30+ Messy Buns to Save the Day While Hanging at Home

Low-key effort, high-key impact.

Social distancing has become our reality for the foreseeable future, so getting your hair professionally done or even braided by your friend isn’t an option. Sometimes the only thing you have left in your styling arsenal is the classic messy bun. If you want to take your messy bun to the next level to give your style more purpose, opposed to just throwing it up and hoping for the best, we’ve got plenty of styles that are messy but still stylish. Now that we’ve all got more time on our hands to practice some fire styles, why not really master the art of the messy bun?

Read on to peep the most fun messy buns we’ve come across, and see which of these you can recreate on yourself from home to feel a little more chic (yup, there’s more than one way to wear ’em!):

1. The Classic

messy buns classic
Use your fingers to rake hair up in a bun. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

The messy bun to rule all messy buns, this features a loose, easy chignon coiled on top of the head and secured with an elastic. The ends are allowed to wisp free, which softens the look.

2. The Banana Bun

messy buns banana
Roll towards the middle and secure at the seam with pins. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

We previously described banana buns as the “tipsy, boozy alternative to a French twist,” and we still swear by it. Roll hair across vertically, in an outward direction, from one side to the other and secure on the underseam with pins. Don’t stress about any loose strands; they add to the casual feel.

3. The Boho

messy buns boho
That center part is key! Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

We envision this look as a fave hairstyle back in the groovy days of disco, with its definitive curtain part and long, half-updo feel.

4. Braided

messy buns braided
Pancake (or widen) your braid for more texture. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

The go-to look of bloggers and second-day hair enthusiasts everywhere.

5. The One-and-Done

messy bunsone and done
Use a neutral-colored hair tie to keep it classy.

This super-easy look has never met an errand it did not agree with. Pilates class? Sure thing. Brunch? Bring it on.

6. The Fishtailed Top Knot

messy buns fishtailed
Bonus: Unfurl to create fun, crimped lengths without heat! Photo credit: Faraz Essani Photography

For those who want to show off a bit, a fishtail plait is a great way to add a bit of texture to any regular bun. Click here for a quick fishtail tutorial.

7. The Half-Up, Straight

messy buns half up straight
Separate an area right on your crown. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

Who says messy buns always have to be a full chignon? Play with some details by opting for a trendy half-updo, with a bit of textured ends for some visual interest. A texturizing spray, like Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Milk & White Jasmine Salt Spritz Texture Spray, gives a bit of separation to your mid-lengths and ends.

8. The Half-Up, Curly

messy buns half up curly
Curls keep the look a bit beachy.

A curly crown half-updo is all sorts of trendy at the moment, and also forgive a bit of a rooty hair color situation by making your regrowth less jarring.

9. The Headband

messy buns headband
Slide it on a few inches past the bangs for a softer vibe. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Recalling another big ’90s and early 2000s throwback, using a headband to accessorize a regular messy bun spiffs up your look in 10 seconds flat.

10. The Mid-High

messy buns mid-high
Leave the ends somewhat untucked for a bit of an edge. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

If the mere thought of a true top knot is enough to give you a migraine, opt for a medium-high bun instead: Lying near your skull bump, it’s ideal for those with narrower heads who can afford a bit of width (as well as for those with less time for flipping hair over).

11. The Semi-Pineapple

messy buns semi-pineapple
Ideal for curly and natural-textured ladies.

Not quite as put-together as a full-blown pineapple hairstyle, but with the same good intentions.

12. The Punytail

messy buns punytail
Loop hair under once to create a bun on even a bob length. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Even shorter lengths can pull off a messy bun, provided the chignon sits close to the nape hairline and is more of a knotted bun than a coil. A dime-sized dollop of gel, like TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Firm Control Gel, helps give you more traction and hold.

13. The Low Knot

messy buns low knot
So carefree! Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

We love this more deconstructed take on a low chignon—it’s an appropriately fab vacation look, and you can literally nail it even while in transit.

14. The Off-Center Bun

messy buns off center
If you see the bun in your periphery, you’ve gone too far sideways. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

A side bun is a cute alternative to your vanilla low bun. In this version, pins are used to secure the coil to the scalp. Thicker hair textures can opt for a hair elastic instead.

15. The Classic Low Bun

messy buns classic low
Cover your ears for a more medieval take. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

There’s something so satisfyingly chic about a perfectly centered bun that’s nestled right in the hollow of your nape.

16. The Octopus

messy buns octopus
Leave bits of the ends untucked.

