updo and bun hairstyles How to Do a Messy Bun in Just 4 Steps

By
  • Reece Andavolgyi

Messy never looked so good.

January 25, 2023
Messy Bun Tutorial


The messy bun
is one of the biggest bombshells in beauty because while the style looks effortless and simple, achieving the perfect messy bun is not so easy and it often requires a few tries to get it just right. A successful messy bun is just the right amount of messy so that it looks chic and tousled but not so messy that it looks frizzy and haphazard. As you can imagine, the two trail a very fine line. 


When it comes to achieving messy bun perfection, it’s best to keep your attempts simple with as few steps as possible. Once you figure out the right formula, the tousled low bun or top knot hairstyle is a savior for those days when you’re too busy or unmotivated to style your strands. To help you with just that, we’re sharing an easy messy bun tutorial, plus tips for how to do a messy bun and a messy bun tutorial for each hair type and length.

How to Create a Messy Bun for Straight and Fine Hair 

There’s an art to looking disheveled in style. With just four simple steps, you can create this effortless but still elegant, ponytail updo.  

Step 1. Add Texture 

Start by gently brushing your hair until it’s smooth and knot-free. Since the aim is a messy bun with tousled hair and imperfect styling, add some texture and volume to your strands before starting on your updo. Priming your hair with dry shampoo is a great hack for those with naturally straight and thin hair because it adds grit to your strands that allows your hair to hold an updo better and it boosts volume.


Spray your hair with tinted dry shampoo, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Brown Hair or L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Tinted Dry Shampoo for Blonde Hair. Shake the bottle well, spritz it onto your roots, and then use a comb to tease your hair at the crown to give your mane a clean feeling and full-bodied look. 


Priming your hair with dry shampoo is a great hack for those with naturally straight and thin hair because it adds grit to your strands that allows your hair to hold an updo better and it boosts volume.


If you’re dealing with pesky frizz and flyaways, coat your strands in an anti-frizz serum, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In. before you add texture to your hair,


Step 2. Gather Your Hair Into a Ponytail

For shoulder-length hair and longer, use your fingers to comb back your strands, and decide where you want the placement of your messy bun. If you want a high messy bun, secure your hair at the top of your head and if you want a low messy bun, aim for just above the nape of your neck. Remember the ponytail does not have to be perfect, nor does it need to be tight (in fact, it’s preferable that it be neither of these things). Once you decide on placement, secure your ponytail with a hair tie.


Step 3. Create Your Messy Bun

After you’ve created your ponytail, loosely twist your ponytail around your index finger and wrap it around the base of your ponytail to create a bun. Once you have your messy bun, secure it with a few bobby pins — but remember, the more tousled it looks the better. If you have long, curly or wavy hair, feel free to skip the bobby pins and reach for a second hair tie to add a strong hold. As you’re creating your bun, don’t worry about any ends poking out, as this only enhances the overall look. 


If you’ve used bobby pins, loop a second hair elastic around the messy bun you just created as many times as you need to hold it in place. If you have thin hair, use your fingers to gently tug outwards on the bun to add volume. 


Step 4. Finish With Hairspray

To keep your messy bun in place throughout the day, spritz your strands with the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented. This fan-favorite hairspray provides a long-lasting, brushable hold and helps to fight humidity. 


Along with a light coating of hairspray, you can lay down your edges to complete the look. Use a small edge brush and apply a dime-size amount of the L'Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel to your baby hairs to keep them in place. 


How to Create a Messy Bun for Short Hair

Now that you know how to do a messy bun with long hair, here an alternative style that benefits those with shorter strands. If you currently sport a shorter hairstyle, like a bob, and you’re wondering how to get a messy bun for short hair, try a half bun.


Step 1. Separate Your Hair Into a Top and Bottom Section 

Separate your hair into two even sections — a top section and a bottom section. The top section is going to be your messy half bun. As we mentioned with long hair, if you have short hair that’s naturally straight or fine, now is the time to add some texture to the top section of your hair. 


Step 2. Secure the Top Section With a Hair Tie

Create a ponytail with the top section of hair and secure it with a hair tie. Then, wrap the ponytail around your index finger and twist it around the base of your ponytail to create your messy bun. Use bobby pins to hold the bun in place.


Step 3. Tug on the Bun 

Using your fingers, lightly pull on the bun to loosen it. If a few strands pop out, this is okay, it’s only going to enhance the messy styling. 


Step 4. Finish With Hairspray

Finish by spritzing your top section of hair with hairspray to set your style. Brush through the bottom section that you left out of your bun to ensure that you don’t have any tangles.


How to Create a Messy Bun for Curly Hair

While straight and fine hair types need texture for a messy bun, curly hair does not. Instead, those with curly hair need to focus on hydrating their hair and reshaping their curls. Here’s how to get a messy bun for curly hair in four simple steps.

Step 1. Prime with a Hydrating Leave-In 

If you have curly hair, instead of adding texture, embrace your natural tendrils with a hydrating hair treatment, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Refresh & Reshape Leave-In Spray. With just a few spritzes, the formula powered by hyaluronic acid and castor oil helps to deeply hydrate and resculpt curls without weighing them down.


Step 2. Pull the Hair Into a Ponytail

Using your fingers, lightly comb your curls back to create a ponytail. Once you have the placement, secure it with a hair tie.


Step 3. Create Your Bun

When you have curly hair, there are a few ways to create your messy bun. One way is by folding your ponytail in half to create a loop bun. If you’re going with this option, use another hair tie and go through the motions of pulling your hair through it but stop halfway, so only half of your ponytail is pulled through and secured with the hair tie.


Another way to create your messy bun is by twisting your hair around your index finger, wrapping it around the base of your ponytail and securing it with a hair tie. If you go for this method, don’t forget to gently fluff your bun with your fingers after to play up the messy styling.

 

Step 4. Use a Gel to Smooth the Crown

To ensure that your messy bun isn’t overrun by frizz and flyaway, use a hair gel, like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel to smooth the hair on your crown. You can also use the gel and an edge brush to lay your baby hairs.


Next: 8 Easy and Chic Slicked-Back Hairstyles to Try


Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Mirna Jose, Hair Assistant: Keila Rivera, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Model: Zlata Semenko