure to give your messy bun some personality.

4. Spunk it up with a part.

There’s nothing like a crisp part to really transform a look. Down the middle, off to the side, or even zigzag. All eyes will be on your beautiful bun.

messy bun with upside down braid
Mix up your messy updo with a cute upside down braid. Photo credit: Dvora

5. Get creative with braids.

When you have a messy bun to spruce up, why not add one or two, or even a few? With a head full of hair you have the option of creating upside-down braids, inverted braids, accent braids and more. The braids will give a slightly manicured look to your otherwise purposefully disheveled style.

Messy low bun side view
Exchange your super neat low bun style for a messier look instead.

6. Create a low messy bun.

Much like a low pony, a low messy bun is perfect for those days where you want to sweep your hair up but aren’t anticipating any strenuous activities. Gorgeous as they are, these low hanging beauts are best paired with work/evening attire, low-impact fitness, or just lazing around.

Messy space buns
Messy bun meets space bun!

7. Create a trendy messy bun.

Love your messy bun so much you wish you could don two? Well, thanks to the space bun trend being back, alive and well, now you can! Part your hair and get your twist or mound in order to create two even buns that are perfect for any occasion.

8. Hairspray is not the enemy.

When strands are flying on their own with the perfect messy bun, hairspray is just what you’ll need to complete this look. To get a firm hold without disrupting the soft texture of your cute messy bun, use some of the TRESemmé TRES Two Ultra Fine Mist Hair Spray, which can help you to lock in your style without leaving your hair stiff or sticky.


Creating A Messy Bun for Long Hair

Use a good paddle brush to create a Messy Bun On Long Hair
Use a detangling brush to help create your messy bun style.

1. Clean and detangle your hair.

To successfully achieve a messy bun for long hair, you’ll want to start with clean and detangled hair. Yes, some messy buns do work well on second-day hair, but you’ll want to make sure your bun is clean and knot-free. The right brush is also essential to achieving the perfect messy bun look. After you air-dry or blow-dry your hair, use the Ibiza CX2 Paddle Hair Brush to gently brush your hair before continuing to style.

how to create a messy bun on long hair using mousse
Styling mousse helps give your style texture and volume.

2. Apply a volumizing product.

To get a bun full of oomph, use a good volumizing product to help create your style. Once you have successfully detangled your tresses with your brush, use the Dove + Care Volume Amplifier Mousse on clean and damp hair in order to get a noticeable lift and some volume.

how to create a messy bun on long hair with bobby pins
Bobby pins help hold your loose messy bun in place.

3. Use a brush and flip your hair upside down.

Once your locks are dry, begin to flip your hair upside down, and brush your hair upwards, in order to fashion your hair into a high ponytail that sits on the top of your head. Be sure to use an elastic to help secure your hair. For a technique that is fairly easy, carefully twist your hair into a donut-like bun, using bobby pins to help secure your bun into place.

Hairspray helps set your Messy Bun On Long Hair
A strong-hold hairspray helps set your bun look.

4. Use an elastic and some hairspray to secure your look.

To give your bun a messy effect, carefully tug and pull portions of your bun to give it that carefully crafted loose and undone effect. To help enhance your look, even more, feel free to pull loose pieces from your crown to create a tendril-like look.

How to Create a Cute Messy Bun for Work

medium length hair updos brunette messy bun
You can create this style in under five minutes. Seriously!

Step 1: Comb your hair and amp up the shine.

Creating this on clean, damp hair and taking the time and effort to comb your hair before you let it air dry will clear it of tangles. Spray the Nexxus Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist through your strands for an extra dose of softness and shine.


Step 2: Sleep on your strands and master the updo.

Let your hair air-dry. The secret to creating a messy bun that looks less dormitory appropriate and more corner office prepped is making sure to create a part before you create and fasten your bun instead of just combing it straight back. Opt for a center part if you want to take a more serious and streamlined route and a deeper side part for something a little more playful. Another thing to keep in mind: side parts are more flattering on women with round faces while women with thinner faces can really pull off a center part or a side part.

How to Make a Summer Party-Perfect Messy Bun

messy bun tutorial: model curling hair her hair with a curling tong
Learn how to make a messy bun your own by adding curls.

Step 1: Spray heat protectant on your hair.

Start by sectioning your hair and giving your tresses a good all-over spritz TIGI Copyright Custom Create Heat Protection Spray.


Step 2: Curl your hair.

Use a wide-barrelled curling wand to curl pieces of hair around 1-2 inches thick at a time, to create loose waves.

Messy bun: Model shows how to do a messy bun with curls
Chic and easy messy bun with curls.

Step 3: Twist your hair.

Gently twist your hair into a bun using the original messy bun tutorial method above, being careful not to flatten any of the volume from the curls you’ve just created.

Step 4: Secure with some bobby pins.

Leave a few face-framing strands of hair loose around your hairline for a romantic, disheveled look, secure in place with bobby pins and you’re ready for action!

How to Create a Formal Twisted Messy Bun

youtuber nikki phillippi shows us how to make a messy bun and twist hairstyle
How to do a messy bun with vlogger Nikki Phillipi.

Step 1: Use some dry shampoo.

This style works best on second-day, unwashed hair, so if yours is freshly washed, start by spraying your hair with the Dove Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo. This will make it much easier to form your bun and provide it with extra staying power!


Step 2: Create a deep part.

Use a rat-tail comb to create a deep side parting on the right side of your head. Then, use your comb again to separate the front section of hair from both sides of your part and clip these pieces out of the way for now.

Step 3: Tease your hair.

Next, use a small hair brush to tease the large section of hair at the back of your head to amp up the volume.

Step 4: Create your bun.

Once you’ve done this, create your bun by gathering your hair into a low ponytail and create a looped bun.

Step 5: Form your rope braid.

Now it’s time to turn your attention back to those two sections of hair you left free earlier. Taking one section at a time, divide the pieces of hair into two and twist them together to form a rope braid.

Step 6: Secure with bobby pins.

Draw the hair back to the crown of your head and wrap it around and underneath your bun. Secure with bobby pins and repeat with the other section of hair.

Step 7: Lock in your style.

Et voila! This style would be ideal for weddings and other formal occasions and is totally DIY.

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