This “non-trend” became viral last year, much to the delight of moms and busy ladies everywhere. Emulate by creating a high bun and leaving the ends of long hair to splay out from under the elastic, creating your “tentacles” (yup, it’s a thing).

17. The Spiky Octopus

messy buns spiky octopus
Cover the elastic with a strip of hair for a more evening-ready effect. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

No, it’s not a deep-sea monster, but a version of the octopus bun with ends that are piece-yer and chunkier than normal (straighter textures have more luck with this).

18. Rooty

messy buns rooty
This look allows you a bit more time in between appointments. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Squeeze an extra good hair day or two out of your growing-out color with messy bun, which offers a cool, grungy two-toned effect.

19. The Clementine

messy buns clementine
Small but with a kick! Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

For fans of cute baby buns—and if you have fine hair to boot—we present this tiny, coiled version that sits right at the neckline.

20. The Frosted

messy buns frosted
Show off those highlights in a raked-up bun.

Highlighted ladies can show off their color’s dimension by pulling hair into a high messy bun.

21. The Instant Facelift

messy buns the instant facelift
Things are looking up! Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Flip your hair over to recreate this textbook top knot, which has sides and temples raked straight upwards rather than at an angle.

22. Space Buns

messy buns space buns
Why stop at one when you can have two? Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Play around with this iteration of the messy bun and split the upper section of your hair in half, finger-coiling each section into a knob. Secure with a small elastic at each base, leaving little care for flyaways.

23. Static-y

messy buns staticky
The one time it’s okay to embrace a bit of frizz. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

A classic ballerina bun gets a messy, dryer-sheet-thirsty twist. Fun for fine/straight hair types in need of some texture! Ed’s tip: Backcomb or tease the base of your bun with a teasing brush to create some fuzz.

24. The Spiky Top Knot

messy buns spiky top knot
As unapologetic as they come, this version isn’t for the faint of heart (or head). Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

As fierce as they come, and not for the tension headache-prone. Great for making a statement at parties though and for putting those features front and center.

25. The Errand Bun

messy buns errand
Leaving a few ends tucked in is both a reality and now a cute lewk!

Because ain’t nobody got time for pulling hair through completely.

26. The Full Base

messy buns full base
Keep your look fresh and natural with a fluffy bun.

A pretty, flattering take on messy buns, recreate this look by tugging slightly at the base of your ponytail before creating your coil. Spritz with a fine-mist hairspray, like TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Hairspray Boost Hold Level 3, for volume and control.

27. Edged-Up

messy buns edged up
Play around with that baby hair. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Baby hair on fleek! Put that halo frizz to werk, girl, and twirl them around your fingers for some flirty makeshift sideburns.

28. Netted

messy buns netted
Twist it around to created a covered-up coil.

This smooth-looking messy bun—which can easily be recreated by rough-gathering hair into a ponytail, from the bottom up—is a handy way to hide any tangles on the mid-lengths.

29. The Loose Top Knot

messy buns loose top knot
Perfect for heatless waves!

Wear at bedtime to wake up to big, bouncy waves.

30. The Front-Fall

messy buns front fall
Curl hair forwards for a fuller effect.

Similar to the pineapple technique, this look features hair tied up in a high ponytail and allowed to fall forwards for a faux-bump effect.

31. The ‘I Woke Up Like This’

messy buns I woke up like this
Keep your tendrils in place with some pins. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

…Even when you didn’t. The secret to this ultimate bedhead: lots of twists, secured with pins!

32. The Twist

messy buns the twist
Low is best. Photo credit: Dvora

Another way to elevate a regular low bun? Add in a twist. Doing so imparts a cool basket-bottom effect on the base that’s super boho-chic.

33. The Everyday Winner

messy buns everyday winner
Daytime-nighttime glam. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

As the name suggests, this look works just as swimmingly with an edgy blazer-and-jeans combo as it does with your gym gear.

34. The Upside Down

messy buns upside down
Make your exit as memorable as your entrance. Photo credit: Dvora

A funky under-braid provides just the right amount of added texture to a wavy top knot. Click here for a tutorial.

35. The Old-School Charmer

messy buns old school
Create a side-sweep using your fringe. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

Feminine and a bit vintage-inspired, we like how the loose wisps are curled for extra flirt appeal.

36. The ’90s Kid

messy buns 90s
Pinch two small strips on your temples to recreate that iconic wispy look of the era.

Alternatively, wearing those temple wisps straight on either side of your face gives a fun, tasteful throwback to yearbook pictures of yore. Pair with your best mock turtleneck and some round sunglasses!

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